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:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,978 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 windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #2

Oct 012006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles


- the contact states that on January of 2005 her 2002 Ford Explorer had a defective applique located below tailgate glass had developed a crack from top to bottom. The location of this crack is approximately inches to the left of the Ford emblem. Contact took the vehicle to the dealership and they stated that the crack was a stress crack, probably due to temperature expand. On October of 2006 contact experience the same crack this time it cracked into two pieces. Contact states that she can provide pictures if needed.

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #1

Jun 272002

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer has had vehicle in the shop 4 times for the rear window. When the vehicle was coming to a stop it would surge forward. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they were unable to help the consumer with the problem.

- Pueblo, CO, USA

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