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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
95,915 miles
Total Complaints:
78 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace coil spring (62 reports)
  2. replace coil spring yourself (10 reports)
  3. not sure (3 reports)
  4. replaced both rear strut assemblys (3 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer suspension problems

suspension problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #58

Nov 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles


2nd time in 365 days of getting this fixed!!!!!!!!!

This is my first purchase of a Ford vehicle and the last purchase too and I have so many family members that have retired from there and some still are employed there, but I will not even think about buying another Ford product again.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #57

Nov 142010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

1st time I replaced the pass. side coil spring.

This is my first purchase of a Ford vehicle and the last purchase too and I have so many family members that have retired from there and some still are employed there, but I will not even think about buying another Ford product again.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #56

Dec 272010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Just went today to have it looked at and was told it would cost around $400... still looking around to see if I can find it cheaper. Would do it myself if I knew how. It's my boyfriends car and he just spent a couple hundred to have the brakes fixed, then this less than a week after. It just broke all of a sudden.. no obvious reason. If this is such a common problem for this year, make and model, why isn't there anything done about it? ridiculous.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #55

Feb 022006

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


So yea the cheap @ss rear springs like to crack and rust through and if you're driving when they crack (assuming you would be like I was) the coil likes to pop and cut into your tire! Lovely!!! RECALL THIS POS!!!

- , Severna Park, MD, USA

problem #54

Oct 022010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Ford will not recall their vehicles even though they know they have a problem with bad transmissions, 8.8" irs differential, wheel bearings, broken springs. I understand Ford is an assembler of vehicles as they don't make each part in their cars, BUT they are RESPONSIBLE for choosing to assemble their vehicles with the cheapest and least reliable parts from THEIR parts suppliers!

- , Park Ridge, IL, USA

problem #53

Mar 152010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Took the car in for new tires and was told the rear springs were broken. The cost would be around $1000. The car is only worth about $3000, I decided not to fix. Ford was no help, too many miles. Last Ford I will ever buy.

- , Groton, MA, USA

problem #52

Sep 222010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles


Coil spring cracked at the top. I tried to do the repair myself. Word to the wise: unless you have a lift and spring compressor don't do it. The labor was $140 at the shop. Trying to take off the strut with a broken spring is a pain in the a**. Also, you have to replace both sides and just buy the quick strut instead of just replacing the spring.

- , Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #51

Feb 092010

Explorer XLT 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,465 miles

I too like many others have this same problem with the springs coming off. I feel that this is a manufacturing problem and they should fix the problem.

- , Blue Island, IL, USA

problem #50

Nov 112009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Wife took the car in for a recall on the cruise control under the hood. Ford came back and said both rear springs were broken and need to be replaced immediately.

She asked, "Rear coil springs are not under the hood are they? Why were you under my Explorer?" No answer to that. Ford knows that it is a problem so they find it an easy way to make extra money at the dealership. Meanwhile the car is unsafe and must be recalled. I have complained to Ford and they tell me that I am the only one with this issue. I have searched sites on the internet and everybody else seems to know but Ford.

- , Doylestown, PA, USA

problem #49

Jul 092010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

I was surprised that so many other people have reported this and wonder how many haven't. What does it take to get a recall for Ford?

- , Oakdale, NY, USA

problem #48

Jul 022010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


Same unbelievable spring issue as others on this site... I've also noticed that the right spring goes first, (which happened to me as well).... then upon inspection the issue with the left spring is found......strange????? This has been a hugh pain in the A** for me. I am a single mother who has no ties to a trusted machanic....My SUV has sat now for over five days b/c I am afraid to drive it and I have NO other vehicle..... The right spring has fallen to pieces and the left is all crumpled 2gether at the top....The right spring went out when I was 50 miles away from home.... I drove it home b/c I had no choice, when I got off my exit the vehicle swayed due to the broken spring......I cannot believe this is not a recall............I HATE FORD and WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER...... I've had my share of issues with this vehicle and I'M SICK OF IT.......................

- , Scottsburg, IN, USA

problem #47

May 122010

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,278 miles

I was driving down the road when i heard a loud noise come from the back of my truck i stopped cause i thought something fell off, i didn't see anything so i took my truck home i started looking under my truck to find my rear coil springs were completely broken on both sides. I'm not real happy about this! I feel there should be a recall on this because the more i look into this there is a lot more people that have the same problem.

- , New Castle, PA, USA

problem #46

Mar 302010

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear coil spring failure

I saw right/rear spring busted after I heard a creak. Alright, no biggie. I spent some time finding a complete strut/spring assembly, and Monroe sells one in their Quick-Strut line. The procedure was a pain, until I learned to just disconnect the lower control arm from the hub/sway bar and pry it down with a jack. Then you can BARELY get a fully extended strut in the car. Don't bother with a spring compressor, just drop the arm. I got both struts, on sale, at Advance for about $305, then I needed a 13mm box end ratcheting wrench to get the strut tower nuts off. So, all in all about $325 to fix and TEN hours. Those strut tower nuts drove us crazy as they are lock nuts and turn hard the WHOLE way!!! Anyway, I found the other side busted too. You can see in the pics they were busted up pretty bad. All in all, it rides NO different than with the busted springs now, maybe an inch higher, but feels the same. I got rid of the creak though. I didn't see it as dangerous as much as it was inconvenient. The thing I WILL REALLY gripe about is the nut/bolt sizes. I mean they are EVERYWHERE...13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, 19mm and larger (I switch to SAE 12points at that point). I mean really, who uses 16mm?!?!? I don't even have 16mm, it's not even in sets! That was frustrating!

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #45

Apr 262010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

My friend told me that her dealership said her rear springs were cracked and needed to be replaced at a costs of 800.00 dollars, I checked with a mechanic I know and then he looked at my Explorer and said mine is also cracked at the top but the struts were fine and he said to replaced both of them would costs around $300.00, far cry from 800, she was a female by herself. My mech said these fords are noted for this problem. I will get it reparied cuz I plan on keeping it for a while.

- , Osceola, IN, USA

problem #44

Mar 142009

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

When I drove over bumps I noticed how much the car would bounce up and down, I went into the dealer with whom I had an extended warranty he told me that I needed to replace the rear coil spring because it had broken, they wanted to charge me 1700. I asked them how did this problem happen, he told me if I had gone off-roading I live in the city and barely put more than 4k miles a yr on my vehicle, so how did the spring break- when I went to my mechanic he informed me that Explorers that have 50 or 60k miles on it the rear coil spring breaks and in fact that Ford changed the design in 2004 after learning of these problems, I am wondering why it is not an issue for the NTSB as this is dangerous- can we say Toyota

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #43

Apr 092010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The loudest most annoying noise ever. Mechanic not very honest- just added to the problem.

- , White Oak, PA, USA

problem #42

Nov 182009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

both springs broke, we drove for about 5000 miles and then had the struts replaced with the springs. it is an expensive job b/c the suspension in back is complex.

- , Windham, NH, USA

problem #41

Apr 012010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,386 miles

This is just about THE WORST CAR EVER MADE... In replacing the wheel bearings, for the 3rd time, I noticed that the coil springs are collapsed into each other. Does that mean that I have the factory lowering kit? What about the 3rd seat that we hardly ever use? Is it useless to have the factory towing kit as well? I am definitely, IN, on any class action suit... I just thought it was a fluke that the transmission went, literally days after I purchased this vehicle.. It was brought to my good friend's transmission shop and he told me that the transmission he pulled from my vehicle was a re manufactured one, and the warranty company only authorized a used transmission with about the same mileage. That irritated me.. Then the timing chain guide broke a couple years later... This in turn caused the chain to shave off enough timing cover particles to plug up the oil screen in the motor. That was an expensive repair...a new $7,000 motor. Kind of a blessing in disguise though, found a cracked intake manifold during motor swap. Thank heavens I caught that. Meanwhile, both front electric window motors have failed, The factory 6 disc CD changer has broke, and now I have an EGR code. Just another part to purchase and install.. Wish the economy would pick up so I can find work.. Maybe I should work for FORD.. Apparently you don't need an engineering degree to design cars there.THIS IS THE LAST FORD I EVER PURCHASE... I will advise ALL I can, NOT to purchase a FORD.... EVER... They will not back up their product.. OH... I did receive the recall on the hatch hinges and the cruise control wire... They NEED to keep printing recalls on this vehicle like Toyota did, and crush them before the death tolls rise.. Will Smith had it right... FORD P.O.S.

- , Northbridge, MA, USA

problem #40

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Sent vehicle in for annual inspection. Mechanic told me BOTH rear springs are broken and need to be replaced. He suggested that both rear shocks be replaced also. Cost of parts alone from FORD - $407.26. I'm not happy.

- , Dickson City, PA, US

problem #39

Oct 082008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

While getting new tires put on, my mechanic noticed a coil spring was broken about in the middle. I was about to go on vacation. I told him we'd fix after the vacation. While my daughter was on her way to pick me up from the airport, she reported that she heard a loud crack when she hit a pothole. It was the second rear coil spring. Needless to say, when I took it to the shop, I had to replace both coil springs. That could be really dangerous!

- , Celina, OH, USA

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