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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
116,750 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace rear differential (3 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 092012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


I am like what the (HeLL!) since I've had this truck one problem after the next. Transmission twice, front wheel, back wheel, left wheel, right wheel. Windows won't work air condition broke, engine light on... some kind of electrical problem, Because the factory alarm goes off. And of course all this after I paid it off. NEVER AGAIN WILL I BUY A FORD!!!!


- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #3

Nov 142011

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Its only been 4000 miles since replacing the rear differential the 2nd time and now the 2nd differential has gone bad. The clutches within the differential have gone bad. When I turn there is a terrible rubbing/thumping noise like a flat tire in the front end of the car. Sometimes it is as the shaft is going to completely come off the car. It's really a terrible thing to worry about driving but they say it will probably not break and leave me stranded on the roadside. I'm preparing to get it fixed. Checking on the warranty information and getting ready to take to the garage to install the 4th rear differential for the Ford Explorer. I really love the Ford Explorer but this has just about done me in.

- , Belleville, IL, USA

problem #2

Feb 222010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,002 miles

Seem to be a minor problem of constant whining and noise until analyzed at the garage. Serious problems then to a total of around 3000.00 to replace and fix. I expected that the problem would be alleviated when paying such labor and repair costs. I was feeling a bit better knowing my car was repaired and safely on the road again with a worry free mind of breaking down on the roadway alleviated. I was totally surprised again about 15 months later when I hear whinning and a rumble (like a flat tire) when I made turns. You can read about the outcome in my second report and then again in a third complaint.

- , Belleville, IL, USA

problem #1

Jan 092011

Explorer Eddie Baurer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Noise started when vehicle was turned to the right. Noise subsided for awhile then came back when car was turned either direction.

- , Woodland Park, CO, USA

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