3rd Generation (2002—2005) Explorer Problems

This generations ranks 102nd out of 102 Ford generations in reliability and will be a constant headache to anyone who owns one. Owners have the most complaints about the transmission (30%), body (28%), and the interior (9%). We've listed some of the most recent complaints below, see them all on CarComplaints.com.

  1. Transmission Slipping, Shifts Hard 393 complaints at an average of 74,387 miles in the 2004 Ford Explorer.
  2. O/d Light Is Blinking 387 complaints at an average of 110,872 miles in the 2002 Ford Explorer.
  3. O/d Light Flashes 246 complaints at an average of 146,486 miles in the 2003 Ford Explorer.

What Explorer Year is Most Reliable?

Generations are a good baseline for prediciting reliability, but there will almost always be year-to-year differences. We've calculated a reliability score for each model year within this generation, but we've based that score on how the model year compares to all Ford model years.

Watch out for the 2002 model year which has the highest PainRank™ score in this generation.

Year Complaints Recalls TSBs PainRank (?)
2005 819 3 54 84.1
2004 2449 4 109 123.98
2003 1846 7 122 101.17
2002 3951 10 258 183.62

Watch out for these common problems

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