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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,390 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

May 292016


  • 127,000 miles


Lift gate window fell off the hinges as explained in recall #04V442000

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #37

Jun 182016


  • 204,000 miles
Back glass shattered after closing the hatch

- Parker, KS, USA

problem #36

May 172016


  • miles
I just bought my vehicle on 5/17/20 at a lot called grant motors 2744 fowler St fort myers fl, 33901 during the daytime, they keep pushing, and pushing me to buy it took my id to copy we left without my id, had another vehicle I wanted to buy but had to go back to grant to get id, when pete started at us again and keep coming down on price, till my brother told me it was worth it to buy it, so I did, well during the day in bright sunshine you couldn't see the taillights, nor the dashboard lights, and as driving it home turned on radio to listen to it, all's it would do is flicker, wouldn't change stations, wouldn't do nothing at all, and they put a carfax folder on my dash for me to read at home, that is when I seen the info about the recalls and figured it had something to do with my lights outside and in the dash and the stereo not working at all. Them my brother said he wondered why they continued to drop the price to way more then they first asked for as if they new ahead of time the issues and didn't tell us about any of it. So could someone please let me know what is going on, I now have nothing to drive and no money to buy another I'm old raising two grandbabies one with autism, the other with bipolar please help me out. Sitting in walmart parking lot, and in motion to go home family had to stay behind me to get home safely,

- North Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #35

Apr 012016


  • 160,000 miles


Takata recall. My od light keeps blinking, takes forever to shift I have to take my feet of the gas until I hear it shift then I can press the gas again and the car jerks when the gears shift. The car will shut off if I put the car in reverse or if I change the gear to drive. There seems to be a lot of issues but the od light seems to be common. I took it to more than one dealership and they told me that its a transmission problem. Why hasn't Ford taken responsibility and recall this issue if its happened to so many of us. I am a mother of four that needs her car and this is unfair because its a very expensive fix I was quoted between $2,500-$3,000

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #34

Apr 022016


  • 206,000 miles
When I turn my windshield wipers on they stay on low and will not go off unless I turn the truck off with the wipers in off position. My O/D off light started blinking when I was driving down the road when I turn the truck off for a few minutes it goes off, but comes on a little bit later while driving.

- Albertville, AL, USA

problem #33

Apr 092016


  • 170,000 miles
Rear panel cracked without collision or incident rear glass of lift gate exploded upon closing in my driveway, while parked, on Saturday 4/9/201 I knew nothing of a pending class action lawsuit or the defect being complained about by so many Explorer owns from the years of 2002-2005 Ford changed the problem piece after 2005 however they never recalled the lift gate or rear panel insurance will not cover it Ford will not recall or replace it there is glass everywhere and I do not have 500+ dollars to replace it. This was a defect that should be replaced by Ford!

- East Hampton, NY, USA

problem #32

Dec 142015


  • 90,000 miles


I was pulling out of a parking space and I no more than pulled the gear shift lever back and it broke off. I could not shift at all. The keys got stuck in the ignition, too. I had to leave my car there over night until the following morning when the tow company came. I also could not lock my doors, and it was loaded with working equipment. ( I cannot even imagine if it broke after I had put it in reverse or drive, and been stuck in the middle of the road, or if this had happened in a remote place. ) as you can see by my picture it was actually the metal, possibly aluminum but not 100% sure.. metals should not just break.. this is definitely a defect. I also noted on just one website over 151 complaints for this exact same thing on the exact same year and model vehicle.

- Kamuela, HI, USA

problem #31

Sep 152015


  • miles
I was driving along and the over drive light off started flashing and I started experiencing the vehicle starting to shift harder in 1 & 2 gears!

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #30

Jul 232015


  • 194,184 miles
Was driving on private parking lot at 10 mph when gas pedal slammed to the floor locked and accelerated vehicle to approx. 35 mph and careened through 6ft chain link fence onto rv dealership lot and crashed into a motorhome. Entire wheel and housing ripped from the car, personal injuries sustained

- Shoemakersville, PA, USA

problem #29

May 042015


  • 117,044 miles
Backing into parking space and gearshift handle on column fell off in my hand. I could not shift out of gear. Had to shut off engine on a hill with car stuck in reverse. Could not get key out and car started to roll downhill. I had to call a friend to block tires rather trust emergency brake on a hill.

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #28

May 062013


  • 45 miles


Car reck

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #27

May 062013


  • 45 miles
Car reck

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #26

May 062013


  • 45 miles
Car reck

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #25

Jun 182012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 164,703 miles
I just had my car serviced for a recall at Cherokee Ford in woodstock ga. Just 3 days later, my vehicle stopped working in the middle of a very busy street and I was unable to restart it. I was very lucky not to be hit. It would have been tragic.

- Woostock, GA, USA

problem #24

Sep 202011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
The transmission has a 5 second delay when going into reverse or drive. The car transmission jerks forward suddenly and randomly shifts into a higher or lower gear while driving. There is a loud grinding noise while the car is running and while the gears are shifting.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #23

Jun 222011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
I was riding along the highway in my 2002 Ford Explorer with my two kids on vacation. We had been driving for about 4 hours. I was using the cruise control. I came to a red light then continued on for about 2 miles than all of a sudden the check temp gauge came on and the gauge was all the way hot. I waited for a safe place on the side of the rode to pull over. As soon as the truck was put in park smoke started coming in through the glove box and the hood. My son who was sitting in the passenger seat said his legs felt hot. A passerby pulled over and yelled get your stuff and get out of the truck. We had enough time to get what we could and run. The truck started to burn and all we could do was watch. We were stranded 4 hours from home. Luckily for us the good samaritans probably saved our lives. The truck went from hot to fully involved in a matter of a few minutes. By the time the fire dept. Came the truck was a total loss.

- Eva, AL, USA

problem #22

Jun 202011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
My vehicle surges forward when the brakes are applied. This has happened several times this month.

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #21

Mar 112011


  • 190,782 miles
Over the years we have had repeated problems with the transmission. It jerks and struggles to change gears. When you travel at freeway speeds it whines and jerks when it changes gears and when you're stopped at a light it makes weird noises and hesitates when you put your foot on the gas. We have repeatedly had the transmission repaired over the years.

- North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 172011


  • 63,500 miles
While inspecting the left, rear wheel bearing a broken spring was found. It was determined that the wheel bearing was also in a stage of failure. A load noise like the vehicle had "truck tires" was coming from the rear. The spring was fractured at the top in multiple places and partially collapsed

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #19

Nov 252010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer back rear window exploded the glass hit the top of my head and cut my face and a piece got in my eye, glass went every where, it was like a bomb went off. I am not the only one this has happen too. I feel this really needs to be address asp, and a recall on it. What has to happen some one lose a eye for anything to be done. Just check the report on this, its not a one time thing.. it has happen to lost of them why isn't any thing being done about it ? is Ford paying someone off.

- Dixie, WA, USA

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