Print this page 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:
108,400 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new transfer case (3 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Sep 012014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


Bought Explorer from Beechmont Ford in Ohio, the truck had 135582 miles on it. At about 142500 the transmission started to flutter when it shifts, took to a mechanic at a local garage. He said the transmission needs replaced, The Explorer now has 146000 miles on it, the transmission is getting worse. I called the Ford Dealer, they have not help with anything, Also told them about the transfer case making a noise. Had a local mechanic look at it, he said the transfer case is slipping and will have to be replaced.

- Richard A., Williamsburg, OH, US

problem #2

Nov 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Well 2 years ago I replaced the transmission and now the transfer case is going out.This vehicle is my stay at home wifes.It's never been off road and has only been in 4 wheel drive a couple of times.And it has never pulled a trailer.Just drove up town to store and drove on vacations.What a piece of crap.I have a Chevy S-10 with 245,000 on it and I have flat drove it all over the country giveing it hell on coonhunting trips and fishing trips.No PROBLEMS.This Explorer has had a easy life and has been one thing after the next go out on it.I even found a big wrench under the hood when I just got it home from the showroom.It was a hood adjustment tool from the assembly line.This transfer case is going to cost me a easy $600-$1000 doing it myself.What a piece of CRAP!

- kredbone1, Taylorsville, KY, US

problem #1

Sep 042009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,070 miles

Another Issue with an 02 Explorer..... Transfer case made an awful sound.... Didn't bother going to ford, they wanted $3500 for the new case alone.... Took it to a tranny shop, they found a new one for $1800...Ended up being the input bearing that failed and caused internal damage...came to $2500 Canadian...I'm sick of this vehicle...Every month its something...Wish we had "cash for clunkers" in Canada...

- James M., Calgary, AB, Canada

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