Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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:
28,535 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 AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Jan 012008


  • miles


We own a 2002 Ford Explorer that we purchased used with 40,000 miles on it. Since purchase we have had 3 power window motors go bad, both rear bearings replaced, the back door panel is cracked, the A/C doesn't work, and now it looks as if the transmission is going bad. If so many people with this vehicle have all the same problems how can there be no recall?

- Ephrata, PA, USA

problem #5

Jan 012007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
On my 2002 Ford Explorer SUV I have had to replace 3 of the 4 wheel bearings and hub assemblies(approx $250 each), with the 4th not far behind. I have also had to replace the 4-wheel drive module(approx $400-$500). I have had problems with the rear window motors going bad and having to replace these too. The air conditioning unit has stopped working. The passenger air bag dummy light has come on for no reason. The seat belt warning chime often comes on and will not go off, even though you have buckled your seat belt. You have to slam the buckle into place for it to go off and sometimes this does not work either. The transmission is now making a lovely clunking sound when shifting from park to drive and when you try to put it back into park, it does not want to. You have to put it up to park as far as it will go then go back to neutral and then into park from there. We have replaced the emergency brake shoes on both sides because they were completely worn off even though we do not use the E-brakes. These problems are just piling up one after another. I went to an internet site that has complaints about vehicles and found that there are hundreds of others with the same problems on their 2002 Ford Explorer of all kinds (XL, eddie bauer, special edition, etc.). why hasn't Ford done any recalls for these problems" does it require multiple injuries or even death for them to take responsibility??"

- Monroeville, OH, USA

problem #4

Sep 302006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated while driving 55 mph, a burning odor was smelled coming from the A/C vents in the rear of the vehicle. When the vehicle was stopped, the rear vent was hot to the touch and a burning odor was evident. The service dealer and manufacturer had not been notified. Updated 10/30/2006 -

- Lido Beach, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 232006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles


Bought 2002 Explorer in 2003 with 12,000 miles. Servicng dealer replaced transmission and torque converter under warranty @ 32,000 miles after O/D light started flashing. Now needs another transmission @ 54,000 miles. Car has always been serviced, driven lightly, never towed, never abused. Dealer will not pay or help out one bit. Ford knows 2002 Explorer have defective transmissions and rear ends, is ignoring problem, leaving consumer to absorb cost! have also had to replace timing chain tensioner, rear windshield wiper assembly, air conditioning unit under warranty. Front and rear wheel bearings needed replacing- out of warranty. Rear end is making classic "humming" sound that Ford is also ignoring-pinion gears.

- Marcellus, NY, USA

problem #2

May 172006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles
Horrible whining noise coming from rear differential of my 2002 Ford Explorer limited edition. Replaced twice already and now it's whining louder and louder everyday. I refuse to pay for the same repair a 3rd time. I have read many complaints on the web about this problem, along with many other similar complaints. Other popular defects for the new Ford Explorer are cracked rear coil over springs, along with transmission and A/C problems, etc, etc. How many more complaints is it going to take before Ford stands up to their design flaws..."??"

- East Aurora, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 052005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 212 miles
I brought truck on 02/27/2004. The salesman at bill heard Chevrolet made me sign some papers. In two weeks I had to go back to sign some more papers because they said they had made a mistake. They told me that I would finish paying for the car in three years the cost was supposedly $24,000. In two weeks after that I started having transmission problems. I told the dealership but they didn't want to fixed the problem so I had to pay out of my own money to fix the problem. After that they put an insurance on the truck which brought my payment to $518. My air conditioner didn't function since I brought it. My car has no direction at all. Also, when I run the truck more than 65 mph it just starts shaking. In three months after I brought the car I read the papers and realize that the truck did not cost 24,000 like they had told me it actually cost 37,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

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