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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,597 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

Feb 052008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


2002 Ford Explorer XLT replacing 3rd wheel bearing in 2 years.

- Brunswick, OH, USA

problem #34

Jan 212008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
Noise like unbalanced tire coming from left front tire/wheel. Noise increases until it becomes a roar like an airplane taking off. Steering wheel begins to vibrate. Feels like wheel is going to fall off car. Mechanic tells me left front hub and bearings must be replaced. The three other wheels are also symptomatic but not as immediately pressing as left front he does not think but won't know until repair is completed later today. Repair ball park cost at this time is $600-$700. Still, other three wheels bearings/hubs will need to be replaced. Car has 70,000 miles, has received all recommended maintenance and has had city driving. Ford is aware of this problem. They have issued technical service bulletins about it. They say that only you can issue a recall. There is an internet board at this link where 47 other consumers of this issue model have faced the same issue....repetitive failure of wheel bearings/ the point where wheels have fallen off. Even when replaced the new factory made replacement bearings wear out! please issue a recall for this before somebody is killed when a wheel flies off on a highway!

- Northampton, PA, USA

problem #33

Jan 162008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,790 miles
While driving home from work after having my front bearings done on my 2002 Ford Explorer I heard a grinding noise from the back of my truck. It felt as though my left rear wheel was going fall off. Took the car to the dealer and they want to charge me $705 dollars. I could have died from this and there are a number of people who have the same problems with the bearings. With a very limited budget I am not able to have the part fixed and this will lead to me missing time at work. Please look into this problem because Ford refuses to do so and there is going be a serious injury from this. Please lets not wait until someone loses their life when we can do something about this.

- New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #32

Jan 072008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Currently own a 2002 Explorer XLT with only 65K miles on it. The transmission is in need of a rebuild because is slip from time to time. The rear differential seals are leaking. The entire rear of the vehicle makes a humming noise so I suspect that a rear bearing is going bad. Not to mention the 4wheel drive system has not worked since I bought it a little over a year ago. I've had intermittent issues with the air bag control module and also the backup alarm system. There is nothing but poor write-ups about this truck all over the internet. All the same problems I'm experiencing are problems many other drivers have also had.

- Norton, OH, USA

problem #31

Jan 062008


  • miles
Wheel bearing went bad.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #30

Jan 112007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles
Wheel bearing failures-4 in a 6 month period of time-cost over $1700 too have these repairs-Ford will not help out and there customer service is a joke. I have a child that is always with me and 2 times it could have been bad.

- Milton, DE, USA

problem #29

Nov 222007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


I bought an 02 Explorer. Was driving and started making weird grinding noises. Took it to the mechanic and its costing me 1000! dollars to replace the wheel hubs and bearings. He said the wheel on the back was ready to fall off!

- Woodland, WA, USA

problem #28

Nov 222007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
Front and rear bearing for the 2002 Ford Explorer fails while driving. Ford is aware of the problem but will not recall until your approval, repairs are made at the owners cost....please help.

- Garrochales, PR, USA

problem #27

Jan 052007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Have replaced 3 wheel bearings at the cost of $400 a piece.

- Saint Marys, WV, USA

problem #26

Nov 032007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,849 miles
Wheel bearing defective.

- Belleville, MI, USA

problem #25

Oct 192007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles


I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. Vehicle has @ 57K miles on it. Wheel bearings had to be replaced. My understanding this is factory sealed and should not need replacing this quickly. Normal lifetime of wheel bearings should be over 100K?

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #24

Oct 262007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
I started hearing something that sounded similar to a having a low or bad tire. Tires were replaced and the vehicle is still making sound. After hearing that this was the Explorer's downfall, the wheel bearings, I researched the topic online to now see that in the near future I will be trying to replace all bearings more than likely. As documented by other owners, when one bearing goes, they all seem to go. My husband was driving the vehicle yesterday and he said the wheel popped, grinded, and started squeaking; assuming the bearing went out completed, the vehicle is parked to get fixed. I do not have the money that is suggested by other owners to fix this vehicle. If this is a problem with the Explorer at this mileage, which seems to happens around 70,000-80,000 miles; this is a safety issue that is affecting the lives of owners. Why is the product not recalled? I drive this vehicle with my 4 and 6 year old children in the back seat, if I do get this bearing fixed, what happens when the others go out. I am just very disappointed in Ford Motor Company. My granddad and dad both retired from Ford Motor Company and I have always upheld their name and value; but this is a disgrace and a huge disappointment. View more owner complaints at:

- Bonnieville, KY, USA

problem #23

Oct 092007

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,327 miles
I heard a whining sound coming from the front of my SUV. Took it to a friend who works on Ford and he said it was the left front wheel bearing. He fixed that and the sound continued, so he replaced the right front. The sound went away. Two days later same sound coming from the rear. My SUV only has 51,000 miles on it. This is a major safety issue especially since I am driving with 3 children. I see that this is way too common. I am lucky that I was not driving my kids when the bearings totally failed and a tire fell off. I still have to old parts, I am considering sending them to Ford. They told me in order for them to acknowledge there is a problem I must put the bad parts back on my car and take it to a dealership. Risk my life and the lives of my children so I can take it to a dealership? no thanks. I will send them the parts so they can see how bad they are.

- Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #22

Jun 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle made roaring noises while driving. A mechanic stated that the wheel bearings failed. No repairs were made. The VIN, engine size, and speed were unknown. The current mileage was 93,000 and failure mileage was 85,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #21

Jul 122007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,700 miles
Had to replace three wheel bearings at the same time. One went bad while on vacation. Luckily we pulled off the highway for a break and heard a lot of grinding. Took it to a repair shop and they wiggled the tire like a loose tooth. Technician said the wheel was about to come off and could have at highway speeds. With only 67,000 miles on this vehicle this must be a manufacturers defect that could have cost me and my family our lives! now I am told the transmission is failing. Ford needs to do something about this.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #20

Apr 172007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
Rear axle seals and wheel bearings. We have had to replace the rear axle seals on June 4, 2004 with 4, 000 miles, and on Jun 16, 2006 with 69.600 miles. Also had to replace rear hub bearings and assembly on April 17, 2007 with 74,000 miles. This is obviously a recurring issue, and I have been told this is a common Explorer problem. All work on this vehicle has been performed by reputable Ford authorized dealers/service, and would expect work to last longer than 1-2 years.

- Round Lake Beach, IL, USA

problem #19

Nov 012006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Rear wheel bearing failure at 80,000 miles, both rear bearings.

- Coloma, MI, USA

problem #18

Jan 022007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,773 miles
2002 Ford Explorer two issues 1/1/07 - grinding of rear wheel. 1/2/07 - O/D light started flashing, within 7 miles service engine light came on. Car would not accelerate until letting off the gas. 1/2/07 - call aaa to have car towed to local Ford dealer. Ford quoted $5,100 for repairs. We denied repair at Ford. Due to out of pocket expenses we had a local transmission shop do the repairs. We did not want to give Ford any more money since we were told by several repair shops that this is a very common problem with Ford Explorer. The local shop indicated there were tsbs published and they had to buy special equipment from Ford to fix the problems. If companies are buying special tools because the problem is so common, isn't there a problem? we also investigated many numerous websites to read about many complaints regarding the exact same problem. To repair the car we purchased rear wheel bearings and the transmission shop purchased an overhaul transmission kit. They repaired both problems for less than $5,100. Unfortunately, a co-worker had the exact problem with her car just last week. She came to warn me of the problem with her car only to find out I picked mine up from the shop the same day!

- Aiken, SC, USA

problem #17

Nov 092006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
A whining sound comes from the front end end of the vehicle, upon first inspection by a mechanic a bad tire was found and blamed on the noise. As it was bearable at highway speeds, we ignored it trusting the diagnosis. We planned on purchasing tires soon and believed the problem would be solved. New tires were purchased and an alignment done and the same sound came from the front end most noticeably 45-65 mph. Now we are told it is a wheel bearing and the cost for the parts alone is $350 not to mention the $55/hr. Labor. We already had the rear end replaced for noise and now we are told that a dangerous situation involving another part of the drivetrain is looming. This is unacceptable and I would hope that Ford would acknowledge the problem that the vehicles have and remedy it. I have heard of this happening to vehicles with far less than my 65,000 miles and these parts were build to last a whole lot longer as they were supposed to be sealed and maintenance-free, instead they fail too often and cost a fortune. I believe this will be my last Ford product if I do not receive some sort of satisfactory response from Ford.

- Durant, OK, USA

problem #16

Jul 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated the hub bearings are wearing out locking the wheel up causing the vehicle to lose control on the road. The front and rear wheel bearings are both wearing out. The dealer determined there was no way of checking the hub bearings. Because hub bearings are sealed, they can't be greased, or serviced. The contact expressed that the vehicle can't be service for the hub bearings, therefore there is no way to determine when this might happen again, and create a potentially fatal accident.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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