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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,982 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

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #172

Aug 172010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 179,000 miles


Purchased 2002 Explorer XLT V6 4.0L already transmission slipping solenoid or whatever out.. I have read reports and wonder why this transmission is not recalled? I have it in shop now having to have it rebuilt and everything changed. Also right wheel bearings bad, upper and lower ball joints bad, suspension shot. And the records show the previous owners maintained everything well. But also had transmission replaced and had problems at 99,000miles. Please doing something for all of us out here. Also coolant leak, engine leak, power seat failure, and on.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #171

Aug 122010


  • 77,000 miles
Left rear "permanently sealed" wheel bearing failure.

- Bolton, MA, USA

problem #170

Jul 022010


  • 160,000 miles
Vehicle started to make terrible grinding/rubbing noise while 50 miles from home. On exit ramp to my city, it swayed... the next morning my cousin examined the vehicle finding the right rear spring broken, and the left in terrible condition as well. I am just thankful nothing bad happened on my way home. I have never had this vehicle off road nor used it to pull anything. After viewing all the complaints of the same issue on the "car complaints" web site, I cannot understand what has to happen B/F Ford is forced to make a recall on this item"???" I had to have the parts replaced, and I do have the old springs! good thing I did not hit a huge bump or pot hole on my way home or have to swerve quickly, I hate to think of what might have occurred!

- Scottsburg, IN, USA

problem #169

Jun 192010


  • 58,000 miles


Rear coil spring found broken during routine brake inspection.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #168

Apr 142010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
While in traffic today, my 2002 Ford Explorer suddenly lost drive power. Fortunately, the driver behind me was not tailgating and noticed my vehicle slow down rapidly. I now find this transmission failure is a very common problem with Ford 2002 Explorer. In fact on one web site alone, I see over 861 complaints on this issue alone all with 2002 Explorer. Transmission failures in heavy traffic and at higher speed could certainly be a significant safety issue. Also last year replaced both rear springs that had failed and broke completely affecting braking.

- Midland, MI, USA

problem #167

Apr 122010


  • 250,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The rear coil springs on the vehicle broke which the contact was informed of during a brake inspection. The dealer stated that the coil springs were the same used on the Ford Taurus model and that they were aware of the failures with the springs. The current and failure mileages were approximately 250,000.

- Twinsburg, OH, USA

problem #166

Mar 312010


  • 107,418 miles


I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and both rear coil springs are completly rusted and broke in several places..I realize that my vechile is now 8 years old and has 100,000 miles but I've read online that many people have had this same problem with these springs breaking and blowing tires. Now im paying close to 400 dollars to have this replaced. I think Ford needs to take action and stop neglecting them buying cheap material and playing with people lives and safety. They should reimburse those who have had this problem and fix all vechiles of this year...

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #165

Feb 212010


  • 92,500 miles
Broken rear springs causing struts to fail

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #164

Mar 172008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving at speeds of 40 mph, the contact could hear a noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The dealer found that both the driver and passengers side rear wheel bearings were failing. The wheel bearings were replaced accordingly. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current was 80,000.

- Michigan City, IN, USA

problem #163

Mar 022010

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
When I took my 2002 Ford Explorer V8 into the shop to get new tires I was told that my rear coil spring is broke and would need to be replaced. I have never been off road with my vehicle and only drive mostly highway. I was told by the mechanic that this is common for my vehicle and I should file a complaint. I had no idea it broke or how it did but my car started leaning to one side. I have small children that need to be in a safe and dependable vehicle. There needs to be a reall done for this issue before there is serious injuries. My vehicle has 115K miles.

- Gardner, KS, USA

problem #162

Feb 202010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 64,300 miles


The broken rear springs (both) on our 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4X4 caused a near accident on veterans parkway in bloomington, Illinois. The springs completely shattered and were broken on both the right and left rear making the SUV much less stable in lane changes. When traffic suddenly slowed, we almost loss control when we tried to change lanes. It was a miracle there was not an accident. Ford has known about the bad steel in these springs for years and there are hundreds of reports on the internet of this same problem on 2002 to 2005 Ford Explorer. We are having to pay out of our pockets about $700 for vehicle repairs even though there is a Ford service bulletin on this problem.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #161

Feb 192010

Explorer 4WD

  • 127,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer 4X4 limited with 2 broken coil springs 127,000mi.

- York, PA, USA

problem #160

Feb 012010


  • 124,000 miles
I brought my 2002 Ford Explorer to my mechanic because I noticed a very loud rubbing noise. Upon inspection, my mechanic discovered that both rear coils were cracked. My vehicle is a "soccer mom" car and has never been off-road. He had to replace the coils, rear rotors and rear wheel bearings because of the damage from the coils. My vehicle has approximately 124,000 miles.

- North Scituate, RI, USA

problem #159

Jan 102010


  • 90,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0 engine. Rear coil spring failure. The vehical has never been used off-road and the springs do not have surface rust but both are broken. Car in for recall on cruise control and Ford "found" issue. Turns out it is very common in this model and Ford dealers find it a great way to make extra dollars. U-haul will not rent trailers to owners of Ford Explorer. They say that there are too many claims but will not reveal nature of claims. Ford said that they have no comment on issue. I can forward E-mails from both U-haul and Ford stating such.

- Doylestown, PA, USA

problem #158

Feb 062010


  • 75,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with about 75,000 miles. I took it to my dealer due to a recall notice, and they performed a multi-point inspection. During this inspection, they said that both of my rear springs were broken. I found this hard to believe because I don't tow anything and I drive city streets and highways. Through investigation on the internet, it seems this is a common problem for 2002 Ford Explorer. I will need to replace the springs as they could puncture a tire leading to an accident. The cost of the springs seems to be about $125 plus labor.

- Fairview Park, OH, USA

problem #157

Jul 102009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
On 01/29/2010, I took my 2002 Ford Explorer 4X4 to kill brake & wheel to have new tires put on the vehicle. The technician/mechanic advised me that the left rear spring for the vehicle was broke, but sitting in the center. I called tiffin brake & wheel to schedule an appointment to have the springs replaced. I was advised by an employee that the business has had "a lot of Explorer have their springs replaced." The employee also mentioned that a complaint should be filed, because a recall may be in order due to the amount of Explorer with broken springs. I am concerned with this issue, because the vehicle has not been off roaded and/or abused. The vehicle has been well maintained. The actual date when the spring broke is unknown.

- Alvada, OH, USA

problem #156

Jan 282010


  • 89,000 miles
Took the truck into have a vibration and noise checked out coming from the rear of the vehicle. Turned out to be a failure of passenger rear knuckle assembly and wheel bearing. Went on car to see if a recall was issued for this. There were report of the same type of failure with the wheels actually coming off.

- New Britain, CT, USA

problem #155

Jan 072010


  • 88,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear coil breakage.. was driving and my back end dipped no noise just leaning. Went to mechanic and realized coils have just rusted out, are you serious. Explorer only has 87K. Parts just rusted out and broke.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #154

Dec 182009


  • 67,400 miles
I took my 2002 Ford Explorer with 67K miles on it to the dealer for a recall. They offered a free inspection of which they informed me the right rear spring was broken. There was no indication it was broken while driving the vehicle, so there is no way of knowing when it broke. The problem will be corrected by replacing the spring. No improved spring part number was available for Ford, so I expect it to break again in about 70K miles if I buy a new Ford spring.

- Savage, MN, USA

problem #153

Apr 282009


  • 70,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer driver side rear coil spring broken.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

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