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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
103,341 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. no warranty support (3 reports)
  3. paid to get problem fix (2 reports)
  4. find a good honest mechanic or dealership (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #10

Mar 222013

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles


Alright. First off, to any potential buyers: STAY AWAY. These vehicles, from what I have heard from mechanics, are dead cars rolling. They are a money pit.

I bought this used from some well off individuals who liked the truck but just "wanted something new". They had purchased the vehicle from a mechanic, and since I was going through mechanic school myself, thought this would be a good project car to learn on. BOY WAS I RIGHT. I have gained a lot of mechanical experience BUT there is literally NO money left in my wallet and I work two jobs.

I purchased this truck in February of 2013. First the starter went in May 2013. And I thought it was all right because that's normal wear and tear. So I rebuilt the starter myself, and put it back in. Worked like a charm, for 6 months. Now that may have been my own fault since I did rebuild it so I replaced it in November of 2013. In that six months though, I nearly ran the truck dry of oil because the truck seemed to have a slow leak but the oil light never went on. NEVER. Something flashes on the message center, but it never stays on long enough to tell you what the hell it is. So I fixed the oil leak, but I check that thing every two weeks.

So December 2013 rolls around, and it snows, and its wet out, and the battery light comes on. Its the alternator. So I replaced the alternator, and the battery just to be on the safe side.

Then January 2014, left rear wheel bearing goes. So I replace it. And I thought while I am at it, I'll replace the rotors and brakes on the rear as well.

Then it finally drives nice for a while. And I think that that was it, that's all that needed to be done. The worst is over. Until I start making left hand turns in December 2014. Every time I would turn left, the truck would make a loud squealing noise. So I take it to the mechanics because I can't figure out what the hell it could be. They tell me the whole front end needs to be replaced. The control arms, the two front wheel bearings, the brakes, the rotors, the hubs, the sway bar links... Since I had replaced the brakes and rotors only a few months earlier myself, it brought the bill down. But $2000 later, it's still making that noise. So I take it back. It turns out, that the noise had NOTHING to do with the front end.

Remember that wheel bearing I replaced on the right rear? The pin came loose and the wheel bearing was rocking back and forth every time I took a left. Thankfully before they figured that out, they had replaced my emergency brake, the two rear rotors, and the emergency brake cable.

But, its not over. I'm driving down the street 4 months later eating my lunch, and the truck starts to squeal again. This is a different kind of squeal though because the truck is shaking like the wheel is going to fall off and I can feel the vibrations in the steering wheel. So I tow it to the mechanics who tell me they don't know what it is, and to take it to a transmission shop. So I have it towed to the transmission shop. They determine that its the transfer case. Great. So I pay them $800 to have the transfer case disconnected and now my truck is rear wheel drive only because I couldn't afford to pay another $2000 to have the transfer case replaced.

Now three months later in July 2015, I've replaced all the coils as part of the regular maintenance (8 of them, ouch). But the truck is making that roaring noise that can only be the front wheel bearing. Thankfully it's under warranty, but come on.

Oh, and since BC is having the hottest summer on record, the air conditioning unit quit. Coincidence? I think not.

This truck is going over a cliff some where. I used to love this truck, it had it all. Leather heated seats, sun roof, dual climate controls... etc. But are all those luxuries supposed to make up for the fact that this truck is a POS?

- , Surrey, BC, Canada

problem #9

Apr 182012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,847 miles

The plastic underneath the rear window broke for no foreseeable reason! Cheap material? Seems to happen a lot!

It's extremely annoying since there is no cheap way to fox it and other than that, this is by far the best Ford we ever had. And we' ve had quite a few (mostly German Ford models except for a 84 T bird Turbo), driven mostly on the autobahn at cruising speed swell above 100 mph, never any problem.

The Explorer has 260,000 km on the odo now, is still stone dry underneath and runs like a Singer sewing machine. We give it regular service every 15,000 km, recently changed the wheel bearings and brake discs, that's all. Given the overall reliability of this car, it really sucks when such a cosmetic damage ruins the picture! Who ever came up with this plastic design??

- , Cologne, NRW, Germany

problem #8

Jan 092012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,000 miles

I hate to say this but I do love my ford even with its problems. newest addition to the list is that it keeps stalling when I shift to reverse. not sure why this happens have had the transmission worked on already.

- , New Gloucester, ME, USA

problem #7

Oct 262009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,500 miles


This truck is by far the worst vehicle i have ever had and ever heard of that $12,000 that i put down is what im guessing ive put in this truck in the past year..My kids named my truck Big Suzy! And what fun she has been if i hadnt had all the problems with this truck that i have had i would love this truck i would keep it for as long as i could, no one can tell how old my truck is or all the miles that are on it, this is a nice ass truck, its spacy has enough room for 7 people plus storage! This is the"nicest car" i have ever had but by far the "worst vehicle ever" it tops the list on all the things that are wrong with it. And matthews trys to act so decent with you when you go in for a oil change or something by saying oh...your cruise control was recalled so we replaced it for you! I said thank you, come to find out laterr my recalled cruise control that worked fine before they touched it no longer worked!! I see it like this After finance charges and everything i have put into this truck ive paid almost $17,000-$20,000 for this truck thats onlly worth about $3,000 and that was before my engine just blew!!!!!

- , Newark, OH, USA

problem #6

May 292009

Explorer XLT 4.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

My Explorer has been having the same exact problem, with the roaring and what not coming from the rear end. I recently got work done on it and I was told the rear end need to be replaced soon, and that he sees that a lot with Explorers. I'm pretty upset about the whole situation and now that I've looked at this site I can see I'm .

- , Dartmouth, NS, Canada

problem #5

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,923 miles

Hi my ford dealership wanted 325.00 dollars to analyze my abs system and fix

did some reading and found that is was my rear abs sensor that was defective

again 51.00 dollars , power window driverside quit , and maybe is should as

it is used the most dealer cost ext 525.00 dollars or 285.00 dollars for the

part to fix , picked up the part at piston ring , auto value for 128.00 dollars good as new . door adjar light would not go out , dealer wanted 150.00 to diagnose , it was my drivers door mechanisim that was dirty , a few sprays with wd40 problem gone .


- , Winnipeg, MB, Canada

problem #4

Jan 222007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


1.Rear window not working,Ford tech found circuit 57 chaffed fix he repair wire .

2.Speedometer not working,fix replaced instrument cluster.

3.Air bag light on,fix replaced D/S Pretensioner this was the third time it was replaced by same dealer who did not find it odd. control not working,fix tech replaced cruise servo and cable stop working again after 6 month ,Ford stated I will have to get part replace again sorry no f*ing way,still not working.

I was bill for $607.66 in parts and 962.00 in Labor.

Now the bad part my Dealer went out of business and gave my info to a new dealer who refuse to honor any work done by last dealer so now I take my truck to the cheap person.

- , Valley Cottage, NY, USA

problem #3

Jun 122007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Not really sure where all these things would be officially be listed, so I'll just list the problems that my Explorer has and still is facing. 1. Compass always says southeast. 2. back windshield wiper motor quit. 3. While driving, the locks starts locking and unlocking at random, a loud beep yells at me until I pull over and open and close every door. 4. Windows sometimes hesitate before opening. 5. Couldn't shift out of park. Had to fix this one. Took apart steering wheel and fiddled around and replaced some things and it now works. 6. Knob for seat adjuster falls off when it feels like it.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head until I get in my Explorer again. Then I'll remember all the other lovely things that are determined to break. FORD=Fix Or Repair Daily. FORD= Found On Roadside Dead. Both are appropriate.

- , Clarence Center, NY, USA

problem #2

May 252007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I had just bought a 2002 Ford Explorer in September of 2006. i know that it was used, but the car fax report came back fine with only one owner. It is May of 2007. I have had this car for about 8 months now. My ford has been in the shop getting repaired more times than the months I have had it. From the recall on the rear window, to the timing chains (notice the "s" in timing chain), to the rear wheel axle, and the cadi converter, to now the rear wheel bearing. All of this with under 80,000 miles and with in the last 3 months has all of this happened. I bought a Ford knowing I should get the extended warranty and I am so glad I did, because Ford's suck!!! It was a great deal on the car I needed a 3rd row seat and nothing seemed to appear wrong when I bought it. With the extended warranty I have a $100 deductible. I have spent over $500 in deductibles which actually saved me from over $5000 worth of repairs. I will never NEVER buy a FORD again!!!

- , Spokane Valley, WA, USA

problem #1

Sep 252003

(reported on)


  • 50,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer, within 18 months, has fallen apart. Recently ,the rear window hinge loosened causing the glass to explode when it was closed, spreading glass over my two young children. The door mechanisms were defective, the seat heating switch stopped working, the rear passenger windows won't roll-up, and THE EXTENDED WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER IT. (note that in the first year the front bearings went out and were replaced under warranty). The dealer (Ridgecrest, CA) admits they are not normal wear, but defective parts and poor engineering. Ford said "thats too bad". THE LESSON HERE IS: FORD HAS GONE DOWN HILL, DOES NOT CARE, AND WILL LAUGH ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK. DON'T BUY FORD.

- , Ridgecrest, CA, USA

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