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:
97,000 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace battery (1 reports)
  3. replaced fuel pump and fuel filter (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Jul 232015

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


The car suddenly didn't start. Replaced the battery. So far, so good.

- , Pace, FL, USA

problem #4

Jul 302009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

my wife is scared to drive this vehicle, she believes it will leave her and my daughter stranded, we live 2 miles from detroit and many crimes around here,robberies,stabbings,shootings, carjackings, if they get stranded that may be life threatening issue..

- , Melvindale, MI, US

problem #3

Feb 082008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

It started out as a starting problem. Sometimes the car would start and sometimes it wouldn't. Finally about 6 months later it quit starting all together. We had it taken to multiple shops and they all said the same thing "The motor is gone". I was also told that this year Explorer had so many problems I should just sell it as is but it was paid for so I opted to fix it. It cost me $3200.00 for a new motor. After I got it back it started and run like a champ and still does to this day. Though we fixed this problem, I will never buy a FORD again due to the many other problems we have had with this vehicle. I now have a 1975 Chevy Pickup as a backup for when my Explorer develops another case of PMS. This Chevy pickup was my grandmothers that had sat in her yard for years until we went and put a battery in it and cranked it right up. Been driving it ever since.

- , Piedmont, SC, USA

problem #2

Jun 102009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I had just seen an internet article about 2002 - 2005 Explorers being lemons. Boy, am I finding out the hard way. I just had the fuel pump, fuel filter replaced for $1026. Now, one week later, my transmission is being replaced for $3600. I'm paying more in repairs than the vehicle is worth. Learned my lesson, I'll do research before buying again.

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #1

Sep 122006

(reported on)

Explorer LTD

  • 38,000 miles

Having intermittent starting problems. Sometimes engine just won't start. After few minutes it starts OK. There is no telling when it happens; cold/hot/day/night... 30K miles tune up did not help. New battery did not help either...

- , Santa Clara, CA, USA

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