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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,653 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Apr 302004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Ford Explorer caught fire while driving. The consumer has a report which stated the fire was caused by a gas leak.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #6

Sep 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,132 miles
September 2002: Fuel injector for #3 cylinder failed, causing gasoline to be sprayed over engine. Discovered in driveway during vehicle warm-up. No indication of problem except for smell. October 2003: Fuel injector for #3 cylinder failed, causing gasoline to be sprayed over engine. Failure occured at some point during driving. Discovered only due to fuel smell. No other indication. Dealer fixed both times. Concerned about occupant safety -appears as though fire could easily ignite, and lead to serious injury or death. No warning that system has failed.

- Prospect, CT, USA

problem #5

Feb 192004

(reported on)

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
The consumer stated the gasoline fumes entered the vehicle after filling the vehicle with gasoline. This problem occurred intermittently. The manufacturer and dealer were contacted.

- Fonda, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 292003

(reported on)


  • 3,000 miles


Fuel system has a leak that results in fuel spills, allowing fumes to enter passenger's compartment. Dealership cannot fix problem.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #3

Oct 012001

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle experiences periods of stalling at low speeds. Applying brakes there is a loss of brakes and steering. No prior warning before stalling. Existing problem 5 times, taken into the delaer. Dealer replaced fuel pump, main control valve body, transmission oil pan, idle air control valve and programmed PCM. Vibration like anti-lock brake system is kicking in. Dealer could not duplicate. Overdrive comes in and out at odd speeds. No problem found.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #2

Apr 202002

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When making a sudden stop or from a stop position vehicle would momentarily hesitate before jerking into gear when applying accelerator pedal. Vehicle has been to dealer on three occasions, and was unable to locate cause of problem. When making a sudden stop the truck will not accelerate. It will just make a grinding noise. Consumer has to put vehicle in park and restart. Vehicle runs rough and changes gears while driving, consumer would like Ford to either fix the problem correctly, repurchase or replace the vehicle.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #1

Nov 012001


  • miles
Fuel fumes were getting into the vehicle while driving. Vehicle been to dealer on four occasions, but problem was reoccurring. Feel free to provide any further information.

- Rochester, NY, USA

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