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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
98,042 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace studs and wheel hub (4 reports)
  2. replace all the wheel studs (3 reports)
  3. replace all the wheel studs and put stock rotors back (3 reports)
  4. not sure (2 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #12

Oct 132014

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,890 miles


My domestic partner and I had been driving at highway speed (65 mph) from Clyde, Ohio to Fremont, Ohio and came to our exit at SR 19, about 8 miles. We stopped at the light at the end of the ramp and as we made the left hand turn the passenger side rear wheel went flying off and into the guard rail. We, in the vehicle, came to a stop across both south bound lanes. The car behind us nearly ran into the rear of us. As we sat blocking both lanes, traffic had to pass us on the right side between us and the guard rail. As I looked it over I found that all 5 Studs were freshly broken off, all bright and shiny on the ends. I am only thankful that it didn't happen as we were driving down the highway. We could have done any number of things including a rollover or one of us or someone else could have been killed. After reading the other complaints for this problem I feel that a "responsible"(?) company like Ford motor company would be concerned about the public's and Ford owners safety and lives. I am 65 yo and she is 62 yo so there has been no hot rodding or off road use. It cost us $168.00 for the tow and $135.00 to have the repairs made.

- , Clyde, OH, USA

problem #11

Mar 062012

Explorer XLT 2.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,600 miles

8 month pregnant daughter in law has driving when rear passenger wheel started shaking. pulled over removed wheel cover to discover 3 lug had sheared off. Had it towed to tire store, wheel, hub and all studs had to be replaced. This is terrible!! Two women,and two children's lives were in danger because of a Ford design flaw. Shame on FORD. I've had many Fords over the past 40 years, never have I had this problem. Some engineers need to be fired.

- , Gooding, ID, USA

problem #10

Nov 252010

Explorer v-8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I recently came home from work and noticed that two of the lugs were broken off of my rear passenger side tire. I was really glad I noticed it this time because the last three times this has happened, I have had to be towed. This has now happened twice each on my rear tires. My tires haven't come off yet but I have had all the lugs but one broken off and the lug and nut was still together in the cap. I now have the caps off the rear tires so I'll notice when they break again. The rear end of the Explorer makes odd noises from time to time and I've had work done to it but nothing seems to stop the lugs from shearing off again and again. Ford needs to get off their ass and admit there is a serious problem with their product and get it fixed before someone gets killed!

- , Liberty, SC, USA

problem #9

May 122010

Explorer LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


Ok, my tires haven't fallen off yet, but when I went into Firestone for 2 new Front Tires and to have my brakes checked out... that's when they informed me of this problem. While up on the lift he showed me how my back tires are wobbly like they're not screwed on, but they were! Uuhhh what a piece. I only drive it to and from work, and I have no desire to throw $1300 into this piece of crap.. just waiting for it to die... which may be this week.

So it starts out sounding like you need to replace your rear brakes... but then you realize you're not hitting your brakes, you're driving forward, so then you check your e brake that you never use to see if some how that was activated (please ignore my horrible auto lingo), but then you see it is not on... hmmm... Now after a couple months it is all of a sudden sounding horrible!!! Really Bad Grinding.. YIKES! Like I said... pretty sure its gonna be this week, damn.

Also I just got 2 new front tires and Firestone pointed out my back tires are loose... the mechanic said he had also seen that a lot on this model.

I don't plan on fixing any of it honestly... due to gas prices and being a Ford it has NO value anyways. Just wish this big stuff would get recalled, not a stupid little metal parts on the lift gate that rusted out,

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #8

Jan 282010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

We have a 2002 Ford Explorer and we continue to have problems with the studs breaking off. We have talked to the Dealer and they say they havent heard of any problems. This has been going on for 2 years. My husband replced them, we have taken them to a tire place to replace them and to the dealer, which didnt have any studs in stock, but of course they havent heard of this problem. One of these times I am going to loose a tire and cause alot of damage and may hurt someone. I am so tired of this problem. But of course we cant afford to trade it in, my husband is not working. I shouldnt even have to think about it. Ford has poor customer service. This happened January 29,2010

- , Rockton, IL, USA

problem #7

Nov 252009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

This has happened 3 times.

1. While changing a flat tire, when the wheel was removed I noticed two studs completely sheared off. The tire was being held on by three studs. This did not cause the flat tire. I had a backyard mechanic replace the two studs. (2 years ago)

2. I backed out of my drive way and I heard a clicking sound, I continued to listen to the sound as I drove a short distance down my street, suddenly the back of the truck dropped. I slowly made it back home, the wheel was crooked and was being held in place by one stud, the other four sheared off. (1 year ago)

3. During a road trip, I struck a piece of tire debris on the highway, When i removed the tire I noticed two studs where missing, they had been sheared off. When i put the spare tire on a third stud broke. I contacted a tow truck, had it towed to the dealer, they informed me that the remaining two were weak so i ended up replacing all five studs. total cost about $400.00

- , Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #6

Oct 132009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


We have owned a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT for about two years now. Yesterday my husband was driving on a side street, thankfully at a slow speed, he turned a corner and realized that something was seriously wrong with the car, thought it was a flat tire. So he slowed down and started to pull over, he then looked out the window to see the tire rolling off the car and down the street. The rear driver-side tire fell off the car. It had sheared all 5 lug nuts off. If the tire were to fall off at high speeds this type of incident could cause serious injuries or death to the people in the vehicle and poses a serious threat to other drivers too. This happened to us about a year ago as well on the same tire. So, this is the second time the lug nuts have sheared off of the same wheel. The first time was under similar conditions - slow speed, turned at a stoplight, thought somethings was seriously wrong, then pulled over to discover the rear driver-side tire falling off of the vehicle, all five lug nuts were sheared off. We had no recent work on the tires or the vehicle that could have possibly loosened the lug nuts for either occurrence. To fix this failure we are having the car towed and the lug nuts replaced, again, along with the HUB panel (total $300) but I do not feel safe driving by myself or with our children in this car as the tire can just come off without warning. Also I searched the NHTSA (government) website there are eight other complaints filed for the same problem for 2002 model and seven similar complaints for the 2003 Explorer year and two for the 2004 year as well. Go to . You can also file a complaint on the website if you have had similar problems.

- , Rochester, MN, USA

problem #5

Jul 052009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My husband myself, and our 17 year old daughter, and her boyfriend were going to Indiana to see the progress on the restoration of our 63 Ford Galaxie. We had just pull off the Interstate Toll 80/90. We felt a rumbling like a flat. We all got out to check the tires NO FLAT. So my husband pulled forward while we watched the tires. We were shocked to see that the right rear tire was FALLING OFF!!!! Upon a closer look we had 3 wheel studs sheered right off at the wheel. We had to have it put on a flat the our to shop that was restoring our car. The discovered that not only was the studs broken but the springs BOTH SIDES were broken off. Mind you this is our passenger vehicle NO OFF ROADING NO KIDS DRIVING they have there own cars. This should NOT HAPPEN!! So when this was all said nad done it was $1300 with the fix plus the towe. Wonder how many have to die before this becomes a recall???? We have always owned Fords we have 8 now. We have NEVER had any problems like this. Grow Up Ford and admit there is a problem. I love my Explorer I just want it fixed so I can feel safe

- , Battle Creek, MI, USA

problem #4

Dec 252008

Explorer LHS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

the first incident was jan 2008 complete front end $1800 lucky no one killed this time after having the rear bearings replaced $600, my boy while out of town, the rear left wheel came off the officer who wrote the report said that if he hadn't hit the snow bank someone could have died we were lucky it didn't roll. Mech. didn't know why the wheel came off someone needs to answer questions. why so many incidents. years ago was it the tires they blamed or was it the way the car was built. We bought it for a retirement but now my wife is even afraid to drive it. didn't want to buy another car but looks like we will and you could bet the odds it won't be ford. had to have the hub rebuilt. Ford should be held responsible or are they goning to wait for someone to die and then claim they didn't know of the problem. three times I took the car in and was told that the noise was just the sound the big tires make but new bearings noise is gone.

- , Pinckney, MI, USA

problem #3

Feb 082008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,015 miles

was driving home on some twisty roads and felt what felt like the front end wobbling on right hand turns about a mile from home the left rear wheel flew off like a bullet at 55 mph in a sharp corner. Cost over $100 when I had to buy new studs, lug nuts, and pay for the tow home.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #2

Oct 012005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

I was driving with my children in a car when the wheel in the back simply began to fall off. The lug nuts were sheared off. No explanation. My husband replaced it and it has happened two more times.

Can't get another car at this time.

If something happens to me that causes injury to my family, it would seem that the Ford factory is at fault and would be subject to liability

Extremely Dangerous situation.!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Dublin, OH, USA

problem #1

Oct 012007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

While I was driving with students to school for a field trip, The rear wheel made a popping sound and the car went out of control and caused an accident.

The rear tire bolts had sheared off and this was a second occurrence.

I am told that it is a factory problem that causes it. But at this time no recalls have been made or notices to fix the vehicle.

They must be waiting for me to die and get sued.


- , Dublin, OH, USA

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