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:
127,125 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. replace ball joint (2 reports)
  3. replace rack and pinion (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer suspension problems

suspension problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Oct 062014

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


During my last oil change my mechanic told me the rack and pinion is leaking fluid and getting sloppy. He said this is a common problem with this model of Ford Explorer and not surprising at all. I am extremely ticked off because everything on my truck seems to be failing at once and I can not afford to fix it or replace the vehicle right now.

- , Edwardsburg, MI, USA

problem #3

Oct 012014

Explorer 4 Door 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,423 miles

I bought a 02 Ford Explorer from J and S Auto Sales in Columbus Ohio. It needs the driver side control arm replaced. While driving and turning it seems as if at anytime it may break off. It's very dangerous. I try not to drive because I feel it's not safe. And at this time can't get all this work done. This is the 3rd complaint I have made pertaining to this vehicle. Ither things wrong with it also.

If anyone knows something I can do about this please let me know. The dealership wouldn't help. And to be so terrible I have to make car payments to a car loan place. But car was trash from day one and the loan place didn't even help me.

- , Columbus, OH, US

problem #2

Dec 052007

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,077 miles

The lower ball joints needed replaced. I was mad because it just went out of warranty and they had just gone over the truck while it was under warranty 5 months before that.

- , Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #1

Jul 132011

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Went for inspection and was told I needed more work done. They started to mentions items that I have replaced more then once already for this issue it was a right front ball joint. I had all replaced in 2008 and now in 2011 I am starting all over again. This truck has almost never gone into the shop and came out without a bill of less then $500. This bill will cost $871 which includes Tie Rod, Ball Joint, and get this Rear Spring. and 2 tires but tires I can understand they wear as normal use. I have had every Tie Rod replaced and some more then once, I have had both back springs replaced in 2005, and now I have to do it again.

Come on Springs should never be replaced more then once the life of the truck if at all. I don't do any off road driving just normal driving. I have had the Rack pinon done twice. I have pretty much replace the entire underside of the truck and now starting all over again this is a same. The only problem is this time $ is an issue and have to wait to fix. There is other issues as well that are not saftey related such as door ajar light on all the time.

- , Bushkill, PA, US

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