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:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,914 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #4

Mar 012002


  • miles


This same incident occurred four times. The speed in each incident varied from 15 mph on the first occurrence to 65 mph on the fourth. Basically, while driving the car, the engine died, the lights flashed on the dash, I lost all power steering. On each occaision. I pulled the car to the side of the road, put the truck in park, and re-started the engine. On each time, the engine re-started without hesitation. I reported the problem to the dealer. The dealer could find nothing wrong with the truck; thus, they made no repairs. They claimed to have never heard of this problem before.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #3

Feb 252002

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving 30-40 mph, engine stalled, lights on dash flashed on and lost all power, dealer contacted.. the vehicle was taken to the dealer and consumer was informed that there was a loose fuse with 3 codes showing on the computer, however on March 1, 2002 the vehicle stalled again without warning and a fuse was showing a bad pressure sensor which was replaced, consumer stated the vehicle stalled again for the third time.

- Newport, RI, USA

problem #2

Dec 272001


  • miles
While driving approximately 32 mph engine stalled unexpectedly, causing a loss of power steering and power brakes. Dealership examined vehicle, changed a module, and performed a computer upgrade to remedy the problem. Please provide any additional information / documentation.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 262001


  • miles
When stopped at a light, there is a strong sulfur odor in the car causing occupants to have trouble breathing. Owner has developed breathing problem since purchasing the vehicle. Vehicle will hesitate without notice when pulling out into traffic.

- Winterville, NC, USA

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