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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 #1

Apr 152005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Concerning 2002, Ford, Explorer, eddie bauer: We were driving on 09/19/2004 when a car drove up next to us and driver stated that rear brakes were smoking. No brakes were on. We pulled over, and saw that they were smoking and smelled badly. Called Ford roadside assistant to tow us to landmark Ford, in tigard, Oregon. Upon inspection on 09/20/04, parts were replaced. Two weeks later on October 3,2004, we were again driving and when we got home, and noticed that the rear left brakes were smoking and smelled badly. We called Ford roadside assistance, and had the car towed again to landmark Ford. Upon inspection on 10/4/04 we were told that they could not identify the problem and therefore would not replace any parts. We spoke with service manager larry baker concerning this issue. He asked us to drive the car home, and if it happens again to call and bring the car down. On Friday April 15,2005 we were driving with our two nieces when we noticed the left rear brakes started smoking and smelling badly. We were close enough to home and made it. The entire wheel on the left side was too hot to touch, the rubber on the tire was also very hot. We called Ford roadside assistance again to have the car towed down to landmark Ford. We received a call on Tuesday 04/19,2005 from service department that they could not identify the problem. We were asked again to pick up the car, and call if any problems arose. Three times the same exact thing has happened while driving. Smoking and smelling brakes is a serious safety hazard, and we are concerned that one time if this happens again the car could catch on fire. It appears to be an intermittent problem, and the service department manager mike walker stated previously that they have had some problems with this before, but not enough to put out a recall. We would appreciate some investigation into this matter as we are concerned for our safety, and the safety of others on the road.

- Portland, OR, USA

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