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The Worst Car of All Time, According to CarComplaints

Ford President of Design, J Mays poses next to the new 2002 Ford Explorer

Many cars are bad or relatively terrible compared to similar cars, but what is the worst car ever made in terms of problems? According to Car Complaints, drivers of the 2002 Ford Explorer have said it was the worst car ever made. Here’s a look at all the problems plaguing this SUV.

The 2002 Ford Explorer’s transmission

The most common problem the 2002 Ford Explorer faced was that its transmission would simply fail. Hundreds of drivers complained about the Explorer’s transmission. The average repair cost for those drivers was about $2,840. However, this isn’t the worst part.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reported hundreds of transmission failures. Some of them even caused the Explorer to crash or catch on fire. These incidents led to several people being injured.

The total failure of the transmission wasn’t the only issue the Explorer faced either. Hundreds of owners reported that the overdrive light was blinking, and repairing this cost each driver about $2,300. Furthermore, many people reported that the transmission would slip and clunk when shifting. Repairing this set drivers back about $2,200. 

Other common transmission issues had to do with drivers having trouble shifting or simply needing to get a complete overhaul of the transmission system. Both of those issues, for example, set drivers back about $2,000.

The 2002 Ford Explorer’s body issues

The Explorer’s body was also a common problem. In fact, it was part of a recall that affected almost one million vehicles. The most common was the fact that a panel below the rear window was cracked. This cost owners about $450 to fix. It was the subject of one of the largest Explorer recalls.

Plastic panels lining the Explorer’s interior were also faulty. This issue cost owners about $200 to fix but it wasn’t part of any recall. The Explorer’s exterior didn’t fare any better either. Many owners reported that the paint was peeling, and it cost them over $2,100 to fix it.

The NHTSA also reported a lot of issues with the Explorer’s body. The most prevalent were issues with the Explorer’s hinges on its liftgate. The NHTSA recorded about 42 injuries due to this issue. (The liftgate glass would break and injure people.) This issue was also the cause of a recall affecting about 50,000 Explorers. 

The 2002 Ford Explorer’s drivetrain and engine issues

Hundreds of Car Complaints drivers detailed a whining noise from the Explorer’s rear differential. This complaint was echoed by the NHTSA. Repairing this issue cost drivers over $1,000. Some drivers also reported that the rear differential would leak, which cost about $400 to repair.

Another common complaint was that the four-wheel-drive option wouldn’t engage. Repairing it cost $380 on average. The NHTSA also recorded a lot of power train problems that led to crashes, fires, and injuries. Some of those issues happened when the Explorer had a lot of miles, but others happened when the Explorer had relatively fewer miles on it.

The speed control system of the Explorer was also faulty. This was the same speed control system of other Fords, and millions of Fords were recalled because of this problem. The NHTSA also says that the Explorer’s faulty speed control system caused multiple crashes, fires, and injuries.