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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 162006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


On January 16, 2006 while driving on the highway I noticed a shaking feeling under the driver's side floor. There was also loud noise. I slowed down and continued to drive. On Saturday, January 21, 2006 I brought Ford Explorer 2002 to a Ford dealer for them to drive and take a look. The result was vehicle all over the road, was unstable and needed all 4 wheel bearings, upper rear ball joints. Replaced. Not safe to drive for very long, must go slow and a $3,000 approximate cost to repair. I contacted Ford to complain and to see if they could help out by reducing the cost of fixing it for free. Their response was sorry but they could not help. I cannot see how Ford can tell me there was nothing they could do when every mechanic I have spoken to said it was unheard for all 4 wheel bearings to go at the same time, especially with only 73,000 miles on the truck. I drive my 6 year old sun to school, left to Ford I'm supposed to take my chances with his safety while driving one of their poorly made vehicles. All this after I had to replace the transmission in October when than went while I was on vacation in New Hampshire.

- Boston, MA, USA

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