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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
7,333 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

Jun 012003

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles


: the contact stated the vehicle has intermittently stalled possibly due to outdoor heat. The vehicle stalled or would not start on nine different occasions. The vehicle was taken to the service dealer after each incident where the inertia switch, the fuel pump and the PCM module were changed. This problem occurred eight times while the vehicle stopped, while it was started, at an intersection, and once with the vehicle in motion at 35 mph. The contact also stated the gas storage tank had developed a hole and was leaking gas.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #2

Dec 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Gas guage will drop to empty and the digital readout will say that there are 0 miles to empty even though I have a quarter of a tank left. If I wait a little nit it will slowly go back up to where it belongs. I called dealer and they said they know nothing of this default and don;T know how to fix it.

- Bridgeport, WV, USA

problem #1

Dec 152001


  • miles
Consumer stated that while driving the fuel sending unit is not working properly and the vehicle will run out without warning. Dealer notified

- Lumberton, NC, USA

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