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:
Average Mileage:
100,500 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. replace burnt out wiring (2 reports)
  3. replace computer system (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #8

Jul 032013

Explorer 4DR XLT 4X2 4.0L Sohc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles


Car would not start at restaurant. Lights and radio worked so had towed to dealership only to be told it was the entire computer system that was out. The SUV had 58,000. miles and the computer was out - REALLY?? $1,080.66 later and the car ran again.

At that I looked on the internet only to find out that my 2002 Ford Explorer was one of the worst vehicles ever and that they also have an abundance of reports with the transmission so I had to weigh my options on whether or not it was worth having it fixed only to have transmission problems in the future because it has always jumped into gear at times. I decided to have it fixed and pray for the best only to be punched in the stomach 6 weeks later. Car would not start again . . . . this time they say fuel filter, however, it did the same exact thing when it needed the PCM so did it really need the PCM or was it always the fuel filter or vice versa.

After throwing a tantrum at Covert they supposedly cut me a deal on the replacement of the fuel pump ???????? I have a cracked rear door which I understand almost all Explorers do and I am anxiously awaiting the transmission to go out. I am then going to throw it through the front glass window of Covert FORD,,,, and never, never, never buy a FORD.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #7

Sep 282012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

engine wont start when hot sometimes,not always, let sit 15 min. then it starts,runs like a rocket.

- , Hauser, ID, USA

problem #6

Jun 042011

Explorer LX V6 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Car keeps shutting off, battery continues to go dead

- , Lebanon, TN, US

problem #5

Dec 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


Seemingly randomly, the vehicle will not start when the engine is warm. I have tested the 1 year old battery numerous times, replaced the alternator, and replaced the starter. Still have the starting trouble. It seems worse when the vehicle is on an incline, which makes me wonder about the fuel injection system. No idiot lights, no running performance problems, plugs have been recently replaced, as has air filter.

- , Oviedo, FL, US

problem #4

Apr 162009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

this car if you use it to much will not start it sounds like it will but won't, you have to sit and wait for 3 hours then it will start, this has happened 9 times since we bought it in Sept 2008. Its getting worse its doing it more What is wrong? no one can help us!!!

- , Whiting, NJ, USA

problem #3

Mar 042008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Why is this vehicle still on the road? I looked up recalls on this vehicle and near about everything from the headlights to the taillights has been recalled! It was #1 on 3 worst lists and so on! I have been scared to death this thing was just going to catch on fire while my kids and I were going down the road. With the lights on the auto setting, they would just go out. Sometimes after hitting a bump in the road but sometimes for no reason at all! How safe can that be?

- , Pitts, GA, USA

problem #2

Feb 122008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Driving along and pulled car over to make a phone call. Put the car in Park and I noticed when I was about to put it in Drive, the engine was not on. I turned the ignition key off and then tried to start the car. NOTHING! What the h#%%! I just put $1,900 dollars into this car in November for the transmission, $700 for the alternator in October and $700 for the A/C in August! This was crazy! A guy was able to tow it to his Mom and Pop Repair shop, where they charged me $80 for labor, $35 for the tow, and they didn't replace any parts. They said it was burnt wiring. Well, if the #%@ing wiring was burnt, shouldn't it be replaced? They screwed me for $165 for 90 minutes of work. Glad to get my car back but at what cost? Do not buy a Ford Explorer.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #1

Feb 092008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Periodically, when the vehicle is still warm, it will not start. Let the vehicle sit

for 1/2 hr to an hour and it starts right up. Put it on a scanner and no problems

come up ( because the problem disappears temporarily).

Any answers??

- , Louisville, OH, USA

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