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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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

Jun 212001


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Main computer module malfunctions, causing other major components, such as transmission/ power window, and doors not to work.

- Littleton, MA, USA

problem #1

Jan 032002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Dealership lost keys. On board computer/security system would not allow remake of key. Ford issues a tsb (ignoring issue hoping warranty would expire before a new key was requested.) 4-wd inoperable. No 4-wd related indicator lamps on dashboard at engine start. Vehicle has been at dealership for over a week "waiting for a back ordered solenoid". "93 other 2002 owners are waiting for parts" to fix same problem.

- Abingdon, VA, USA

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