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:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,813 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 2)

problem #24

Oct 292011


  • 109,620 miles


2002 Ford Explorer. Throttle stuck while driving. Vehicle was put in neutral in order to stop acceleration. This is incredibly dangerous and could have caused serious injury to us as well as others. Updated 11/09/11 the consumer stated he removed his foot from the accelerator and applied the brake. The RPM's revved to 4000-5000 and it continued to make the vehicle accelerate as he tried to brake. He put the vehicle in neutral to stop the acceleration. Then engine kept the RPM's over 4000 until the ignition was turned off. Updated 11/10/11 updated 11/17/11 updated 12/08/11

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #23

Jan 242007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Prior to the incident, I noticed that the accelerator pedal seemed somewhat loose. We were on the freeway in the L.a. area when I needed to accelerate quickly. As I did this the accelerator stuck and the vehicle surged. I was barely able to avoid rear ending a semi and avoid other vehicle on the congested freeway. The front seat occupant was able to lean under the dash and free the pedal. We pulled over and found our way to a mechanic. He advised that a small plastic piece had broken near the pedal. A bar that is attached to the system then stuck under the dash. He repaired this by bypassing the manufacturers system for less than $200. I took it to the Ford dealer and they told me it would cost over $800 for labor and parts. I don't really want to repair it with the same parts if it could possibly recur.

- Discovery Bay, CA, USA

problem #22

Aug 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated the gas pedal stuck causing an accident by hitting a van and barely missing a house. This was the first occurrence and the accident was reported to the police, however, the police have not finalized the police report.

- New Carlisle, OH, USA

problem #21

Dec 152003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles


The contact stated the accelerator pedal failed to release when completely depressed. The vehicle has been seen by the dealer on one occasion. The vehicle was only test driven. No diagnostic test was performed. The dealer was unable to duplicate the problem therefore, no repairs were made. Updated 01/11/06.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #20

Aug 292005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
While turning into a parking space and braking, my vehicle experienced a surge in acceleration that the braking could not control. Vehicle was going approximately 5 mph. In an attempt to avoid a concrete abutment, the passenger front fender clipped the driver rear fender of another vehicle. When I questioned Ford about problem, they said they had no recalls and I should get it looked at. The problem has yet to be determined.

- Aberdeen, MD, USA

problem #19

Jul 222005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The accellerator on our 2002 Ford Explorer XLT sticks intermittently.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #18

Sep 022004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles


The consumer states that on 2002 Ford Explorer the throttle stuck. He had a hard time stopping the vehicle in a work zone. Consumer applied the brake extremely hard and put the parking brake on and engine continued to roar. Dealership stated that he had never heard of this happening. This occurred in September 2, 2004, and has not happened since. He read an article in the July 13, 2005 Washington post stating that other consumers were having a similar problem. When he started vehicle again the roar stopped, and he pushed on the throttle, which caused it to operate again. Consumer had left foot on the brake and tapped the accelerator.

- Lavale, MD, USA

problem #17

Jun 132005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
At highway speed of approximately 65 mph, I applied the accelorator and it stuck in the increased acceleration position. After a few frantic seconds (10 - 15 approx), I managed to release it by kicking it. At the time, I felt that it was possible that the floormat or carpeting may have been involved in the problem, but was not sure. I have not taken it to a shop because of that uncertainty. However, the current ODI investigation convinced me of the strong possibility that this is a manufacturing defect.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #16

May 052004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Two different times, both stopping at a traffic light, the accelerator kept going. Stomped on the brake as hard as possible, finally had to turn off the key. Took the 2002 Ford Explorer to the dealership and they could not find anything wrong.

- Cortez, CO, USA

problem #15

May 202005

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer experiencing problems with the 4WD, the over drive light illuminates on the dashboard and the vehicle is giving off a rotten egg smell. There were front end problems. The 4WD module wasn't working. The driveshaft and both front wheel bearings were replaced. The rotors were out of round. The service engine light illuminated along with the over drive light. The transmission experienced the same problem on two occasions and possibly a third time. A large puddle of transmission was found under the vehicle. The torque converter was noisy. The acceleration pedal would pull back. When the vehicle was accelerated, it would whine. The left rear wheel bearing was gone and caused damage to the axle, brakes and the tire was barely holding on. The error code for the service engine soon light was due to the solenoid which had been changed before. The A/C was inoperative.

- Morris, PA, USA

problem #14

Apr 212005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles


While pulling into parking space vehicle accelarated and crashed through wall of a doctors office. Vehicle stopped after shifting into park and front end was inside building. Had vehicle towed to dealer for inspection. Found throttle body sticking which made gas pedal stick causing engine to accelarate out of control. Dealer filed claim with Ford. Still waiting for Ford to respond.

- Middletown, NJ, USA

problem #13

Mar 182005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles
Vehicle is a 2002 Ford eddie bauer Explorer. Vehicle was driving on expressway when will changing lanes to pass a slower moving vehicle, our vehicle began to uncontrollibly excellerate and continue to excellerate pushing the car toward speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Engine continued to race. An emergency stopping of the vehilce was brought under control after putting car into neutral, applying brakes and getting off of the road. The vehicle had to be towed to westfiled Ford dealer ship where they are inspecting the throddle and other parts estimated cost to repair $400. Have not picked up vehicle yet for full description of problem.

- Western Springs, IL, USA

problem #12

Dec 242004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The consumer came to a stop at a red light. When he pulled off, the accelerator pedal jammed down to the floor. The consumer had to physically pull the gas pedal up with hands.

- Oneco, FL, USA

problem #11

Sep 172004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
At a stop light, in slow moving, stop and go traffic, my 2002 Ford Explorer accelerated when I applied the brakes (speed at the time I applied brakes was under 5 miles per hour). The throttle was obviously engaged, a loud whining noise came from the engine. I put the car in park and shut off the engine to get it to stop moving. This vehicle virtually accelerated while the brakes were applied to the floor! I hit the car in front of me, who hit the car in front of her. All three cars were damaged and all three drivers have been treated for injuries. The Explorer is in the dealership now being repaired. I am concerned that a mechanic may not know enough about this to diagnosis the problem correctly. The vehicle is not safe to drive because of this problem.

- Royal Oak, MI, USA

problem #10

Feb 242004

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
While accelerating pedal is hard to push and it makes a loud hissing noise. Dealer attempted to repair the problem four times, but was unable to resolve the problem.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #9

Jan 192004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
On occasions, the vehicle had been inching forward at stops with the brakes applied. The dealer repaired the accelerator cable. Then about a week later, while traveling at about 70 mph, the vehicle would not decelerate. My husband shifted the gear in neutral and stopped the vehicle. The dealer admitted that the accelerator cable housing was defective. I finally traded in the vehicle.

- Whitmore Lake, MI, USA

problem #8

Dec 232003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,653 miles
Went to apply brakes and the vehicle started to accelarate. I thought I had hit the gas pedal with the side of my foot, but after getting the vehicle stopped I tried to put my foot on the brake pedal and the gas pedal at the same time since that upset me. I could not do it because they are too far apart for that to happen. This could have been very bad because I could have gone into the store in front of the parking space.

- Ruffin, NC, USA

problem #7

Jun 122003


  • 23,000 miles
When driving at any speed and pressing on gas pedal there was a loud thumping sound coming from the engine. When the vehicle heated up there was a strong sulfur odor. Dealer and manufacturer have been informed of this problem.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 022003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 59,234 miles
The consumer was slowly merging when the gas pedal had gotten stuck and the speed increased. The cruise control was not on. The brakes did not stop the vehicle from driving forward. The consumer shifted to reverse but that didn't stop the vehicle until it hit the vehicle in front. Later I lifted the gas pedal up with my foot.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 022003


  • miles
When the consumer attempted to accelerate, the throttle became stuck in the idle position.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

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