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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,000 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Feb 172006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


In Feb of 2006 with 65,995 miles on my car I heard a whirring/grinding noise from the passenger side while driving. I made an appointment with my mechanic for later in the week (~4 days) to have the noise looked into. 1 day prior to taking my car to the mechanic the noise got much worse and I took it in immediately. I was told that the right rear wheel bearing exploded and damaged the brake and emergency braking system. I had this repaired and chalked it up to bad Michigan roads. In may of 2006 the left rear wheel bearing also eroded/wore out and needed to be replaced (only 68,368 miles at the time). The warehouse/retail outlet where my mechanics purchased the replacement wheel bearings told me the person working the counter commented on how many requests Ford has had for wheel bearings as of recent. My mechanics (as well as friends and family) told me I should contact Ford as well as NHTSA with this information since the component failure effected the emergency braking system. I am following through on that request and have placed a letter in the mail to Ford Motor Company and am awaiting their reply. I would appreciate an independent 3rd party's evaluation of this situation since I have been told by my mechanic as well as others the auto repair and industry that wheel bearings should last throughout the life of the automobile (or at least to 100,000 miles.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

Not what you are looking for?