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 cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 202003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I bought a 2002 Explorer on May 23,2002. In the past 8 months, the vehicle has been towed in because it woudn't start--acomputer chip was replaced. My A/C made a high pitch squeal and after at least five times of trying to repair the existing A/C clutch, a new one was finally put on. My front end suspension has been fixed. My midlift gate cracked in November and a new one was put on. I have had daily problems with the driver's side seat not fully going into position when I start my truck and this problem has not been fixed as the service dept. That I deal with nevers seems to be able to see the problem. Funny how it does it every day for me, though. My blinkers will sometimes stick and stay on without blinking--this also has not been fixed. At the beginning of January,2003, on the way home from a trip, my husband and I noticed that every time we slowed the truck down, there was a blast of air from the upper vents in the vehicle. This happened no matter what setting we had it in (ie. Defrost or floor vents). This past Thursday, Jan.16, the suspension was repaired and supposedly the heating system was as well. Now the air doesn't seem to leak out the top vents, but continuosly comes out of the floor vent, no matter what setting the heat is on. I have a rental vehicle once again, while they keep the vehicle overnight tonight to see if they can hopefully fix this problem. Needless to say, we are currently checking into the lemon law for our state!!!

- North Mankato, MN, USA

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