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:
94,667 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 #3

Jul 172009


  • 171,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the service engine soon and check gas cap indicators illuminated and caused the vehicle to shut off. In addition, the gas tank was very difficult to fill up while placing fuel in the tank. The contact called the manufacturer regarding these issues. He feels that it is a safety hazard for the vehicle to shut off without warning. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 171,000.

- Sylacauga, AL, USA

problem #2

Oct 012008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that every time gasoline is pumped into the vehicle, fuel would spew out and splash onto the contact. The dealer stated that the repairs would cost $1,000, even though there was a recall for the 2002 Ford Expedition. The contact feels that the manufacturer should be responsible for the repairs. The current mileage was 70,000 and failure mileage was 50,000.

- Twinsburg , OH, USA

problem #1

Dec 202003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT. I can not put gas on it because it overflows rapidly and throws the gas out of the tank. I was told that it was a common problem with the tank breader and it would cost around $ $600 to fix it. It is a safety issue because the gas comes right back at you and can cause a major fire. Ford should voluntary fix this defective problem at no charge.

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

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