Notes: The 2002 Ford Explorer is hands-down our worst vehicle on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2003 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
140,674 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jun 012002

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,850 miles


The ABS light illuminated on the dashboard panel without any accident. The owner's manual stated if the light illuminated the ABS was not working. Has not been to a dealer for this issue at this time. No problems with the brakes, but was concerned the light for the ABS was on and could not be working. This happened in the past, there was a repair on the axle speed sensor of the ABS. This lasted a year, and later vehicle had to be taken back to the dealer for this and the sensor mount, contact point was cleaned, and cleared" the fault warning code on the computer. Now the ABS light was on again.

- Woodward, IA, USA

problem #3

Jun 122004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 512,846 miles
ABS sensor replaced.

- Kalispell, MT, USA

problem #2

Apr 142003


  • 22,000 miles
ABS warning light came on/off, and the ABS brakes engaged prematurely. Also, there was vibration in the front end when braking. Vehicle had been serviced 3 times. Dealer replaced the rotors once, and ABS rear sensor twice. The ABS warning light came on again.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #1

Sep 062002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
Braking failure. Soft pedal. Entire vehicle appears to be under braked. Multiple ABS systems failure. Rear wheel lock up and drag. Water entering connector for ABS wheel sensor at differential. Water entering differential. Complete denial by Ford Motor Company situation has potential for injury. Cavalier and arrogant attitude of Ford Motor Company customer service center. Actually told me not to write them any more about the problem. Dealer has done all it can and continues to replace parts. Dealer agrees Ford has something to hide. Dealer confirms a very high failure rate specific to wet climates and the pacific northwest. The only good news dealers in the area stock large quantities of replacement parts.

- Clatskanie, OR, USA

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