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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,840 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

problem #5

Sep 152008


  • 12,000 miles


1) 2002 Ford Explorer will crank but not start when weather is hot (2) many times at home when weather is hot. Consequences: Unable to use car for a month. (3) Ford dealer ($250) changed fuel idle box. Did not correct problem.(4) Ford now wants to change fuel pump for $1000 mileage is 12000..

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #4

Jun 102008


  • 56,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer- a nightmare of problems that keep getting worse. It has 56K miles on it and I am about to replace the transmission. Fuel pump, 2 rear springs, 2 wheel bearings and the drivers side window motor have already been replaced. Neither of the 2 rear windows roll down and the back hatch lift replace on recall is broken yet again. This is the biggest hunk of junk on 4 wheels. Ford needs to do something. Thank god I didn't buy it new because that really would have been a rip off.

- Rome, NY, USA

problem #3

Oct 152007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Fuel pump failed while driving into my driveway with only 11,000 miles on the car. Cost $ $950 to replace the pump at dealer. This could be dangerous if it occurred while driving on freeway. A few weeks earlier I noticed a one time occurrence when the car didn't want to accelerate while driving at approx. 55 mph but problem corrected itself.

- Placida, FL, USA

problem #2

Jun 282007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,200 miles
This 2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer abruptly stops while driving at any speed without any notice or indication that the ignition will fail to keep the car running. This car has been to two Ford dealerships and one reputable and established independent automotive repair shop. This car was at a Toyota dealership for almost 30 days and this car was returned to me with this potentially fatal defect still undiagnosed. None of the aforementioned dealerships could determine the true underlying problem. At the Toyota dealership a brand new starter was installed because of a no start condition showing no power to the starter and blown fuses for the injectors, fuel pump, and the computer. The same defect showed itself one day later after traveling over 70 miles with no sign of failure.

- Portage, IN, USA

problem #1

Jun 272002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Drivers side saftey belt has broken too, air vent has broken too, sunroof design problem too, fuel pump failed at 14000 mi too

- Arvada, CO, USA

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