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 1 of 3)

problem #56

Apr 272016

Explorer

  • 174,000 miles

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

Wheel studs breaking off & causing danger for my family, therefore making it unsafe for the family.many reports have been made about these particular vehicles.when im able I will get rid of both my Ford vehicles for my families safety & wellbeing.

- Plant City, FL, USA

problem #55

May 012015

Explorer

  • 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 #54

Aug 092014

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Was driving on the highway and felt a sharp jerk/pull to the right. At first thought it was a flat tire so got off on next exit. Wasn't a flat tire but could smell something awful. Made grinding sound and still had bad smell, knew we had to drive it back to the place we are staying at. Had hazard lights on and only drove 10-15 mph because of the sound and because of how scary it was. Knew something bad was happening to our car. Brakes at this point practically went out. Would not have to press brakes to stop vehicle at a red light, the car would just stop. Steering wheel was not even, but more or less 90 degrees to the right. Pulled into the neighborhood and into the driveway and a car leaving the street saw that our vehicle at this point was on fire! extinguish fire (since it was a gas fire) and looked at the damage. Looks like the front driver side wasn't even connected to anything. Do not know how or when fire started but the flames when we noticed were about 1 foot tall and wide by the internal driver side wheel.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #53

Apr 212012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 122,080 miles

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

I have replaced 8 wheel bearings on this auto. 4-21-12 I was on the hwy to the nearest big city towing a borrowed utility trailer, which is 90 miles from my home, and I am so fortunate that I did not loose my wheel. At the time, I thought it was my new tires but when I went to the dealer of my tires he showed me the play that my back wheel had and told me I was a very lucky girl that my tire didn't snap off. Fast forward and I have just replaced both back wheel bearing again with only 23,000 miles on the previous replaced bearing. 14,000 on the one before that! Ford you have a problem!!

- Electric City, WA, USA

problem #52

Mar 042013

Explorer

  • 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 #51

Mar 222013

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
I have only owned my 2002 Ford Explorer for a little over a year and I have had to replace the rear wheel bearings 3 times. Just today I have noticed that the left rear wheel bearing is going again and I just replaced both rear wheel bearings a month ago. This is very expensive and I'm am very disappointed in the quality.

- Polk, PA, USA

problem #50

Mar 142012

Explorer

  • 98,000 miles

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

I was driving my 2002 Ford Explorer about 25mph when I felt the rear end drop down. Pulled over to the side of the road and all 5 studs had sheared off. The second time it happened I was only backing out of my driveway when I put it into drive & started to accelerate the opposite side studs sheared off. This time only 4 studs broke so I limped the truck back onto my driveway. The third time this happened I was driving about 15mph going around a turn & 4 studs broke off again. If I was going any faster the truck could have flipped over.

- West Allis, WI, USA

problem #49

Dec 212012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 133,000 miles
Failure of rear wheel bearings on both sides. Time between onset of noise and near catastrophic failure was approximately 300 miles. Fearing a high probability that the front wheel bearings might fail without warning and possibly cause a serious accident and injuries, the only option was to incur the high cost to replace all four wheel bearings and related parts. This is a common problem with Ford Explorer across a wide range of model years and is clearly a manufacturing design defect. NHTSA has been made aware of this issue via a sufficient number of complaints from owners and must compel Ford Motor Company to issue a recall of all Ford Explorer beginning with model year 2002 or earlier. The recall rightfully must include full reimbursement for reasonable and customary repair costs incurred by owners after warranty expiration.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #48

Mar 062012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 98,600 miles
Rear passenger wheel started shaking. Stopped and removed wheel cover and found three wheel studs sheared off. Had to have vehicle towed to tire store. Replaced wheel, hub and all studs.

- Gooding, ID, USA

problem #47

Sep 182009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
I was on the highway doing 65 as posted, I started to feel shaking from the tires and it got to the point I couldn't control the vehicle, lucky I was able to get off the side of the highway and call aaa for a tow, a state police officer pulled behind me and said let me guess hub bearing. The police dept also has the same problem. This is my 8th repair I am doing and next week I am doing the opposite side. It is costing me $600 dollars for every side I am doing. I made a complaint to Ford company and they told me there is no recall. Then why is my mechanic telling me he gets numerous repair jobs on the same vehicles. Plus I spoke to a co worker that has the same year and vehicle doing the same thing. When is something going to get done. Or is the company going to wait till someone gets killed. BBB and bluminthau was told about and still no response from no body.

- Waterbury, CT, USA

problem #46

Nov 072011

Explorer

  • 112,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving 60 mph when the rear passenger side tire detached from the vehicle. The contact discovered that there were three lug nuts that had become loose and caused the failure. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic to have the wheel replaced. Less than one month later, the contact noticed that the lug nuts had become loose again. The contact stated that the lug nuts were becoming loose from the vibration of the vehicle. The contact did not take the vehicle to the dealer for diagnostics or repairs. The failure mileage was 112,000. The VIN was not available.

- Newport, DE, USA

problem #45

Dec 152011

Explorer

  • 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 #44

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

problem #43

Oct 102011

Explorer

  • 146,000 miles
For the sixth time since 2009, I was driving and heard what sounded like a pop. My boyfriend noticed my right rear tire wobbling. I knew immediately a stud or studs had broken. When he popped off the cap, two studs were literally snapped at the bolt, clean break. This has happened six other times, one in which my tire was hanging on by one stud and nearly caused me to wreck into a telephone pole. I thought it was my mechanic making error after error but could never find an issue. Now, after doing some extensive research, I see it is Ford error. This is a life threatening issue. I have spent thousands of dollars getting new rotors, new tires, etc. Thinking this was it. Clearly it's not. Ford needs to either reimburse or recall the vehicles. I'm done.

- York, PA, USA

problem #42

Jun 142011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 159,000 miles
You need to seriously look into recalling all 2002 Ford Explorer for potentially dangerous wheel and hub assemblies. This happened on multiple occasions. The first time it happened, it happened in August 2008. I just moved into my dorm, and I had to go home for a little while. I was on the Pennsylvania turnpike, and my truck began swerving to the point that I had no control over it, and I had to pull over. When I got out, I pulled the lug cover off the rear passenger side wheel to find that four of the five lugs were snapped. I had to pay $400 to have it towed, and when it got to the garage, they found that the wheel bearings and hub were damaged. The next time it happened, it happened on the driver's side rear wheel, and, again, the lugs snapped and they found the hub and wheel bearings to be the cause of it. This was about a month after the first incident. The third incident involved both front wheels, but luckily only the wheel bearings and hubs were damaged and my wheels stayed in place. This happened about November of 2010. In January of 2011, the rear went again. This time it was in the middle of a snow storm, so I had to wait in the freezing cold for two hours until the tow truck could come. Currently, my vehicle is sitting in a garage to have yet another wheel bearing replaced because it has failed. In total, in the last two years, the rear wheel bearings have been replaced three times each and the front wheels have now been replaced two times each. Every time it happens, it feels as though you are driving on ice, and the vehicle eventually gets to the point where it cannot be controlled any longer. I've had numerous incidents where I've began to fishtail. Every time it goes to the garage, they put it on the lift and the wheels just dangle there. The mechanic, one time, kicked it and it fell off. He did this to show how close I was to a major accident. These vehicles need to be recalled and equipped with superior parts. Ford will eventually kill someone.

- Meyersdale, PA, USA

problem #41

Jan 262011

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
I have had to have the rear differential changed and both wheel bearings. The problem occurred at 80000 miles for me but is so wide spread in this make and model that it occurs over and over.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #40

Sep 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
Chrome wheels disintegrating. Was told by dealer that it was cosmetic at the time. Now the aluminum has become porous and I believe it to be a safety issue.

- Scituate, MA, USA

problem #39

Jul 112010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
We own a 2002 Ford Explorer. It has approximately 56,000 miles on it to date. We took it into the mechanic for an annual inspection and were told that 3 of the 4 wheel bearing assemblies needed to be replaced. We had been hearing a loud, almost grinding noise, while driving. These assemblies, being of poor quality, mean 3 of the 4 wheels on our vehicle were loose. I see a very large number of complaints online regarding this particular issue. Very dangerous.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #38

May 062010

Explorer

  • 110,000 miles
Apparently there is a problem with the hubs and bearings on the 2002 Ford Explorer. I have a "rubbing sound", had it checked, and was told I have to replace them. It is approximately, $1000 (lowest I could find) to replace them. Ford is aware of the problem, there is a technical service bulletin issued by Ford (tsb 05-25-8, and 051710) which clearly describes the bearing issue to mechanics. Unfortunately Ford refused to address the issue.

- Bellflower, CA, USA

problem #37

Feb 162009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Left rear wheel bearing failed doing 65mph, wheel lost stability, almost lost control of the car. Right rear wheel bearing also failed 5/3/2010.

- Southampton, PA, USA

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