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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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
107,339 miles
Total Complaints:
375 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford needs to recall their faulty transmission (117 reports)
  2. not sure (116 reports)
  3. complete rebuild (78 reports)
  4. new tranmission (46 reports)
  5. new solenoid, pistol in tranny broken (11 reports)
  6. new solenoid (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 19)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #355

Mar 272013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles


Seems to be a common problem, going to see what it will cost to fix, can't see putting $2000 or $3000 into the car

- , Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #354

Feb 262013

Explorer ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 210,000 miles

This is second time this problem has occurred and is clearly do to poor design. This should have been recalled long ago but, money talks and bull sh*t walks...literally.

- , Edgewater, MD, USA

problem #353

Feb 182013

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles

I've seen a lot of problems with the tranny going out on the 2002 Ford Explorer. I've tried everything but it will still cost me $2500. I don't want to continue to keep throwing money in this truck when it will keep failing me. Ford really needs to recall this tranny.

- , Clarksville, IN, USA

problem #352

Feb 252013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles


Don't really know where to start with this SUV. Rear gate cover cracked then basically fell off....water to the latch causing the alarm to go off on its on...error message constantly stays on. Had to take all the light bulbs from inside out because they would not go out because of the door ajar message. 5....yes 5 window regulators in two years. 5 disc CD changer does not eject...can only use the stereo. Right rear axel had to be replaced two years ago. Finally, the O/D light started flashing...took it to the dealer and they said the error message indicated that the torque converter was defective....he said he wasn't sure that it was bad due to the fact these transmissions are almost ALL defective. Continued to drive it with the error message beeping every twenty miles because it wont reset. Finally one day the message went away and the car seemed fine....now after 119000 miles the transmission struggles to change gears and driving down the road it roars like a b**ch! Mechanic said it needs a new transmission. While he was checking it out it also has an oil leak around the oil filter assembly that is leaking onto the sensor causing the oil pressure gauge to go crazy with error messages flashing so much you cant even drive it. Got it home.....backed it in the garage....put cardboard under it to catch the oil from the leak and that is where it will stay. Ford really screwed us faithful customers on this one. They need a RECALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Going to sell it for junk probably and buy a Toyota truck.

- , Graniteville, SC, USA

problem #351

Dec 192011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

i was driving home after just purchasing my new POS and i pulled in my drive way and the OD light came on it also made a squeal. And bad stutter on my way back to the dealership. i couldn't get it above 35 mph. i tried to tell em to to take it back but they pretty much said ur outa luck, u signed the papers and drove off the lot. luckily i had an extended warranty on it, otherwise it woulda been a nice 3500 dollar bill along with my new POS. thanks ford for making such a crappy car.

- , Bellevue, OH, USA

problem #350

Dec 282012

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Unfortunately, I bought this explorer thinking that I was doing a good thing in supporting an American company. However, based on the situation I have with this vehicle and in reading through the internet, this issue with Ford Explorers is very common. The company should be held responsible for this!!! Ford vehicles are very costly and the bottom line is that people like me buy a car because of necessity. The company is aware of the faulty transmission problem and does nothing to help its costumers. Complaint after complaint and nothing is done. The government should be involved in these matters as the citizens are being taken advantage of. It is ridiculous that you purchase a car and soon after you have to invest in a NEW TRANSMISSION or any costly repair. Shame on you Ford Company for knowing this and not caring for your "loyal" customers, who believe in supporting American businesses like yours. In order to continue striving you need customers and If you continue with poor customer service and taking NO responsibility of your actions you will be soon part of the past. As far as I am concerned I will never purchase a Ford vehicle nor will I recommend anyone to do so. If you're a smart company, you will step up to the plate and DO THE RIGHT THING!!!

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #349

Dec 222012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


O/D OFF flashing, CHECK TRANSMISSION came on. Transmission guy said I need a new solenoid pack but from reading reviews I'm not sure that is going to take care of it. I have owned 5 vehicles, this being my first American made, and I get this problem after having it for less than 6 months. Should have known better and will never buy American again.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #348

Nov 172012

Explorer LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is the 2nd time it's happened since I've had the vehicle. Who knows if it happened before....?? I do know the rear end went out when the car was brand new, should have known better!!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #347

Sep 272012

Explorer V8 Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I'm really tired of dealing with this truck. I have had the truck or three years and just last year had to put a new motor in. The transmission started acting up like jerking when putting in drive and now my od light is blinking and transmission is not working at all. Please stand up to the ford name and recall this vehicle

- , Conley, GA, USA

problem #346

Jun 252012

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

When the O/D light came on and blinked like crazy and I was unable to go beyond 30 mph because the transmission wouldn't shift, I had a systems check done.

The error codes came back as PO745 and PO171 and Pressure Control Solenoid (A). After researching these codes, this is an overwhelming problem in these vehicles.

With so many complaints, Ford really needs to recall the transmission or at least offer a HUGE discount to repair.

- , Pendleton, IN, USA

problem #345

Jul 222010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


The transmission started slipping between 4th and overdrive on long trips. The OD light started flashing, but I was able to turn the OD off and drive with no issues. The only problem was that turning off the OD reduced my MPG.

- , Shelbyville, TN, USA

problem #344

Jul 012012

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

ford should indeed recall all vehicles that give sooo many consumers sooo much grief....my honest opinion is they should paint all their vehicles lemon yellow as most stuff they make turns out to be just that!!!!...the reason ford didn't need a government bailout is because they make billions off defective parts sold to the poor unsuspecting consumer!!!....SHAME ON YOU FORD!!

- , Carmanville, NL, canada

problem #343

Jul 042012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,770 miles

2002 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition, one owner, so I know that the car has been well-maintained according to factory recommendations. The OD Off light is flashing. The car revs before shifting from 1st to 2nd gear (I think those are the gears, could be 2nd to 3rd). The message center reads "Check Transmission." I see that this is not an uncommon problem. I do not have an extended warranty. Has anyone had Ford step in and assist with the cost of repairs? Are the repairs worth the cost? What is the likelihood of a repeat of the problem, once repaired?

- , Ventura, CA, USA

problem #342

Jun 292012

Explorer Eddie Baure 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,300 miles

bought the explorer with 78222 miles ran great for the first month , then noticed the o/d light started blinking. took it back to ford under the 3 month warranty, and they didn't find any thing wrong with the tranny, but found other little stuff wrong. the 7th month at 79500 mile the tranny started slipping with the o/d light blinking. cost with tax 2900 to fix.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #341

Nov 302011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,003 miles

Not much different than the other complaints posted. 2002 Ford explorer, 97,000 miles od light started flashing, would not shift immediately, engine light came on, got out my manual,took it to the garage and was told to take to a transmission shop. A few weeks later,$2300, a rebuilt transmission.

I went online to see if what I had been told, that they do at least 3 a week, was true. After finding out it was, I looked for the best place to file my complaint. And here I am.

I also feel that this is a definite recall issue. Ford should MAN- UP and take care of it's loyal customers or they may not be so loyal in the future!!!

- , Penn, PA, USA

problem #340

Apr 012012

Explorer LX 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

click to see larger images

o/d light is blinking

I have a 2002 ford explorer with the slipping trany, blinking o/d light, check engine light, problem code P0745 problem. Which is the pressure control switch solenoid. so I replaced the solenoid pack inside the trany, and I still have the same problem? So what do I do now?

- , Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #339

Jun 012012

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

O/D light blinks continuosly. Can't get it to cut off despite multiple attempts

- , Lexington, NC, USA

problem #338

May 072012

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

2002 Ford Explorer Limited with the 4.6L V8. Recently paid it off after buying it used 6 years ago. Was just planning on trading it in or selling it to get something bigger for my growing family. 122,000 miles and blinking OD off light, and check transmission message. Now i find out its worthless and it's not worth fixing. I guess my family wont be going anywhere for a while, until I can afford something new. I wont be looking at any Fords.

- , Otis Orchards, WA, USA

problem #337

Apr 162012

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I bought my 2002 Ford explorer on July 16, 2011. On April 14, 2012 my wife was driving the car, while driving she had called and told me that something was wrong and that the car would not go over 20 MPH. She also said that the car would rev up to 4-6 RPMS but would still stay under 20 MPH. I am highly upset with this issue. It is a VERY big safety issue, if my wife was driving and her car would have died on the freeway with everyone going at least 60 MPH she could have gotten killed. On April 16, 2012 I drove the car down to the nearest Ford dealership which was 10 minutes away, which really took us at least a half hour to get to. When I was there they told me they could not diagnose my vehicle unless I paid them $80.00 +tax. I then called the dealership, Mike Scarff Subaru of Auburn, where I purchased the car. They gave me a loaner to drive while they diagnosed the issue and it ended up being so severe that it took them until April 20, 2012. When I got a call back from them they told me that it was something internal in the transmission and that they needed the rental car back by April 22, 2012. The dealership let me keep my Explorer on their lot until the following Wednesday, April 25, 2012 I than had to tow the Explorer to our Grandparents house. After getting the car back to the house I started doing my research on Explorers that are the same year as mine and found that out of 1,273 complaints and out of those complaints 377 of them were transmission failure and 335 of them were the O/D light blinking. Which both are problems that I am having with my Explorer. While looking further into this issue I also found out that 1 out of 10 Ford Explorers will have a transmission failure. This should be a issue that should have a recall on it. This is rediculous and I will be taking this issue further than just writing this compliant...

- , Milton, Washington, USA

problem #336

Apr 032012

Explorer Regulat Dont Know

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

Hopefully this problem wont be a big one -- working on a solution and will update if it works - - just prayin now it will

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

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