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.

7.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,142.00
Average Mileage:
123,583 miles
Total Complaints:
99 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (49 reports)
  2. new or rebuilt transmission (31 reports)
  3. replace transmission (9 reports)
  4. push in button underneath steering wheel (2 reports)
  5. replace solenoid body (2 reports)
  6. bought new car (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Mar 172010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 195,000 miles

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

My 2002 Ford Explorer has been giving me trouble since 2006 when I had to have work on the transmission totaling $1500. The service engine light is still on, it makes a THUD sound when placed in reverse like the rear end has dropped off, hesitates shifting to 2nd and 3rd gear, and the rpm goes to 3 or 4 when taking off.I have had so many problems with this SUV its nerve wracking. All of our friends say they would NEVER buy a Ford, NEVER. Form all the complaints I have read it seems like Ford should do something about helping with the cost of having it fixed. I can't even afford to have it fixed, and I need it to get to work!!!

- , Beaufiort, SC, USA

problem #18

Mar 102010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,119 miles

wtf.i just bought this truck last week and this is the 1st problem ive had so far.. was going to reverse park into my stall then hit the brakes and shifted into park and guess what it did not go..it would go into any other gear but park..after lots of force it went into park then wouldnt come out of it..after more force it came out and into drive..i drove out of my parkade and onto small hill and put it into park and badabing stuck again but this time to no avail.it would not shift..a fix the ford mechanic told me to do was push truck forward and have someone try to shift as it may be locked..as i pushed up my wife hit the brakes but the brake lights did not illuminate..im thinking maybe the sensor is f*cked up and transmission doesnt know if brakes are applied to allow it to shift into park or into gear..am getting it serviced from dealer tommorow and will post what is said..

Update from Mar 16, 2010: ford said its gona cost $400 to diagnose and fix. lordco sells the brake light switch which is located near brake pedal for under $30. this is why you cant shift from park to any gear and vice versa.signal is not given to tranny saying its safe to go into park..if your stuck like i was and dont want to pay $100 and up to get towed because your car would not go into park or any gear than pull over somewhere safe apply emergency brakes and find a flat screw driver or house key then look underneath your steering wheel for a shift release keyhole. move the panel to open and either put key in and shift to desired gear or stuff some paper in it like i did and close panel and you wont have that problem anymore..but you will still need to get brake light switch because here and there when your driving your break lights and reverse lights and turn lights in back are not working and can result in accident.. but it will only turn off here and there for couple of minutes.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #17

Jan 052010

Explorer E/B 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,817 miles

This 2002 explorer got only 52,000 Miles on it and i am feeling signs on transmission failure. I hardly drive this vehicle as i use this Explorer (exploder) as a spare one because i know it going to cost a lot to get it fixed.I keep it parked in garage most of the time because i don't have that much money to get it fixed. Not even worth of selling it as resale value is very very low as you know it got blue ford logo on it. I dint knew this model had transmission issue, if i knew i never would have purchased this piece of crap. 2007 was worst year of my life when i purchased this used piece of crap from Ford Dealer. we all are in same Ford boat middle of nowhere ,where we all going to sink one day no matter what. Hope Ford reads this complain and for sake of their image they call for recall.

- , Surrey, BC, Canada

problem #16

Mar 152003

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

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

Started getting hard to move the column shifter out of park.

- , Poland, OH, USA

problem #15

Jan 202006

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles

as you know i had a ford explorer cant drive it transmission goes out every 6000miles at120miles it started my car to move it i have to push in hard and squeeze it s a mouther f*cking shame

- , orange county, califonia, USA

problem #14

Jan 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

ALL OF A SUDDEN EVERY TIME I WENT TO SLOW DOWN I HERD AND FELT A "CLUNK" NOISE FROM THE REAR END, I CONTINUED TO GET WORSE, AND IT ALSO STARTED SKIPPING GEARS.I TOOK IT IN TO FORD AND THEY TOLD ME THE PCV HOSE COLLAPSED, AND THE MAIN COMPUTER WENT OUT. THEY REPLACED IT AND STILL "CLUNK" GOES MY CAR.. NOW IT'S JUMPING GEARS ALL THE TIME, AND ON 3/22/09 I WENT TO PUT THE CAR IN REVERSE, AND HIT THE GAS, I WENT NOWHERE. TRIED IT AGAIN AND STILL THERE IN MY DRIVEWAY I SAT. I SLAMMED IT IN TO PARK, AND THEN INTO DRIVE, REVERSE AND AWAY I WENT,IT FEELS LIKE IT LOOSES POWER IN REVERSE, AND EVEN WHEN DRIVING IT FEELS LIKE IT'S GOING TO LOCK U AND DIE OUT.

- , Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

problem #13

Apr 012009

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

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

For several months my car has been "clunking" every time I put it in reverse. Sometimes the clunk is really pronounced. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all. Sometimes it just hesitates but then engages okay.

For the past few months I've been parking in such a way where I rarely have to reverse. So if I park at the grocery store, I either park far away so I'm not blocked in, or I pull forward into a stall to the other side so I can drive forward only.

Finally decided to take it to AAMCO. Diagnosed with hesitation in reverse and clunk. Other gears were fine but they said they found metal shavings on the magnet. Recommendation was complete overhaul. Cost? $2200.

They said Ford designed these components with a faulty case and there's some kind of gasket or something that is prone to failure. He said that if we fixed it with him, he would bore out the transmission case to insert some kind of "brass fitting" that would fix the problem and have a solid transmission. He also said it would have cost Ford 20 bucks to correct this problem at the factory by just installing this brass fitting to begin with.

So now I'm stuck, repair the truck and take my chances or just get a new car? I think I'm going to trade it in for a Nissan Xterra.

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I noticed my tranny shifting hard about 1500 miles after the warranty had ran out on it. Also my 4x4 high light flashes off and on 10 times a minute. But there is no dipstick to check the tranny fluid so I would not know if it were low or not. Which I think is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard of in my life. I cannot afford to take my car to a dealer just to get my fluid checked. THANKS FORD

- , Bainbridge, OH, USA

problem #11

Jan 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

It all started when my check engine light came on. I went to the nearest auto parts store and asked them to run a scan on it. They told me it was a bad gas cap. (I had just got gas.) Later that day it came on again. I let it go for a little while, because I did not have time to get another gas cap right away. Then my car stated shifting really hard when I was shifting from park to reverse. I had the car looked at and they said I needed to get a transmission flush and fill. I paid over 200.00 for this and it is still doing the same darn thing only worse now. Now it is shifting really hard from park to reverse and every other gear I put it in. Even while driving it shifts really hard from first to second and so on. I now cannot drive my vehicle until tax time to fork out 2500.00 for a new transmission.

- , Sidney, OH, USA

problem #10

Dec 182007

Explorer 3.2L V.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,986 miles

well my ford ford explorer sucks. i thought this was the ideal SUV for me until i start driving it and after 1 month the cheap ass transmission started to act up. the truck starting to roar and excel when shift into reverse this truck really sucks, every time i take i to the dealer they keep saying the same sh*t "it just the down shifting" wtf is that i think their ass just don't want to service the damn tranny. i would never recommend anyone to buy a explorer that older than 2 years.

- , Washington, DC, USA

problem #9

Apr 142008

Explorer Liminted V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

We have a 2002 Ford Explorer Limited V8. It all started with the transmission "clunking" when trying to put in reverse from park. It feels like the whole engine is going to drop out from under the truck. Now when you are driving sometimes when you accelerate it acts like the transmission is slipping gears. We are going to have it looked at this week with no hopes of actually solving the issue. May just pay off and get another car. Does not sound worth all the trouble everyone else is having! I will never buy another Ford Explorer again!

- , Mount Vernon, MO, USA

problem #8

Apr 182007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,200 miles

I agree with a complaint I read just seconds ago! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH FORD? Now I got my explorer used and I know that thing happen to a car when they are bought used, but come on. I had to fork out $334 for bearings, then had to pay $90 to get the bearings pressed, and would have had to pay someone to put them on my SUV had my dad not known how to do it himself. Now to beat it all of the figuring transmission is slipping, I have a loud pop in my front tires, and my O/D light blinks. I love my explorer but I tell you what I won't buy another one. I will buy a freaking Dodge next time at least people will tell you the damn transmission will go bad and you know what to look for. I'm sorry but I as a consumer and getting sick of being SCREWED by car companies. If it's not one thing it's another. DO NOT BUY A 2002 FORD EXPLORER.

- , Vanceburg, KY, USA

problem #7

Nov 082006

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

This transmission was a piece of crap and the dealer knew it all along. I've had the following problems that they could never find until they finally wanted me to pay $2700 to have the piece of sh*t re-built.

Randomly lurches forward or reverse when going into or out of park

Slipping feeling when shifting

High revving before shifting

- , Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 242007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

yea so i have the same problem as every one else. shifting to reverse takes about 320 seconds and now my od light is flashing and the car barely shifts/drives at all. i really don't know what to do and i'm not about to pay all that money for a new transmission. any suggestions?

- , Westchester, PA, USA

problem #5

Jun 282007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

I have read the other complaints about the transmission being terrible and want to see how many people would join in a class action suit against the Ford motor company. I have to fix or replace my transmission and the paint panel of my window hatch. It has a crack on the passenger side. Lets make Ford either correct this problem, or use the consumer power of buying to bring them to their knees!!!!

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #4

Jul 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,200 miles

And ongoing problem getting worse. I have a heck of a time trying to shift out of park and also from drive to park. And yes I have my foot on the brake. This piece of crap Ford will let you shift only when it's good and ready. Why did i buy a Ford? live and learn.

- , Erie, PA, USA

problem #3

Jul 052007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Same as everybody else, difficulty shifting from park to reverse. Last Ford ever I will buy.... never again!

- , East Aflmouth, MA, USA

problem #2

May 292006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,500 miles

Difficulty in shifting from Park to Reverse started at about 50,000 miles. Brought to dealer to diagnose at 64,400 miles. They recommended a rebuilt be installed for my problematic tranmission. The rebuilt turned out to be in worse condition than my original. We will find out what the dealer will do for me this week - May 30, 2006. Stay tuned....

Update from Nov 11, 2014: Transmission needed to be totally rebuilt at 131,454 miles. This is the second major overhaul I have made on this vehicle.

- , Woodbury, MN, USA

problem #1

Feb 012007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

More often than not, the car is difficult to go from park to drive and usually rolls after putting the car in park.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

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