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CarComplaints.com 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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
21,178 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Mar 312008

Explorer

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Problems with this Explorer over my ownership include: -rear glass replaced -front brakes replaced -rear wheel bearings have required replacement, -parking brake issues, -new tires, etc.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #36

Mar 102008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Where to start... broken cruise control, headlight switch has a short, driver side passenger window doesn't roll down, trouble going into gear, car suddenly dies at interstate speeds, loud grinding sound from the engine bay (like an electric knife sharpener) that is getting increasingly more frequent, service engine soon light will not go off, brakes squeal and don't stop the vehicle properly, support for the hatch (which is cracked 8 inches or so in two places) doesn't lift hatch completely, and the fuel economy is down to 4-6 mpg in the city. I hate it! I don't feel like my girlfriend is safe driving it, and I think Ford should be forced to make their wrongs into rights!

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #35

Feb 172008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,935 miles
After normal driving I began to hear a loud grinding and humming noise coming from the rear drivers side tire of my 2002 Ford Explorer. After going to my mechanic he had said my rear bearing and hub are bad which also made my rear tire unstable. He began to tell me it is a major problem with this vehicle and the bearings, hubs, and brakes were defective due to the fact that they cannot handle the braking load of this vehicle. After researching the problem online it would seem he is correct. This is a major safety problem in that all the bearings and hubs eventually go bad and can fail at anytime making the tires unstable and could fall off during driving. This is obviously a defective design and /or parts installed in this vehicle. There are many complaints of the same events happening to other owners. Since this is a major safety issue and a very expense fix for unsuspecting owners I hope you look into this issue and make Ford issue a recall. Thank you.

- Oceanside, NY, USA

problem #34

Jan 072008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2002 Ford Explorer front and rear wheel bearing replacement. Back right wheel bearing failed causing damage to the axle, breaks and wheel drum. Front left wheel bearing failed. In both occasions noises were heard. In regards to be back wheel bearing the tire almost came off and the wheel froze. This occurred while on a major interstate traveling at a speed of 65 miles an hour. Back wheel bearing, axle, drum and brakes replaced at a Ford dealer, costing over $1700 dollars. Front wheel bearing began making a thumping noise and was replaced at a local mechanic costing $500. In contacting Ford I was told there was nothing they could do.

- Cairo, NY, USA

problem #33

Jun 102007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, I have had problems with my ABS light coming on and my brakes not working correctly, they pulsate as if they are trying to engage even when it is 90 degrees outside and completely dry. Nothing upsets me more than having to put on my brakes and having the feeling they are not going to work. This puts me in danger as well as those who own this model. I am scared to drive it anymore. I am asking for help here before I kill myself, my family or some random person because of faulty brakes. I don't think I should have to pay out of pocket for faulty ABS problem that Ford has screwed up on. Below it asks for an incident date, let me tell you there have been several times in which they kick on and it feels like I'm not going to stop!!!! why does there have to be a death before these companies finally recall and fix the problem??

- Pandora, OH, USA

problem #32

Feb 232007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,800 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer ltd. The ABS light continued to illuminate. The failure mileage was 58800. The dealer informed the contact that they didn't have the part to repair the vehicle. Also, the dealer stated that they were unable to diagnose what was causing the ABS light to stay on continuously. The dealer called Ford, and they were researching the cause of the failure. The current mileage was 60000.

- Spring Valley, NY, USA

problem #31

Jul 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,230 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Explorer makes whining noise in rear end at speeds between 45 and 70 mph. The ABS light stays lit continuously even after having the brake system services. Have also had front wheel bearings replaced all this since the vehicle reached 60,000 miles it now has 86,000 and mechanic says it need a new rear end.

- Decatur, TN, USA

problem #30

Apr 012006

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer. ABS light came on intermittently beginning in 2005 only after extended trips (about 60+ miles), then came on and stayed on in 4-2006. The ABS sensor and brake switch had to be replaced. My mechanic said Ford had a recall. But when I contacted the dealer, they said it was only on a certain truck.

- Fredericksburg, TX, USA

problem #29

Jun 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On or about November 3, 2005, I purchased a break model used Ford Explorer XLT 2002 from norm reeves Honda car dealer in cerritos, ca. The car had 78,000 miles on it at the time of purchase. I signed the papers and took the possession of the car. It has not been more than 2 months that the car started giving me trouble on the pick up of the speed, transmission, gear adjustment, over use of the gas, difficult high altitude driving even after change of gears, air suction into the engine and transmission, accelerator and signs like service engine soon on the front panel, although I have been getting regular lube and tune on the car after every 3000 miles. While driving the, occasionally, the car gives a thundering noise on the tires as if it is dragging itself and running on the road. This makes me fear that my car is not safe for me to drive! the norm reeves Honda super store car dealer knew that the car is defective and they simply wanted to get rid of a used 2002 Ford Explorer XLT vehicle from the fleet as they primarily sell Honda cars and similar vehicles. Despite repeated requests, the norm reeves Honda super store and their sister company Ford of cerritos refused to provide service on the car since I stopped payments on the car loan. Other Ford car dealers have test driven this car and observed the same defects as I have mentioned. My purpose of writing this complaint with the NHTSA is to request the intervention of NHTSA immediately as the questioned vehicle is likely to endanger my life on the local roads and/or on highway/freeways. Due to major defects in the car, I can meet with a serious accident and can be crippled or suffer such pecuniary losses that are irreplaceable and/or I can die also with out any fault of mine. Please recall Firestone tires V. Ford Motor Company case law. Criminal charges against norm reeves Honda, Ford of cerritos and their ceos to follow. Please contact me and the dealers asap. Respectfully submitted, amardeep singh gill.

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #28

Dec 262005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
Ford Explorer 2002 2 wheel drive was driving at 65 mph on freeway. A car cut off the Ford and anti lock brakes were applied. Brakes locked and driver lost control of SUV. SUV rolled over and off the freeway. Side air bags and front air bags did not deploy.

- Calabasas, CA, USA

problem #27

Oct 182005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

When we first bought our 2002 Explorer XLT from finks used car lot in zanesville Ohio it had about 22 or so thousand miles on it and we requested a check up on the vehicle. The back hatch brackets was replaced, and the back wheel brakes were sticking and burning, locking up. That problem seemed to be fixed. Then the antilock brake system light started coming on and the front brakes seemed to be grabbing....just last month. I had the cruise control set on the vehicle once and it smelled like something smoldering so I shut it off and it hasn't been on since. I called the Ford garage to ask if my cruise control was on the fire hazard list because the vehicle was built in 2001. I was told if I did not receive a letter in the mail it wouldn't be replaced. This vehicle was still under warranty when I bought it. So far I am getting nothing but the back hatch brackets replaced. The vehicle was parked and it now has 29,956.0 miles on it. I am driving my 1995 auto with 122,000 miles on it waiting for winter and graduation from college. I am afraid the brakes are going to lock up in the winter and send me sailing. I want to know if there have been any other complaints on this Explorer built in 2001 that is a 2002 Explorer.

- Corning, OH, USA

problem #26

Jan 102005

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Steering column broke while driving. Consumer applied the brakes, and the pedal went to the floor. Consumer lost control of the vehicle, and it crashed into a guard rail. Upon impact, both air bags failed to deploy. Driver sustained minor injuries, and went to the doctor on her own. Vehicle was towed, and totaled out by the insurance company.

- Centereach, NY, USA

problem #25

Dec 102004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
This vehicle experienced multiple problems, and the dealer was aware of the problems. Consumer applied the brakes, and the pedal went to the floor. Vehicle swayed from left to right on its own. Consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle. Also, door rubber panel failed to stay attached to the door. Mechanic determined that the brake problem could not be duplicated, and vehicle was operating as designed. However, the rubber panel was adjusted properly by the mechanic. Consumer informed the mechanic this problem still occurred.

- Visalia, CA, USA

problem #24

Aug 282004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
There would be a thumping noise coming from the ABS when in use.

- Latrobe, PA, USA

problem #23

Aug 172004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
ABS light was on. Also, back axle was replaced. Currently, the ABS light was on again. The ABS light was on a total of 3 times.

- Port Barre, LA, USA

problem #22

Jun 082004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles
ABS warning light had been coming on periodically, thus losing ABS. After a few weeks, the light was off, but my ABS kicked in on dry pavement, making it difficult to stop. This happened a couple of times. Car only had 38,000 miles. Brought it to dealer. They diagnosed it as a faulty sensor on one of the tires...since I was out of warranty and this was an item which takes "wear and tear", Ford would not assist in the payment at all. Dealer also stated that it was not a safety issue, however, if it was an emergency braking situation I do not feel that I could have stopped in time.

- Medway, MA, USA

problem #21

Aug 292004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My ABS light came on. When serviced, they said a speed sensor needed to be replaced. Of course this occurered one week following the expiration of the warranty. Talking with others, this seems to be an often occurance, and seems to be a defect. Some poeple have had their's replaced several times within a year.

- Maidens, VA, USA

problem #20

Aug 032004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,607 miles
ABS light illuminated. Speed sensor found defective. This occurred twice, first on 9oct03 @ 29607 miles, second on 3aug04@44202 miles.

- New York Mills, MN, USA

problem #19

Jun 222003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
ABS light comes on intermittently, the brakes seem to stick and smell like they are burning. I have had the vehicle in for service 3 times for the same problem but the problem happens intermittently, so 2 of the 3 dealerships said that there was no problem. My brake pads are now pre-maturely worn and the latest dealership has claimed to have replaced a sensor on the differential that will "fix" the problem. After being told that there wasn't a problem, next that the rear brakes were worn out, and then that the sensor was bad. My vehicle has 25,000 miles on it and about 30% left on the rear brakes and 40% on the front brake pads. I have made 4 round trips from Chicago to new orleans, and 1 round trip from Chicago to las angeles totaling about 13,000 of the 25,000 miles on the vehicle. I have never had a vehicle that needed brake pads replaced after 25,000 let alone a vehicle with over half of its miles from interstate driving. Ford refuses to take responsibility for the pre-mature wear of my brakes. After reading several of the similar complaints on this website, I doubt that Ford dealers have a clue about what the actual problem is and how to fix it.

- Fox Lake, IL, USA

problem #18

Nov 022002

Explorer

  • miles
Nar 06/19/2003. There is a reccurring problem with the brakes on the consumers 2002 Ford Explorer. The series of incidents occurred Nov 2, 2002, Feb, 2003, May 5, 2003, and the last time was May 17, 2003 to date. It is evident to the consumer that there is an consistent problem and needs to be fixed. The dealership can't seem to find the source of the problem. Please do further investigations. The consumer stated when he applied the brakes T he vehicle accelerated and continued to move forward

- Charleston, WV, USA

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