Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

CarComplaints.com 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.

9.0

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,041.00
Average Mileage:
108,903 miles
Total Complaints:
162 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (67 reports)
  2. replace / rebuild entire steering column (54 reports)
  3. repair / replace shift lever (18 reports)
  4. rigged it so I could drive (4 reports)
  5. goodwill repair and upgrade manufacture of part (3 reports)
  6. new steering column (3 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 9)

problem #162

Jul 112016

Explorer Limited V8 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 202,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

click to see larger images

gear shift lever fell off

Got in the car and go to shift and the GEAR SHIFT is in MY HAND!!!! I panicked because the car was in reverse so I had to call my husband, and I had to keep my foot on the brake or I would have hit something or someone, since the whole GEAR SHIFT was broken I could not get the car in park. My husband calls a tow truck and guess what the tow truck driver would not take the car because he could not put it in neutral and he said if he towed it he would not be responsible if pulling the car on the flat bed could damage the TRANSMISSION what a nightmare, we had to call another tow truck with "skates" so that he could "skate" up the tow truck and would not damage the transmission but before all of this could be done we had to figure out how to shut off the car since it was still in reverse, we had to open up the steering column and manually push down a small metal piece that would allow the car to shut off and be able to pull out the key. FORD really needs to take responsibility for this dangerous problem!!!!

- , Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #161

Aug 242016

Explorer Limited V8 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220,134 miles

HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ANOTHER GEAR SHIFT BROKE OFF IN MY HAND AGAIN WITHIN LESS THAN 2 MONTHS FROM FIXING THE FIRST TIME IT HAPPENED. THANK GOD THIS TIME THE CAR WAS STILL IN PARK. FORD REALLY NEEDS TO FIX THIS VERY SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS PROBLEM THEY HAVE, THEY MAKE ENOUGH MONEY ON US THEY SHOULD STAND UP AND TAKE RESPONSIBLITY NOT JUST LOOK THE OTHER WAY THIS PROBLEM COULD KILL SOMEONE! IF I HAD MONEY I WOULD GO BUY ANOTHER CAR (NOT A FORD) BUT UNFORTUNETLY I HAVE TO FIX THIS PIECE OF JUNK METAL ONE MORE TIME. WHAT WILL IT TAKE FORD?? THIS COMPANY ACT LIKE ITS POOR, THEY MADE A CHEAP PART AND THEY KNOW IT.

- , Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #160

Jan 272016

Explorer LXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles

We were headed to church and the whole family was seated and belted. I turned on the truck and everything was fine until I shifted the gear to reverse and I was left holding the shifter. It is not only very inconvenient but a safety issue too. You are left wondering whether Ford made the shifter out of clay.

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #159

Sep 162013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,883 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The pin holding the shifter snapped, rendering the vehicle useless unless fixed. It was discovered that, had the Explorer been manufactured in the first half of the year the fix would've been approx. $100.00 to replace the pin. However, Ford got "smart" and changed their manufacturing process and the pin holding the shifter in place was designed so that the entire steering column has to be replaced at a cost of $2600.00 CAD new, used was $1800.00 CAD.

Was explained that weak metal, bad pour, bad design. No response from Ford.

One of VERY MANY issues with this money pit!!

- , Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #158

Sep 252015

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,939 miles

click to see larger images

gear shift lever fell off

Just as I was getting ready to shift into reverse the gear lever on my 2002 Ford Explorer dropped into my hand! Had to leave car in that condition with emergency brake on only and switch to our other car. We've been a faithful Ford car family...After searching online and seeing all the complaints, can't believe Ford hasn't contacted owners about this problem and taken care of it. Has Ford acknowledged and done anything about this..? Rethinking this Ford family thing....

- , Pu, WA, USA

problem #157

Jul 252013

Explorer Limited 3.2L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

It is hard to put it into gear with my finger. It cost way too much to fix it because you have to take the steering wheel/shaft out just to repair a cheap piece of metal on the shifter itself.

- , Winston, Georgia/south, USA

problem #156

Aug 142014

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Was putting car in reverse and gear shifter broke off in my hands. Got to looking online and realized this is a problem a lot of people has had with this make and model.

- , Monticello, KY, USA

problem #155

Jan 102014

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

When attempting to shift from drive to park, the gear shift lever broke from the steering column, making it impossible to change gears. Stuck in the car wash at night.

- , Trotwood, OH, USA

problem #154

Oct 222013

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles

The gear shifter (Prindl) in the steering column broke off in my hand this morning. As a second job to help my 3 children with their college expenses I deliver the local newspaper from 4:00-6:00 AM. As I tried to put the vehicle in park the prindl came off in my hand. Thank goodness I was on a flat surface in a parking lot. I deliver the paper to several people's doorways that involves driving up their steep driveways. I can't imagine the damage that could have occurred if this happened while trying to put the vehicle in park on an incline.

My local mechanic is trying to find a replacement part and not replace the entire steering column. I may contact the guy in Sweden as mentioned in an earlier post. This 2002 Ford Explorer has been a real lemon, I just replaced the engine for the second time last month, just before I was going to trade it in for a new vehicle.

I was considering the Ford Escape or CMAX; trying to get someting with Hybrid/plug-in. I think I will look a lot harder at other brands.

- , East Lansing, MI, USA

problem #153

Jul 122013

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 215,515 miles

click to see larger images

gear shift lever fell off

It was pouring down the rain this morning and I was trying to go to work. I ran to the vehicle and jumped in trying not to get completely soaked. I started the engine and turned on the lights, windshield wipers and defroster. I grabbed ahold of the gear shift to pull it down into reverse and to my surprise it just pulled off into my hand. I had to gather up all my stuff and run back inside and grab my daughters car keys and drive her car to work today. I called around to the local junk yards and pick a part stores and found a few pretty good quotes. I tried Advanced Auto and Auto Zone and they told me they did not carry it or could not get it. I will end up going to the junk yard in the morning and buying a whole steering column just to replace the shifter lever. I did get them down to $150.00 so I considered it a win. It took me about 2 hours to get everything apart and ready to go back together once I get the piece in the morning.

- , Stafford, VA, USA

problem #152

Apr 172013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

After a long day at work I drove with my 13 year old daughter to the local hospital for some tests. The service was unusually fast, happy to be heading home, we jumped in our 2002 Ford Explorer. It started right up as usual, i pressed the break pedal and proceeded to place the vehicle in reverse. The gear shift broke right off in my hand!! We had no choice but to leave the vehicle and begin the five mile walk home!!Super disappointed, yet another faulty part on this vehicle I have been less then happy with from day one. I owned a Ford Expedition prior & had next to no problems for 11 years. I will NEVER purchase a Ford again, it has been one thing after another. So much for "made in the USA".......I cant afford to drive an Ford

- , Newark, OH, USA

problem #151

Jun 222012

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

click to see larger images

gear shift lever fell off gear shift lever fell off

Was out on a Friday night, pouring rain, cloud to ground lightening, picking up my son. I went to park my vehicle and the gear shift broke off in my hand ~ imagine my surprise! Lucky for me I have a wonderful neighbor that fixes cars. He came to my rescue that night and then put it in gear the next morning and took it to his garage. He called Ford, who said it would be $1250 to replace the whole gear shift. He told them he only needed the aluminum cylinder and they said they don't sell it that way. He call some of his other contacts and the repair ended up costing $53. Please find some reputable mechanic to fix your vehicle if this happens to you, please do not take it to Ford and pay that outrageous fee.

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #150

Jun 012012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 172,000 miles

I see tons of similar stories, and pictures, this needs to be addressed by Ford. IF it is not a big deal and does not happen that much then it would little expense they should pay for it. IF it happens a lot then they clearly have an issue and need to make good.

Either Way, they should take responsibility.

Very disappointing

- , Anderson, IN, USA

problem #149

Mar 292012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

i was getting ready to take my daughter to school in morning of 03/29/2012 when i tried to shift from park to reverse.suddenly the lever came off from the steering colum.i never had this problem with any cars that i have had before neigther have i known of such problem before untill i cheked out ford forum-lead me to believe that this problem is only issolated to ford . we all need to come together and force ford to pay for these problem .is there a way we can sue them? mken.

- , Losangeles, CA, USA

problem #148

Mar 272012

Explorer XL V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Same problem as others reported here. Trying to leave work parking lot and could not shift. Looked closer and the shift lever piece was broke identical to the pics shown here. Going to attempt fix myself aftere reading reports here.

- , Dublin, OH, USA

problem #147

Feb 292012

Explorer XLT 4.Ol V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 210,000 miles

the gear shift/lever on my 02 explorer broke off trying to put it in gear dont knw what to do now and i need some suggestions on wat2do

- , Glendale Heights, IL, USA

problem #146

Jan 292012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,320 miles

leaving the tobacco store and truck wouldnt go into drive or any other gear.

Update from Feb 13, 2012: my mech.found the problem.small C shaped plastic bracket that holds the cable to the tranny was dry rotted and split in two.being made of steel would have helped.had to order part from ford dealer.only cost 11 bucks for the cheap plastic part and 10 bucks to have installed.sure glad it wasnt an expensive repair.amazing!

- , Richmond, IN, USA

problem #145

Jan 272012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

never buy a ford again take good care of my explorer never pulled anything with it 2 transmissions a rear end 2 broken rear panels and now A broken shifter in my hand yea BUILT FORD TOUGH

- , Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #144

Sep 182011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

click to see larger images

gear shift lever fell off

My husband was pulling into our driveway to park when the gear shifter snapped off into his hands. We were very thankful this happened in our driveway and not out and about with the kids. Upon evaluating the situation, we realized the gearshift linkage had snapped. This is a defective part as there was no excessive force used. Since this seems to be a common issue with Ford SUV's and Trucks from 2002-2004,Ford should recall this part and fix the problem. If we bring the car to the dealership, it will cost us minimally $1700. We have had a few defective issues with Ford and do not feel that our issues are ever resolved to our satisfaction. Unless this issue is paid for by Ford, I will never buy another Ford again, EVER!

- , Rye, NH, USA

problem #143

Dec 082011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,032 miles

FYI: I called the number to the Road & Safety Commission, listed on this website, and reported my complaint. They said this problem is under investigation. Be sure if you have this problem to do the same. If they get enough people it could lead to a recall. You can also go to their website. www.safercar.gov It is important that you have your VIN #

I was pulling out of a parking space and I no more than pulled the gear shift lever back and it broke off. I could not shift at all. I can't even imagine what could have happened if I was able to shift it. Would I be stuck in reverse? The keys got stuck in the ignition, too. I had to leave my car there over night, loaded with "stuff", because my son is in process of moving and I didn't have the option to move the stuff to another car. I wasn't too comfortable leaving it there overnight. I do not know how much this is going to cost or how long my car will be "out of commission" yet. I will keep you posted.

- , Fennville, MI, USA

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