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:
142,400 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

problem #2

Mar 012012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 228,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While attempting to shift from park to the reverse, the contact noticed that the column shifter had separated from the steering column. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The current and the failure mileage was 228,000. Updated 04/11/12 the hear shifter broke and the key would not come out of the ignition. The serpentine belt was cracked and had to be replaced. Updated 04/20/12

- Ponchatoula, LA, USA

problem #1

Jun 012004


  • 56,800 miles
While driving at 30 mph the consumer began to hear a pinging sound in the engine. After the vehicle picked up speed the pinging sound went away. The dealer examined the vehicle and found that the timing chain had too much play in it. The dealer informed the consumer that there is an improved part but, it cost nine hundred dollars.

- Omaha, NE, USA

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