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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,500 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 282007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


In two different occasions I had to jump start the 2002 for Explorer, I did a battery load test and it was fine also check it while the vehicle was running and all the readings appeared correct and was charging ok.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #1

Apr 122004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
The automatic gear shift broke. Could not change gears. Electric windows stopped working both driver and passenger. Air conditioner broke - air conditioner clutch make rubbing noise when engaged.

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

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