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:
47,084 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Apr 022007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,202 miles


Egr sensor failure obd2 code P0401.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

Nov 062006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,050 miles
: the contact stated while accelerating, the vehicle vibrated and a noise was heard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times where the transmission converter was replaced twice, however the problem recurred. Also, while the contact was changing the oil it was noticed a wire from the battery was bare. The consumer stated the transmission is still not shifting properly and during acceleration, the vehicle still vibrates. Upon inspection the 02 sensor was found damaged. The sensor was covered in glue and wrapped around to the transmission mount. Updated 12/01/06.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #1

Apr 022004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
Check engine light illuminated at approximately 39000 miles. Diagnostic code P0174. No leaks present. Codes cleared. Check engine light recurred at 42000 miles. Diagnosed as failure of both exhaust gas oxygen sensor 063028 and sensor assy 021675. Ford motor refused reimbursement for defective parts.

- Webster, MN, USA

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