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:
84,743 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (3 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Nov 122015

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,400 miles


I brought a 2002 Ford Explorer in 2013 from a car dealer. It had a burning oil smell coming into the car vents, then it went away. That was fine. Then 2 months 2 weeks after we had it, the car just totally died on me while driving home. I manage to get it off the road into a mechanic place. We found out the timing chain had snapped and it was going to cost us $5000 to fix it. We did that and ever since then the engine light has never come off. I have taken my car to Ford mechanic 6 times and they say its this, its that and make me pay $2-3000 every visit.

Well, I have had naff of their bull sh*t. They are just wasting my time. I have always look after my cars and respected them and I really liked Fords until I got this Explorer it has caused nothing but finance struggles to me and my family. Now the cam-belts, the coils are misfiring and it needs a new radiator. The car has lost power. I have been told its gonna cost me 7000 dollars to fix it. I know I can get a reconditioned motor for 2000 and labour to put it in 2000 and a new radiator 460 but now I think I'll just count my losses with this one never again Ford

- , Melbourne, Australia

problem #3

Jul 152015

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,572 miles

I had it to Ford 3 times. The first time they said it was my catalytic converters (3 of them) then the camshaft position and positioning sensor. Now I need a new motor because the back timing chain went. All for the same problem.

- , Clinton, OK, USA

problem #2

May 192010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Did ALL repair and maintenance at Ford. Even bought new tires from them. Engine died with my family in car, on the highway. Dealer said it was a valve. Months later they said it was a timing belt/chain. Dealer said $5,000 for a new engine. They offered NOTHING except a "good deal on a new car". Loyalty means nothing, being a repeat Ford owner means nothing. I was told the engine is like a tank, yet it didn't even last 90,000 and that was with servicing from a Ford dealer! Hey Ford, got anything to say?

- , Bedford Hills, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 172009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

In January I replaced the catalytic converters due to a no start condition. Then the vehicle rain more and nore poorly ober a month. Now it will barely accelerate, barely makes 40 miles an hour, and doesn't seem to know when to shift. I took it to Jensen Tire (they did the cats), and they said it needed a MAF sensor, an IAV valve, and an O2 sensor. I read the codes and replaced all these items, and it still runs like it did before.


- , Omaha, NE, USA

Not what you are looking for?