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:
81,660 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

Nov 102014


  • 205,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the air bag light, the check engine light, and battery light illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact inspected the vehicle and diagnosed that the failure was due to an electrical issue within the wires in the door locks and anti theft system. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 205,000.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #4

Jun 282007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,200 miles
This 2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer abruptly stops while driving at any speed without any notice or indication that the ignition will fail to keep the car running. This car has been to two Ford dealerships and one reputable and established independent automotive repair shop. This car was at a Toyota dealership for almost 30 days and this car was returned to me with this potentially fatal defect still undiagnosed. None of the aforementioned dealerships could determine the true underlying problem. At the Toyota dealership a brand new starter was installed because of a no start condition showing no power to the starter and blown fuses for the injectors, fuel pump, and the computer. The same defect showed itself one day later after traveling over 70 miles with no sign of failure.

- Portage, IN, USA

problem #3

Nov 052006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,050 miles
Upon inspection of the wiring just above the oil filter drain shroud during routine maintenance there was a wire harness found with exposed wires. The three wires were encased in one bundle but are supposed to be isolated. It appears that the harness has been rubbing against the upper edge of the oil drain shroud since the vehicle was built. This bundle of wires should be checked and repaired on all 2002 Ford Explorer. There is the possibility of a fire.

- Howell , MI, USA

problem #2

Nov 062006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,050 miles
: the contact stated while accelerating, the vehicle vibrated and a noise was heard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times where the transmission converter was replaced twice, however the problem recurred. Also, while the contact was changing the oil it was noticed a wire from the battery was bare. The consumer stated the transmission is still not shifting properly and during acceleration, the vehicle still vibrates. Upon inspection the 02 sensor was found damaged. The sensor was covered in glue and wrapped around to the transmission mount. Updated 12/01/06.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #1

Mar 102006


  • miles
No start no spark Ford could not figure it out, $1200 it was a faulty main wiring harness also loud noise in rear end no help from Ford, broken wheel bearing. Should not have been.

- Streamwood , IL, USA

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