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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,009 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 suspension problems

suspension 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 (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Aug 162007


  • 80,000 miles


Noise and fluid leakage in rear diagnosed by local mechanic as failing wheel bearing and differential seal. Replaced differential seal and one rear wheel bearing at 57,000 miles. At 69,000 replaced one front wheel bearing because of noise. At 80,000 mechanic reported that both rear springs had corroded at their upper ends and cracked through. Both these issues are common on 2002 models based on the number of complaints in the data base.

- Uxbridge, MA, USA

problem #53

Jun 012008


  • 93,000 miles
Rear hub bearings shot and very costly to repair. This is happening on 2002 Ford Explorer in great numbers and should be resolved by a recall. Please refer to where among others complaints regarding this issue are posted.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #52

Jun 172008


  • 52,120 miles
Severe wheel bearing issues since day one. Hub assembly made loud noise and the wheels may have fell off because of poor design of bearing assembly. Mathews Ford assured us it was normal for 4X4 Explorer to make such noise, and have not revisited the problem from 2002 until now. Bearings were checked on routine maintenance on June 17 2008 and were found to be failing according to mathews Ford mechanic. At 52,000 miles the front wheel bearings and spindle were replaced due to this defect.

- Castalia, OH, USA

problem #51

Jan 012008


  • miles


We own a 2002 Ford Explorer that we purchased used with 40,000 miles on it. Since purchase we have had 3 power window motors go bad, both rear bearings replaced, the back door panel is cracked, the A/C doesn't work, and now it looks as if the transmission is going bad. If so many people with this vehicle have all the same problems how can there be no recall?

- Ephrata, PA, USA

problem #50

Jun 102008


  • 56,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer- a nightmare of problems that keep getting worse. It has 56K miles on it and I am about to replace the transmission. Fuel pump, 2 rear springs, 2 wheel bearings and the drivers side window motor have already been replaced. Neither of the 2 rear windows roll down and the back hatch lift replace on recall is broken yet again. This is the biggest hunk of junk on 4 wheels. Ford needs to do something. Thank god I didn't buy it new because that really would have been a rip off.

- Rome, NY, USA

problem #49

Feb 052008


  • 59,000 miles
All four wheel bearings needed replaced on my 02' Ford Explorer prematurely in my opinion and this seems to be a common complaint on internet chat rooms and web sites. The rear wheel bearings can be dangerous when they fail due to the tire wobbling on the axle without warning. These repairs are extremely expensive also and hard to do for the average person if they want to save money.

- Elizabethtown, PA, USA

problem #48

Jun 032008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


Well, the wife bought this pre owned 2002 Ford Explorer. 10 months ago. We started getting road noise after an oil change and tire rotation. I thought the noise was coming from the rear tires being cupped, and placed on the front. We let that go, I then told the wife to go get new tires. They tell here afterwards, that both rear coil springs are broken, and would be $660 dollars to fix. So I told her, to just bring the Explorer to me, ill fix it. So after a day of web searches I find this is a common problem for this make and model, just like the man at tireman said. And these coil springs are of course made in china. This could be very dangerous, I always felt the rear end sway when going over speed bumps at 10 mph. And never knew the springs were broken for almost a year. And nobody else I read about online knew, until a mechanic told them after other repairs were being done. I just hope this doesn't cost someone their life changing lanes one the expressway, going 65 mph from the rear end getting sloppy and rolling over. All because Ford put cheap rear coil spring on their Explorer. If U search Ford coil springs, it looks like all their makes and models have this major problem. This could be Firestone tires all over again for Ford.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #47

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 #46

Apr 212008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Failure of wheel bearings, causing lack of control and possible wheel loss.

- Wildwood, MO, USA

problem #45

Apr 282008


  • 67,000 miles
Wheel bearing failure on Ford Explorer 2002.

- Mahwah , NJ, USA

problem #44

Jan 012007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


On my 2002 Ford Explorer SUV I have had to replace 3 of the 4 wheel bearings and hub assemblies(approx $250 each), with the 4th not far behind. I have also had to replace the 4-wheel drive module(approx $400-$500). I have had problems with the rear window motors going bad and having to replace these too. The air conditioning unit has stopped working. The passenger air bag dummy light has come on for no reason. The seat belt warning chime often comes on and will not go off, even though you have buckled your seat belt. You have to slam the buckle into place for it to go off and sometimes this does not work either. The transmission is now making a lovely clunking sound when shifting from park to drive and when you try to put it back into park, it does not want to. You have to put it up to park as far as it will go then go back to neutral and then into park from there. We have replaced the emergency brake shoes on both sides because they were completely worn off even though we do not use the E-brakes. These problems are just piling up one after another. I went to an internet site that has complaints about vehicles and found that there are hundreds of others with the same problems on their 2002 Ford Explorer of all kinds (XL, eddie bauer, special edition, etc.). why hasn't Ford done any recalls for these problems" does it require multiple injuries or even death for them to take responsibility??"

- Monroeville, OH, USA

problem #43

Apr 182002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,535 miles
2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer 4L V6 auto trans I had my Explorer into the dealer for an oil change last January and they mentioned that my right rear wheel seal was leaking and needed to be changed but not right away. I waited for the next oil change in April and scheduled it in for a wheel seal replacement -- $190. No mention of any problems with the rear end. Not 90 miles later I hear a loud crunching sound and managed to limp back to the dealer to find out that the same right rear hub they just replaced the seal on has a bad bearing/hub. They replaced the hub and bearing at a cost of $899 ($533 parts). Given the Explorer history of problems with the right rear wheel (Firestone blowouts) causing rollover accidents I think Ford would take this problem seriously. If having a tire fail can lead to rollover accidents imagine what happens when you lose the entire wheel!

- Maple Grove, MN, USA

problem #42

Apr 152008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,630 miles
Wheel hub and bearing bad.

- Clinton, PA, USA

problem #41

Feb 032008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,780 miles
I bought my 2002 Ford Explorer in Jan 08, it is now April 08 and I have already replaced the R front wheel bearing, and both rear wheel bearings. It has cost me around $1,200 and it only has 60,000 miles on it. Once a month I am putting more money into something that I believe should have been a recall. I can count more than 60 complaints about this problem on this particular year and model of vehicle and it amazes me that Ford Motor Company is so naive to such a dangerous problem. Are they really insensitive enough to wait until someone dies or gets injured from this? I believe that whatever parts they used when manufacturing these vehicles were defective and I am to do whatever it takes to make them see, even if it means getting a lawyer. Between all of us out there I believe we would have a pretty good case if we all get together. So anyone who sees this most recent complaint and agrees with me, I can be contacted at (865)-585-6874 which is my cell number, or you can E-mail me at and my name is fayann manning. Awaiting everyone else's call who feel like they have been screwed over!!!

- Bethel, VT, USA

problem #40

Feb 152008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles
This is my wife's vehicle so I do not drive it often. When I did I noticed the loud roar and asked how long it had been there. She said a couple months. I replaced 3 of the 4 wheel bearings. Had I not drove it myself the wheels could have fallen off!!! she has my two children in there also. Thanks Ford!! this is not an old vehicle. Less than 80,000 miles. If there is no recall on these bearings and someone gets killed I hope Ford is sued so bad they go under. Recall your piece of crap bearings like you should.

- Barboursville, WV, USA

problem #39

Feb 052007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT- all four wheel bearing have gone bad within 1 year. This is a known problem with owners and dealers. This year and model of Ford Explorer has bad bearings and hub assemblies. Ford is happy to collect the hundreds of dollars it cost owners to replace these faulty parts but will not do anything to fix the issue. One bearing actually broke on my vehicle and now I am afraid to drive it because I do not want to be stranded somewhere. I have a front and rear bearing out again.

- Hager City, WI, USA

problem #38

Feb 262008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
This is my second Ford vehicle with only 80K miles and on both, all wheel bearings have had failure. And on more than one occasion for a single bearing. It is very costly to repair these defects at approximately $500 per wheel, and is an obvious mechanical and safety hazard. Twice I have been stranded on the highway with a child in the car because the wheel has almost came off. Consumers should not have to repair these defects at their expense to have them continually fail over again. I would like to see to the possibility of a class action lawsuit against Ford if they cannot agree to a recall, since there are certainly well enough people with these problems. I have lost any and all interest in this manufacturer and will not consider an american made car in the future.

- Reynoldsburg, OH, USA

problem #37

Oct 152007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
The noise was the indication of a problem, took the car in for noise coming from the wheels. Was told by Ford garage all four wheel bearings needed to be replaced I was very shocked. When Ford mechanic said this was a recurring problem and common in this year and model I was angry. Not soon after that the four wheel drive module went out and needed replaced. This car is five years old with at the time 82,000 miles on it. Now the transmission is slipping. Earlier we had to replace the automatic driver's window power motor which was also expensive. Had to replace rear axel bushings too.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #36

Feb 182002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
Loud grinding noise from front and rear wheels, the front wheel bearing failed along with the front carrier bearings were spun replaced them at 82,000 miles and at 86,000 miles the rear did the same thing but the rear did not spin the carrier bearings (not yet anyways) the front repair cost me and my wife over 600 dollars (would have been over $900 if I didn't do the work my self) the rear we had to buy the parts from the internet to save money and it cost us 350 for the new wheel assembly's and 62 dollars to have the new bearings installed to the spindals. Again if I would have had Ford do the work it would have cost us around a $1,000 that is a total of $1,025 to do it my self and $2,000 to have Ford do the work. I do still have one old wheel bearing the rest have been discarded for scrap to help pay for the damages. On other thing my wife drives this truck to work every day and when the rear wheel bearing let loose the right rear wheel nearly fell off the wheel was sitting about 15deg inward.

- Columbia City, IN, USA

problem #35

Feb 182008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
I, too am apparently a Ford Explorer loose wheel bearing victim. Unlike most of the complaints I've read, I only have 42,000 mi. On my truck. My mechanic also indicated that he's seeing many of these cases and that Ford should be stepping up in the name of safety to recall this defective item before serious injury occurs and the tsa should be forcing them to do so. It is outrageous that a part that should last a minimum of 100,000 mi is going to cost me in excess of $700! is Ford simply using less expensive parts because most people do not carry an extended warranty after 5 years? in addition to filing a complaint here, I strongly encourage you to discuss this with your insurance company. They are a much louder voice since they do not want to pay out unnecessary claims. Ford does not want to alert the public to a safety issue prior to someone being killed, nor do they voluntarily wish to assume this expense if the public simply goes out and pays $700 to fix it. I'm so fired up, I may attempt to reach out to the media. Ford & tsa. My insurance company just called back and they are concerned that claims are being paid out on this and it's neither the owner's nor the insurance companies fault. Please take the time to do what's right here.

- Ogilvie, MN, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?