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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,157 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #7

Jul 012007


  • miles


I own a 2002 Ford Explorer and have had a ongoing problem with check lights coming on. First it was a check engine light which read that vehicle needed new catalytic converter.then couple yrs later came on again this time for a sensor. Now I have a airbag light on it seems like one sensor after another. After reading very simmiler complaints on your site and others I think this should be looked at further. No exact events lead to the problem. All problems have been fixed except airbag light which just happend this week.

- Boxford, MA, USA

problem #6

Jan 062004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,100 miles
Vehicle stalls after driving 20 miles or above on freeway. When on exit ramp, engine light turns on and the engine shuts off. I have to put it in park and start engine again. The vehicle also accelerates when stopped at light, while foot is on brake. The engine stalls to change into faster speed.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 042003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
Two problems. There is a strong rotten egg smell in my Explorer. I had the vehicle checked while under warranty, but was told there was no problem. Since the warranty expired the smell has become stronger. I had it checked, and the Ford service department said it would cost $600 to repair. The other is a shimmy at 40 miles per hour. The service department just rotated and balanced my tires. I had this done a month earlier and it did not solve the problem. The vehicle still shimmies badly at 40 mph.

- Shelbyville, TN, USA

problem #4

Feb 042002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles


There is a sulfur smell emitting from the exhaust. This is apparent while driving with the windows open or closed with the heat/ac on. After waiting six weeks for the backordered converter to arrive, it was installed and the PCM was reprogrammed with the latest calibration update. It is my understanding that there are no additional repairs that would apply to my concern. I, along with my family, have been tolerating this odor concern since taking delivery of the vehicle. We are worried about possible toxic fumes that are being inhaled in the passenger compartment. I am very uncomfortable transporting my family in this vehicle.

- Shelby Twp, MI, USA

problem #3

Jan 012002


  • miles
The catalytic converter is not functioning properly and is producing a strong "rotten egg" smell. I am worried about the toxicity and general safety of the fumes being produced, not to mention the nauseating effect the fumes have. The local dealership says that the Ford field service engineer does not have a fix and that this is a major problem with the Ford Explorer. The local dealer also states that they are beginning to receive complaints from Crown Victoria owners. I plan to return the vehicle to the manufacturer using Mississippi's "lemon law."

- Madison, MS, USA

problem #2

Feb 042002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer is concerned about toxic gasses inside of vehicle. There is a odor coming inside of vent area.

- Sterling Hghts, MI, USA

problem #1

Sep 302001


  • miles
There is a sulphur smell coming into car while driving. Fumes are overwhelming, causing dizziness/ naseua, etc. On this particular car, the dealer tried 3 times to repair. None of the fixes worked. Car still has sulphur smell.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

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