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:
103,791 miles
Total Complaints:
81 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace all hubs and bearings (62 reports)
  2. replaced bearings (8 reports)
  3. replaced the hub bearing assmbly (6 reports)
  4. replace hub, bearings and rubber boot (4 reports)
  5. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Jun 032010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


This vehicle is terrible. I've had two tranny.s put it in, replaced a broken antenna (which you can't just screw on a new one you have to replace the whole thing all the way to the dash...or so they told me at Ford $125.00 later), replaced two window regulators/motors, replaced the recalled rear window hatch which now won't stay up at all, and need to replace the light on/off switch but it also is a one piece unit that runs from the dash to the headlights costing hundreds (super glue will have to do). Oh, but this is not about those issues, this is about the numerous wheel bearings I've had to replace.

Bought it in 2005 with 14k miles on it! Nice, but since then have replaced the wheel bearings at an average of 2 per year (always the opposite ones so I can't use the warranty). It seems liek every time I take it in for oil changes and tire rotation they are telling me about new bearings or sway bar bushings or some other under-carriage item needing replaced. Having just rebuilt the transmission and 4 wheel drive module at $2,158.00 and another set of rear bearings (one side) it's not even worth enough to sale, so I'm stuck with it. I won't get another Explorer in my life time.

- , Burley, ID, USA

problem #40

May 052010

Explorer E B V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Left rear wheel bearing failure 2 months after the right rear wheel bearing disintegrated! I am surprised that wheel stayed on the car. No help from Ford. Total cost for both bearings - $1,000. Ouch!

- , Southampton, PA, USA

problem #39

May 312010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,291 miles

im not one to complain, but we had the left rear hub, bearings, rubber boots done othis ford explorer 2002,xlt, just sis months ago. one week ago it all went out again.were having to get it done all over again.costing around,$300., or more now frankly im sick and tired of this crap. there was myself and two of my grandchildren,in the car when this happened. i had only a dab, of control over the car. we could of lost control, it vwas terribly bad.had to have the car towed and my son to come pick all three of us up. thank god we werent killed by the traffic on the road side.

- , Liveoak, FL, USA

problem #38

Oct 172006

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles



- , Cadillac, MI, USA

problem #37

May 022010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

I was driving on the highway when my check engine light n abs light came on and also my advancetrack turn off n my 4x4 would kick off n on.I also started to hear a grinding rough sound coming from front wheels!I thought it was my brakes for a minute,but when I took it in the shop to get it checkout out .They said I needed to replace both front wheels n hub assembly@$450 per side for a total of over $900.00 parts n labor included! I found both parts Brandnew online for $200 bucks look up how to install them online. it took me 4hrs to replace them,but I save my self alot of $$$! which is good cus now I gotta repair new problems!

- , Goldendale, WA, USA

problem #36

May 022010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

The rear hub bearings on this vehicle have failed three times since we bought it in 2003, once on the right and twice on the left. If this is the new state of affairs for American car companies, we need to stop buying them all-together. I might add that I've never owned a truck or SUV other than Ford, but that trend ends here. Wake up, America; we're paying too much for too little from Ford.

- , Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #35

Jan 042010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles


January 2010 noticed a roar in the back of the explorer, I'm on the interstate a lot during my commute to work, so I didn't think much about until I heard a grinding metal on metal noise. Was able to get to the repari shop, discovered the rear right wheel was about to fall off, had the rear hub bearings replaces and the front wheel bearings replaced. 1200.00 later, I drive home. May 3, I'm back at the repair shop after noticing the loud roar again in the rear right side, it's the hub bearings again.

This is the second explorer I have owned, the first had other issues that were Ford design flaws, I love the style of this vehicle and have had Ford products all my driving life, but this is it! NO more FORDs for me, I just hope that I'm not FOUND ON ROAD DEAD before I can afford a new vehicle, this is a dangerous flaw, but until people die due to the problem this company will never step up and do the right thing!

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #34

Nov 112009

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,778 miles

Three wheel bearings failed about 2-3 months apart. Parts cost me $600 and I installed them myself.

- , Calgary, Alta, Canada

problem #33

Apr 112010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Fixed the two rear bearings, a couple weeks later the rght fromt bearing went bad. This car looks good somewhat like a piece of SH*T!!! Really not tring to build a car.

- , White Oak, PA, USA

problem #32

Feb 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

First off, paying $600 for one part to be replaced is ridiculous!! Most of that is labor. I have been told since I bought my 2002 Explorer back in 2007 that the humming noise was just tire noise. Since the beginning of the year the humming turned into a grinding feeling in the gas pedal. Well the 1st time my boyfriend drove it he says right away "your bearings are shot" So we end up taking the right front wheel off and replace the hub and it only cost me $114 for the part since he did it for me. Then we replaced both rear bearings for only $140. My car sounds so different now. Mechanics are such a rip-off, I suggest finding someone who knows what their doing and go buy the parts alone.

- , Goose Creek, SC, USA

problem #31

Mar 192010

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles


In Feb of 2010 my car began making a weird noise brought to mechanic and he told me the tire was about to fall off and I needed to replace the bearing and hub at the cost of 600+ dollars. Not three weeks later I started to hear this noise again and brought it to the mechanic and the second rear bearing and hub were no good, another 600+ dollars to repair, not a week after the second repair for this issue the noise was back again and this time in the front, another 600.00 Are you kidding me FORD, a car with 83000 miles and this is normal?? I do not think so. This is not the only problem I have had with this vehicle that was clearly and engineering flaw for which Ford takes no responsibility for. Why do I keep buying Fords I must be a glutten for punishment.

- , North Chelmsford, MA, USA

problem #30

Feb 012010

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Truck made a low humming thumping sound, with in a week it sounded like I was crushing metal beneath my car, brought to the mechanic and he said my tire was ready to fall of and the bearing and hub had to be replaced

- , North Chelmsford, MA, USA

problem #29

Mar 122010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 179,000 miles

Last year I replaced the rear wheel bearings and housings.Didn't think to much of it at the time until I started too hear all the other complaints about the 2002 Ford explorer's.Now this week I was having my tires Rotated,when the mechanic told me I had better take a look at my front tire.It wiggled like my lug nuts were loose,They weren't! my wheel was about to fall off.WHEEL BEARINGS Again.Two months ago it was my Transmission $2,000.00.I'm glad my wife and kids weren't on the highway.Thanks again FORD!!! I'm sure I'll be back again at AUTOBEEF SOON !!! I have Sent My complaint to NTSA

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #28

Feb 202010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I did a Google search and came upon AutoBeef, and I'm glad I did. Apparently this is a common problem with the '02 Explorers. At about 80,000 miles I noticed a grinding noise coming from the front end while driving. My tires we badly worn so I was hoping that had something to do with it. Got brand new tires but problem kept getting worse.

I finally replaced the wheel bearing/hub assemblies on both sides and indeed, that fixed the problem. A word of advice. Don't try to just replace the inner and outer bearings themselves...replace the entire bearing/hub assembly. The assemblies cost more but replacing the entire assembly is much faster and easier and is worth the extra money.

In my opinion, this whole issue is not about the quality of the bearings, but instead is an engineering issue. Basically Ford screwed up on the design. The inner and outer bearings are too close together to provide adaquate support. That's why the problem is much worse on the front because that's where the majority of the vehicle's weight is when steering left and right. If the bearings were spaced furthur apart within the hub they could handle the load much better and they would last much longer.

- , Pensacola, FL, US

problem #27

Dec 252009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

Wheel Bearing AGAIN !! I'm really just wondering at this time if i should just order the rest of them so i have them on hand.. I looked it up and found that Ford Explorer's are known for this problem but damn, 2 in 2 years.GRRRRR..

- , Mendon, Ohio / USA, USA

problem #26

Jan 032008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I bought my 2002 Ford Explorer and besides having major transmission issues , the wheel berrings was the other. Right now I am in the process of replacing the 3rd on it now. No wonder Ford was not in the car crisis , because they make their pars to break faster than any other company which keeps them in buisness. Never buying a Ford again , it truley means Found On Road Dead.I would highly suggest nobody buys a Ford (nothing but issues). I have been a mechanic for over 16 years in the Army and never have seen parts go bad faster than Ford.

- , Englewood, OH, USA

problem #25

Aug 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Took the explorer in for an inspection and was told that 3 out of 4 wheel bearings were bad (almost dangerously). I spent almost $500 on parts and did the job myself at the Auto Craft shop on base. Can't even believe that. Barely 55,000 miles.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #24

Apr 122006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

All four of the hubs had to be replaced just after the car went out of warranty. I have owned 4x4's in the past and have never had the problems with hubs that I have had with this explorer. I have seen that many explorer owners have had this same issue and I agree that ford should do something about this.

I know that this will make me rethink purchasing another 4x4 from ford again in the future. hubs are not a quick and cheap repair that should be performed more than once in 200K. I have never had to replace the hubs more than once in 4x4's that I have owned in the past within 200K and that even included ford 4x4's. This is most definitely and issue and needs to be addressed by Ford. I contacted the dealer and the dealer service manager told me that this has been a common issue with the explorers, however ford has not warranted any relief to the owners of these vehicles towards the repair of this issue.

- , Independence, KY, US

problem #23

Dec 282009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

The first time was in 03/2008 I went in thinking I had brake problem and ended up with a right rear wheel bearing replaced. I was told this is a common problem on this year and model ford. Now its 12/2009 and I have the same noise, I go to the dealer and tell him I think its the left front bearing and after further inspection they say the noise was coming from the left front but the left rear is about ready to fall off. I am glad I went to get the truck checked before it fell off at 65 MPH on I80. I could have been killed. They Know there is a problem and Ford is not fixing it. My next vehicle will be either a Chevy or a Toyota. Goodbye FORD.

- , Hickory Hills, IL, US

problem #22

Jan 062010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

This is the 3rd time that I have had to have these replaced. The rear ones did not have to be replaced this time as Ford replaced the entire rear axle in my vehicle about 3 years ago due to a car accident.

It is very frustrating that you don't hear of Dodge or Chevrolet having this issue as a continuing issue with their 4X4 vehicles. I have always purchased Fords because I have had better luck with them, with the exception of this vehicle. The hub issues seems to be an issue that continues to require attention. I have always had this issue repaired at the dealership to ensure that the parts were installed according to the manufacturers specifications, however I noticed on a recent web search that the hubs should be torqued to 175 foot lbs with a calibrated torque wrench with the tire on and the vehicle on the floor (not on the rack). The article specifically states that this should most definitely not be tightened with an impact wrench as that is the main cause of having to have them replaced. When they put these on my car the last time, I noticed that the tech did tighten at least the final side with an impact wrench while it was on the rack. VERY MUCH AGAINST THE ASE specifications.

I am going to make sure that when this is replaced this time, that I watch them and make sure that they do this correctly. The dealership that did these the last time is no longer in business (go figure), so I have no recourse there.

I had also been told by the dealer when they replaced them that if they were replaced by an authorized ford dealer that the parts and labor would be warrantied for the life of the car by the owner that paid for the repair. Well, I learned that this was not a truthful explanation. Although I had seen this advertisements on many occassions, this was not the case and I will have to fork out another 1800 again to replace them.

- , Independence, KY, US

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