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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Sep 042009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


car had a whoop, whoop, whoop sound while driving, took to dealership, had rear right bearing replaced while under warranty 12-04

... car was not tight while driving over 40 mph...slight swerve turns out it had a 3 inch movement...replaced right rear bearing assembly again 2-21-09..(200.00).car was not rolling properly (couldn't maintain a 60 mph roll without significant gas petal action) and an increasing whine was coming from the front end....had both front bearings replaced (500.00) works great, sounds great, like a brand new car!!

- , Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #20

Mar 312008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

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.

Update from Jan 6, 2010: I went to the website and filed there under a safety complaint. We all need to do this so they know how bad the problem is and that it needs to be addressed.

- , Hickory Hills, IL, US

problem #19

Dec 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

wheel bearings going this soon on a vehicle is totally sad had other issues such as the transmission out of pocket repair more than 2000 dollars I'm confident to say the next vehicle i purchase will not be a ford

- , Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #18

Jul 052008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


i'm speechless - 96,000 miles and replaces more than 3 wheel bearings?? what is there ot say

- , Garfield, AR, USA

problem #17

Oct 012003

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

that wasn't the end of it. since then 3 more times. last time i was 2400 miles from home AND had just had the wheel bearing replaced before i left on the trip, had to be towed to Jackson, wy

- , Garfield, AR, USA

problem #16

Oct 122009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

this bearing went out when i was 2,400 miles from home, it went out so fast i had to be towed ($264.00) back to jackson, wy, snowing, a frightening experience, ESPECIALLY since i had spent $1,664 on getting three bearings replaced AGAIN before i left on my tiip so this one barely had 3,000 miles on it. thankfully it was covered unter the 12,000 miles of 12 months, but i had another motel bill and expenses and lost another day of vacation for this experience.

- , Garfield, AR, USA

problem #15

Jul 052009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


here we go, fourth time the bearings have been replaces - what is UP with this default??

- , Garfield, AR, USA

problem #14

Dec 072009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I have had a problem with my 1st and 3rd gear breaking off into the transmission and had to spend 2 grand to fix. No one at Ford could tell me why or how that would happen since I WAS the only driver and did not dog my vehicle. I have had to spend 2 grand on a timing chain! >:( and my front right side wheel bearing went out on me a couple of weeks ago. I was just about to get on the expressway and was trying to stop at the light at the entrance ramp and almost blew right pass the light because I had no control of the vehicle. I found a mechanic in the area; it cost me almost $200. Two weeks later I heard a rubbing noise at the rear passenger side of the veh. I knew I had the same problem, and decided to replace the remaining 3 wheel bearings on payday (this friday). I was going to work with my son and his friend in the vehicle. I hit a small bump on the entrance ramp of the eway and the wheel bearing broke! The truck started fish tailing and tipping from side to side. We eventually did a 360 and was going down the entrance ramp backwards and eventually the vehicle rolled off the ramp and tumbled down onto the eway bouncing over the cement median onto the on coming car lane. Thankfully, we all made it out ok and without a scratch; just a little beat up. The first responders said they thought they were going to pull casualties out of the veh, by the way the truck looked. We were lucky. I was trying to see if there was a law suit going on against Ford for this; does anyone know? I can tell you I'll never get a Ford again!

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #13

Feb 022008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

two years ago i got all four hubs and bearings replace now two years later i am replacing them one by one and the warranty is just one year. i am paying out of my ass just like i did with the transmission

- , Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #12

Oct 172007

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

these should be on recall had to replace 3 out of 4 hubs don't even 4 wheel. ford has major problems going on and wont stand behind any major defects.

- , Monticello, IA, US

problem #11

Oct 102007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles


bearings that only last 45,000 miles? is this insane or what? for the amount of money i am paying for this stupid vehicle i would think they would have lasted longer than that. and $500.00 A PIECE!! WTH!! i actually got behind on my payments because of this problems and FORD threatened to repossess the dumb thing. i should have let them take it.

- , Wayland, NY, USA

problem #10

May 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Bad vibration problem at highway speeds 60-80mph. In addition to replacing both front hubs need to replace both front tires too.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #9

Apr 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Both wheel bearings went at the same time. Dealer said the wheel was ready to fall off. Looks like a common problem from complaints on the internet, yet Ford does not take care of it. No Ford vehicles in my future. I have also had problems, like other folks, with the heating and air conditioning, and with rear springs.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #8

Feb 022009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

After the total tranny rebuild I would have appreciated at least 6 months without having to pump more money into my ABSOLUTE LAST FORD PRODUCT . Working late shift driving on parkway truck tried to run off roadway . Bad rear bearing Ford knows of problem will do nothing maybe Obama should give them a 2 billion dollar bailout and they could hire Toyota engineers and fix problem .

- , Barnegat, NJ, US

problem #7

Mar 112009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

Alright enough of this Ford nonsense . Explorer again trying to run me off the road had to tow for $100 and wheel bearing failure is the culprit again ! This truck now officially SUCKS!!! Not only did both front bearing assemblies had to be replaced but the rear assembly I had just installed less than 1000 miles before had to be REPLACED AGAIN!!I just arrived at work after 40 miles on the parkway and guess what the damned front bearing is defective and almost lost it during a right turn on the highway . Its got to go back again !!!!!!! You have got to be kidding me no wonder we have to buy Toyota''s and Honda's .

- , Barnegat, NJ, US

problem #6

Mar 012009

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Transmission failure three times, differential failure two times, dealership lawsuit one time. Non ford after market warranty repairs now total over $19,000 since new purchase. Now right front wheel bearing failure. Ford knows about us and that we will never return to their dealerships or ever buy another ford product ever. Last ford servicing dealership sent a certified letter to us stating we are not welcome at their facility. Why? Because they would not fix our broken transmission after 10K complete rebuild repair miles. They charged the after market warranty co. over $3,000 for that repair and the one 12,400 miles before it. The Judge ordered the case to trial after hearing that the same dealership sold us a used tire as new. D0 NOT GO TO ANY FORD DEALERSHIP FOR WARRANTY OR OTHER REPAIR. FIND YOURSELF A RELIABLE SHOP AWAY FROM THE DEALERSHIP. WE DID AND WE HAVE NOT GONE WRONG.

- , Howell, MI, USA

problem #5

Apr 302008

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,903 miles

Just found the site and glad to see I'm not the only one that is having issues with my Ford Explorer. With no off-road or towing why at 70K would bearings go bad? One owner and thought maybe at 100K something would go but this, tranny, and suspension...INSANE...within a year!

This and the above issues are all UNSAFE and with the frequency of these issues what is being done to resolve them?

Everyone is griping but everyone NEEDS TO CONTACT FORD else this is on deaf ears. I wrote and others should click the Resources tab or contact them here in writing or Email. I see they did not send me a copy of my Email to them so I would save that 1000 character Email in a word processor file and also write a letter to back it up! Let's organize and get something done on all these 2002 Ford Explorer issues as I'm now 5.9K in the hole if I replace my springs/struts...this is INSANE at 78K!!!

Ford Customer Relationship Center P.O. Box 6248 Dearborn, MI 48126 (800) 392-3673

- , Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #4

Nov 052008

Explorer XL 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,300 miles

I replaced both front wheel assembly hubs on my 2002 Ford Explorer in November and the problem is still there, but not as bad as it was. The parts are still under warranty, therefore, I will return them and have my rotor turn also, which may stop this nagging ass problem. If one can change brakes, you can also change your wheel assembly hub units. AutoZone will rent you the press to force the hub out, the part cost around $150-200, depending on where you buy it and there is three bolts holding the unit to the frame. Be sure to take the negative post off from your battery before you start, so that you don't have to reset the computer. Good luck because once I get through this year with this junk I am Range Rover Bound.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #3

Oct 282008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,642 miles

Well I had to replace both front wheel bearings this week after fixing the rear two last week. I spoke to the "wonderful" people at national Ford Service and got blown away. Imagine having to replace all 4 wheel bearings on the same Explorer - too bad - they do not even admit to have a defect with the bearings. I have owned Ford's for years and guess what - no more Ford's no more Ford service for me!!! Talk about absolute arrogance even in the face of all the report of identical incidents. Ford Quality Zero!

- , Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

problem #2

Apr 012006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

i've replaced 3 out of the four wheel bearings. and i had to argue with 3 different dealers because they wouldn't sell me just the bearing, i had to buy the whole assy. but mike bass ford sold it to me........

- , Lagrange, OH, USA

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