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.

2.0

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,905 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Jul 012007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles

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

2002 Explorer first rear end went and was replace only to find its gone again after 20,000 miles, then 4.6 V8 engine has a knock in it, Ford is aware of it but wont replace or fix it, now both rear springs are broke which Ford also knows and wont replace.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #35

Aug 032009

Explorer

  • 190,690 miles
Maintaining a steady freeway speed. A loud pop emitted from the engine followed by a succession of small pops in relation to the engine speed. It was observed that the number 4 spark plug (passenger sided) had ejected from the engine. The car was towed to a service garage. A new threaded insert was installed in the spark plug hole along with a new spark plug and coil.

- Sandy Hook, CT, USA

problem #34

Jul 172009

Explorer

  • 171,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the service engine soon and check gas cap indicators illuminated and caused the vehicle to shut off. In addition, the gas tank was very difficult to fill up while placing fuel in the tank. The contact called the manufacturer regarding these issues. He feels that it is a safety hazard for the vehicle to shut off without warning. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 171,000.

- Sylacauga, AL, USA

problem #33

May 072009

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 112,061 miles

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

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with a 4.6 liter V8 was driving to work this morning and the engine ejected a factory installed spark plug I have read on the internet that this is a common problem and was informed by the dealers there was no recall on it.

- Maiden, NC, USA

problem #32

Apr 112009

Explorer

  • 74,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer 74,000 miles. Heard a banging noise coming form motor. Took to repair shop - stated to me that this is a timing chain issue. Timing chain needs to be replaced and will cost $1500 - $2000. Dealer said that Ford is aware of this issue and has had several complaints. (see car complaints.com). They said to call Ford and see if they will rectify. To no avail Ford said no. The dealer stated that Ford used cheap parts for the timing chain and will not back up their work. What a crock. Please investigate this issue as it should be considered a recall.

- Kunkletown, PA, USA

problem #31

Mar 082009

Explorer

  • 94,000 miles
Timing chain rattle on a 2002 Ford Explorer. Had the fronts replaced once under warranty at about 25,000 miles and again at 80,000 miles at my expense. Now the rear chain is making noise, this is after having the rear tensioner replaced last month at 94,000 miles. The rear cassette seems as if it is ready to go. I don't know how Ford can get away with producing such a poor product. There a thousands of complaints about this problem and Ford won't do a thing about it.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #30

Feb 082009

Explorer

  • 71,000 miles

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

3/4/08 motor sized no steering no brakes at 62000 mi. Bht rebuilt motor from Ford 3yr/75000mi warranty 2/8/09 motor sized no steering no brakes at 71000mi -11mos /9000mi later 2/16/09 towed to malouf Ford S.B.NJ need other motor no rebuilt motors available from Ford I have no car-Ford will not give loaner or rental.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #29

Mar 092009

Explorer

  • 68,792 miles
I was driving home from a friends came to a stop sign. Began to accelerate, I was going 25 mph and all of a sudden my 2002 Ford Explorer sounded like my 4 wheeler. My spark plug had shot out of its threads and blew the coil to pieces. This is the second time this has happened in the last 6 months.

- Sibely, IA, USA

problem #28

Jan 212009

Explorer

  • 97,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer and for the second time 5 months the same spark plug that was repaired by the Ford dealership has blown out of the engine. There was a loud pop and very loud repetitive engine noise. There was a very strong smell of gasoline, and loss of power. Ford says that this is a common problem and refuses to fix the problem. This is an outrage!!!!!!

- Coraopolis, PA, USA

problem #27

Sep 072008

Explorer

  • 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 #26

May 172008

Explorer

  • 49,000 miles

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

While driving our 2002 Ford Explorer it stalled without any warning and would not start. Car had to be pushed off to the side and towed to dealer. The mechanic said it probably broke a valve spring which caused massive internal engine damage. The truck has only 49,000 miles on it and Ford basically told us it's our problem. They refuse to contribute anything to the estimated repair of $4,800.

- Longwood, FL, USA

problem #25

Mar 112008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,214 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 25 mph, the contact heard a loud noise coming from the engine compartment. The vehicle continued to drive, but the noise did not stop. He pulled the vehicle over and shut off the engine because he began to smell fuel. The contact discovered that the number three spark plug on the passenger side of the engine failed. The vehicle had the original spark plugs. When he attempted to replace and rethread the spark plug, it would not grip and tighten. The vehicle was towed to a shop and the contact was informed that it was a common failure. The repair shop performed a quick repair by Ford, but it did not correct the failure. Ford stated that they were aware of the failure, but there were no recalls and could not assist. The vehicle is currently at the shop and has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 86,214.

- Waldwick, NJ, USA

problem #24

Mar 112008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
I was driving my eddie bauer Ford Explorer 4.6L V8 when I heard a large explosion sound coming from the engine. I immediately pulled off the road and called for help. I had my car towed to a shop where they told me the spark plug shot out of the engine and this should never happen. Apparently the coil where it threads into was manufactured incorrectly so it never sat all the way on like it should. Over time this is the result. I now need a new cylinder head costing $1800, and maybe a 2nd one down the road. That's $4,000 for Ford's mistake! Ford said they can't help. There is no recall. I was stranded on the side of a busy road in traffic risking my safety for their defective product! this is highway robbery! (literally).

- Waldwick, NJ, USA

problem #23

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 #22

Mar 032008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 25 mph, the contact heard a howling sound coming from the engine compartment. He ignored the sound and did not take the vehicle to the dealer. The following day, while driving at low speeds, the vehicle would not shift into gear properly and hesitated. The day after that none of the gears would shift and the vehicle lost all torque power. The vehicle was towed to an auto shop and the mechanic stated that there was transmission failure. The failure and current mileages were 140,000.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #21

Jan 022008

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a coolant leak in the intake manifold. There is an extended coverage program that was initiated in class action lawsuit number 05N04. The contact is currently experiencing the same failure mentioned within the lawsuit. Ford stated that the VIN was not included in the recall and the repair would cost $800. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 103,000. Updated 03/05/08.

- Trussville, AL, USA

problem #20

Oct 152007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles
Car fire - 2002 Ford Explorer limited

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #19

Jul 112006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
Engine develop rough idle. Sudden explosion sound revealed that number three spark plug was discharged from threads. Dealer claimed zero responsibility yet admitted that it is a common problem with 4.6 and 5.4 liter engines. Self repair with insert to repair damaged threads caused by exploding spark plug.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #18

Jan 282007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
I was only about 1 mile from home, the vehicle had no previous problems, I heard a strange sound then the vehicle was not running properly, I could smell fuel or some sort of odor, as I attempted to pull the vehicle over, there was no brakes or steering, I also could see smoke coming from the engine, I managed to get the vehicle over to the side of the road. The vehicle was also starting to fill with smoke inside very quickly. I was able to get out of the car. It would not engage in park, and rolled while I was trying to exit. I called 911, but the vehicle was already entirely engulfed in flames.

- N. Grosvenordale, CT, USA

problem #17

Feb 032007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles
I have two or three issues; the first one is my timing chain tensioner broke and came up through the head gasket cover. It was brought to my attention that Ford has had this problem with many of it's 2002 Ford Explorer. I am just returning from iraq (air force) I have just had it towed to the repair shop it has not be fixed. I have transmission problems for about 2 years were it jumps into gear and I have a whining noise coming from the rear end. I spoke with ganley Ford in barbeton and they tell me that there are no recalls however, a lot of customers complain.

- Copley, OH, USA

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