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.

2.3

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,551 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 1 of 2)

problem #31

Mar 012011

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 101,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer, had rear end repaired at 75000.0 miles by Ford dealer and again it's making a grinding noise at 101000.0...like all others, they state out of warranty and want customer to pay.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #30

Jul 012010

Explorer

  • 72,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear end growl/whine.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #29

Apr 192010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Noise from rear wheel hub bearings. Ford tsb 05-25-8. I have only 35,000 on this vehicle and am concerned that if there is a bearing failure on a rear wheel hub you could lose control of the vehicle. I feel that Ford should be responsible to correct this defect.

- Rocky River, OH, USA

problem #28

Jun 092010

Explorer

  • 99,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer differential subject to increased whining @ 85000 miles and rapidly failed over the course of one week @ 99,000 miles. R side wheel bearings have failed at same time. Differential has locked up and drive gear jumps gear teeth during any turn. Dealer claims they've never seen such a failure but located a Ford 'fix kit' very quickly so am very suspicious of their statement. I pulled the Explorer from the dealer for second opinion and rep told me to 'park it' and never to drive it until repaired due to potential of highway lockup with extreme consequences. Ford is hiding this defect from the public. Have just filed complaint with Ford online who are replying with form letter email refusals to help. Drive gear failure on any vehicle is unheard of, and should never fail. Vehicle sits on a truck chassis and should be sturdier than it is.

- Marlboro, MA, USA

problem #27

Aug 152008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
- Ford tsb # 06-4-4 (binding during turning); solution is limited slip clutch pack replacement - Ford tsb # 05-23-3 (rear diff. Hum); solution is axle repair kit - Ford tsb # 4-24-17 (5R55W transmission - no 3rd gear or slipping 2-3 shift); solution is replacement of intermediate clutch bands - chronic O/D light blinking with dtc P0755 (pressure control solenoid B circuit malfunction) this is just the list of issues I don't have the capability to properly troubleshoot. I have done a lot of other work already myself which I won't mention. Ford is aware of these problems with many 02' Explorer's as I have read. In my opinion, these problems should be corrected at no charge to the owner as these problems are not isolated cases.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #26

Feb 092010

Explorer

  • 52,131 miles
I had to go into town. Some roads were snow and ice covered. On a small hill my vehicle started spinning and fish tailing trying to get up. I had not experienced this type of traction and handling problem before and it was unexpected. I managed to turn around in traffic and took another route. Same thing happened again on a slight incline. I realized that the 4 wheel drive was not working. I tried to manually engage it without success. I eventually made it to a Ford dealer. After checking they informed me that the 4X4 module was bad. After doing some internet checking, I have found that many others have had the same problem. Many claim that the failure happens after the battery is disconnected for some reason. My vehicle had a recall to remedy a speed control defect about a month earlier. The problem also seems to affect 2002 Explorer more than other models. The loss of the automatic 4 wheel drive can result in loss of control affecting not only the Explorer but other vehicles also. This type of failure is unexpected and no panel light indicates that the vehicle is in automatic 4 wheeled drive. The only indication is the light in the selection pushbutton which can not be seen in daytime driving with the head lights on which dims the panel lights. No failure indication and the loss of the 4 wheel drive when you expect it to be there causes a dangerous situation.

- Inwood, WV, USA

problem #25

Sep 102008

Explorer

  • 55,000 miles

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

Wheel bearings and rear differential bearings where identified as being worn out (dangerously) to the point where the wheels could have come off the vehicle during normal operation. This was on a 2002 Ford Explorer with just under 55,000. This included all wheel bearings and bearings located in the rear end (differential) causing a loud whining noise.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #24

Nov 262009

Explorer

  • 93,000 miles
Ford Explorer 2002 just would not accelerate when pulled out into traffic. Now O/D flashing and told that it is a transmission problem. Many thousands with same problem but Ford won't do anything.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #23

Dec 042009

Explorer

  • 85,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer, replaced front left and left rear wheel bearings. Now the right rear bearing is going out. Mechanics at Ford dealership said its a common problem. Ford needs to recall these.

- Elk Point, SD, USA

problem #22

May 162009

Explorer

  • 38,000 miles
When I go to or from park the car jerks and has almost cause me to get into several crashes. This happens at least a couple times a week.

- Saint George, UT, USA

problem #21

Jan 022009

Explorer

  • 79,000 miles

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

My 2002 Ford Explorer XLT currently has 79,000 miles. Loud grinding noises could be heard and a grabbing sensation could be felt from the back of the vehicle. I thought the tires were cupped so I purchased new tires and had the vehicle aligned. The noise was still evident. A certified mechanic stated to me that both rear wheel bearings failed and they need to be repaired. Along with that, he stated my differential needs to be repaired. Lastly, both rear coil shocks were broke into pieces. I had them replaced at 78,500.

- Oak Forest, IL, USA

problem #20

Jan 232009

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer 4.6 has a loud whining/howling noise coming from rear differential. This is a known and documented problem/defect with these vehicles. Ford has many tsb's about the problem, but will only replace the differential gear assembly at a cost of $1100.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #19

Jan 082009

Explorer

  • 76,000 miles
Have had to replace both rear wheel bearings on 2002 Ford Explorer limited, also had to replace both rear springs. Lucky my wife has good hearing so she noticed the noise as soon as it started or else may have went far enough to loose wheel. Had rear springs and wheel bearings replaced at a cost of approximately $1100. After reading complaints and talking with other Explorer owner I feel it should have been a recall for factory to fix. Also have recurring problem with airbag warning light coming on. Have to jiggle wires under passenger seat to make light go out.

- Linden, PA, USA

problem #18

Dec 052008

Explorer

  • 88,331 miles
Transmission light blinking. Transmission slipping.

- Falcon Heights, MN, USA

problem #17

Nov 142008

Explorer

  • 95,000 miles
Wheel bearing on my 2002 Ford Explorer is completely shot and causes vehicle to loose control and shake uncontrollably. Well simple wear and tear and extremely poorly manufactured parts on a 2002 Ford Explorer is responsible for the failure. On most vehicles these problems don't occur until well after 160+ thousand miles I have personal experience with this problem right now and from what I have read this is a recurring problem on all Ford Explorer between 2002 and 2004. I have read that on several occasions that the wheel on the vehicle would come to the point of falling off. As for replacement and correction you could replace all four bearing and between 8 and 24 thousand miles they would have the same problem. Typical repair cost range from $500- $2500 which really isn't too affordable when it occurs more than twice in a 12 month period. I also read that numerous people have reported the problem to Ford and all Ford says some one may call you or that its not under recall so we can't do nothing for you.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #16

Oct 202006

Explorer

  • 89,000 miles
Rear differential.

- Granger, IN, USA

problem #15

Oct 092008

Explorer

  • 82,000 miles
Throttle stuck and car would not slow down, almost caused an accident, put car in neutral but engine kept on racing, searched internet on found that the throttle cable is defective, Ford changed design from 12 to 9 wire design, saw alot of posts on internet with similar experiences, can't believe no recall. Car accelerated on its own.

- Carbondale, PA, USA

problem #14

Aug 092008

Explorer

  • 99,000 miles
Stuck in 4X4 mode and cannot turn. Almost caused an accident.

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #13

Aug 072008

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
My 2002 for Explorer has a growling sound coming from the rear end. Took it to the dealer ship they took 30 minutes to tell me that the rear differential needed rebuilding. I thought this was a bit quick until I found out that this is a common problem with this Explorer model. The cost is 1600 and I was told that the rear end could lock up. This sounds like a safety issue that should warrant a recall. I did a internet search for the same problem and found that many have experienced the same problem and even after the repair it does not fix the problem for long.

- El Dorado , AR, USA

problem #12

Jul 312008

Explorer

  • miles
I'm reading many, many, many and multiple complaints about the same things for the 2002 Ford Explorer. Mainly the wheel bearings going which can cause the wheels to fall off with the potential for severe injury or death and the rear differential going out. Ford needs to recall these vehicles and fix this matter!

- Houston, TX, USA

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