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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,800 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

Jul 052011


  • 68,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while attempting to park the vehicle, she noticed smoke and flames coming from under the hood. The fire department was called to extinguish the fire and the origin of the fire was unknown. A fire report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic where the failure was located at the master cylinder. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was contacted and a claim was filed. The contact was awaiting further instruction by the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Maspeth, NY, USA

problem #1

May 122004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,600 miles
The ABS activated while on a dry pavement andthe vehicle lost braking power. The consumer took the vehicle back to the dealer, who kept insisting there was nothing wrong. However, the consumer felt differently about the dealers evaluation. The consumers brother verified that something was wrong, but could not take it apart to check it out because of warranty issues and the engine experienced a miss. The master cylinder was found bad.

- North East, MD, USA

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