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 6 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #81

May 292008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


I had just gotten my car inspected, it passed. Two weeks later I heard a grinding, crunching noise that sounded like an airplane landing above me. It only made the noise when you accelerate. Took it to the shop and found out that the bearings were grinded down to nothing. I had no choice but to get them replaced right there which ended up costing me 450.00. That was the rear driver's side. The very next day I heard the exact grinding again, only it was under my feet. I took it to the shop again and they tell me that it's now the front driver's side. I don't have another 450.00 just lying around so my car is just sitting while I pay a carnote, and car insurance for a car I can't drive. THANKS FORD, I KNOW WHAT NOT TO BUY NEXT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #80

Jun 162008

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

This problem seemed to occur overnight. Maybe due to the transmission failing I didn't notice it. I run it a lot and I guess this is to be expected. But, before a hundred thousand really stinks. I just put a new transmission in too. So, about $3100.00 in a couple of weeks not bad. Oh yeah, I didn't even make that much, oops. Thank goodness the daddy Bush sent out those welfare checks. I'm going broke because of the three F's, FOOD, FUEL and FORD!

- , Perry, NY, USA

problem #79

Jun 172008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Had this problem with 2002 Ford Explorer since day one. Mentioned it to Mathews Ford in Sandusky Ohio within 2 weeks of vehicle purchased as new. I said there was excessive noise coming from the front hub assembly and was assured it was normal because of 4X4. This was not the case and I was lied to. I'm going to trade this in for a Honda or Toyota!

- , Castalia, OH, USA

problem #78

Jun 142008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


This really sucks. This is the vehicle I really wanted (against my husbands better judgment). I bought it used 2 1/2 years ago. No problems...Till now. My husband got it to the garage this morning, he said it was smoking and the rear passenger wheel tilted to the side when he stopped. NOT GOOD. Well we have no idea what it is going to cost to fix, he gave the mechanic $500 to start. I am so not impressed. I still am paying on this vehicle. I did not get an extended warranty. Ford really should do a recall on this problem, because apparently from all the other comments within the past year this really IS a problem. I am driving my husbands "spare" summer vehicle now, a 1993 Dodge Ram, that runs like a top, and is really not attractive, it isn't my black Explorer. Did I mention I was not impressed. Ford really needs to start paying attention to these complaints and start making us satisfied Ford customers.

- , Bangor, ME, US

problem #77

Mar 142008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

2002 Ford Explorer XLS was purchased for my son to commute to and from Oswego College, a distance of 30 miles each way. With the exception of routine maintenance( I do all of my own maintenance) this truck was relatively problem free. It was purchased with 35,000 miles on it and had a defective rear abs sensor and warped rotors replaced under warranty. My son graduated last year and landed a pretty job that he again commutes about 30 miles each way daily. March of 2008 all hell breaks loose; rear wheel bearing goes crazy basically overnight. The right rear wheel damn near fell off!! The damage was so severe we had to replace the rear steering knuckle; tore the bearing seat totally out. along with the steering knuckle we had to replace the rear half-shaft and the entire brake/parking brake assembly. Have a great local young mechanic who repaired this damage and also replaced the right side while it was on the lift. I was a little upset but figured 83,000 miles in Central New York winters anything can happen.

- , Port Byron, NY, USA

problem #76

May 302008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Rear wheel bearings went bad,,poor design,hubs have to be sent to machine shop to have new bearing pressed into the hubs,,funny story (or not so funny) i was away on vacation 2 years ago while walking around the resort,,i see an Explorer being loaded on to a flat bed asked the owner what the problem was said rear wheel bearings went out while traveling from NY,,same year 2002 Explorer

- , Feasterville, PA, USA

problem #75

Feb 192008

Explorer XLT V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


This is my third Explorer... Never had any serious problems of this kind before. Was experiencing some grinding sounds on braking. Took it in and found out two bearings were basically shot as well as other brake parts in the front and rear. Engine light was on because of the stupid vapor sensor issue and to renew my registration I had to get that fixed to pass emissions. Sank $1500 bucks into this POS expecting things to be better. The service invoice was three pages long. Since then both lighter jacks have failed, (replacing fuse does nothing) door open light won't go off half the time, and I am hearing a slow whumping noise at speeds over 50 when I brake or coast and the car shudders slightly. Only happens once in a while, but it seems to be getting worse and it didn't even happen before I brought the car in. At first I thought it was just the new pads rubbing, but now I have no idea. More bad bearings? My airbag light also flashes as something is wrong with the passenger seat-belt sensor. I have taken excellent care of this vehicle but I am doubting it will make 100,000 miles without another major overhaul. I had a '92 Expo that I put 175,000 miles on with only minor issues.

- , New Berlin, WI, USA

problem #74

May 252008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

click to see larger images

wheel bearing failure

I wish I found this site BEFORE I started to hear the noise that sounded like I needed a brake job! What started out as a low growl/rumble (I thought it was my tires) turned into to squealing that you hear when the disc brake pads are worn. I let it grinding. Then I got the grinding., crunching, grabbing. Thinking I needed pads (4 wheel disc brakes) or shoes (parking brakes are shoes INSIDE the drum/discs) I bought both and made it my Memorial Day project. What a disaster! The moment I jacked the truck up I knew it was more serious...the wheel was sooooooooooo sloppy....Knowing nothing was open to buy parts I threw it back together and since I "disturbed" everything it got worse so I parked it for the day. Overnight I did research and found this site and discovered it is a VERY popular problem. Seeing the cost of repairs at 500 to 700 dollars at a shop compared to 200 do-it-yourself I figured I'd go DIY out of spite. I wouldn't let Ford make another penny from me. I also recommend to anyone NOT to replace this part with another part from will just fail again because the part has not been improved. I paid 120 for the bearing and hub (AdvanceAuto) , 20 for a "24 breaker bar, 20 for a 35mm socket, 21 for a axle / hub puller (AutoZone) , and 50 for a machine shop to press out/in the bearing. Oh yeah.......4 bucks for GOJO.

- , Huntington, MA, USA

problem #73

Apr 102007

Explorer XLT V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I had purchased a 2002 from a GM dealer along with there extended warranty! STAY away from any out side warranty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have replaced three out of the four wheel bearings and now the fourth one is making noise!!! I have also a month ago had the rear end replaced as well! The money I have put out of pocket on the truck, could have bought me a BETTER truck. I have owned fords just about all my driving life and have never had SO many problems

- , Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #72

May 092008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

2002 Ford Explorer XLS with 93k miles. Loud roaring at 55MPH. Took into the dealership where i purchased the vehicle new, they said all 4 wheel bearings and hubs need replaced, $1600, plus the rear differential is grinding and going bad, and the rear springs are snapped. nice, $4000 of repairs on a vehicle with a KBB trade in of $4700. What to do...... The repair shop guy was very nice, and i think, very honestly recommended I trade the vehicle in. I am guessing that he has seen this happen many times and knows that it is the beginning of many paychecks being dumped into the car. not sure what i am going to do, really tempted to cut my losses now, trade it in for the $2k they will give me, and get different make. I am done with Fords, been burnt badly before (3 sets of new breaks on an escort before 70,000 miles), stupid me, did not learn my lesson.

- , Grove City, OH, USA

problem #71

Apr 162008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,232 miles


It started of as a roaring noise in my rear end that continued to get louder and louder. After taking it to a smaller mechanic I was told it was a rear wheel baron but they could not work on it do to it using a special tool. After being recommended to take it to the dealer they in turn told me that in fact the baron was bad but it may also be the rear end. Who am I to believe because simply because I am female and do not know alot about cars people especially in the mechanic field feel that they can tell me anything and I will believe them and dish out the money because I wouldn't know the difference. So my question is Why Lie to Girls?

- , Whitesburg, KY, US

problem #70

Apr 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I had 3 bad wheel bearing all almost at the same time, (70,000miles).

The first was the driver side front bearing, cost me $450 to fix.

The second was the rear, passenger side, cost me $400 to fix, and the

third is the rear driver side, witch I don't know how much will be. The truck is in the


- , Geneva, IL, US

problem #69

Apr 272008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

2002 Ford explorer XLT.At 1000 miles, returned to ford to install / tightened missing engine hardware (exhaust manifold nuts 2.ea./ engine mount bolts) - Dealer service manager smile on comment that car was made on a Monday...At 5k, returned to dealer to replace alternator, belts and idler bearing. At 10k, returned to dealer again for horrible gas mileage (12 mpg), dealer "reprogrammed" eng management computer- no effect. Se vice manager blames EPA for mileage overinflated mileage rating. At 10.5K, insisted on having the dealer do a wheel alignment- way out of spec- mileage improved. This must be due to car made on a Monday, Ford worker was probably having a hang over or must be on something. I'm wondering if Ford conduct drug test on their employees? At 40k miles, had to replace both rear wheel bearing and hub assy. At 50k, car was dangerous, had to replace all 4 shocks, all 4 brake pads/rotor. also at this mileage, the rear ac control went wacko. system condemned- don't have the time to tear the system apart and replace vlv actuators. At 60k, check engine light on, replaced DPSE sensor and EGR control solenoid. At 85k, rear wheel bearing howling again. fyi... wifes car, garage daily, driven and taken cared of better than husband. Husband fixes jets for a living, so all repairs was done in house with dealer supplied "OEM" Ford certified parts. Tried to have dealers fix issues, very expensive. Husband willing to pay, but have no confidence on dealers (steelers). Contacted Ford for info on 'silent" recalls or relief on these systemic problems, Ford responded by giving me a "deal" on a new explorer ! I'm convinced that it's not only the assembly folks are on something but also top management!. FORD - fix or repair daily. 'nough said.

- , Houtston, TX, USA

problem #68

Apr 172008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

II had my Explorer into the dealer for an oil change last January and they mentioned that my right rear wheel seal was leaking and needed to be changed but not right away. I waited for the next oil change in April and scheduled it in for a wheel seal replacement -- $190. No mention of any problems with the rear end. Not 90 miles later I hear a loud crunching sound and managed to limp back to the dealer to find out that the same right rear hub they just replaced the seal on has a bad bearing/hub. They replaced the hub and bearing at a cost of $899 ($533 parts).

Given the Explorer's history of problems with the right rear wheel (Firestone blowouts) causing rollover accidents I think Ford would take this problem seriously. If having a tire fail can lead to rollover accidents imagine what happens when you lose the entire wheel!

- , Osseo, MN, US

problem #67

Oct 192007

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

this is my final complaint. I cost me over $2,200. not really sure a 2002 is really worth it. now, I am seeing on this site, that my explorer could be facing expensive transmission problems. i've been hearing noise and some slipping. anyone have a used tundra they want to sell? :)

- , Oakland Township, MI, USA

problem #66

Mar 282008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

So my ford explorer just make me love her more and more everyday.... I've had engine problems, my ac/heat unit only works on high and it only heats if its set on 90.... unreal, my back panel is cracked!!!!! dont know why this happens on explorers, but give me a break!!! now I have to replace my front driver side wheel bearing, my truck sounds like a helicopter ready to take off.... does ford have any idea that theirs trucks suck!! I mean come on, this are American cars... never again!!! and thats to bad.... I really love my truck... but this is not worth it... to much money being spent! Im going bald!

- , Danielson, CT, USA

problem #65

Feb 032008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

I bought my 2002 Ford Explorer used on January 2, 2008 and within a month I began to hear a clunking/whining noise in the front end. I didn't think much of it at first but by the time I realizes there was a serious problem it was so noisy that it sounded like the whole front end was coming out of it and it was sitting on the side of the road waiting to be picked up by a tow truck. Got it to the shop to be fixed and found out it was the whole wheel bearing assembly. Paid the $413.00 to get it fixed and went on my way thinking this would be the only problem for a while since I bought it used. 3 weeks or so pass, and I started hearing that same noise and vibration coming from the Left rear side. My Dad checked it out and said it was yet again the wheel bearing assembly. Another $300.00 later and it was fixed again, but by this time I was ready to drive this piece of sh*t into a tree! So almost $800.00 later I'm thinking there's a serious issue, like maybe it had previously been in an accident. Kept driving the f*cking thing and here it is only another month later and had to take it off the road again to be fixed because now the Right Rear wheel bearing is gone. This really topped the f*cking cake so today alone I went to to see the P.O.S.'s accident history and there is none. No rebuilt title, no major accidents, no flood damage, nothing od any significance that would affect the suspension. So then I got to thinking maybe there is a recall I don't know about-found none of those. But to my surprise what I did find was a website (this one to be exact) that listed very similar complaints to mine. This inspired me to call Ford Motor Company directly to file a complaint. I got in touch with a very nice man and told him my story and I asked him what needs to happen in order to file for a recall on this specific problem we are all having. He told me to get in touch with all of you having this problem and call the Customer Relationship Center directly and file a complaint with them. The # is 1-800-392-3673 and the man's name is Thomas. He told me there has to be a certain # of complaints filed directly through them before they can investigate this issue. So I STRONGLY URGE ALL OF YOU TO CALL HIM and tell him your story and if there is a recall there could be possible reimbursement in the future for all of us. I know this problem has cost me alot of money because I have only owned the car for 3 months and my repair bill will be over $1000.00 by the time I am done and many days of work missed. I believe this problem is all due to the craftsmanship of the car and I also believe that Ford Motor Company should be held responsible. I like many of you am a mother and I don't think Ford wants a lawsuit on their hands if my children were to be injured because of this. SO ANYONE READING THIS SHOULD DEFINITELY CALL THIS MAN SO WE CAN RESOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

- , Bethel, VT, USA

problem #64

Apr 012008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

this sucks I just had the struts and springs fail and now this is happening....I don't abuse this vehicle...

- , South Portland, ME, USA

problem #63

Sep 242007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

I currently own a 2002 FORD EXPLORER XLT. Several months ago (SEPT 07), I starting hearing a whining or tinning sound coming from the rear. As the weeks/months went by, it starting getting louder and it started sounding like an airplane flying overhead. I took it into the repair shop, mechanic said it was the right rear wheel hub assembly. About $575 to repair. I had the repair done in December 07/January 08. I don't do any towing and the car is mainly used on the weekends. I have 62K Mi. on the car, barely even 10K a year. Now, here it is, 2 months later, and the same thing started all over again. Took it to the shop. NOW, it's the LEFT REAR HUB ASSEMBLY that went bad. ANOTHER $575 !! This is a SERIOUS PROBLEM. My mechanic said the WHEELS COULD COME OFF AND COULD CAUSE A SERIOUS ACCIDENT. I HAVE A 7 YEAR OLD (JUST TURNED 7 TODAY), AND ONE ON THE WAY !! This car is our main means of transportation for trips and vacations and I cannot RISK the lives of my family or the lives of others, if this car FAILS on the HIGHWAY. THIS PROBLEM SHOULD BE LABELED AS A RECALL AND FORD SHOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR THE REPAIRS. I filed a complaint with the I STRONGLY ADVISE EVERYONE TO DO THE SAME. THIS IS A SERIOUS SAFETY RECALL ISSUE. I have read waaaaay to many complaints of the SAME NATURE and nearly at the IDENTICAL mileage mark. It's $575 to fix and NOW, I have to do the same thing to the LEFT REAR HUBS.

- , Highland Falls, NY, USA

problem #62

May 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles





- , Perry, OH, USA

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