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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,681 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 1 of 6)

problem #113

Jul 152016


  • miles


I own a 2002 Ford Explorer, it's our daily driver everything works except the hubs, this truck has never been wrecked, and we find ourselves@ about every 15,000 to 20,000 miles having to replace the wheel bearings and hub assembly's, last night on the way home the driver side front hub started squealing and came apart and we had to have it towed again, I have owned this truck for 3 years, I have had to replace the bearings and hubs brakes 11 times and now I'm going to have to do it again, wow, these parts are really expensive to have no better quality than that, everytime we get it fixed it cost around $1400, it's a nice truck, and everything else works great, no issues, I Transport my family members in this vehicle, and I'm getting tired of fearing for their lives and my own when the wheel hubs break and leave us stranded, it's obviously time for a different vehicle, and I just thought about how many other people drive one of those trucks, and how dangerous that could have been out on the interstate, it's a good thing we were driving 30 mph on a country rd, if we had been in town when it broke again we I thought that the last time this happened too, there definatly is a problem, when the guy at the dealership says that's a very common problem, but unfortunately, all he can do is fix it, or sell me something else, and that that's the issue that those trucks have and that everyday someone is dropping one of to get fixed for the exact same problem, anyway I think it's time to try something else, but this problem needs to be on a recall list because it's just bad business and a safety hazard, and it's problaby already gotten people and families killed, I'm going to fix this thing one more time and give the people that buy it this website info, Ford Motor Company needs to fix this ever occurring problem.

- Rockfeild, KY, USA

problem #112

Dec 292015


  • miles
Both rear coil springs broke. Replaced front and rear wheel bearings replaced ball joints replaced transmission has now failed and is now undependable. May fail with out warning no accidents, any of the above could have resulted in an accident Ford is aware of all of the mentioned problems and refuses to rectify the problems. This is a wide spread problem with all 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Pearisburg, VA, USA

problem #111

Dec 152015


  • miles
Air bag wiring harness to short : every time you move the seat the air bag light would come on $683 repair service technical service bulletin from Ford no compensation for repairs miles 22,000. Front wheel bearing failure left and right 60,000 miles. Rear spring failure 75000 miles front spring failure 75000 miles. Fuel tank registers 1/4 tank when tank is empty 45000 miles transmission cellinoid failure 28000 miles and 800000 miles heater control module 70000 miles. Intake leak 80000 miles. Rear wheel bearing and axle seals 100,000 miles. Other than that great car. If Ford cared about its customer it would have fixed the transmission problems they had six flaws from day one of production from 1990 ---- why Ford if you had a real transmission it would make up for all the other failure built into this car. You make great real trucks like the F150 other than that your entire fleet is junk.

- Winchester, VA, USA

problem #110

May 012015


  • 160,000 miles


The rear suspension is broken on either side of vehicle, the rear passenger side bearings were replaced, now the drivers rear wheel bearings are shot.

- New Hope, MN, USA

problem #109

May 042015


  • 121,623 miles
Inspection found both rear coil springs broke and driver front coil spring also broke. 3 broken springs. Never heard of spring breaking, ever. Seems to be a problem with Ford exployers

- Union City, MI, USA

problem #108

Feb 032015


  • 100,000 miles
My Ford Explorer started making a sound like there was something rolling around in back gate. First mechanic couldn't find problem. I worked on this for three months. Looks as if it is the bushings are worn and body is touching frame. I also understand that several others have had this problem.

- Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #107

Nov 282014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 220,000 miles


I got a knock on my door by the fire department telling me that my car set on fire I filed a claim with my insurance and they told me to file a claim with Ford because they have reason to believe it was the cruise control button that set the car on fire.

- Lompoc, CA, USA

problem #106

Feb 092014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Utah I-15 South bound, inside lane next to concrete barrier with tour bus in lane on my right. My vehicle began to drift to the right as I was passing the bus. I corrected by slowly turning the steering wheel to the left; not hard or fast but slowly and evenly. The Explorer (4-door, 2002, XLT) began to whip back and fourth violently. It took me several hundred yards to get the car under control after coming within an inch or two of both the barrier and the bus. This is not the first time the whipping problem has happened. I bought the vehicle four months ago from a private seller. I put new "big-O" bigfoot tires on it and had the front end alignment checked; it was fine. If I hadn't done some fancy driving the vehicle would have rolled (at 80mph) and I probably would have been killed. I am getting rid of the Explorer and never buying another Ford product again.

- Kaysville, UT, USA

problem #105

Nov 272013


  • 32,000 miles
Rear spring broke on left side, not even rusted. Car only has 32000 miles on it. Have been seeing that this is a known issue with this model but no recall was ever instituted. A travesty.

- South Salem, NY, USA

problem #104

Mar 042013


  • 102,000 miles
Bearing keep have to be replaced, an the rear coil spring is cracked an the tire came off while driving my truck, have replaced the wheel bearing 3 times already. An I have replace the transmission 2 times.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #103

Mar 172013


  • 177,156 miles


We were driving down the highway and we heard a clunk and so we pulled over right away and looked and thought it looked like the rear passenger side was sagging but wasn't sure, we drove home and then realized it was def sagging. I took it to the car lot I bought it at and their going to check it all out to see what's going on.. just be looking at it the car lot mechanic said looks like suspension issue as if something broke. Also the check engine light came on and we had it checked out a few times and it appears to have O2 sensor issues located on the exhaust which seems to be a issues with alot of Ford Explorer which makes gas mileage terrible and vehicle stalls out and dies, not to mention the piece of plastic under the rear hatch window that always breaks.

- Fairmont, MN, USA

problem #102

Feb 072013


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to the dealer for routine maintenance when the dealer stated that the rear coil springs needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 118,000.

- Manchester, IA, USA

problem #101

Sep 082012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 161,664 miles
Heard a clunk noise in the rear of truck...come to find out both rear strut coils were rotted out and broken..trucks has never pulled a trailer or been off road!

- Pine Hill, NJ, USA

problem #100

Jul 272012


  • 87,000 miles
Rear coil springs are rusted and cracking, piece fell off. It appears that inadequate or deficient metal was used. Mechanic says very rare for coil springs to rust like this, springs look as though they have been in a junk yard for 30 years.this vehicle is a family car, not used for off-roading and kept in a garage. According to my research many other owners have had the same issue, some have even had the pieces puncture tires causing a blowout while driving. I can only assume that Ford is not concerned with consumer safety, but only with their own profits and are waiting for people to die before taking responsibility. This is just one of many issues with this model and Ford needs to step up.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #99

Jul 172008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Ford dealership and local mechanic have witnessed dozen of cases with Ford in which the vehicle is vibrating at higher speeds. We have tried replacing tires, balancing, and wheel alignments. I have read hundreds, if not thousands of people complaining about this issue online, but Ford has done nothing to educate their staff or public about this issue. Most common identified issue has been the rear differentials, but those who have had them replaced has had the vibration come back after time.

- Scotch Plains, NJ, USA

problem #98

Dec 152011


  • miles
My name is[xxx] and I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT (V6). I have owned it for almost a year now (will be in Jan 2012) and loved every minute of it until recently. About 4 months ago, I heard a strange loud whining noise. I immediately took it to my mechanic and found that rear wheel bearing was going. I was also told that if I would have took the interstate to work that evening I could have possibly died or caused serious injuries to others on road. Very scary! mind you this bearing went with no warning. Immediately after I heard the noise I took it in. Well the bearing got fixed and I couldn't have been happier. However, about a month ago I was on the interstate with my two year old daughter doing about 70mph when my truck began to shake violently. I assumed I was in the process of having a tire blow-out and began slowly breaking and losing control of the vehicle. Luckily I made it onto the shoulder of the interstate. My tire however was not as lucky. All 5 studs on my right rear tire snapped causing the tire to completely fly off and proceed down the road at a fast speed just passing the turn ramp and missing several other vehicles. In the process of losing the tire, it also caused damage to rear end of my SUV. It looked as if the tire got caught and caused the rear to dent in.replaced studs and everything seemed fine. Today (Dec.15th) not even an entire month later, vehicle started shaking again. Oh how I remembered that scary shake. Examined tire and once again, studs snapped. 2 this time with a third one missing the cap. The tire was only held by 2 studs. Thank the lord I noticed this problem before going onto the interstate and once again having my tire fly off! I have been doing research this evening to find that this is a common problem with the 02-04 Explorer. Please make a recall Ford and others help me to get one made! this is a scary and dangerous situation! it can cause the loss of many lives as it has almost done mine and my daughters. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Newport, DE, USA

problem #97

Dec 072011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 147,500 miles
I am a mechnical engineer, and do a lot of my own car repairs, when I was adjusting the emergency brake I noticed that my rear coil spring was broken in 2 places and rusted through, I went online to buy replacement springs and struts, and I came upon a website with others also with this issue of broken springs on this Ford model. This is a serious safety issue, a broken spring could drop and puncture the tire. At highway speeds this could lead to serious injury and fatalities. The NHTSA should hold Ford accountable for this serious manufacturing flaw I am lead to believe that the springs where manufactured in china. The NHTSA should get some guts and expose this serious safety issue. As a personal note this vehicle has never been off-road.

- Fairlawn, NJ, USA

problem #96

Dec 022011


  • 120,000 miles
Rear spring cracked at 100,000 mil transmission failed at 120,000 mil body electrical not sealed well and keeps shorting in different places cruise gets stubborn and scared to use it, im afraid of it getting stuck in cruise.

- Woodmere, NY, USA

problem #95

Nov 272010


  • 130,000 miles
I went to perform brake pad replacement and found passenger side rear coil spring broken. When I got around to the drivers side to no avail that rear coil spring is broken as well.

- Horicon, WI, USA

problem #94

Jun 102010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 85,032 miles
I was driving in town at approximately 30 mph when I drove over a crack and it felt like a large pothole. I heard a grinding noise and pulled over. My rear springs were both broken. The driver side one at the top and the passenger side one at the top in 3 places. When I turn now it feels like my vehicle is going to roll over. This is a common problem as stated by many others on many internet sites. This is going to cause a serious if not deadly accident. Ford needs to do a recall on this part and replace them for free, since they were the ones who used bad parts in their vehicles. This is a manufacturing defect and should be treated as such.

- Ovid, NY, USA

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