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.

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.

4.7

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,674 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

problem #11

Sep 202006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer 39,000 all 4 brake rotors rusted to the point they couldn't be cut and were literally eaten away.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #10

May 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT V6 4WD 46,000 miles. Experienced vibration in brake pedal and noticed increase stopping distance. Investigation revealed excessive rusting of both front and rear brake rotors. Brake pads worn unevenly. Replacement of front and rear rotors and pads was required. Original rotors are available.

- Wallingford, PA, USA

problem #9

Feb 012006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,617 miles
: the contact stated when the vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop for state inspection, the technician determined all four rotors were corroded and flaked off when touched. There is corrosion on the entire underside of the vehicle. The technician stated it looks as though the entire vehicle was submerged in saltwater. The dealership and manufacturer have not been contacted.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #8

Jun 292005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 24,713 miles

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

On June 29, 2005, during annual state inspection my 2002 Explorer had to have new rear brake rotors installed for the 2nd time due to rust. Mileage was 24,713 miles. Purchased vehicle new on March 29, 2002. August 14, 2003, approximately 10,250 miles, had to replace the rear rotors due to rusting. Ford dealership recommended the brake linings be replaced as well. Ford covered this complete cost. In this 2nd instance, Ford will cover nothing since vehicle is beyond its 36 month warranty, & brakes are considered wear items. I believe this is a safety issue, as the rusting of the rear rotors prevented my vehicle from passing the state safety inspection. Additionally, this is my 3rd Explorer, all purchased new, & the only one having this problem. Initial 1991 Explorer driven 9 years & over 70,000 miles; 2nd Explorer a 2000 model still driving, over 54,000 miles, had the rear rotors & brake pads replaced after 44 months, 33,692 miles. Have lived in the same area & driven the same roads with all 3 vehicles. Have had essentially all service work done by the selling Ford dealer in all 3 instances. If the brake pads were wearing out, & the rotors were being damaged due to the worn pads, I could understand how this condition was due to my negligence in not attending to the braking system. However, the brake pads have not been worn out in either replacement situation. The service adviser & service manager both claim there is nothing they can do, as the rotors cannot be turned, rust is a common problem with brake rotors, and Ford regards brake rotors as wear components. Correspondence thru Ford's internet site repeated rotors are considered a wear item & cannot be covered, regardless of the reason for replacement. No one will provide any Ford regional contact information for discussion. It appears to be a no win situation where the manufacturer can classify a component as a wear item & have no consequences when the component fails for other non-wear reasons.

- Franklin, PA, USA

problem #7

May 202005

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer experiencing problems with the 4WD, the over drive light illuminates on the dashboard and the vehicle is giving off a rotten egg smell. There were front end problems. The 4WD module wasn't working. The driveshaft and both front wheel bearings were replaced. The rotors were out of round. The service engine light illuminated along with the over drive light. The transmission experienced the same problem on two occasions and possibly a third time. A large puddle of transmission was found under the vehicle. The torque converter was noisy. The acceleration pedal would pull back. When the vehicle was accelerated, it would whine. The left rear wheel bearing was gone and caused damage to the axle, brakes and the tire was barely holding on. The error code for the service engine soon light was due to the solenoid which had been changed before. The A/C was inoperative.

- Morris, PA, USA

problem #6

Aug 302004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 23,184 miles
2002 Ford Explorer experiencing problems with bad rotors. The brakes made a popping noise. The ABS had come on and gone off.

- Amherstdale, WV, USA

problem #5

Jun 152004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

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

I had the oil changed on the Explorer and they told me I would need to get the brake pads replaced very soon. I intended to get a couple quotes for this job but we had a death in the family so I took the Explorer back to lapeer Ford to have the brakes serviced. They called and said that the rotors had deteriorated to the point that they could not turn them down. I ask how they deteriorated and they said the rotors had rusted. I gave permission to replace the rotors at a price of $400. I also indicated I would like for them to talk to Ford about the deterioration. I also called Ford. Ford gave me an answer that the dealer said that the replacement of the rotors was normal maintenances and lapeer Ford gave me an answer that Ford said the replacement of the rotors was normal maintenances. The Explorer had 41000 miles and I had the vehicle for two years. The rotors had rusted to the point that I had only about 50% of the surface contacting the brake pads. This rough surface also caused the brake pads to deteriorate faster. I ask for the rotors to be replace free and was refused. I also ask the a receive a partial rebate for the pads because they had deteriorated faster because of the rust on the rotors. They refused as normal maintenances. I feel the rotors should not rust to this point and also caused a safety factor because only 50% of the braking surface remained. I have the rotors and pads that were replaced.

- Metamora, MI, USA

problem #4

Jul 262004

Explorer

  • miles
On 7-26-04 rear brakes and rotors were changed on 2002 Ford Explorer with 8,742 miles. Dealer said this was due to corrosion caused by where I live. Rotors were badly scored.

- Broad Channel, NY, USA

problem #3

Sep 162004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles
Front and rear brake rotors replaced at 23,000(front) and 37,000(rear) miles.

- Wallingford, CT, USA

problem #2

Nov 072003

(reported on)

Explorer

  • 17,900 miles
While having front brake pads replaced mechanic noticed that the rotors rusted and cracked. Also, the rear rotors are starting to rust. The front rotors were replaced. The cause of the rust was undetermined.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #1

Jun 112003

Explorer

  • miles
Consumer took vehicle in to the dealer for regular maintenance, and and dealer indicated rotors were warped. Consumer indicated that vehicle was no longer under warranty, so he had to pay for this. Vehicle only had 18,000 miles.

- Jersey City, NJ, USA

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