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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
116,947 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace (3 reports)
  2. replacing rim and drive left side shaft (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 202015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,787 miles


2002 Ford Exploder.......will NEVER EVER buy a Ford Motor Company product ever again.

Apologies for the Caps.

- , Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #3

Feb 172011

Explorer EXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

My 2002 Exporer is a piece of junk! In Feb. 2011 my gear shift broke off while backing out of the grocery store. I had to flat bed it twice! I had it towed to a local Ford dealership and it took 1 week before I got the car back. $1200.00 later I have a new steering column. Gotta love the Fords!! My father is a for retiree and my mom drives a Toyota! The real problem I have it there are hundreds of postings on the internet with the same problem but many had the replacements done at local shops and not at Ford dealerships, so Ford does not have a "registered complaints" of this problem. Also the labor was about $139.00 and the part $959.00 for a piece of pot metal!!!! That's Ford mark up the replacement parts 1,0000 % !

I also have the cracked backpanel, replaced the 4x4 and the electrical wiring on the drivers side door oh yeah the wheel prongs that hold the wheel on also replaced! These workers that made this card but have had an off day or were on break!!!

- , Bluffton, OH, USA

problem #2

Jan 212009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

While backing out of the garage last winter, my wife heard a loud "clunk". Front drive shaft broke. No one sure why. I think it's from the Automatic 4WD kicking in and out all the time when driving on icy or wet surfaces.

- , Celina, OH, USA

problem #1

Feb 232009

Explorer XLT 4.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My daughter was on the freeway going to school when she heard a loud popping sound in the left front wheel she managed to get off and tried to stop the vehicle and had no brakes the abs light system came on and when she tried going again the left wheel was wobbling and grinding noise.Took the vehicle to shop costing some 2500 dollars to fix this problem something about tire arm or thing that hooks tire to car broke and was cutting into wheel rim causing this and brake job not a year old cost 1300 dollars for bearings and pads this vehicle is killing by purse. No more fords for me going back to Chevys./

- , Vallejo, CA, US

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