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:
No data
Average Mileage:
69,723 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. disconnect postiitve battery terminal (temporary solution) (1 reports)
  3. remove after market alarm (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 212012

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


Car will start, I take short trip, in and out of store in 10 min, car wont start. I take a walk, come back in 30 min, car starts.

- , Hartford, CT, USA

problem #3

Aug 052010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

This has happened to me several times. Once we needed to get it towed! We were camping one summer and the alarm went off and the truck completely shut down. This alarm system has been more of a hindrance than help!

- , Drayton Valley, Alberta, canada

problem #2

Jul 152004

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Vehicle has Chapman alarm system (was either dealer fitted or factory fitted on the new vehicle). You will hear a relay clicking and the red alarm light will flash on the dash preventing the vehicle from starting. Somtimes this problem will be triggered by a slightly low battery voltage. Definitely replace the battery every 3 years in the Phoenix area, but you can still randomly have this problem. I always carry a wrench so I can reset the alarm system by disconnecting and reconnecting the positive batter terminal. This usually allows the vehicle to start.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #1

May 182005

Explorer Limited 4WD 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,755 miles

Even the alarms are defective. Ford claims that it was an after market alarm installed in the vehicle. I don't understand. I bought the car at the dealership and the alarm was pre installed prior to it being sold...the extended warranty should cover it. Another scam.

- , Lemoore, CA, USA

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