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:
112,167 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 082016


  • 208,000 miles


The door locks lock and unlock all by themselves dozens of times in a row while I am driving. With this the dome light flashes off and on and the door ajar light flashes and the interior chime goes off constantly. All of this happens at the same time. This is a huge and common issue with thousands of forum posts by other owners who have spend countless $$ at mechanic's to no avail. This can cause wrecks at night it is very distracting. Especially the dome light. Why is Ford ignoring this obvious safety design flaw? liability is yours.. there are too many complaints of this same problem for you to claim you are not aware. If someone gets car jacked while locks are freaking out you might get sued. It happens the most if someone is in passenger front seat.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #5

Nov 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I can not drive with all the alarms and locks and overhead light going off and on the whole time I'm driving. It is torture, loud and scary!!!

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #4

Apr 042009


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that sporadically, the brake lights would not illuminate when the brake was depressed. The dealer did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The manufacturer was aware of the failure. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was 111,000. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000.

- Leawood , KS, USA

problem #3

Jun 032011


  • 111,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear tail lights and both turn signals stopped illuminating. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who inspected the lights and stated that the wires were corroded and needed to be repaired. The mechanic performed the repairs. The failure recurred approximately three weeks later. The manufacturer was notified, and offered assistance. The failure mileage was 111,000.

- Oak Park, MI, USA

problem #2

Dec 012010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 159,000 miles
Brake light switch inoperative (stays stuck on).

- Levittown, NY, USA

problem #1

Dec 032003

(reported on)


  • miles
Various problems with 2002 Ford Explorer. The left signal wire insulation rubbed through the boat trailer. When it shorted out the fuse blew after it totally melted the insulation off the wires through the tongue of the trailer all the way back to the left signal light. Consume noted this is a safety concern, had this been a camper a fire would've resulted.

- Buffalo, MN, USA

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