Print this page 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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
122,750 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace rack and pinion (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer steering problems

steering problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 172016

Explorer ELT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


this truck has been a pain in ass for several years now. we put in a new motor and transmission however as I was coming home from Bowling Green KY no ice nor water on the road, I started to skid uncontrollably, did several 360s and ended up in a ditch. I didn't flip it however never the less we are without a vehicle now and I am pissed

- Janet L., Morgantown, KY, US

problem #1

May 192007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,475 miles

I own an 02' Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L that i bought used in Feb 06' . I have put 150,000 Kms since I've owned it, and altogether, has 289,000 KMs on it. I had the Rack and Pinion removed in May of 07', as the main seal was leaking and I lost my power steering. It cost me $1121.60 to replace it. I took it in to the Ford Dealer to have it looked over as I was traveling 7800 Kms in 2 weeks, and needed to ensure it was still mechanically fit, and I could feel the "play" in the steering. They tell me it needs the rack and pinion replaced AGAIN. After 47,000 KMs???? How is this possible? How many of you have replaced a rack and pinion in your vehicle's lifetime? Imagine having to have gone through 2 plus the original, before even reaching 300,000 KMs ??? Fords wonderful warranty on the part was a pathetic 1 year, 20,000 KM warranty!!! What a croc!! Canadian Tire offers a LIFETIME WARRANTY for theirs!

Well I sent an email to Ford, so we'll see what kind of response I get if any, to my very blunt concerns and thoughts!!

- Cory P., Calgary, AB, Canada

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