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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
88,000 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace button under brake pedal (2 reports)
  3. cracked real panel needs to be fixed and fixed right (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer lights problems

lights problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Oct 172013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


The cracked rear panel has caused five (5) problems: 1) False "Door Ajar" indicator 2) Dead Battery 3) Rear window can't be opened 4) Back up warning doesn't work 5) Brake lights won't turn off even with the engine shut off.

I know this is five incidents, but I am reporting one "BIG" one - the Cracked Rear Panel

- Jeff C., Humble, TX, US

problem #5

Feb 012006

Explorer Limited V8 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,884 miles

I imported this car to Argentina (made in Venezuela).No Explorers in this country - not possible to get spare parts.

I checked with FORD US and different Ford part dealers but could not find the right part based on the part number of the damaged switch.

By coincidence I found out that the brake switch of the Ford Windstar is identical to the

Explorer LTD 2002 - I ordered a Windstar switch - installed it and it works perfectly.

Also other oridingal part numbers of my vehicle cannot be found anywhere I have to search by pictures. Understand Ford part numbers change with the years making it really hard to find replacements.

- Rene W., Buenos Aires, Prov. Buenos Aires, Argentina

problem #4

Oct 312009

Explorer ES V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

My brake lights would not turn off. They stayed on through out the night and of course my battery was dead in the morning.

I went to 3 auto part stores and they could not locate the part that my Dad pulled out from under my driver's side dash, around the brake area. (the lights would ONLY turn off when this part was disconnected)... the part had FORD written in large letters with the model number: YFIT 13480-AA (POLLAK)... No stores could locate this part. One place told me it was the "Cruise control" switch...?? what?? The same part for other years and models ranged from $7-$14 ... but the piece (they could find that was close enough) for the 2002... was $143?? PLUS it didn't have a picture in their inventory... we couldn't tell if it was even the right piece.

Anyways, it was Sunday, Ford was closed so my options were limited. My dad WD40'd the part and put it back in and it's working for the time being.

I hate Fords. This is only one of MANY issues I have had ranging from having to replace the back hatch glass hinges to completly replacing the entire transmission. what a mistake this purchase was.

- Laura H., Round Rock, TX, US

problem #3

Feb 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


One day my brake lights would not turn off. So I called my dad who knows alot about Fords. He said the button under my brake pedal was jammed and couldn't tell I didn't have pressure on the pedal. I paid for the part and he fixed it. I maybe spent $20. This is not just a Ford problem it can happen on other cars.

- Michelle A., Goose Creek, SC, US

problem #2

Apr 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The other day, I was going into a store and noticed what looked like a lot of light coming from my rear lights (like the brakes were on). I thought it may have been sunshine. When I got home and parked in the garage-I noticed they were really on. I got back in and stepped on the brakes and turned the lights on and off and it seemed to fix it. I just hope it does not do this while I am driving.

- Charles M., Sykesville, MD, US

problem #1

May 082008

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I'm in the process of going threw the warranty. My brake lights will not turn off, the ajar door light will not turn off, my doors will not lock while driving, I have to turn off the over head light and when I press the alarm button I'm getting two beeps instead of one. No one wants to fix this problem I'm getting the run around. Within the next two years I plan on trading the car in. This my 4th Ford car. I will NEVER by ford again. It is always a problem. I had a Nissan for 5 years before I went back in to a Ford and I never had so many problems. I have a car note and I still spending to have this car fix. This is the 3rd major problem. It's not worth the car note.

- Yolanda G., Orange, NJ, US

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