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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
123,341 miles
Total Complaints:
25 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (12 reports)
  2. not sure (6 reports)
  3. trash it! (5 reports)
  4. purchase rebuilt motor (2 reports)
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 #5

Feb 212009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles


Six weeks ago I replace the transmission on my explorer and figure my troubles are behind me. Wishful thinking. Driving home from leaving a deposit on a camper the car just STOPS while doing 50 up a local highway. We pull over and try to restart - no such luck. AAA comes and tries to jump it thinking it may be an alternator or starter, again wishful thinking. We tow it back to the shop, put in the lift and low and behold the oil has a metallic sheen (just had the oil changed about 3 weeks ago). THE ENGINE IS BLOWN -SHOT-KAPUT-DEAD!!! I am not even all that mad that the engine went, but that I just spent almost $3000 to replace the transmission and then it died. Oh by the way, add insult to injury, I still owe about $2000 on the car itself. Now I need to find another car, and am very leery about buying another Ford. I grew up in a Ford family, but I may have to jump ship.

- , Shohola, PA, USA

problem #4

Nov 012008

Explorer XLS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,300 miles

This is my third Ford!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have tried to be loyal but....come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First I had a Thunderbird before 12,000 I needed a new transmission at least it was 11,975 miles so that was covered. Next, I bought a bronco II guess what?THE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION HAD TO BE REPLACED!THIRD AND FINISHED! 2002EXPLORER NEEDED A TRANSMISSION THAT I PAID FOR IN JANUARY 2008 AND NOW IT NEEDS A ENGINE ( REBUILT) AT THE TUNE OF 3400.00 I THINK NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH, I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD,NEVER!

- , 1413 Forest Green, MO, USA

problem #3

Sep 222008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

I believe the oil pump was going out on this junky vehicle. The oil pressure kept going low but then would come right back up. I checked the oil and it was fine. I was about 10 miles from home when it completely ceased up!! Now I am having trouble finding another motor! I have a 1993 Explorer with 294,000 and the motor is still going strong. Doesn't even used oil! I think Ford needs to get those blueprints out and follow them. This has been the worst vehicle I have ever owned!!!

- , Grantsville, WV, USA

problem #2

Apr 102008

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

As so many others, my o/d light started flashing and my gears started to slip, especially going from 20 to 30 mph. Looked on internet noticed there are an extreme amount of people with same problem. They said their service engine soon light went on, sure enough, on my way home from work the service engine light did indeed go on. Called Ford dealer to see if there had been any reaction from Ford. They said no and they recommend a new transmission. Only $3200 -$3500. Thank god I have a good mechanic and after calling him he referred me to a reputable transmission guy. They have my car now and I am waiting to hear what his fix is. He already told me over the phone that I would not need a new transmission as Ford recommended. Love my Explorer, but Ford has lost my families business forever.

Also has left and right wheel bearing replaced in December, '07. It is really pathetic that Ford will no back their products. My Toyota Camry has 183,000 miles and still no major repairs needed. Guess what brand I will be buying next time.

- , Wood Dale, IL, USA

problem #1

Sep 252007

(reported on)

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Well, we got the Explorer 2 yrs. ago, w/ 45K miles on it. My husband travels a lot and put another 85K on it. We then noticed the O/D light start flashing and the Service Light came on, next thing I know it's in the shop at the Ford Dealership, and they say the engine is blown, and it'll be 6,000 to fix it and rebuild it.

We still owe 9,000 on it, and we'll only get 2,000 for a trade in. So, yes Needless to say, we're bending over right about now.....

The guy who looked at the Explorer said we were lucky to get 130K miles on it, for they usually go out a lot sooner then that. He said they avg. around 75K, some less then they're trash.

- , St. Peters, MO, USA

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