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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
95,825 miles
Total Complaints:
45 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (25 reports)
  2. replaced part (7 reports)
  3. replaced 4 wheel drive control module (6 reports)
  4. replace transfer case shift module (2 reports)
  5. pull and replace fuses (1 reports)
  6. re wired whole electrical system (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #5

Oct 012008

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles


I am so sick of problems with my Explorer. I have had it three years and have had it in the shop at least 10-15 times. I am over extended on it, apparently it isn't worth anything and besides the expensive car payment each month I have to pay for repairs.

- , Meridian, ID, USA

problem #4

Apr 212005

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

PIECE OF SH*T SUV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Romeo, MI, USA

problem #3

Oct 252005

Explorer XLT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

noticed that 4x4 light was flashing. would not shift into 4 wheel drive mode. a quick diagnosis at the dealership determined that the 4x4 control module was defective. it was replaced under the extended warranty.

- , Four Oaks, NC, USA

problem #2

Mar 072007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Spring of 2007, the 4x4 Hi 4x4 Lo indicator lights started flashing 3 times, then would go out for 2 minutes. This would continue as long as the vehicle was turned on.

As of December 2007, the vehicle will not engage into 4WD at all. After sitting for 3 and a half hours at a Ford dealer to have a diagnostic run (yes 3.5 hours...they told me that the tests recommended by Ford for finding the problems didn't match up to my vehicle????) they came to the conclusion that they are about 80% sure it is the module. They also told me it is a $300 part with no explanation of why it would go, and that they feel it could be something else, but they have to start with this.

- , Sarver, PA, USA

problem #1

Jul 112007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

A few months after purchasing our 2002 Eddie Bauer Explorer (which we loved), the "brain" to the 4WD which sends the signal to lock into 4WD ceased to operate. It was repaired at my cost and Ford had no intention of giving me any kind of break monetarily. This vehicle wa like new and all service had been done on time and by a dealer. With the low mileage we felt as though this should have been handled with some sort of help from the manufacturer. I thought that was the end of my problems with this Explorer. Boy was I wrong

- , Leicester, NC, USA

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