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.

3.0

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,055 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 6 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #60

Dec 142005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

At 60,000 miles the differential on my 2002 eddie bauer Explorer needed to be replaced. It was replaced at dealership. No longer under warranty. After searching the internet, it appears this is a common problem with the 2002 Explorer.

- South Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #59

Oct 152005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
There is a whining/ light roar coming from the rear end of my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. After much research I have come to conclusion that there is a massive manufacturing defect in the construction of the rear differential used in this model vehicle.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #58

Aug 022005

Explorer

  • miles
I bought my Explorer brand new in May 2002. I have had problems with the rear end differential twice, rear end sensor, and my latest problem is the rear end sealer (pinion). All within 3 years of owning the vehicle.

- E. St. Louis, IL, USA

problem #57

Nov 232005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

We own a 2002 Ford Explorer. It was recently in the shop at 45K miles for a whining noise from the rear differential. The service guy said that they have had quite a few vehicles with this problem. The service manager said he was surprised it didn't start at 12K. We were told we needed to repair the rear differential ring and pinion in order to fix a leak and whining noise from the area. He said we would not necessarily see leaking fluid because it would leak while driving at higher speeds it is out of warranty and cost of 1300. We were also told that the rear wheel bearing is going out. $250 to repair this. The service guy also told me that until Ford came out with a different repair part he had needed to replace it several times on at least one Explorer. They had one in that day to repair other than mine if I am not mistaken.

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #56

Nov 232005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer with towing package, two wheel drive. Rear-end whine at 55-60 mph. Many people have this problem and Ford is not helping fix it.

- Destin, FL, USA

problem #55

Nov 142005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear differential has already failed. I am having it replaced by my mechanic.

- Port Reading, NJ, USA

problem #54

Nov 152005

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

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

We noticed a humming noise and a small oil leak coming from the rear axle. We took the vehicle to the Ford dealer and were informed that the rear differential was in need of repair and that this was a known problem with Explorer. We were given a discounted rate for the repair. Two weeks later the left rear wheel bearing went out (with only 59,000 miles) and were told that this had nothing to do with the rear differential repair and would cost a total of $700 for both rear wheel bearings.

- Longmont, CO, USA

problem #53

Nov 132005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Rear noise when trying to accelerate. Also fluid leak.

- Malaga, NJ, USA

problem #52

Nov 102005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,200 miles
The differential was replaced between 20-25K. The car was taken into today for the yearly state inspection. The differential is now leaking. Car has 43K miles on it. Seems to be a differential every 20K or so miles, which is unacceptable. Two weeks ago on the way home from work O/D light started flashing, my, took it to the dealer, transmission solenoid went out, it was fixed. I had been complaining to them that something was wrong with the transmission since last Feb, the transmission would slam into gear, would not shift properly, and would sound like it needed to upshift when the tac hadn't changed. Get the truck home and the 4X4 doesn't work. Take it back to the dealer the transfer case module went out. Dealer said it wasn't related to driving it with the O/D light on after Ford's roadside assistance left me on the side of an interstate for 3 hours and then told me to just drive it with the light flashing. ABS light came on, it was code C1237, the rear speed sensor went out, thus I had no ABS, checked message boards online, this is a frequent problem. Along with the inspection today, it was brake pad replacement day. My pads were not completely worn down, but with winter coming up I wanted them done. Went to my regular mechanic to have this done. The rotors are warped, and I should probably have them replaced with an aftermarket set, as the original ones are too small for a vehicle that size, and turning them would make them even thinner.

- Fairfield, PA, USA

problem #51

Oct 312005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
Rear end in 2002 Ford Explorer has failed.

- Castroville, CA, USA

problem #50

Oct 012005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

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

My 2002 Ford Explorer has a leak from the rear differential. I have had the seals replaced, but the leak persists. I believe there is a defect in the differential-transmission housings.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #49

Jan 012004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Ford Explorer 2002 model XLT, 4 dr, 2 wheel drive. At about 30,000 miles, and at speeds above 30 mph, the rear end (differential) started to roar. Thinking that the tires were bad, I have replaced the tires, but did not make any difference. Now, with 70,000 miles, I believe there is a defective design with the differential and it appears to be a common problem with certain Ford Explorer. I am afraid that if the rear end fails while traveling, it would cause the vehicle to wreck. Thanks.

- Mccalla, AL, USA

problem #48

Aug 012005

Explorer 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles
I am the original owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer. It makes a humming noise when driving at a speed between 30 and 55 mph; additionally the differential leaks as well. The Ford dealer told me it costs around $1,500 to replace. I have heard numerous complaints for other Explorer owners on this very same problem, yet Ford refuses to admit there is anything wrong with the part. I think it is time for a recall.

- Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #47

Oct 052005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with 56,000 miles on it and the rear differential is starting to whine very loud. It has the 3.73 limited slip differtial. I have talked to other Explorer owners and they told me about this site to file a complaint as this seems to be a growing problem.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #46

Sep 012003

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The rear differential has had an increasingly loud whine at speeds above 45 mph. It was first noticeable at mileage of 30,000. Now at 55,000 miles it has gotten worse. I will have to replace the differential soon, but Ford has not engineered an improved rear-end. Therefore the problem will probably reoccur. Many Ford Explorer (2002-2005 ) have this same problem. This repair should be paid for by Ford as a known defect.

- Hanover, PA, USA

problem #45

May 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
The rear differential leaks.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #44

Aug 282005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
There has been a load humming noise from the rear differential since 42000 miles.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #43

Jun 012005

Explorer 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
The complaint is directed at a widely known manufacturing defect in 2002 Ford Explorer involving the drive train. The problem surfaces just before the 36K warranty period and begins as a whine in the rear differential. The whine gets worse over time and at this writing my local Ford dealership has had parts on order for 3 weeks with no definitive delivery date. My Explorer has 40K miles and just ran out of the 3yr warranty in May 2005. Even with new parts installed these 2002 models have the same results re-occur in 10-20K miles. This is, by all accounts, not a defect that will likely result in personal injury to any thing but your wallet, but it is of such proportion in the marketplace that the consumer should have somebody to go to bat for them. These Ford Explorer are lemons if you can't get 40K out of the drive trains. I have a 1993 expl that has 200K and no issue. A recall should be a mandate for the consumer. At this writing I have parked the vehicle to avoid any more miles and I am waiting for arrival of parts. Please listen to us, the individual, and help us as we fight for what is right wit the corporation and it's clout.

- Williamston, NC, USA

problem #42

May 202003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer rear end started whining around 45000 miles. I took it to the dealer and they said that the rear end needed to be replaced with a cost of $2000. I decided not to have the work done at that time. They said that it would get louder as time goes by. It now has 65920 miles and the whine is a little louder. I have owned a lot of automobiles, mostly Ford and this is the 1st one that had the rear end wearing out with such low mileage. In reading 2002 Explorer complaints there are many with the same problem. My next car may not be a Ford.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #41

Sep 072005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
2002 Explorer, 50,000 miles loud noise coming from rear end (differential) at speed above 40 mph. From internet research I've read where many others are reporting similar noises. Dealer quotes $1500-1700 to replace rear end.

- Rowlett, TX, USA

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