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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,250 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 #2

Jan 082004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


I am the fleet manager of the buffalo grove park district and we own four Ford Explorer two of the four a 2002, and a 2003, Explorer 4X4 XLT have had numerous expensive problems such as wheel bearing failures three failures on the 02 Explorer and one on the 03, rear strut failure, seals leaking converter clutch failure, rear axle noise gear whine, clutch pack noise, all these problems on vehicles that are out of warranty by mileage but only a couple two or three years old. This year Jan 04 to Jan 05 3,500 in repairs for these two vehicles, not including the rear axle problems on the 03, this is "not acceptable" P.S. the mileage 72,000 on the 02, and 51,000 on the

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

problem #1

Jul 152003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,500 miles
Sudden loss of fluid from left rear shock, detected by pool of fluid on garage floor.2002 Ford Explorer with 37500 miles of normal highway driving. Failure was sudden and premature, possibly resulting in vehicle instability if not detected by careful inspection. Dealer was not willing to hold part for Ford failure mode analysis" with SUV history of suspension concerns, this dealer response seems inappropriate" I saved the shock they replaced.

- Wayne, IL, USA

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