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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,019 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #19

Jun 122014

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles

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

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and it has not been wrecked and I had the light that come on in my dash and they said that my seat belt pretentioner was gone in my seat belt.

- Staley, NC, USA

problem #18

Jan 302014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
I was traveling in stop and go traffic. As soon as space opened between me and the vehicle in front of me, I accelerated. While gaining speed I looked in my right rear view mirror to see if I could change lanes. While looking in my mirror the vehicle in front of me stopped. I hit the back of his vehicle with the front of mine. The problem I have is that my airbag(s) fired but did no deploy. You could clearly smell that they fired and my airbag light is now on. My seat belt did not cinch up and restrain me either. This car had been well maintained and was never in an accident before this one. As I see it, it was a total failure of the SRS.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #17

Jul 152010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
The seat belts on the front drivers & passengers sides do not retract. The seat belts constantly get caught in the door lock assembly. This actually ruined my door locks once already, which I had to replace at my expense. I have read numerous issues with the same exact problem.

- Plainfield , IL, USA

problem #16

Jul 272011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 120,400 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer lf seatbelt buckle pretensioner bad. Airbag light continued to illuminate after two replacements of over $300 ea. Safety issue?

- Bangor, ME, USA

problem #15

Oct 232003

Explorer

  • 24,963 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the air bag light continued to illuminate. The dealer stated that it was the seat belt pretensioner. The first the failure occurred, the vehicle was repaired under warranty; yet, the failure recurred. The seat belt pretensioner was replaced three times. The contact was concerned about the safety risk. The failure mileage was 24963 and the current mileage was 80000.

- Bethleham, PA, USA

problem #14

Jan 072004

Explorer

  • 11,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer front out seat belts do not retract in cold temperatures. I took the vehicle multiple times to the Ford dealer and contacted Ford customer service and nothing has been done to correctly remedy the situation. At one point the dealer to get rid of me he installed low-friction teflon tape on the D-ring but that did not help at all. The return spring is too weak to carry the load. This is a safety item because the webbing is catching on to the door as it is closing causing the seat belt webbing to fritter and eventually to tear into pieces. Please look and investigate this matter immediately. If this complaint does not require full fledged recall, I am willing to get the dealer to replace front seat belts at Ford expense.

- Allen Park, MI, USA

problem #13

Feb 252009

Explorer

  • 85,000 miles

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

Broken rear coil springs on 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, 85000 miles. Also need front and rear wheel bearings, seat belt tensioner, emergency brake repair.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #12

Mar 152008

Explorer

  • 40,000 miles
When I tried to remove my key from the ignition, the entire ignition cylinder came out!! my car had to be towed and have a new cylinder installed! a year later, it happened again!!! so I have had to replace my Ford ignition cylinder twice and my car only has 60,000 miles on it now---so probably had only about 40,000 miles the first time it happened and 50,000 the second time. Also-- now my fuel gauge says empty all the time, even after I just filled it with gas! and it's too expensive to fix! I did get the driver seatbelt fixed, because it didn't tighten, but now it's too hard to pull out and use! lastly, both inside mirror covers have just cracked off when lifting open, and I can't afford to replace both of the entire visors! we have 3 Ford and this is the only one that's ever had problems. Dates are spread out so it's too hard to complete that part of the form below.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #11

Nov 212008

Explorer

  • 76,000 miles
The rear restraining device (seat belt) on the drivers side stopped working, in that it no longer has the locking mechanism/action. This occurred while driving in a residential neighborhood with the seat belt being used by my infant son's car seat base.

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #10

Apr 012006

Explorer

  • 60,000 miles
We have a 2002 Ford Explorer. The airbag warning light is on and stays on. It's been like this for a while now. I never thought much of it until I got online researching it and found that not only that it is a common problem, but a very dangerous situation. Apparently the airbags will not even work. From what I found the problem has to do with a cable that connects the seatbelt locking mechanism to the SRS system is to short also a possible problem with a clockspring. By doing something as little as moving the drivers seat all the way back can trigger the warning light because the cable is to short. I learned this mostly through people over the internet who took there vehicles to Ford dealerships and was told that was the problem. I called Ford to see if there was a recall on it or if they would fix it. No recall and won't pay to fix. Ford knows about the problem and knows what the problem is. I read that Ford sent a memo out to it's dealerships telling them about the problem had a memo number forgot to write it down. This vehicle is a family vehicle and that's the primary reason we bought it. I would think that this being such a serious safety issue that Ford would fix no problem, but at the very lest somebody should be able to make them fix this. I don't know what are the parameters for a recall to be issued, but I do know that if this does not call for one then who or what is the NHTSA for. I guess it takes a lot of people getting hurt or dyeing for something to be done.

- Macclenny, FL, USA

problem #9

Oct 222008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,600 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the air bag indicator remained illuminated. The dealer stated that the seat belt latch system does not work and they are charging him to diagnose and repair the failure. The contact stated that it is a safety hazard that the seat belt does not work. The failure and current mileages were 47,600. Updated 12/10/08 both of the rear springs broke and the rear axle bearing was bad. Updated 12/16/08.

- Windber, PA, USA

problem #8

Jan 012007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
On my 2002 Ford Explorer SUV I have had to replace 3 of the 4 wheel bearings and hub assemblies(approx $250 each), with the 4th not far behind. I have also had to replace the 4-wheel drive module(approx $400-$500). I have had problems with the rear window motors going bad and having to replace these too. The air conditioning unit has stopped working. The passenger air bag dummy light has come on for no reason. The seat belt warning chime often comes on and will not go off, even though you have buckled your seat belt. You have to slam the buckle into place for it to go off and sometimes this does not work either. The transmission is now making a lovely clunking sound when shifting from park to drive and when you try to put it back into park, it does not want to. You have to put it up to park as far as it will go then go back to neutral and then into park from there. We have replaced the emergency brake shoes on both sides because they were completely worn off even though we do not use the E-brakes. These problems are just piling up one after another. I went to an internet site that has complaints about vehicles and found that there are hundreds of others with the same problems on their 2002 Ford Explorer of all kinds (XL, eddie bauer, special edition, etc.). why hasn't Ford done any recalls for these problems" does it require multiple injuries or even death for them to take responsibility??"

- Monroeville, OH, USA

problem #7

Aug 182006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
I took my 2002 Ford Explorer in for service and requested them to fix the airbag system. I was advised there is a faulty seat belt pretensioner sensor that works with the airbag system. I was told there is a service notice from Ford, but not a recall. Repair was only covered under bumper to bumper warranty.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #6

Nov 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
I bought a 2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer in Nov 2002. Around Oct 2005 my airbag light came on and I was due for an inspection. I took it into a Ford dealership and they "diagnosed" it as a faulty seat belt...the seat belt worked fine, it even continued to lock-up during moderate braking. This cost me over $300. Not a month went by and the airbag light came on again. I called the Ford dealer, explained the problem and they told me that if it was determined it was a "new" problem I would be charged for that expense as well. I just can't believe that the light would come on after being "fixed" so soon.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #5

May 012002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer. On vehicle the shoulder harness on the driver and passenger side wear through the plastic trim on the pillar, and it caused the edge of the seat belts to fray. Dealership replaced the seat belt and trim, and it recurred within a few weeks. Contacted the dealership, and currently vehicle was out of warranty. When the edges of the seat belt frayed the consumer was concerned that the seat belt will tear all the way. (11/08/05)

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #4

Sep 212005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer. The consumer states airbag light on flashed on dashboard 3 times and then it stayed on. The consumer took vehicle to the dealership and the dealership told the consumer it was related to the seat belts. This has been occurring for 1 week. The consumer contacted Ford manufacturer, and they told her they never heard of such a thing. They stated they were not aware of any complaints regarding this problem. The dealer repalced the tensioner.

- Farmdale, OH, USA

problem #3

Nov 122003

Explorer

  • 20,392 miles
Problems with the transmission, rear axle and seatbelts. (nar) transmission problem was found out to be a problem in the rear differential. Vehicle was serviced also for parking brake not locking in position. Also, consumer encountered a problem with right rear hatch guide for door pin coming apart, and trim on driver's seat bottom was coming loose. In addition, air bag light on dash kept coming on and stayed on.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Dec 012001

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Front driver and passenger side seatbelts are rubbing against the molding where the shoulder harness is mounted. The edge of the seat belt is cutting into the molding creating grooves in the molding and possibly damaging the seat belt.

- Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 222002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
The seat belt arrestor charge inadvertently fired when the vehicle was being shifted from park into reverse. The firing of the charge filled the vehicle interior with smoke and has rendered the driver's seat belt unusable until repair can be made.

- Collegeville, PA, USA

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