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:
55,200 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Oct 022007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,600 miles


Pulling out of a neighbor's driveway, my shift rod cracked off and dangled, leaving the truck immobile. Nothing had preceded this. Due to towing fees, I contacted a local mechanic who was able to bring it to his shop, a mile away, vs. To Ford, which would have required a $200 flatbed tow. This provider tried for 3 weeks to get a part, # 5L2C36529A, told that Ford had 1300 vehicles with this issue. If this had happened on the street, there would have been an accident. Several calls to Ford and local dealerships have been not only unproductive but fruitless and demeaning. We are concerned for others that have this same issue, which Ford (which I have always been loyal to prior to now) has gone out of its way to deny, are going to be endangered and would like a recall investigation, please!

- Shoreview, MN, USA

problem #2

Jun 122007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Rear mix canister causes a knocking noise in the rear driver side. This equipment was replaced last year at the beginning of summer. Found a crack in the container along the seam was the cause. Cost $800 to replace. Now my complaint is the problem has recurred this year indicating a defect in manufacturing.

- Northglenn, CO, USA

problem #1

Nov 302006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Cracked on the back panel, between the window glass and Ford logo.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

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