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 1 of 3)

problem #56

Mar 202012

Explorer

  • 121,000 miles

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

I had to replace transmission and solenoid, costing over $2500.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #55

Oct 012013

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles
Heard a knocking noise went to mechanic. Was told I blew a two holes through timing chain cover. Went online found that it is a recurring problem for that year of Ford. Very upset there is no recall. Was told it would cost at least 2000 to fix. Ford needs to do something about this. I want to go to media to let everyone that has this problem know that Ford knows about it and will not do anything. Apparently everyone has to pay out the [xxx] to have this fixed. I'm not one of them. I want my car fixed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #54

May 272012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway when I looked back in my rear view mirror and noticed smoke billowing out the back of my car. I pulled over. My husband got out of the car and looked under the front. I smelled fire and he said it's on fire. My husband saw a liquid dripping from the car that was clearly on fire. I turned the car off. We immediately got ourselves and our 2 young children, ages 7 and 5, out of the car. The fire stopped once the car was off. Fortunately, no one was injured. I was told by the tow truck operator and the mechanic that fixed the car that a transmission hose was sitting on the exhaust pipe, causing a leak in the hose and the resulting fire. I am also concerned that my car may be subjected to a recall regarding a faulty cruise control after reading on the internet.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #53

Feb 012012

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 189,000 miles

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

The problem is a sudden cracking of the intake manifold causing slow coolant loss. When the intake fails the engine coolant pours out and the engine quickly overheats.

- Los Angeles , CA, USA

problem #52

Mar 122012

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
Due to a defect, we had to have the transmission replaced (thank god it was still under warranty)...then had to have the door ajar sensor fixed because alarm kept going off for no reason. About two years ago we were abut to go out of town for thanksgiving. I stop at a red light, and then we try to pull off when the light changes and hear the loudest popping noises...we're wondering how in the world did the spark plug pop out with so much force that it also rips the ignition coil...(fast forward to 1yr later, same thing happens while leaving home to go to work). Once again, on March 12, while on my way to work, sitting at a traffic light. Light turns green...I start to pull off and begin hearing a popping noise...wth...not again!!! (this is the third time this has happened in 2 years). Come on Ford...fix the lemons!!!!

- Salisbury, MD, USA

problem #51

Jan 022012

Explorer

  • 122,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer that is in the shop right now with a torn down engine. I went out to start it one morning and it had a hard start then it started ticking. Come to find out it the timing chain. From what I have read online it is a very common complaint and I am really surprised that this truck has not been recalled again for this problem. I am having to pay for something that Ford made a mistake on. The pulley on the truck is plastic, and it is failing. I also have problems with my electrical parts on it. The lights inside will stay on after I turn it off and get out and if I turn on my rear defrost my truck dings and says door ajar..... this truck is awful.

- Locust Grove, GA, USA

problem #50

Nov 012011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles

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

Timing belt tensioner......my car is making noises and every mechanic I take my truck to either tell me to get a new motor or sell it and no mechanic wants to work on it because its so complicated... :/ as a single mother either option is not an option....both my driver and rear passenger window motors broke, I already put in a new transmission 3 months ago...and now this.....I took it to the dealership on 11/10/11 and its funny how they kind of laugh about this model of vehicle and give me the same look that other mechanics give me about how the tensioner is on the back of the vehicle and they'd need to take the entire engine out to repair it, and if you don't repair it there is a chance that the tensioner will break and cause the entire back part of the motor to break......this needs to be looked into and recalled since there are so many drivers with the same problem on the same model. Please help..please refer to the thousands of complaints at the following site... www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Explorer/2002/.

- Joshua, TX, USA

problem #49

Jul 112011

Explorer

  • 177,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where they advised him that the timing chain was fractured and the engine would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were approximately 177,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #48

Feb 222011

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 181,457 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer with the towing package and 4.6L V-8 motor. I have 181,457 miles on it and have maintained it well. The motor does not burn any oil and has not given me any trouble until this morning, when I started my car. This morning when I started my car, I heard a loud bang and my car engine was loud and running very rough. Upon inspection, I noticed that one of the spark plugs had been blown out of the right side cylinder head, breaking the mounting harness off of the coil for this cylinder. I tried to screw the spark plug back into the cylinder, but the threads were stripped out. After looking this up on-line, I learned that this is a common problem with Ford V-8 motors used in F-150's, Expedition, Explorer, etc. I have heard mechanics call Explorer "exploders" before, and now I know why. I have never had a spark plug blown out of a cylinder head before and after reading all of the information on-line, speaking to the auto repair manager where I have my cars serviced, this is a common problem that they have seen frequently with Ford V-8 motors. When I mentioned this to the tow truck driver today, he said that he has towed alot of Ford that had the same issue. I feel that this is a manufacturing defect and the Ford Motor Company should stand behind their product and do what is right. Issue a recall and/or offer assistance with vehicle repairs of this nature.

- Pataskala, OH, USA

problem #47

May 022010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
2002 4 X 4 Ford Explorer, while driving in rush hour traffic the timing chains went on this truck. Of course the engine stopped working and I had the huge problem of pushing it off this 3 lane busy highway. Did get it off and now waiting to raise enough money for replacement engine. Yes the oil was changed every 3200 - 3400 miles, default with the Ford engines, plastic sprocks. So I am without a truck until money is raised or Ford does a recall. I know! there was no sign other than a slight noise starting and called the garage and never got there. My truck is in great shape, no rust, no accidents and I love to drive it! the gas is not bad at all if you don't horse it!

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #46

Oct 102010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles

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

O/D light flashes for a few days then at around 25 mph the gear switches into neutral and runs very rough then the car is thrown forward. Had a rebuilt transmission (we were told we were getting a brand new transmission and paid extra for it!) at 83K miles on Oct 15, 2010 then Feb 5, 2011 the same exact thing happens. The dealer cannot take the truck for another 5 days and refused to give me a loner car because it is not under the warranty. Please note: Below I put in the first incident date, Feb 2011 is the second incident date. In may of 2009 I was told my engine failed at about 76,000 miles. We did buy the extended warranty and we were covered. The Ford dealership told us we were not covered. They had our truck for 3 weeks until the warranty people called the dealership and let them know it should be fixed. We also had a rental car or a loner car under the warranty. They refused to pay for a rental car and said they did not have a loaner car available. It took 4 more weeks (in total 7 weeks) to get the truck back and never paid for the rental.

- Brookfield, CT, USA

problem #45

Jun 252010

Explorer

  • 99,968 miles
Long list of repairs made this summer including computer, airbag sensors, A/C whole system, main window controls and now my transmission.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #44

Apr 102010

Explorer

  • 89,900 miles
Timing belt plastic gears was slung off and cracked a rear valve. Had to replace valve and having to replace the plastic gears. Cost approximately $2000-3500, mostly in part because engine removal is necessary to access the timing chain. Many dealerships suggest buying a new engine. If not fixed, could potentially harm shafts, and/or other components of the timing belt/chain compartment and further replacement parts will need to be purchased.

- Petal, MS, USA

problem #43

Jun 212010

Explorer

  • 75,000 miles
Spark plug blown out of 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #42

May 122010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving at approximate speeds of 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. She pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road and the vehicle began smoking and caught on fire from under the hood. The vehicle was destroyed. The police and fire department arrived on scene however; the contact was unable to confirm if a fire or police report was filed. The failure and current mileages were 145,000. Updated 8/2/10 updated 08/09/10

- Eudora, KS, USA

problem #41

Apr 182010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 63,249 miles
My wife was driving her 2002 Ford Explorer to church Sunday morning 4-18-10 when the engine blew without warning !! bits of a piston and rod came right thru the block, leaving a hole big enough to put your fist in ! this Explorer only has 63,000 miles on it, and has always been serviced regularly since I bought it with only 25,000 miles on it from a Ford dealer. With all the problems this year and model have had, why has Ford not had a recall"?? it is absolutely a lemon - and I feel like suing them !! can you help me?"

- Taylors, SC, USA

problem #40

Apr 242009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer burst into flames while we were moving, in it were some belongings.

- Eagle Pass, TX, USA

problem #39

Dec 122009

Explorer

  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving his vehicle caught on fire without warning. The fire department extinguished the fire. A fire report was available. The vehicle was completely destroyed. The Ford manufacturer has not been notified. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Signal Mountain, TN, USA

problem #38

Dec 152008

Explorer

  • miles
There is a knocking noise in the back of my Explorer which is a 2002 and my friend has a 2003 Expedition and hers is doing the same thing it has something to do with the heat in the back but it knocks all the time and when you turn the rear heat on it gets really loud. It knocks all the time and it is annoying and loud I know of 3 vehicles that are Ford and they are doing the same thing why has it not been recalled could it not catch fire or something.

- Lexington, TN, USA

problem #37

Aug 102009

Explorer

  • 100,325 miles
August 10,2009 while driving notice smoke wasn't sure if it was me then pull over to notice when hood was lift up their was fire. I then call fire department along with police. My insurance nationwide then had it place in to auto body shop which it couldn't be fixed.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

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