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:
88,874 miles
Total Complaints:
181 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace wheel bearing (78 reports)
  2. replace bearing and hub (45 reports)
  3. replaced wheel bearings (34 reports)
  4. not sure (14 reports)
  5. replaced causual part, and surrounding parts (3 reports)
  6. replaced the following wheel bearings, tyrod, caliper, rotor (3 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 4 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #121

Mar 162009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles


02 explorer. replaced rear bearings, replaced rear struts, and springs both springs broke in half, replaced brakes about every 4 months. So yeah, explorers are junk, but laid off and can't replace anything else.. so I'll cross my fingers...

- , Dennison, OH, USA

problem #120

Mar 092009

Explorer XLT 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

4 front bearings put in. one rear bearing put in. only 58000 miles

let Detroit die


- , Huntington Station, NY, US

problem #119

Mar 092009

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,178 miles

I just don't understand how this could happen with very little warning. I was driving and heard a pop and fortunately, I was close enough to make it home.

- , Eightmile, AL, USA

problem #118

Feb 192009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


Alright this is my second rear wheel bearing I needed to replace in a month . My mechanic thanks me for the new addition on his house , the Ford Wing .Says Ford knows of problem but does nothing I hope they don't get bailed out and have to earn their pay .This is a very dangerous defect but nothing gets done . Maybe when they go to the Pres. for a handout he could put the list of defects in their hands and force them to fix them or they could apply at Honda for a job with a future.

- , Barnegat, NJ, US

problem #117

Nov 102008

Explorer XLS V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

I had the wheel bearing replaced a year and a half ago and again they went bad, went to the dealer first now I went somewhere else, Two sets of wheel bearings in two years plus the original. Had to have the truck towed to the mechanic because the bearings were locking up and the back of the truck was "lifting up" that's when I pulled over and called AAA. I payed $350 per bearing, (you have to buy the whole bearing and hub in the back) and I know the owner of the shop he usually charges about a hundred bucks more per bearing. This seems to be an ongoing issue with me and many others..

- , Derby, NY, USA

problem #116

Feb 202008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

My rear wheel bearing disintegrated without so much as a shimmy, shake or whine. There was a loud grinding sound and then I was pulled to the left. When the bearing disintegrated it exploded all it's cheaply made plastic parts as they are made now. It destroyed my hub, knuckle and axle!! Why does Ford make their cars and parts so cheaply??? Make a product that America can be proud of! I will never buy Ford again and tell everyone else the same.

- , Greenfield, WI, USA

problem #115

Feb 062009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles


Rear bearings went out on the "EXPLODER". I bought this vehicle used from a reputable dealership in the area. Shorty after the purchase the temp/direction led went haywire - temp was always wrong so was direction, starter went out at that time too (this was at 48,000 miles). Bought the car in June - the first cold snap (Wisconsin) the fiberglass under the back hatch window cracked on its own - sounds like this is common. My windows constantly freeze shut - replaced a window motor on the front driver's side window to the tune of $150. Back window broke simply rolling it down one day. The windshield wiper fluid freezes in the lines at 15 degrees - use the same fluid in our other vehicle and it works fine. Service Engine Light, ABS & CHECK GAUGE lights seem to constantly shine, no matter what kind of service work is done to repair the issues. Gas gauge will drop to empty regardless of fuel status 5 minutes after running the vehicle. Will NOT EVER purchase another Ford product. Just in speaking with people in my regional area, these are all common complaints on the "EXPLODER" - hey Uncle Sam? Lets give the Ford some more bailout money so they can continue to produce more sh&*t vehicles!

- , Alma Center, WI, USA

problem #114

Jan 022009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

This is very sad to hear everyone with the same complaint. My '02 "Exploder" is falling apart with 79,000 miles on it. I began hearing a roaring noise from the rear of the vehicle. Both rear coil shocks broke into pieces...I replaced those @ 78,500 miles. Both rear wheel bearing failed...I replaced those @ 79,000 miles. I thought the tires were cupped but I was wrong. At least I have new tires now. My 2000 BMW X5 has 175,000 miles and drives like the day I bought it. I bet you can guess who's getting my business next time! Bye Bye Ford.

- , Oak Forest, IL, USA

problem #113

Feb 032009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

This is the second time this issue has come up with the POS Explorer. First time was around 80K miles and began with a loud echo in the car - took MANY service people to diagnosis it correctly and was out of warranty when they finally did. Now it's happening again. Apparently reading this board, it's right on schedule. Also have had the same problem with the rear hatch cracking under the glass, as others have reported. Hate this vehicle and if it wasn't paid for - it;d be done.

- , Mount Airy, MD, US

problem #112

Jan 112009

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

This Truck has been nothing but a pain in the ass since I got it. In August took mechanic for inspection and was informed that front right wheel bearing was bad and needed to be replaced. took back 2 weeks later mechanic took in and informed me that left side was going too and replaced it saying right could wait but not very long. Driving on the instate two weeks ago almost go out of control when right REAR breaks loose and have to have truck towed to the garage. This is going to be the last ford product that I ever by again this is a major safety risk and needs to be addressed by the company if they hope to retain customers. I am very disappointed with this truck and am uneasy driving it waiting to see what is going to fall off next.

- , Clarion, PA, USA

problem #111

Jan 052009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles


I too am being told that I need to replace my rear wheel bearings, and then of course they want more money to do the alignment on the wheels, after they extract another $500 from me for the repair. They told me there is a hum coming from the back wheels. I can't hear it yet, but unfortunately it sounds like I will soon based on what I've read here. Just one more problem with this car to add to the ever-growing list.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #110

Jan 082009

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

This is second replacement . Have had new Fords since 1970. Guess its time to try the imports that I have stayed away from. American car companies are causing their own demise. Explorer is worth nothing so will drive it till it wont go anymore.

- , Linden, PA, USA

problem #109

Jan 062008

Explorer LHS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

stopped at dealer and told noise was due to tires son took car 200 miles away was coming home on foggiest day of year front wheel bearing fell apart wiping out two tires a ty rod a caliper a rotor brake pads. needed both front bearing I have never had to replace bearings on any other make of car with only 55000 miles My son could have been badly hurt god was on our side not ford. Cant believe these car owners are not being warned to watch for these problems. Check other makes no where near the complaints.

- , Pinckney, MI, USA

problem #108

Jan 082009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Rear clutch pack went out first. Sounded like a low howling coming from the rear differential. I found multiple sites on the Internet that said the '02 Explorers were horrible for this particular issue. I figured screw it, I'll drive the bastard until it breaks down then I'll fix it. This happened at approximately 80k miles. I've got 130k miles on it now and my rear wheel bearings just went bad. I took it in to have it looked at and Ford told me that my front brakes were shot, both rear wheel bearings need replaced and the rear differential needs to have the clutch pack replaced as well. Total cost was $350 for brakes and $1,600 for the rear end of the truck. I've paid to have the brakes fixed, but I'm seriously considering having the rear end of the vehicle replaced with a solid axle by 4x4 off-road. I can buy a Ford 9" rear end for $2,500 brand new with brakes/gears and the whole nine yards. Then I'll put another 100k miles on this truck. Everything on the truck is in great condition as I bought it off lease in 2004 with 30k miles on it. I can't part with it yet when I know it has so much more life in it. I'm just glad that I looked into AutoBeef because now I know better than to waste $1,600 to fix a problem that I have a feeling will just come back 20k miles later. Solid axle will last me 150k with no issues. Thanks everyone.

- , Lees Summit, MO, USA

problem #107

Jun 142008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,589 miles

The car was shaking whenever i took a slow turn. Took it to a mechanic and he said it was that the fluid was bad and replaced the fluid for $75. THAT WAS NOT THE PROBLEM!!!! The bearings went bad and the ford dealership replaced the whole back axle.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #106

Nov 042008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,500 miles

My second and last explorer. Bought used with only 28000 miles. All 4 wheel bearings shot before 81500 miles. The tailgate panel below the rear window cracked 3 months after I bought it. Rear emergency brake pads are shot and I never use e-brake. My first explorer (1998) got a whole new motor at 75000 miles. The crank shaft broke in half 2 inches into the front of the motor. Then it was time for a new transmission at 100000. Ford...........Im done with you!!!!!!!

- , East Hampton, CT, USA

problem #105

Nov 182006

Explorer XLS Unk

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

We had a noise and I wasn't sure exactly what it was. Eventually it sounded like we were dragging a box under the car! I called our local Wal-Mart in Bellevue, NE. They said to bring it over. At this point, I was 30 miles from home and going about 30 mph, SCARED! I got there and the first thing the yahoo told me was that they only do oil and tires!!! GRRR! I took it to a local Bellevue, NE Tires Plus that happened to be open on a Sunday. They put it on the hoist and determined it was the wheel bearing. They rocked the rear driver's tire from side to side. They were willing to do the repairs, but only Ford was authorized to do it, fee free. They had it towed to the local Ford dealer in Iowa. Cost was about $550. The first of 3...

- , Crescent, IA, USA

problem #104

Apr 072008

Explorer LTD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

well where do i start? I know never buy a fors. This car has a been a pain in the ass. I don't know why they don't just stop making them. I have had so many issues with this car i don't know where to begin. Lets start with the trans mission the car only had 60000 miles pn it when i had to pay 3000 dollars to have the transmission replaced. while it was in the shop ford informed me that all four of my wheel bearings needed to be replaced. One night my rear brake lights came on and would not go off and that cost me almost 300 dollars ti replace that. oh and did i forget to mention that replacing each bearing was around 400 a piece. OH and after all of that now i need an ball joint on the right front. It just seems like there is no end to the repairs that you have to make on these cars. You may as well buy a new car because thats just what u are doing any ways by the time you replace all of these parts on these cars, and after all of that they don't even hold value. Like i said in the beginning i will NEVER buy another ford or any product built by ford in my life.

- , Garner, NC, US

problem #103

Sep 182008

Explorer XLS Unk

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Well, two wheel bearing down the road, and now the third one goes out, not too long after the second one. This time it was the passenger rear, previous it was the drivers front, with the driver's rear the first to go. Date and mileage are approximate, but close.

- , Crescent, IA, USA

problem #102

Nov 072008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,500 miles

Someone said that third time is a charm!!! Going for third replacement of my drivers side rear wheel bearing, in under two years! Already had to replace the passenger side once in the same period plus the drivers side front wheel bearing. Still like Ford though but getting a little bit annoyed I have to say!!

- , Seltjarnarnes, Iceland, Iceland

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