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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
5,800 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 #5

May 142007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The key ignition switch keeps on getting ground and had to disconnect the battery to pull the key out of the ignition switch. This will be the third time I have to replace the switch.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #4

Mar 212003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have had my vehicle into the Ford dealer for the same problem at least 4 times with no success it is still under manufacturer warranty and is a 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #3

Apr 052003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
The vehicle's tailgate glass exploded while the consumer attempted to close it. The dealer was notified. Broken liftgate glass and wiper motor and arm were replaced. There were squeaks when going over bumps. Sway bar bushings replaced. Ignition switch hard to insert key at times. Cylinder and tumbler rekeyed. Bottom door molding (passenger side) peeling off. Rubber grommet on antenna base off. Resecured rubber grommet for antenna base. Pe04045_pco

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #2

Jul 102002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Last summer (July 2002) during a military move from ga to AZ I noticed that my windshield had a large piece of glass missing on the outter right edge that you could not see until you actually got right up on the windshield. Part of it was visible to and part of it was hidden behind the rubber seal that is around the windshield. This windshield was actually installed with this piece missing from it when the vehicle was built and sent to the dealership. Also, the rear glass hatch, gas shock twisted from its original position and caused the window to be off center by about an inch or more. After fixing it three times it had to be replaced. Both of these problems (the windshield and the gas shock) have been fixed by my local dealership and thus far have held up. There are numerous other complaints that I have on my vehicle that include the elecrical system not functioning properly. When you turn the truck on sometimes all the dashboard lights stay on as well as the interior lights and you have to shut the truck down and back on several times in order for them to go out. The truck will sometimes stall at take off or will lurch while shifiting into a higher gear and has totally shut down while driving down the road on a few occasions. The trim paint on the doors, both front and passenger has faded there are rusted spots in the paint on the top of the vehicle, and the hood has a very bad orange peel effect on it with grit in the paint. The left rear speaker has busted and the panel on the rear hatch below has broken loose as well as one of the plastic bracket covers on the back of the passenger seats. PE04045.pco

- Ft Huachuca, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jul 042002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Mounting bracket on glass liftgate became detached from strut-lift mechanism joint upon reaching maximum extension causing glass to fall onto my head. Reported to dealer but not repaired/replaced due to parts N/a. often have difficulty turning ignition switch after inserting either of the factory keys. It requires a "jiggling" motion to engage and turn ignition. PE04045.pco

- Louisville, KY, USA

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