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:
85,075 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

Feb 162010


  • 74,225 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was leaking coolant due to a failure within the intake manifold gasket which was cracked and corroded. The exhaust system was also faulty due to the gasket problem. The dealer informed the contact that there was a class action suit for the intake manifold. The VIN was unavailable at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were 74,225.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #2

Jan 022008

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a coolant leak in the intake manifold. There is an extended coverage program that was initiated in class action lawsuit number 05N04. The contact is currently experiencing the same failure mentioned within the lawsuit. Ford stated that the VIN was not included in the recall and the repair would cost $800. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 103,000. Updated 03/05/08.

- Trussville, AL, USA

problem #1

Nov 242002

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer 4.6 V8, approx. 78000 miles. While driving my spark plug (unknown number - second in on drivers side), blew out. Was able to replace it. No more then 30 minutes of driving same plug was spit out again. This time unable to replace it.

- Lombard, IL, USA

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