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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 1
Average Mileage:
32,921 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 wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Feb 092004


  • miles


While driving at an undetermined speed right rear tire fell off the vehicle. Consumer was able to pull off the road, and call for a tow truck. Vehicle was towed to the dealer.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #6

May 022003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Tire blow out on 2002 Ford Explorer. Ford refused to reimburse the consumer for the tire blow out along with the body damage that occurred due to the incident. The consumer requested reimbursement.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 162003


  • miles
2 of my cousins were involved in a Ford Explorer tire blow out outside of raleigh nc on August 16th. Amal muaraka, a pediatric surgeon was killed instantly and summeet murarka was placed in icu as the non-Bridgestone tire blew out on the Ford Explorer and the vehicle flipped 5 times when the tire blew out. What will it take for the government to act on Ford's malicious deceit. Ford's history is plagued with serious issues such as the pinto that blew up and this time it was the governments inaction and Ford cover-up that prevented my cousin from living a full life at only the age of 33. I can only hope that the government will immediately recall the Ford Explorer line even if it causes serious costs and financial burden to Ford to save lives and prevent so many from the pain of tragedies such as the one that we have experienced. Again - it is my belief that it is the fatal design flaws in the Ford Explorer that caused this wreck and the death of my cousin - he is survived by his wife, and 2 daughters. Please stop Ford from murdering others!!!!

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #4

Mar 072003


  • miles


While driving and with no warning the passenger front tire blew out. Dealer notified.

- Vonore, TN, USA

problem #3

Dec 142002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Tire pressure in 2002 Explorer still set too low. The door panel on my 2002 Explorer says to inflate front tires to 30 psi, rear 35 psi. While spin balancing I was able to witness the "cupping" of the tire while it was spinning on the machine. This showed uneven wear. This was only on the front tires, which, according to the owners manual and the door panel, needed only 30 psi of air. I called the manufacturer (Goodyear) and they said never go below 35 psi on all four tires. I have 16 inch ap tires. How far is Ford willing to go" smoothness of ride over safety of occupants"

- Ellsworth Afb, SD, USA

problem #2

Sep 272002


  • miles
The tire blew out of the Explorer going 75 mph on a major route in massachuetts. There were no injuries, but I feel I should report this due to 6-month old vehicle with less than 10,000 miles. The conditions that day were very hot, it was about 90 degrees when the tire blew out need to report.

- Westfield, MA, USA

problem #1

Jun 262001

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Whenever vehicle hits a bump it's hard to control, goes all over road. Contacted dealership, but dealer refused to look at vehicle. Consumer has replaced the Michelin tires at their cost, P235/70R16, dot E20291511, vehicle and tires only had 470 miles.

- Pahrump, NV, USA

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