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:
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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Feb 132009


  • 84,000 miles


Rear bearings go out on vehicle while driving on the interstate - no crash occurred, but it very well could have in heavier traffic.

- Alma Center, WI, USA

problem #15

Feb 072009


  • 112,000 miles
I purchased a 2002 Explorer new late in 2001. Every wheel bearing has failed and now my passenger front has failed a second time so I am on my 3rd set of wheel bearings if you include the factory bearings and I only have 112K on the car. The bearings are clearly defective on these cars and if left alone are also a safety hazard.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #14

Jan 012009


  • 90,000 miles
Had to have both front wheel bearings replaced.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #13

Jan 232009


  • 62,000 miles


This 2002 Ford Explorer has only 62,153 miles and the wheel assembly hubs have failed. The problem is in the design of this part because it has no axle and is assemble to the frame by three bolts. If this part goes bad on the interstate and the wheel will come off, god help the driver and the people on the same path. This SUV needs to be recall!

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #12

Jul 172008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 75 mph, the contact heard a grinding sound coming from the rear of the vehicle. The mechanic stated that the noise was due to the routers from the brakes, and advised the contact not to worry. As the contact left the mechanic, the sound from the rear of the vehicle continued. The contact took the vehicle to another mechanic and was informed that the wheels were being held on by the brakes and the bearings were destroyed. After having the wheel bearings replaced one year later, the contact noticed that the tires had poor tread marks. The contact took the vehicle in for a wheel alignment and the mechanic informed the contact that two of the wheel bearings were destroyed. The current mileage was 75,000 and failure mileage was 60,000.

- Marion, OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Transmission in 2002 Ford Explorer failed w/O warning. Directly (3 days) after getting it back from transmission shop, both rear hub assemblies went. Again, seemingly overnight. My wife said, "it feels like the wheels are going to fall off." Service shop said, "it's a wonder the wheels didn't fall off." Did this thing just self-destruct or what? Ford needs to be held accountable for these untimely failures. I have three small children. Updated 06/25/08

- Perry, NY, USA

problem #10

Jun 012002


  • 20,000 miles


I have had 4 wheel bearing/hub assembly units fail on my 2002 Ford exployer. The first to go was after only 20K miles. The car now has ~70K miles and in the shop now for the same repair. A very costly repair and very dangerous situition. Ford will not even acknowledge it is a probelm but understand is has been an on-going problem with many customers.

- Navarre, FL, USA

problem #9

Aug 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 250,000 miles
A couple of years ago, my 2002 Ford Explorer 4.0 XLS started to make a roaring sound from the rear wheels and the gas mileage seemed to be a couple mpg less. I think I had about 25K miles at the time. I took it to the dealer and asked them to check it out, I thought it could be the bearings, they found nothing. I was very concerned since I was going to take my family on vacation... now, still concern I did an internet search seeing if anyone else was having the same problem. I found and now I am even more concerned. I think I am sitting on a time bomb. There were so many complaints, that I believe that there is truly a design flaw that needs to be corrected. I have had identical issues and I don't abuse the car. Could you please investigate before I end up in an accident? thank you.

- Vestal, NY, USA

problem #8

Feb 162008


  • 180,000 miles
Transmission shifted hard into 2nd gear from day one, took it to dealer and they said it was normal, whining in rear end also said normal. Had to replace 2 wheel bearings, 2 more bad now, replaced wheel hub, now transmission will not shift.

- Wheeling, WV, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Oct 082006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,300 miles


: the contact stated while driving 30 mph, a noise was heard and the rear driver wheel fell off. The vehicle was maneuvered off the road and towed to the dealer who could not determine the cause of the failure.

- Port Reading, NJ, USA

problem #5

Mar 152006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer, with 69.000 miles on it. In the last few months I have had to replace ever wheel bearing on my car, the wheel have come loose, and the bearing were scraping. The cost for the bearing and the labor was over $1,400, I am also have to replace my tires because of this, when I contacted Ford on this matter, there commit was "that is your problem it is out of warranty, there is no reason all 4 wheel bearing would have gone bad with no more miles than there is on the car. My concern is that the next person may not know in time that there is flaw in the bearings and may have a wheel come off. This should be a very big safety concern. This could cause someone there life. I hope I can get someone to listen before it is to late and causes a child's life. Thank you.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #4

Nov 232005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
We own a 2002 Ford Explorer. It was recently in the shop at 45K miles for a whining noise from the rear differential. The service guy said that they have had quite a few vehicles with this problem. The service manager said he was surprised it didn't start at 12K. We were told we needed to repair the rear differential ring and pinion in order to fix a leak and whining noise from the area. He said we would not necessarily see leaking fluid because it would leak while driving at higher speeds it is out of warranty and cost of 1300. We were also told that the rear wheel bearing is going out. $250 to repair this. The service guy also told me that until Ford came out with a different repair part he had needed to replace it several times on at least one Explorer. They had one in that day to repair other than mine if I am not mistaken.

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #3

Nov 192004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 78,980 miles
We have had the wheel bearings replaced twice, beginning in 11/04 @ 61,528miles, than it needed it again on 8/05 at 79,000 miles. We also had to overhaul the transmission at 79000 miles!

- Holly, MI, USA

problem #2

May 162003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
I noticed that the car was pulling to the side while driving and was making a strange noise coming from the right rear. When I took the vehicle in to have the brakes checked they informed me that the right rear wheel bearing was going bad and had almost a.5 inch of play. He was concerned that it was unsafe to drive on. We called our Ford dealer to arrange to have it fixed and they informed us that the tire could come off and and that they keep three of the replacement part in stock because it's a common problem with this vehicle. My husband called around to other dealers to get more information and every dealer knew exactly which wheel was having the problem before my husband even told them. They said it could definitely come off and that I shouldn't drive over 20 -25 mph on it. We are having the vehicle towed to the dealer to have it fixed today.

- Bridgeport, WV, USA

problem #1

Nov 042003


  • 50,000 miles
When stopping or slowing down, intermittently the vehicle stalled when turning left, there was a knocking sound coming from the front left wheel. The heat vents that blew directly on the consumer did not work. These problems have occurred at least three times in one month. The manufacturer and the dealer were not aware of the problem.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

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