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:
76,982 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 9 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Feb 262007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

My 2002 Ford Explorer has been repaired for major transmission and rear end problems approx. 15 times in the past 3 years. The transmission continues to slip between 2nd-3rd and 3rd-4th gear. In reverse the clutch binds up. The rear end roars and was replaced at 35,000 miles (after numerous fix attempts) and at 66,000 miles rear wheel bearings, ring gear & pinion were replaced. The transmission was almost overhauled at 35,000, re-programmed approx 3 times and needs to be done again now. The compass has failed twice.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #31

Sep 012003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
Humming/whinning sound coming from rear-end especially when accelerating. Brought in to dealership 3 times, repaired 2 times while under warranty. Rear-end completely changed 2nd time. Making the whinning sound again now even louder, drowns out radio. Not under warranty anymore but obviously a manufacturer defect with the 2002 model, considering all the complaints with the exact problem I have read upon research. Will a recall be issued to prevent any accidents that could occur from a rear-end going out while driving? my Explorer is a family hauler, hate to put my babies at risk...

- Carencro, LA, USA

problem #30

Oct 202006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
Rear wheel almost fell off on my wife's 2002 Ford Explorer. There was no leading suspicion to this problem until it happened. Very dangerous and with my wife being pregnant it makes it that much more frustrating.

- Moundville, AL, USA

problem #29

Oct 102006

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

In April of 2005 my 2002 Explorer with just over 40,000 miles started making grinding noise in the right rear. Took it to a mechanic and then to the Ford dealership, both said the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced, had it replaced on 5/11/05. Within 2 weeks, the left rear wheel bearing also started making a grinding noise, had it replaced on 5/25/05. Called Ford customer care who said they could do nothing. In October, 2006, at 80,000 miles (mostly E-way miles, no off-road driving, only one driver and I am the original owner), the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced again and one of the front bearings is going as well. Called Ford customer care again to report the failures, and they still aren't interested. Have been told by several mechanics that this is a know defect with 2002 Explorer, wheel bearings should last well over 100K miles. Ford has no plans to recall or even redesign the defective wheel bearings. After reading complaints from others, who have had the bearings explode while driving, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before the deaths from accidents due to the defective wheel bearings start getting reported. I personally do not feel safe driving this vehicle. Due to Ford's lack of concern regarding this very expensive and dangerous defect in their vehicles, the next new vehicle I purchase will not be a Ford. *

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #28

May 252005

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
In April of 2005 my 2002 Explorer with just over 40,000 miles started making grinding noise in the right rear. Took it to a mechanic and then to the Ford dealership, both said the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced, had it replaced on 5/11/05. Within 2 weeks, the left rear wheel bearing also started making a grinding noise, had it replaced on 5/25/05. Called Ford customer care who said they could do nothing. In October, 2006, at 80,000 miles (mostly E-way miles, no off-road driving, only one driver and I am the original owner), the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced again and one of the front bearings is going as well. Called Ford customer care again to report the failures, and they still aren't interested. Have been told by several mechanics that this is a know defect with 2002 Explorer, wheel bearings should last well over 100K miles. Ford has no plans to recall or even redesign the defective wheel bearings. After reading complaints from others, who have had the bearings explode while driving, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before the deaths from accidents due to the defective wheel bearings start getting reported. I personally do not feel safe driving this vehicle. Due to Ford's lack of concern regarding this very expensive and dangerous defect in their vehicles, the next new vehicle I purchase will not be a Ford.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #27

May 112005

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
In April of 2005 my 2002 Explorer with just over 40,000 miles started making grinding noise in the right rear. Took it to a mechanic and then to the Ford dealership, both said the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced, had it replaced on 5/11/05. Within 2 weeks, the left rear wheel bearing also started making a grinding noise, had it replaced on 5/25/05. Called Ford customer care who said they could do nothing. In October, 2006, at 80,000 miles (mostly E-way miles, no off-road driving, only one driver and I am the original owner), the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced again and one of the front bearings is going as well. Called Ford customer care again to report the failures, and they still aren't interested. Have been told by several mechanics that this is a know defect with 2002 Explorer, wheel bearings should last well over 100K miles. Ford has no plans to recall or even redesign the defective wheel bearings. After reading complaints from others, who have had the bearings explode while driving, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before the deaths from accidents due to the defective wheel bearings start getting reported. I personally do not feel safe driving this vehicle. Due to Ford's lack of concern regarding this very expensive and dangerous defect in their vehicles, the next new vehicle I purchase will not be a Ford.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #26

Jun 202006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,780 miles

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

: the contact stated while traveling on the highway at 60 mph, suddenly control of the vehicle was lost. The contact thought the vehicle's tire blew out, because both rear tires began wobbling. The vehicle was traveling on a normal flat surface at the time of the incident. The failure occurred under normal driving conditions, and was driven about 20 miles to the contact's residence. Two weeks prior to the incident, the contact observed a low grade deep drum noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection prior to the incident and the dealer notified the contact that both rear bearings were wearing out and needed to be replaced. After the incident, the vehicle was inspected and determined that both bearings were shot and the rear driver spring was broken. Both rear bearings and the rear driver spring are permanently damaged and must be replaced.

- Brecksville, OH, USA

problem #25

Apr 102006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
The rear wheel bearing on the passenger side locked up while my wife was driving home from 150 miles away. Lucky she heard a weird noise and slowed down prior to it seizing the tire up.

- Elkland, PA, USA

problem #24

May 102006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. The bearings in the rear end differential are going out. This type of problem should not be occurring in a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles. From what I understand, many Ford Explorer have this problem Ford should take a second look at this problem because it should not be happening. I don't have a warranty, but still this is too common of a defect in the Ford Explorer for it to not be a manufacturer problem.

- Belton, TX, USA

problem #23

Mar 142006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Major noise from rear end escalated quickly requiring service. Independent service garage diagnosed and replaced right rear wheel hub assembly and left rear tie rod. This was the third of the four wheel hubs replaced on this vehicle between 70,000 and 86,000 actual odometer miles. The other two were both the fronts. Very honest mechanic showed me failed parts and three other Explorer in the shop that same day with the same wheel hub assembly replacement requirement. There is obviously a defective design on this vehicle. Vehicle is a highway driven car only, not off road.

- Malvern, OH, USA

problem #22

May 082006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

: the contact stated while turning the vehicle at low speeds, not exceeding 10 mph, the vehicle vibrates. The dealership determined the clutch basket and rear axle seal needs to be replaced.

- Nine Mile Falls, WA, USA

problem #21

May 052006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Grinding noise sounding like it is from front end, especially on accelerating at low speeds, and turning slow. Told to replace tires and front hub. Both done and still making same noise. Cannot figure what is wrong. Think the sound is from transmission or rear end. Also having problems with the transmission. The truck does not switch gears properly. It takes to long and sometimes reaches 4 rpms before finally switching on flat road surface.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #20

Feb 132006

Explorer Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
First of all I have a humming sound coming from the rear of the vehicle I notice it most when we are traveling on the hwy at at least 55 mph or more. In Oct. My brake light came on for no reason and now in Feb. My air bag light came on for no apparent reason.

- Poplar Bluff, MO, USA

problem #19

Apr 242006

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer. Failed transmission, starter, rear wheel bearings, airbag, pinion, electric window. Now loud sounds from rear of car.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #18

Apr 212006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 30 mph, the rear passenger side tire began to wobble. The vehicle was pulled over and the contact noticed the wheel bearings in the road. The vehicle was driven to an independent repair shop where the wheel bearing and hub was replaced.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #17

Mar 152006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,450 miles
Rear end hum and leak back tire was loose due to rear wheel bearings deteriorating, took it apart and bearings fell apart. There was no grease on them. This '02 Explorer has 30,000 miles on it.

- Leonard, MI, USA

problem #16

Mar 012006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,185 miles
Funny thing, my Explorer only has 30,000 mile, there was no event, one day it was fine the next day come the whine and grind.

- Leonard, MI, USA

problem #15

Feb 022006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,280 miles
: the contact stated while driving at speeds of 20mph or more there was a roaring noise coming from the rear end of the vehicle. Initially the contact suspected the tires needed replaced. The vehicle was inspected by an independent tire repair shop. The repair shop mechanic suggested the vehicle should be inspected by an authorized dealer because it was determined there were no problems with the tires. The mechanic suggested the noise could possibly be associated with the rear suspension. Updated 7/13/2006 -

- Plaquemine, LA, USA

problem #14

Aug 022005

Explorer

  • miles
I bought my Explorer brand new in May 2002. I have had problems with the rear end differential twice, rear end sensor, and my latest problem is the rear end sealer (pinion). All within 3 years of owning the vehicle.

- E. St. Louis, IL, USA

problem #13

Sep 082005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
1) could hear high pitch noise while driving. 2) jacked up rear of Explorer and rear wheel(s) could wobble on the axle. 3) by 70,000 miles, both left and right rear wheel bearings have now failed and have been replaced by a Ford dealer. I now have 77000 miles on the Explorer and I am beginning to hear the high pitch sound again.

- Williamson, NY, USA

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