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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,987 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 032009


  • 101,589 miles


Severe cracks in back window housing. Crack is so severe, consideration of window falling out is possible. Information panel registers door ajar which consequently flashes internal lights, re-locks doors, sets warning bells to go off. Often, door ajar does not register, but electric locks lock re-lock and lock many times with warning bells going off, interior lights flickering, many times in one instance. All activities happen intermittently, without cause or reason causing severe distraction to driver. Theft alarm goes off after vehicle has been locked several hours; for no apparent reason. When unlocked and re-locked, continues to go off intermittently. I believe the rear window housing break is the root of all this activity.

- Redding, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 232009


  • 62,000 miles
This 2002 Ford Explorer has only 62,153 miles and the wheel assembly hubs have failed. The problem is in the design of this part because it has no axle and is assemble to the frame by three bolts. If this part goes bad on the interstate and the wheel will come off, god help the driver and the people on the same path. This SUV needs to be recall!

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #3

Oct 142008


  • 66,400 miles
On 10-14-2008, took vehicle in for routine nys veh inspection. Midas mech informed me that a 5 inch piece snapped off at the bottom of the pass side rear coil spring. You could see that the coil spring wasn't seated right anymore. Vehicle mileage was approx 66,400. Never used off road. Mech informed me that 2002 Ford Explorer are notorious for defective wheel hubs (which is true because I recently just replaced both about 1000 mi ago at $1400) and for the strut coil over springs snapping. Enough already!! when will the gov make Ford own up to design and safety failures !!!"?" I could have been traveling on the highway when this coil spring piece snapped off and could have punctured the tire or the brake line or the fuel tank!!

- Highland Falls, NY, USA

problem #2

Jul 262006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 57,945 miles
According to my mechanic "the caged nut broke from 8 an inch bolt with washers on the rear end" he had never seen anything like it before.

- Winthrop, MA, USA

problem #1

Feb 112004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
I am the owner of a 2002 Explorer that for a year started with a squeak noise coming from the chassis supports. Every time that I took my vehicle for an oil change to the dealer I complain about this problem, and it was always mentioned to me that this type of car do not have any lub points for the chassis supports. They could not find the squeak noise from where it was coming. The squeak noise started to be so bad, that I went underneath the car and found by myself from where the noise was coming. The chassis supports parts of the back were replaced. The same squeak noise started to happen on the front end and parts were changed. Well surprise, I got my car after repair and after checking it one more time by rocking the vehicle there still a squeak noise coming from the front area. Imagine that this a common problem on this Explorer 2002 fleet, I had a '98 Explorer that never developed this problem.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

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