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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,798 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 wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Jan 032010

Explorer

  • 15,500 miles

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

Discovered the rear hub bearings on my Ford 2002 Explorer were totally gone, in January 2010, started with a loud roar in the back of the vehicle. The auto mechanic stated that the wheel was very dangerous and was about to come off this car. I had the repair work done immediately, then today, May 3 2010 noticed the same roar, the auto shop deemed it the same issue, the rear hub bearings were replaced again on May 3. this has to be stopped, this problem could be very dangerous. Fmc needs to own up to the problem. I was lucky today, the Jan 2010 repair was under an extended warranty, but I might not be as lucky the next time. I just pray it's a safe vehicle to drive.

- Jenkinsburg, GA, USA

problem #35

Apr 212010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
Ford 2002 Explorer XLT limited. I have had a myriad of issues, which upon research appear common to the extreme. Front & rear bearings have been replaced multiple times. Springs had to be replaced. Now the transmission is slipping -- O/D light blinks, ses light activates, and vehicles over-revs, slips, and will not operate in overdrive. The transmission design is completely sealed, so I cannot even check for fluid levels, nor do any preventive maintenance whatsoever. There is no warning, just failure. Issues with this model year are so prevalent that local mechanics need only ask the model and year and can itemize the problems I have experienced, and public forums are full of similar complaints. Ford needs to recall this model year.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #34

Oct 282009

Explorer

  • 140,000 miles
My first occurrence was approximately Sept 2008 when I pulled into a driveway and felt an odd bump upon leaving the vehicle was wobbling when I stopped and took the cap off of the lug nuts I noticed the studs where broken on the drivers side rear. Thought we had it fixed by having the studs replaced. Wrong about 2 months later it happened again. Was told the hub and bearing needed replaced so we replaced them. Upon inspection the passenger side rear had started doing the same thing. So we replaced that side as well. That lasted about 4 months and we went to have new tires put on the vehicle the mechanic said that our bearings were bad again and needed replaced. So we did replace them. About 4 months later it started all over again with the studs breaking off. In one incident I lost all lug nuts but one on the drivers side at once with my kids in the vehicle. This is a serious problem for my family being that we depend on this vehicle and cant afford another but yet can't find why this problem isn't and apparently cant' be fixed. I've done everything the garage has told me to do. The local Ford dealer says my problem is that I'm not putting good quality Ford parts in there from them. Can any one help. Upon research I have found that there are others with the same type of vehicle having the same problem. I have never owned a vehicle that has done this.

- Spencer, WV, USA

problem #33

Jan 282010

Explorer

  • 89,000 miles

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

Took the truck into have a vibration and noise checked out coming from the rear of the vehicle. Turned out to be a failure of passenger rear knuckle assembly and wheel bearing. Went on car complaints.com to see if a recall was issued for this. There were report of the same type of failure with the wheels actually coming off.

- New Britain, CT, USA

problem #32

Dec 292009

Explorer

  • 103,000 miles
In 03/2008 I went in thinking I had brake problem and ended up with a right rear wheel bearing replaced. I was told this is a common problem on this year and model Ford. Now its 12/2009 and I have the same noise, I go to the dealer and tell him I think its the left front bearing and after further inspection they say the noise was coming from the left front but the left rear is about ready to fall off. I am glad I went to get the truck checked before it fell off at 65 mph on I80. I could have been killed. I have researched online and there have been many incidents with the wheel bearings/hubs on 2002 Ford Explorer they know there is a problem and Ford is not fixing it. What does it take to get the problem recalled" accidents with deaths"

- Hickory Hills, IL, USA

problem #31

Oct 122009

Explorer

  • 135,000 miles
Wheel bearing failed, was left stranded in snow outside jackson, wy. No warning of failure.

- Garfield, AR, USA

problem #30

Dec 042009

Explorer

  • 85,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer, replaced front left and left rear wheel bearings. Now the right rear bearing is going out. Mechanics at Ford dealership said its a common problem. Ford needs to recall these.

- Elk Point, SD, USA

problem #29

Dec 012009

Explorer

  • 90,000 miles
Faulty bearings and hub in 2002 Ford Explorer. Apparently, a very common problem.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #28

Feb 212007

Explorer

  • 64,869 miles
This complaint is concerning the wheel bearings on all 2002 Ford Explorer and the frequency in which they break or come lose causing lose of control of the vehicle. This has happened on my vehicle on 5 occasions, the last of which Ford refuses to replace at their cost due to it being out of warranty. The first incident happened in February 2007 when my right front bearing broke while I was on an highway overpass driving at approximately 60 mph and almost lost control of my vehicle as the wheel nearly comes off when this happens and the vehicle jerks. The truck was towed into the dealership for repair. The second incident happened in January 2008 when my left front wheel bearing broke. This time I was thankfully not on the expressway but once again the vehicle was towed into the dealership for repair as it was not drivable. When the vehicle was in for repair this time I requested that the rear bearings be checked and replaced if necessary and it was found that those two bearings also needed replacement. Now, in October 2009, once again my front left wheel bearing is lose and needs to be replaced. I called Ford regarding the possibility that the bearings are faulty and that someone is going to be killed due to this issue but the customer service center just says to make a complaint. They also will not cover the cost of the repair as it is out of their 12 month or 12,000 mile warranty period. I have started researching this issue and have found 28 pages of complaints from people having the same issue and this is just one website. This seems to be a common occurrence with the bearings on 2002 Explorer. This is supposed to be a sealed factory part that usually does not require repair and I am on my fifth repair. I am concerned for my own safety and the safety of others.

- St. Clair Shores, MI, USA

problem #27

Oct 202009

Explorer

  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 15 mph the wheels locked; which caused the vehicle to stop without prior warnings. The vehicle was taken to the dealership, but the technician could not duplicate the failure. The current and failure mileages were 59000.

- Westminister, CO, USA

problem #26

Mar 102009

Explorer

  • miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer(XLS)one by one each wheel(bearing) hub had to be replaced!the wheels on my truck were actually about to fall off it was scary and very dangerous! it starts out with a squeaking sound like the brakes need to be replaced but no it wasn't the brakes which repairs and parts together range from $60 to $90 it was the wheel bearing which repairs and parts together range from $300 to $400!I had to get every wheel repaired one by one within 6 months so you do the math.also my (od)light flickers and my transmission slips and jumps in to gear!!!

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #25

Oct 132009

Explorer

  • 92,000 miles
We have owned a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT for about two years now. On October 13, 2009 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 the 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 pose a threat to other drivers as well. This is not the first time it has happened either. About a year ago the lug nuts sheared off of the same wheel, we thought the first time was a freak accident but it was under similar conditions - slow speed, turned at a stoplight, thought something was seriously wrong, then pulled over to discover the rear driver-side tire falling off of the vehicle, all lug nuts were sheared off. We had no recent work on the tires or the vehicle that could have possibly loosen the lug nuts for either occurrence. To fix this failure we are having the car towed and the lug nuts replaced, again, along with a panel that was damaged by the tire coming off. I do not feel safe driving this car especially with our children as the tire can just come off without warning. Also, as I searched the NHTSA website there are eight other complaints filed for the same problem for 2002 model Explorer and seven similar complaints for the 2003 Explorer year and two for the 2004 year as well. This needs to be investigated! I also found on the www.carcomplaints.com website other peoples experiences with the same problem in Ford Explorer for the years 2002, 2003, and 2004. Please look into this, it is a serious defect! -

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #24

Jul 272009

Explorer

  • 116,000 miles
I have had troubles with the wheel ends on my Ford since I bought it in 2005. I didn't realize the problems that I am having are common in this vehicle. I started noticing more brake dust on some of the wheels than others. Then on my rear/passengers tire I hear a squeaking, grinding noise with a little wabble in the wheel. Take it back to the dealer -said they grinded something down. Didn't hear the noise anymore. My ABS light kicks on won't go off has something to do with defect in wheel end assembly apparently. Paid $150 to get it off comes right back on weeks later!! my entire wheel end almost falls off while on the hwy. Pull over all 4 studs had come completely off of the wheel except 1, the wheel was literally hangin. Had to have all studs replaced. Have had to have wheel studs replaced frequently at some point on all four tires. Paid to have rear passenger wheel bearings replaced finally $300+. front, drivers wheel bearings went out while driving 70-80 mph on hwy, loss control, barely made it off hwy in the middle of nowhere! 1-2months later front passengers wheel bearings go bad have to be replaced-$300+ each time. Had front brakes & rotors replaced March '07, rear brakes & rotors Jan '08. This month Sept '09 had to have rear brakes & rotors replaced. Could only afford to have brake pads replaced. Only put 30,000miles on it since had B/R changed in '08. Why am I having to have them both changed a year later. Something in the wheel end assembly is causing increased wear & tear on rear brakes, rotors and everything else! now my brake pads are burning insanely crazy, alot of smoke comes from the wheel. New brake pads shouldn't burn that fast even with somewhat bad rotors. (that shoudn't be bad), have to go back to the shop this week. All are common issues apparently. Please review link w/complaints on this 02 model. & they tell me my ball joints are going out! thank you. www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Explorer/2002/wheels_hubs/wheel_bearing_failure.shtml.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #23

May 012008

Explorer

  • 26,000 miles
I heard a humming sound coming from the front tires about a year ago. I thought it was the tires humming because I had a brake job and tires rotated and I noticed the humming some time after that. Now I find out it wasn't tires but the wheel hub bearings went bad in the front. It is at the dealer now being repaired.

- Broad Channel, NY, USA

problem #22

Jun 272009

Explorer

  • 84,100 miles
I had been told that my drivers side bearing was going bad and had it fixed and my car was still making a funny noise but was told by the mechanic that it was my brakes going bad and that they would need replaced, so we went and bought brakes and rotors to put on ourselves. As we were putting them on we noticed that my wheel was close to falling off!!! now we have to replace the bearing in the passenger side rear and also the axel shaft. What if my wheel had came off and killed my 3 small children and my husband and I?

- Hannastown, PA, USA

problem #21

May 202009

Explorer

  • 91,000 miles
Flat tire; after taking tire off I noticed that the coil spring was broken in half and the wheel bearing was bad, causing the wheel to wobble. There was no apparent reason for the part failures. After consulting others with the same vehicle type this is a very common problem for 2002 Ford Explorer - wheel bearings and coil spring failure. Ford may want to recall these before it causes accidents.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #20

Mar 132009

Explorer

  • 50,000 miles
Wheel hubs especially the rear - constantly going bad usually 12 months or less- rear differential vented with hose over rear tire. Causes water to get into gears - major problem. I keep catching the problem but only because I now look for them but it has been close - recently I had to have it taken to the repair site as it was too dangerous to drive.

- Jerome, MI, USA

problem #19

Sep 292008

Explorer

  • 68,000 miles
Purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer for my 17 yr old daughter. A few weeks later she drove home from college and said she thought it needed an alignment because car vibrating. She had scheduled an appointment to have this done. A couple days later she was driving at 70 mph on the interstate when her and the passenger heard a loud noise in the back passenger side of the car. The car than began to shake very hard and loose control. She could not keep on the road and rolled across the interstate and into the median. The rear passenger side tire had broken off the car. Thankfully there was no traffic and the two survived the crash with non life threatening injuries. I can only hope the next person this happens to is as lucky. Upon researching this problem on the internet I realized this seems to be a common cause of accidents with this type of vehicle. What is it going to take to make Ford recall and fix this issue. How many people have to be hurt or killed? I hope this is addressed before someone else is injured.

- Wheeling, WV, USA

problem #18

Mar 202009

Explorer

  • 102,000 miles
I recently had to have the bearings replaced due to problems that many have experienced with the same make, model, and respective years. Once the bearings were replaced I noticed more issues with the "slipping" transmission that many many many more have already lodged complaints against. What is being done" when can we expect answers"

- Cambridge, MD, USA

problem #17

Mar 052008

Explorer

  • 122,250 miles
Felt a wobble while driving, found out that the right front wheel bearing is out. Had to order a front wheel bearing and hub assembly. If bearing went out while driving, the wheel will come off. This could result in an accident and possible death. Ford is aware of the issue but declines to take action.114 other complaints listed at carcamplaints.com/Ford/Explorer/2002/wheels_hubs/wheel_bearing_failure.shtml.

- El Dorado Springs, MO, USA

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