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.

8.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,545.00
Average Mileage:
88,967 miles
Total Complaints:
136 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rebuild transmission (66 reports)
  2. transmission overhauled (21 reports)
  3. Ford should comp the damage (17 reports)
  4. issue a recall! (14 reports)
  5. replace transmission (14 reports)
  6. not sure (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 7)

problem #136

Nov 172014

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

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

ORIGINAL TRANS DID NOT MAKE IT TO 100K MILES BUT WAS PAST THE 10 YEAR WARRANTY. PAID OVER 2000.00 S TO HAVE IT REBUILT. THAT REPAIR ONLY LASTED 14 MONTHS BECAUSE SOME OF THE ORIGINAL PARTS DETERIORATED & CAUSED CATASTOPHIC DAMAGE TO THE NEWER PARTS. THE ENGINE & BODY & EVERYTHING ELSE ARE GREAT, BUT THIS IS VERY EXPENSIVE. FORD KNEW THE 2002 _2004 TRANNYS WERE BAD. WHY WAS THERE NO RECALL? NOW ITS OUT AGAIN. THIS HAPPENED ON THE INTERSTATE ! COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THIS !

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #135

Aug 012016

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer has had the transmission fixed 4 times. At 147,000 I had a Jasper transmission installed for a cost of $3982.14 (8/12/16) The vehicle never hauled ,towed, or was used off road. Looking for a new vehicle, it will not be a Ford.

- , Slatington, PA, USA

problem #134

Aug 172015

Explorer XLS 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 196,045 miles

This is our 2nd transmission since owning this truck. Buying new gets you nothing. WE have found that there is a plug in the train that "vibrates" loose, eventually causes transmission issues, ie: slippage, loss of shifting, etc. We now will do an annual appointment to have this plug checked every year until we get rid of this truck.

Update from Nov 30, 2016: So we have had the trani dropped and the plug reset 2x since the that transmission was put in, this was done approx.. once a year. Fast forward 23,222 miles and 2016. The 2nd transmission is going. It's slipping in 2nd gear and the o/d drive light started flashing. I cannot afford another vehicle but I guess at 219267 miles and 14 years it's time label this with the FORD moniker - Found On Road Dead.

hmmm, I wonder what Ole' Henry Ford would think of his company now?

- , Easton, PA, USA

problem #133

Sep 102009

Explorer 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,618 miles

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

Bought the car in 2009, a week later it would not kick into gear. Took it to the shop, 2,000 dollars and a week and a half later got it back, ran good for awhile, just the minor problems, and then again with the tranny.

Update from Feb 1, 2016: Also my air conditioner was great and living in Arizona a working AC is a necessity, but that only lasted a short while and the compressor was shot, and after paying $2000 for the tranny and 70 bucks for them to tell me it was the 425.00 dollar compressor (not including labor), the money just was not there, so no AC in 115 degree weather. I love this car! It was given to me by my late husband and holds sentimental value. It has never left me on the side of the road, instead, waited till I pulled up to the house to break down. It is big enough for myself and four children, it drives to three different schools miles apart, soccer games, cheer games, practices, student council meetings, and as of today's date has 300.000 miles on it. I find myself not being able to give it up and this will be the third time I have to get the transmission fixed among the many other problems. And just two months ago I put all the money we had ($2,100) and fixed the front end (not including brakes or rotters), and that will be on a separate complaint after I save another $2,000 or whatever they charge this time.

- , Toltec, USA

problem #132

Dec 142010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,900 miles

Transmission went out because Ford put in a colaspable pickup tube that starved the transmission of fluid in which it use to wine. Ford replaced it at 35,000 miles but did to their standards that it was bad under and it went out again at 98,000. Rear coil spring just out of the blue broke at 50,000. all wheel bearings keep going. And rear hatch keeps braking, plastic cracks. come on Ford this is not quality.

- , toledo, OH, USA

problem #131

Jan 072015

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Bloody hell, I live in the middle of BFE, and the bloody solenoid has now gone ass up. I am so peeved.

- , gilroy, CA, USA

problem #130

Dec 102013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

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

After I bought the car from it's second owner, a friend told me he had heard they have really good engines, but tranny problems. Sure enough, while accelerating on the highway, the transmission slipped shifting from second to 3rd gear. From that point on, I drove it like a manual transmission, letting off the gas to allow it to shift, but with the check engine light on throwing the tranny code, I couldn't get it to pass smog. Finally had to have it rebuilt. The professional warranty certified repair shop had all kinds of problems with "the car from hell" but finally fixed it after having it in and out 3 times! I understand that they have to have part of the casing bored out so that a pin can slide in at a proper angle, but ford won't recall/replace as I guess they're good enough to make it through the warranty period. At least this place gave me a 5 yr./5K mi. warranty. Will sell the car in 4 years.

- , Fresno, CA, USA

problem #129

Jun 202011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

great was getting ready to trade in in a month then trans goes out. Soooooooo many problems with this suv just terrrible.

- , Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #128

Jun 072013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,700 miles

The 2002 explorer I bought was a previously owned vehicle . I should never have bought this car . However in 1996 I bought a 95 explorer and it served me well ! If I only had that TRANSMISSION I believe the 2002 would work better and keep running !

I had no problems with the 95 transmission and I only changed transmission oil 3 times in over 180 000 miles,NO PROBLEMS !!!! Now with the 2002 explorer the transmission will be overhauled twice and I've only driven it 300 miles and payed $2380.00 so far !

Help ME FORD !!!!!! I like the car BUT I can't drive a broken car ! Thank you FORD !!!

- , Panama City, FL, USA

problem #127

Jul 012013

Explorer XLS V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Okay - the first time I had to have my transmission rebuilt @ 85,000 miles. I didn't like it, but at least I had an extended warranty and was relativity happy once the repair was completed. Now the 2nd time I have had to rebuild the transmission, I'm pissed.... The only thing I have done is drive this SUV to and from work, mostly on the highway. I have not used the 4X4, towed anything other than my kids to and from school events or come remotely close to abusing the vehicle. How can this be. I have been a Ford guy all my life - one exception, a VW bug, and that is another story. After finding this website, Ford should be ashamed that it designed and built such a poor transmission.

I almost forgot to mention - I have also had to replace the rear end @ 110k and wheel bearings @ 120k miles. Great looking SUV, to bad there was some really bad mechanical engineering behind it.

- , Olathe, KS, USA

problem #126

Jan 022012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

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

Vehicle had approximately 76k on it. Always have had issues with putting the car into reverse. Transmission clunks into the reverse gear. More noticeable when on an incline. But that's not the big problem. In Jan 2012 had transmission replaced by independent shop. They told me first and second gears were gone, third gear about to go Issued me a one year warranty, provided I had them check it at about 500 miles They did that check, and all was good. They "updated the transmission as well to bring it to spec". Whatever that means, I guess sensors and electronics. They told me its a jaguar transmission now. I didn't know jaguar made anything as large as an explorer, so that really makes no sense. Anyway, had it replaced and all well and good until I head to a soccer tourney out of town over labor day. Tranny goes out starts to shift weird and has no power at times. It really sucked since we were 4 hours from home and no way to get to remaining games and back home without a lot of help from friends Anyway, shop that fixed transmission arranged to have it brought back to his shop and split the costs of towing They found that transmission failed again due to water in the cooling portion of the radiator. They did agree to cover a good portion of the parts and labor, but still cost me an additional $1350.00 Finally picked it up after 10 days of not having a vehicle and it runs great, however, when shifting into drive, all of the dash indicators pop on. Like when you first start the vehicle, everything turns on, know what I mean? Also noticing that when you go from reverse to drive, the indicator lights come on As a matter of fact, anytime the gear shift is moved, indicator lights come on I previously complained about this truck regarding a gear shift that completely snapped off, and I had to replace the entire steering column Dealer service told me that "the explorer was one of the most popular trucks made, and with so many million made, there are bound to be problems I really think that the whole transmission system I this vehicle was poorly designed, and from what I've seen, I'm not the only one that's had the problem I'll never ever buy a ford again. In fact, I have very little confidence in American cars I think it's Hondas from now on. Must be a reason there are so many still on the road,

- , Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #125

Jun 012010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I've had this transmission repaired by a Ford dealership which lasted 13 months and then had to have it completely rebuilt. This vehicle has been nothing but a money pit. Ford is very poor in customer satisfaction.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #124

Jun 152007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I bought the 2002 Eddie Bauer Explorer from a dealer,previously owned. I bought the Ford extended warranty(fortunately). The vehicle had about 33000 miles on it at that time. I always take my vehicles to the dealer for the major scheduled maint. I had it serviced at a "blue oval" dealership. Within 30 days, I drove it on 300 mile trip. While on the freeway, I noticed smoke trailing behind me. Got out and checked, could not detect burning oil smell. On returning from trip, 'check od' light came on dash. Took vehicle to a closer dealership. They informed me that previous maint. visit at another dealership was at fault. They had just added tran fluid, instead of draining it completely, and refilling the specific amount. End result: tranny had to be rebuilt (took 3 days), and the extended warranty paid for itself, even covering cost of rental car. Tranny works ok since then, but not as good as it used to be. A service manager said my tran was built in Canada, not U.S. Don't know if that has a bearing on it. I kind of feel that if the first maint dealership hadn't screwed up and just blindly added more tran fluid as part of their service routine, my tranny wold have continued just fine. My previous 3 vehicles have been Fords( including 2 t-birds), with no probs. I'm retired now, so maybe my next vehicle will be Honda, since I won't be able to afford dropping $3000 for a new tranny.

- , Walnut, CA, USA

problem #123

Jan 102008

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

2002 Ford Explorer. This is the car my wife wanted. We bought it new in 2002. Not long after the warranty ran out, we had to have the transmission rebuilt at our expense. Four years later the transmission is out again, and Ford will do nothing. Ford knows this problem has existed for years but still will not own up to their failure. My daughter in law has had the same problem with her explorer with no assistance from Ford. our family has bought several Fords, but never again. I also will not let Ford repair it this time.

- , Jenkinsburg, GA, USA

problem #122

Sep 202010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,910 miles

is it going to take a life to see that this is an issue of their( FORD)TO SEE THAT THIS IS AN ISSUE! this tranny on the 02 explorer has mad cow disease! we all know what happend to them cows! do the right thing FORD recall! this transmission! and reimburse the ppl of America that has put out their cash for repairs. 1 CEO's bonus should cover it all.

- , Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #121

Mar 162012

Explorer LX 3.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,725 miles

FORD COMPANY SHOULD LOOK INTO THIS PROBLEM , IF THEY DO NOT HAVE SOLUTION TO IT. THEY SHOULD RECALL FOR THE GOOD IMAGE OF THE COMPANY.IF YOU SURE YOU HAVE REPUTATION IN THIS BUSINESS.IT HIGH TIME SOMETHING HAS TO DONE TO SAVE LIVES OF YOUR CUSTOMERS.

LEARN FROM TOYOTA.

- , Kitchener, ON, Canada

problem #120

Feb 012012

Explorer XLT 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Simply no excuse for this low reliability. Should last at least 75,000 with no problems.

- , Aurora, CO, USA

problem #119

Dec 072005

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles

THIS CAR MUST OF BEEN BUILT ON A FRIDAY OR MONDAY THIS HAS COST ME NOTHING BUT MONEY. FORD DIDN'T EVEN HELP PAY FOR THE TRANSMISSION IT ALL CAME OUT OF MY POCKET. I HAD TO REPLACE STEERING COLUM NOW THE STUPID FUEL PUMP. WHAT A LEMON!

- , Wichita, KS, USA

problem #118

Dec 282011

Explorer XLT 4.0L 4wd

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Taking a trip to visit my mother for the holidays from Davenport IA, my transmission went out. Started with o/d light blinking for the first 300 miles...mind you, I was traveling to Austin Texas, with a grand total of 1100 miles each way. Not to mention I had my wife and four children ranging in ages from 14 to 2 years old. Pulled off the road to catch a few z's (approximately 3 hours) and light went off. Figured it was just a little warm (transmission). By the next fillup, light was on again and remained on. Got to Oklahoma, 800 miles out, and started up a hill and my overdrive gave out. Figuring I could limp it the last 300 miles, I slowed to 60 mph, only to realize that it was a complete failure. Pulled into a truck stop and was stuck there waiting for a ride for 8 hours.

Now I find out it's gonna cost me 2500 bucks to fix the damn transmission! Did I forget to mention that I am a father of four? I don't have no stinkin' 2500 bucks! Now my kids are missing school (already 3 days) and I have to beg my parent's for the money. I'm 38 years old..I shouldn't be begging my parents for that or any kind of money! The only silver lining is that I was given as a Christmas present a Chevy Surburban (1994 4x4) to take back with me. Thank god it's a Chevy! NEVER will I buy a ford again. And as soon as i get back, I am trading in my ford for another Chevy. Thanks again, ford, for making my holidays wonderful.

- , Davenport, IA, USA

problem #117

Aug 062010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

THE TRANS WAS MAINTAINED IN SUPERIOR TO FORD SEPECS. FLUID. AND PAN GASKET , FILTER IF IT HAS ONE?? EVER Y 40000 MILES DEFECTIVE DESIGN CAUSES THIS EARLY FAILURE, IS IT THE NO ADD OR CHECK FLUILD LEVEL THAT CONTIBUTUES TO THE PROBLEM OR JUST OVER STRESSED DESIGN??. ON GETTING TRANS REBUILT THE FIRST TIME I ASKED FOR AN IMPROVED OR BEEFED UP SOLUTION NONE WAS OFFERED, ON SECOND REBUILD LOOKED FOR SOME FIX, NONE AVAILABLE, NOW ONLY 10000 MILES AFTER SECOND GEAR REPLACEMENT I AM LOOKING FOR NEW IMPROVED AFTER MARKET TRANS . IF I CAN'T FIND THAT I JUST I'LL HAVE TO DUMP THE FORD.

- , Taylor, MI, USA

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