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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,539 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 #2

Jun 242006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,078 miles


I just spent $492.01 repairing the 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. The bolt holding the right side caliper mounting bracket sheared off. It scored the inside rim which resulted in a breach to the tire, causing it to go flat. This problem happened 5:15 am in the morning with no one on the road. As soon as I hit the brake, the tire locked up and the car came to an abrupt halt. Had this happened during the daytime or when there were other cars around, much damaged could have occurred to myself and other vehicles in the area. The mechanic said it was a defective part. I feel Ford should reimburse me for the cost of repair. And by the way, I have an extended warranty with this vehicle.

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 112002


  • miles
While driving calipers are not catching onto brakes, making it hard for consumer to stop. Dealer notified.

- Hudson, NH, USA

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