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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 steering problems

steering problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jul 222002


  • miles


Consumer states while driving the steering wheel locked and vehicle stalled. Consumer is not able to unlock steering wheel and vehicle will not start.

- Rockwell, TX, USA

problem #2

Feb 032002

(reported on)


  • miles
This vehicle has been in the service department 3 times since September 2001. The steering column has been replaced, the wheel bearings have been replaced(this was suppose to eliminate steering column rattle) and the lower control arm has been replaced. I still hear and feel a metallic rattle coming from the steering column. In my review of your website other 2002 Explorer owners are experincing the same problem. I have talked to at least three other owners that have the same problem. My dealer has done everything recommended by Ford, but nothing has solved the problem. Ford is "working on it". they have been working on it since September 2001. My safety concern is this. If something is loose that is causing this noise it has to be progressing. What will happen after more mileage builds on this vehicle" will I be driving down the highway one day and lose control due to steering failure? there is to much smoke here for that not to be fire sooner of later by my Explorer or some other owner. How long does it take for a company the size of Ford to solve a problem"

- Eastman, GA, USA

problem #1

May 292001


  • miles
There is a noise that sounds like something is loose in steering column. Made an appointment with dealer, and dealer refused to fix vehicle because it was not purchased there.

- Fairfield, CT, USA

Not what you are looking for?