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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,249 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 #15

Sep 182009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles


I was on the highway doing 65 as posted, I started to feel shaking from the tires and it got to the point I couldn't control the vehicle, lucky I was able to get off the side of the highway and call aaa for a tow, a state police officer pulled behind me and said let me guess hub bearing. The police dept also has the same problem. This is my 8th repair I am doing and next week I am doing the opposite side. It is costing me $600 dollars for every side I am doing. I made a complaint to Ford company and they told me there is no recall. Then why is my mechanic telling me he gets numerous repair jobs on the same vehicles. Plus I spoke to a co worker that has the same year and vehicle doing the same thing. When is something going to get done. Or is the company going to wait till someone gets killed. BBB and bluminthau was told about and still no response from no body.

- Waterbury, CT, USA

problem #14

Jan 032011


  • 117,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer I bought about a year ago. Everything was working fine..I have my ABS light on..when I try to stop the car my brake engage but when it come to the final stop it gives and the pressure on the truck is no longer there.. I feel like I am going to crash in to the car in front of me.. I brought the truck to the mechanic and checked everything and didn't find anything wrong with it.. no leaks or anything.. but didn't know what was causing it... I noticed that there are many of the same issues regarding the brakes not working properly.. please address this issue before someone gets killed.. thank you

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #13

Jun 032010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 64,800 miles
I have had many problems with my 2002 Ford Explorer. I started getting the crack in my hatch by the rear window in 2005. It has spread and gotten worse and I still have not fixed it. Last year in 2009 our ABS light has been coming on and off and when I go to brake at times it feels like they kick on at irregular times, but I also feel I do not have the braking power I should. In June 2010 I was driving the Explorer and the O/D light starting blinking and the Explorer was shifting out of control. We had to have the transmission replace and the U-joints and the rear axle fixed for around $2900. We also had to replace the battery in July 2010. I called Ford Motor Company and told them all of my issues and they told me that since they did not have enough complaints they could not do anything about it. To this point I was aggravated and couldn't believe the way they had treated me and let alone others who I am sure made the same call. I feel this is a safety issue because even now when it is in gear in park the car seems to move back and forth.

- Great Falls, MT, USA

problem #12

Aug 072010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving with the cruise control engaged at approximately 70 mph pressure was applied to the brake pedal and the vehicle surged forward until repeated pressure was applied to that pedal. A pop noise was also heard coming from the passenger side firewall. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where he was informed there was a wire malfunction within the brake pedal switch. The authorized dealer was in the process of installing a new brake pedal switch. The failure and current mileages were 73,000. Updated 10/21/10. Updated 10/25/10

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #11

May 032009


  • 104,000 miles
Heard a grinding noise coming from the rear of the vehicle, had brakes changed, noise continued. Found out it was the driver side wheel bearing and the passenger side front both going bad. Repairs not done too expensive.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #10

Sep 072008


  • 111,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While approaching a stop at approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, the brake pedal extended to the floor when it was depressed. The engine idled roughly and the check engine warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The indicator remained lit until the engine was turned off. When the ignition was started, the engine would automatically idle without acceleration. The failures occurred on a separate occasion. The vehicle has not been repaired and cannot be driven. The contact was concerned of the safety risk involved. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 111,000 and current mileage was 114,000.

- Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #9

Jul 102003


  • miles


Purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer in 2003 with 30,000 miles on it. Almost instantly a humming noise came from what I think is the front driver side, may be more areas, and was unsure what to do with it. Replaced brakes a few years later and mechanic told me bearings were warped and needed to be replaced. I asked the mechanic what the consequence would be if no repairs were made and he stated none. I read a message board about the 2002 Explorer and this seems to be an issue for many owners. I also researched the consequence of a bearing not being replaced and the consequences can result in death. Please take the time to research this issue before someone really gets hurt.

- Carol Stream, IL, USA

problem #8

Nov 302006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
: the contact stated the brakes failed, which caused an accident. The brakes were inspected about one month prior to the incident, and the pads and brakes were did not display any problems. The brakes failed and the vehicle had not been to a service dealer to determine what caused the failure. A police report was taken, and no injuries were sustained.

- Blacksburg, SC, USA

problem #7

Mar 312006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,933 miles
: the contact stated while driving 10 mph the brakes failed. When the brakes were applied the pedal went to the floor. The emergency brake was used to stop the vehicle without incident. There were no indicator lights on prior to the failure. Neither the dealer nor manufacturer has been alerted.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #6

Dec 292005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer emergancy brake failure. 1) pa state safety inspection was performed at Ford dealer. 2) drum brake linings were found in total seperation from metal shoes. Condition is likely due to a combination of corosion and lack of adhesive between lining and metal shoe. 3) per the Ford dealer's disccovery and sugested repair... the emergancy brake and drum/rotors were replaced. Ford did not take liabiity or cover the expense. (old parts are available upon request).

- New Hope, PA, USA

problem #5

Sep 132005


  • miles


After bringing my car to the dealership, I was informed that I needed back brakes. I took the car to my mechanic and he informed me that my brake pads and rotors were completely rusted through and rotted. This could have potentially caused the car to become unable to stop. I had to replace all four brakes (routine), brake pads, and rotors. My car only has 40,000+ miles on it.

- Holyoke, MA, USA

problem #4

Feb 092005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
Several problems - at 9,000 miles my brakes went and had to have my rotors resurfaced by 23,000 miles my rear brakes were completely gone and my front brakes were nearly gone. This cost me over $1,000 to repair. At 25-27,000 miles my vehicle would not change gears properly. Going in reverse the vehicle would "bang" into gear, then going from park to any gear this would happen. On level ground and on hill. The dealership said they guessed at the problem and fixed something in the transmission. At 32,000 miles the piece of plastic under the liftgate window completely cracked. Since under warranty the dealership is fixing this. There has been a "whining" noise while using the gas pedal for some time that the dealership can not recreate.... I expect that to go wrong as soon as my warranty expires. I think you only get 36,000 mile warranty because they know the vehicle will fall apart after that!

- Holden, MA, USA

problem #3

Oct 202003

(reported on)


  • miles
Fax follow-up ltr fm landy johnson III (ca) submission of 20 copies of complaints filed w/NHTSA re brake problems w/the 2002 Ford Explorer; reply to pasadena dist ofc. The consumer experienced problem with the brakes. The consumer returned the vehicle to the dealer.

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 152002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
When the consumer applied the brakes, the pedal went to the floor.. the vehicle experienced failure on 3 separate occasions, the dealer replaced the calipers and the front and rear rotors.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jul 282002


  • miles
Letter from landy johnson, III (ca) concerning brake system failure. Consumer requested a full refund.......

- Pasadena, CA, USA

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