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:
93,000 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. remove intake and replace seals (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Oct 062014

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


My 2002 Ford Explorer has been rough idling while first started. During my last service my mechanic told me the intake manifold is leaking which is why I was low on coolant and rough idling during initial start-up. He said that Ford used a plastic intake manifold in these vehicles and not nearly enough points of securing them down which is why they warp and leak. He said this is common on these trucks as well and has serviced hundreds of them with the same issue as mine. Ford really did a poor job designing the suspension and drive train on this vehicle.

- Terry P., Edwardsburg, MI, US

problem #2

Apr 102011

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Been having trouble for some time with rough idling.I replaced the MAP sensor at a very high cost to me.The problem is it didn't do anything at all.With todays computer regulated engines in charge of everything under the hood,I find it hard to believe the trouble I've been through!!To much can go wrong when you have multiple sensors in one area of idle air control! It just doesn't seem like a very good engineered idea.Anybody have a good solution to idle problems on the 4.6 V8?

- George M., Little River, SC, US

problem #1

Aug 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

My Explorer would buck with rough idle at times. Mostly noticeable when the air conditioner is running. I seemed to sense this also happening when going about 20 to 30 MPH. The problem seemed to clear up by pushing on the gas pedal and raising the engine rpm. My Ford dealer put the car on the computer but no bad codes showed up. Next they did a road test but the vehicle would not do the problem (I think the mechanic had the air conditioner off). Basically, they said they could not find a problem but charged me for their time. I drove the Explorer home and it bucked the whole way. The spark plugs were changed less than a year ago. My only guess is that the problem might be the spark plug wires... they are original. If so, why didn't their computer see it (weak wires)?

- Robin H., Fredericksburg, VA, US

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