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 5 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #101

Jul 152006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


This was merely an indication of many, MANY problems to come.Although the least significant, I thought I should start at the beginning. As an added note, the new bearings only lasted about 8,000 miles and they were OEM parts!

- , New Bern, NC, USA

problem #100

Oct 142008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,642 miles

At 133,000 km (last week) heard a whining sound in the rear end. Both wheel bearings were near complete failure. Mechanic described that both rear bearings were not in good shape and nearly ceased. He said on the test drive that he heard a noise from the front end and sure enough this week the noise in the front is increasing exactly the same as the rear. What a mess!! Built in failure and my Ford representative will be hearing from me.

- , Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

problem #99

Oct 232007

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

Started as noise in the rear then i had to stop on highway and get it towed, i hate fixing cars. cost 700 to replace bearings hubs. Just one month ago, started to hear same noise in the front wheels....thanks ford

- , Canton, MI, USA

problem #98

Dec 002008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


First, it was the REAR passenger side, I thought, o.k., I can deal with that, then I found out it's a two-piece press deal, so whatever, I still did it. Yep, sucked. That was this last spring. Well, I just my weekend replacing the fu@*&%$ drivers side....and wait it's better, right, so I get it done, take the damn thing for a drive, still making noise, but it sounds different....I go back home, look for dynamite, can't find any, but there was my jack, lifted the front end, the damn drivers front is out!!!!!!!! So what the hell, do both front's I guess?..........I never thought I could hate a vehicle as much as a Jeep Cherokee, wel guess what..............

Update from Aug 20, 2013: So here we are, I am now getting ready to replace my 9th, yep 9th bearing on this car. I have given up doing it myself and have been taking it in. I get a warranty this way, and they finally extended them out to last three years, you will be back! But this way I only pay for labor. Love this car but this is probably going to be the last one I do. 135,000 miles, 9 wheel bearings....

- , Norton Shores, MI, USA

problem #97

Sep 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Unbelievable... when I read these I just want to cry! I've only done one wheel bearing/hub. Now I know the other three are just time bombs. $#*%. I've also had the cracked trunk door thing AND the very prevalent airbag problem. (The cable under the driver's seat is too short and disconnects your airbag.)

Wow, I wonder what would have happened if my wheel would have fallen right off on the highway AND THEN the airbags wouldn't have even deployed when I crashed.

I bought this car for my kids and I as a safe SUV... what crap. I can't wait until I get to fix the transmission. I did complain to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) though. Maybe Ford will have to make this right with all of us evnetually.... you know before we die or can't afford to drive these studip explorers anymore.

- , Castle Rock, CO, USA

problem #96

Sep 162008

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

A year ago I had the right rear hub bearing replaced. It was shaking REALLY bad while on the highway. A few weeks ago I replaced the left rear bearing since that was also going bad. The mechanic told me my right front bearings were going bad also since the the grinding in the pedal didn't go away. Well I replaced that today. The grinding feel in the pedal is just about gone but now he tells me the right rear may be going bad again. The mechanics that worked on it (Midas) might have put cheap bearings in it. Since I do a lot of highway driving that wore it out quicker. Personally I don't think it's the bearing. It can't be. Ford sucks. I need to sell this car.

- , East Chicago, IN, USA

problem #95

Feb 082007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


The day we were leaving for holidays, noticed the rear wheel sliding in and out 1/2 inch. When we got back, found the right rear bearing shot, and both brake calipers frozen. Now it seems the rear end is totally gone.. Next complaint

- , Abbotsford, BC, Canada

problem #94

Dec 272007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

2002 ford explorer Eddie Bauer less than 100k miles wheel bearing problem. Just got it back from dealership today. This is the 4th time in 6 months. It keeps whining, sounds like I am in the back of a plane it is so loud. Stops for a few hundred miles after I get it out of the shop, then it starts again. Dealership states they have never had this problem with any of them. This is the only thing I have ever had wrong with the vehicle & I love my truck !! But this is getting old FORD.... do something.

- , Concord, NC, USA

problem #93

Feb 132008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I couldn't believe this piece of crap had to have 3 wheel bearings replaced in it. To make matters worse, after spending $1100.00 to have this fixed my car is now making the roaring noise again and I have been told that my rear end is going out. Help me LORD!!!

- , Burns, TN, USA

problem #92

Jul 012008

Explorer XLT 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Bought this car new, now that the warranty is up so are the rear wheel bearings. Had both of them go out and $1,000 later, I'm wondering how long the front ones will last. I have been a loyal Ford customer and was planning on trading this one for another Ford. But now I'm not so sure. I have only had to replace wheel bearings on one other car and that was my 89 Mercury Tracer at over 200,000 miles. Any car should be able to go over 100k without replacing wheel bearings. I don't understand why this is not the subject of a recall. Does somebody have to get killed by the wheel flying off at speed to get Ford to fix this? I see this is a problem that seems to be limited to the 2002 model, so Ford figured out there was a problem. So Ford if your reading this, what is more important, not paying for my repair or not having me as a return customer? Gee I wonder how long my transmission will last?

- , Plattsburg, MO, USA

problem #91

Nov 022007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


I noticed a humming in the rear end. I had both rear wheel bearings and and one hub replaced. The rear end still makes a terrible noise and occasionally you hear a loud pop. Never buy a ford explorer.

- , Shoals, IN, USA

problem #90

Aug 012008

Explorer XLT 4.Ol

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

as of yet I haven't had to change any wheel bearing in my explorer and I can't believe the outrageous prices you pay to have one replaced .I just did one yesterday and the bill was 120 for the part and 90.00 labor next time l will charge 60.00 more on the labor . The bearing list for 101.00 at the dealer.Well i change wheel bearings on just about everything on the road I have seen Pontiac's that have had to have bearings replace more than once / hub type. alot of pressed in bearings are installed improperly and fail to soon due to the install job and buying a cheap bearing like your chain stores like to sell.Its funny to see people get upset about a wheel bearing ,if you own any gm vehicles you should be complaining about intake gaskets leaking .Everyone of them leaks and some destroy the motor and gm won't warranty them repairs either.Find a repair shop that doesn't try to make a living off of your work.No matter what brand of vehicle you own you will have to work on it Chevy trucks eat transmissions and fuel pumps like there going out of style.

- , Eau Claire, MI, USA

problem #89

Jul 122008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

As unhappy as I've been with this vehicle, I wasn't that upset at first when I realized my rear drivers wheel bearing went bad. But I should've known better! Wheel bearings do fail eventually-right? Sure, but once again Ford has accomplished re-engineering simple designs into major cluster-ducks! I was first surprised at the price from Auto Zone, about $200 bucks. Then I was wondering why the hub was included. Found out pretty quick that this bearing has to be pressed twice, once into hub and once into (not sure of name) the knuckle. Okay I wasn't super happy, but went about the job. I soon found out why the hub is included. I had to use a cutting torch to remove the bearing from the hub, which completely destroyed the hub. Once again Ford has taken what used to be a simple job and turned it into a disaster. Last Ford I will ever own-and that's a promise. Now I have 3 more wheel bearings to deal with. I just need this vehicle to last about another year or two, but not sure I can wait.

- , Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #88

Jul 152008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I don't think this problem makes the vehicle a lemon, however, the total of all failures definitely. Here is what happened: I bought the car with already 109k miles. Beside the rattling brakes and the unreasonable consumption there was not much to complain. It changed soon. To explain all the details would miss the topic. A week ago my wife called me for some noises from the rear of the car. Before we even could finish talking the rear bearing was broken entirely. Thanks God she did not drive with interstate speed. 730 $ and several days later the problem was fixed.

No good car.

- , Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #87

Jul 142008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

This is my first bearing problem. Sounds like we are just getting started!!

- , Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #86

Feb 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Front wheel bearings started making loud whining noises so instead of waiting for the wheels to fall off I opted to spend the $500 to change them out. Just another expense in the long list of failures this car has had. Now the rear ones are making the same noise. They're next....then I'm sure the transmission will go out. It's clunking from reverse to drive now and won't go back into park until it clunks back into reverse first. I had to have the rear differential replaced under warranty at 20,000 miles. The vehicle was making popping sounds while turning at first then all of the time - I got lucky on that large expense. I've had the rear cracked panel like everyone else and the bubbling paint on the hood and the POS 5 disk changer.

- , Mitchellville, IA, USA

problem #85

Jul 022008

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

I purchased a 2002 Explorer from a friend in 2005 with just under 80k miles. She had replaced one or both of the rear wheel bearings and had JUST replaced a front wheel bearing. I should've known better...... The vehicle has turned out to be a lemon after this was the ONLY major problem she experienced. I had to replace the rear passenger side wheel bearing after about a year and the rear tie rods around the same time. About six months ago I had to replace the rear differential and THEN I just had to replace the rear driver side wheel bearing. I'm ready to just hit a deer and end the misery because I'm sure the next problem will be a front wheel bearing.

- , Camden, NY, USA

problem #84

Jun 272008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Had loud humming coming ( for about 8 months) from what I thought was my old and new tires, it wasn't. Had to replace both right bearing sets. Never heard grinding but did feel a looseness in the front end for almost a year before figuring it out. spent $750 plus $100 for an alignment, not happy, although it hasn't driven this smooth in a while.

- , Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

problem #83

Apr 302006

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

took this vehicle for 15 minute test drive, purchased it, hit the highway to bring it home, & heard the bearing noise for the 1st time. We have NO idea how we missed this sound on the test drive! Dealer made repair at zero cost to us, as it should be.

Now, 2 years later, the other side has gone out. Considered doing repair at home (husband is a machinist), but decided to have it done in a shop.

So, rear passenger wheel bearing at 60,000 miles. Rear driver side at 98,000 miles.

The 1st repair surprised us, the 2nd we expected due to history & high mileage.

- , St James, MO, USA

problem #82

Jan 022008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,500 miles

Right front wheel bearing is going out. On slow turns, I can feel the front wheel jerk along with a clicking noise. Took the wheel off to adjust or replace it, but it is sealed in the hub. New hubs at Autozone are $185 each. They were the cheapest I found.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

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