definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,561 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Thunderbird:

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

problem #10

Jun 152006


  • 48,351 miles
Multiple engine ignition coil failures in my 2002 Ford Thunderbird. In spite of a dealer acknowledged common problem with frequent coil failures by 50,000 to 60,000 miles, Ford refuses to warranty these vehicles. They do warranty the same problem in the 2003, 2004, 2005 Thunderbirds. What's going on?

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 012009


  • 26,000 miles
The most recent problem started in June 2009 when the airbag indicator light came on for no reason and wouldn't go off (is it working or not" safety issue") then within a matter of weeks everything on the steering column controls quit working or went berserk. The cruise controls suddenly went haywire accelerating when any button was pushed now they don't work at all (safety issue). A car pulled out in front of me, I slammed on the brakes and laid on the horn and nothing!!! a terrible crash was missed by literally inches( safety issue)...30 minutes later the horn worked. The next day I tried about 30 times and I got it to beep twice. The radio/cd controls sometimes work and sometimes don't. change from radio to cd and suddenly the volume is blasting (shocked enough for it to be a safety issue). I was told over the phone it is a clock spring issue and the estimate was $450!!!!! in addition my 2002 Thunderbird was purchased Jan 2,2003. It was one of the last cars off of the line before the 2002 model switch to 2003. I have had the same coil on plug issues that were recalled on 2003's, yet dealer would do nothing for me.it started only 2,000 mls out of initial warranty. I have replaced 3 of the coils/gasket cover and now the 4th coil is bad with gasket leaking. The design is unchanged from 2002 to 2003, why not fix mine? twice I have lost power when accelerating and the car hesitated or stalled in middle of driving. If you don't consider that a safety issue then try pulling out in atlanta traffic and see what you think. In addition now the passenger side auto door latch won't work. This is by far the worst car I have ever had in my life. I had purchased three prior Ford vehicles at the same dealership and they would do nothing for me. I never had the first complaint on any other Ford vehicles.... now the dealer has gone out of business...... please I am begging you see if you can get these issues fixed I have poured enough money into this car and it isn't fair!

- Lawrenceville, Ga, GA, USA

problem #8

Jun 012009


  • 62,000 miles
2002 Ford Thunderbird coils have problems, they short out, causing power to be lost and shutting down vehicle to only 4 cylinders, if you are on highway, major problem, can't go over 40-45 miles an hour.I have had three coils go out so far, only five months to go, each time it goes out puts person behind wheel in jeopardy, due to lack of power.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #7

Sep 262008


  • miles
I am writing today to express grave concerns for my 2002 Ford Thunderbird. It is my understanding that Ford Motor Company has extended the warranty for model years 2003-2005 for the coil over plug (cop) ignition system, but has chosen to omit the 2002 model year even though a majority of 2002-2005 Thunderbirds were produced in model year 2002. My concern is that many owners of the 2002 model year have experienced cop failures which have rendered their cars virtually inoperable without notice of the impending failure. To take this a step further, imagine driving on a high speed interstate and have the system fail. The car is designed to go into "limp" mode whereby the car cannot go any faster than 25 mph. This is a disastrous accident waiting to happen! not only is this a safety issue, the repairs are costing owners of my 2002 cars in excess of $1,500 where owners of newer models are covered for 10 years/100,000 miles free of charge for the exact same failure. This inequity must seriously be investigated and corrected by the NHTSA!

- Oakland Park, FL, USA

problem #6

Sep 072008


  • miles
I am writing to hopefully prevent a dangerous and serious situation. I own a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. This particular car and others like it have defective ignition coils which could cause the car(s) to become involved in accidents. The coils are prone to cease functioning at any moment, thus causing the engine to suddenly and rapidly lose power. This is dangerous at best at low speeds, and deadly at highway speeds. The Ford Motor Company has issued a letter stating that 2003-2005 Thunderbirds can have their coils replaced at no cost to the owner. However, they have failed to include the owners of 2002 models in this action. The result of this is that 2002 owners cannot afford to have their coils replaced due to the expense (between $1500 and $2500). This places thousands of cars on the road that endanger not only their own occupants, but those of other vehicles as well. Since Ford has acknowledged that there is a problem with the coils (the 2002 uses the same as those being replaced for free), I implore you to use whatever influence you might have to rectify this situation. Many potential deaths could be avoided if Ford would simply include the 2002 model Thunderbird in the list of approved vehicles for coil replacement at no cost.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 152007

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Thunderbird. While driving 10 mph, the vehicle jerked forward and the contact heard a popping noise coming from the engine. The dealer stated that a coil and a spark plug were defective and they made the replacement. Approximately three weeks later, while driving 70 mph, the failure recurred. The dealer stated that a coil and a spark plug were defective and they made the repair once again. The current mileage was 52,705 and failure mileage was 51,000. The consumer stated the vehicle has 8 coils, one for each cylinder/spark plug two of the coils have failed. Updated 09/05/07.

- Killen, AL, USA

problem #4

Oct 292004

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,450 miles
My wife experienced a complete shut down of our 2002 Thunderbird while making a left turn from a complete stop in front of oncoming traffic. The car "rolled" across the oncoming lane and she put the vehicle in neutral and was able to start the vehicle again. This failure is identical to the circumstances desribed in ODI id number: 10014291 dated March 3, 2003.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #3

Oct 272003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
While driving at 70 mph vehicle intermittently stalled. Consumer towed vehicle to the dealer, technician could not duplicate or correct the problem.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #2

Aug 282003

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,800 miles
Engine failure. While driving approx 40 mph. Slowed to stop for an animal in the road and engine failed. I shifted to neutral and restarted w/O problem. Had this occured in a busy intersection, it could have resulted in serious injury and/or death. Please investigate and notify Ford. This is not the first complaing you hav recieved regarding this problem.

- Walton, WV, USA

problem #1

Mar 032003

Thunderbird 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
Twice my 2002 Thunderbird's engine has stopped while I am driving it. Both times, it occurred as I was making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic in a 55 mph zone. When it quit, I was unable to steer or control the vehicle in any way. I had to put it in park and restart it before I could leave the oncoming lane. Ford has an unpublished oasis special service message 16581 which states: "2000-2002 Lincoln ls & 2002 Thunderbird - intermittent engine quit on decel/stops/turns. Some 2000-2002 Lincoln ls & 2002 Thunderbird vehicles may exhibit an intermittent engine quit condition. The engine quit may occur on deceleration, low speed/parking lot maneuvers or aggressive braking. The condition may not be easily duplicated, typically no dtcs will be present and the engine will start normally after the event. This is under investigation following the quick service fix process. Until root cause is determined, please follow normal pc/ed manual diagnostics and submit edsr's." my vehicle is in the shop and has been for well over a month. I am currently trying to replace it under Oregon's lemon law. I have just started this process and I don't know what the out come will be. But I am worried the consumer is not aware of this defect. Had there been oncoming traffic when I was making this turn in a 55 mph zone, I very well might be been extremely injured or dead, and it would have been chalked up to someone turning left unsafely. Obviously, Ford is aware of the defect, but owners have not been notified of the possibility that their engine may shut down unexpectedly. This has potential for extremely serious consequences.

- Salem, OR, USA