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. 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:
108,850 miles
Total Complaints:
385 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford needs to recall their faulty transmission (123 reports)
  2. not sure (119 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 4 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #325

Aug 012011

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Transmission o/d light blinks fast, hard to shift from first to second gear... Ford needs to recall this problem... 100k and it has transmission problems come on FORD!

- , Sioux City, IA, USA

problem #324

Jun 212011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,234 miles

I am unemployed, and bought this car with the $3700 that my ex husband gave me after his settlement from workmans comp. I do not have any money to fix this, and I have a elderly mother that depends on me, and I need this car to find a job. Its just frustrating. Never have I had this problem with fords. If I new the trans was built this way and no dipstick, I would have bought the 2000 ford explorer instead. I have always loved ford, defended ford, and driven a ford for the past 19 years.

- , Moore, OK, USA

problem #323

Sep 062011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,682 miles

o/d light started blinking and also noticed hard shifting from 2nd to 3rd - problem just appeared out of nowhere yesterday.

Note, this is the 2nd time this car has needed transmission work - also needed transmission work at 59000 miles in August 2007

Since I went straight to dealer close by I just need the solenoid replaced but it is almost $900. I will be starting to look for a replacement car now.

I have liked this car overall, in spite of needing repairs here and there, but the 2002 Explorers definitely have problems with their transmission that indicates design or manufacturing flaws. I feel Ford should be recalling them or providing a warranty on any transmission repairs they do.

This car is a money pit!

- , Tustin, CA, USA

problem #322

Jan 252012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles


had the engine go (timer tensior went) back in sept of 2011, now this. cant catch a break with ford. 1st and last time I buy a ford. talked to my mechanic and he knew the problem right away, but I cant get there until tuesday...Hope the car holds up til then. Dont have another $3000 and cant afford another car payment....stuck between the rock and a hard place...have to go into debt even more i guess

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #321

Jan 052012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

this explorer giving sow most problem some time i want to burn the suck..!

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #320

Oct 062011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

I have been very good to my explorer as I NEED it I live high in the moutains of Montana and we need a good rig. I noticed the tranny starting to vibrate as it was shifting only rolling down the highway then my OD light starting blinking and now the check engine light is on. I used to swear by fords but this whole sealed trany with to servicable parts is a disaster. Please recall.

- , Whitefish, MT, USA

problem #319

Oct 222011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,196 miles


Just bought a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, never even got the 60 miles home and the O/D light was blinking and 5 miles from home the service engine soon light came on as well. Have been all over the internet and am not happy with what I have been reading. We are to have a 30 day warrenty on it. Phoned when we got home told the salesman the problem and he told me to call back first thing monday morning. Oh you can bet I will be calling and they are paying.

Now I sit with no vehicle and I really think that Ford should step up to the plate. My old 1993 Explorer has almost 400,000 Kilometers on it and not a sniff of problems, except for hubs now! I really wonder why Ford has not step up to the plate on this one!!! I sure hope they are reading this!!!

- , Biggar, Sask, canada

problem #318

Jan 092012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

We too are experiencing Transmission problems. Took it in and came back as code P0796 which means Pressure Control Solenoid Check performance or Stuck off. Told it would be $500-600 to repair. If it is only that, great we will fix it. But have also been told when calling around that it will most likely ending up being a broken gear and it will run $1700-$2100 to repair. With it being as high in miles as it is and with other issues (electrical) not sure if it is worth the repair. Unfortunately, we also cant afford another car payment at the moment.

We have replaced all bearings on this truck and have had the rear coil spring replaced once. The electrical issues have been the doors locking and unlocking while driving down the road, the door ajar warning going on and off while driving when all doors and hatch is secure, and the volume control turning up when we are trying to turn it down and vice versa. These problems are sporadic. Not to mention the standard cracked mid section on almost EVERY explorer I see below the rear hatch window. Also the peeling paint on the roof rack and around the windows.

- , Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #317

Jan 102012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

O/D started blinking like crazy on me the other day and then my transmission starts slipping and clunking. Just found out I need to replace my tranny. I'm assuming this fixes the O/D light issue since they happened simultaneously, but we'll find out when I get the vehicle back in a couple days.

- , Orange, CA, USA

problem #316

Dec 202011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 166,180 miles

Second time this has happened first time in had 108,000 on the transmission

- , Potosi, MO, USA

problem #315

Sep 222011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


The dealer charged me $160 to tell me that they have to charge me $1500 to tell me what is wrong with the transmission. I've driven this car very lightly, and had regular service done to the transmission, and therefore do not think that this transmission should need $1500-3000 dollars worth of service. Seriously considering purchasing a vehicle from a competitor.

- , Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #314

Nov 082011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

o/d light blinking, hard to shift and slipping tranny

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #313

Dec 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

The Explorer was great for the first ~7 years but know its falling apart: 3rd row fan for heat and ac needed replacing, a/c has failed and now it needs a right rear wheel bearing and transmission. All this with less than 75k miles.

- , sugar grove, IL, USA

problem #312

Sep 092011

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 171,466 miles

I had the transmission replaced in December 2010. Here it is September 2011 and guess what, yep, same problem. OD light is flashing and having trouble shifting from first gear after stopping. Ford seems to be turning their heads to this problem.

- , Madisonville, TN, USA

problem #311

Sep 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,072 miles

I do off road every now and then. But tend to take decent care of the truck. My friend has the same exact explorer pretty much, and has warned me about the 02's before buying it. I've always dreamed of having an Explorer so i ignored him.

I don't think i'll ever buy another Explorer'. I've been told it'll cost over $2,000.. Which is out of my price range being a fulltime student (i can barely pay my Car Bill..)

Before this after 61 days of buying the truck .. the wheel almost fell of as well.. I got Ripped off.

- , East Yaphank, NY, USA

problem #310

Sep 132011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles

The O/D light kept blinking on and off for a while, I had to cut the car off to get it to stop, now it just keeps blinking at me and there is a loud bumping sound when the gears change, which lets me know the transmission is about to go, I cannot get the O/D to go off.

- , King George, VA, USA

problem #309

Dec 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,400 miles

O/D light started blinking but didn't have any of the other symptoms commonly reported here. Took into tranny shop and found two codes, P1703 and P0741, (first for stuck brake switch and second for torque converter clutch stuck in lockup). Mechanic said the stuck brake switch could cause the other code because the computer keeps asking the clutch to engage but it refuses because it thinks the brakes are on. Mechanic recommended replacement of the brake switch before he could tell if the torque convert code was a real problem. After fixing the brake switch, problem went away on test drive, and for the next day of driving, but then the O/D light started blinking again. Will have to take it back to the mechanic. Based on other posts I've seen, I hope it is just a problem with the torque converter and won't require a rebuild.

- , Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #308

Aug 232011

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I've read from multiple sources online that this is a recurring problem with a lot of Ford owners. I'm a 24 year old full time college student, paying for school with grants and loans, I don't have 3,000 dollars lying around to fix my car. I also can't miss a week or two of classes while my car is in the shop or I'll lose my loans and grants.

I feel as if Ford knows the problems their buyers are facing, who in their right mind builds a SUV where the consumer can't even check their Transmission Fluid? I find it ironic that their the only American Automotive company that didn't need to be bailed out when the industry crashed, probably because their to busy scamming millions of dollars from buyers with their faulty transmissions and parts!

On this site alone for people with a 2002 Ford Explorer there are more than 7000 complaints, and I can guarantee you there's many more, who don't know about this website or think they have no other choice but to pay up.

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #307

Nov 292011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,550 miles

While driving vehicle, OD light started blinking. Car would not shift out of low gear. No problems or symptoms leading up to the complete transmission failure. Took to mechanic and was told 3rd band broke. Needed new transmission. Cost of new transmission with 3 yr. warranty was quoted at $3800.00 plus tax. (This would be a Ford transmission.) Car is in excellent shape but the blue book value of auto is only $6,000.00....not sure it is worth putting $4000.00 into the vehicle (cost of transmission plus tax) at this point and time. Contacted Ford and got the run around. By reviewing all the other posts on this sight and various other sights on the internet - it is obvious that Ford has a problem with the transmissions in their vehicles for Ford Explorers 2002-2004. We have owned many Ford autos over the years. At least 5 or 6 F-150's and F-250's - as well as a 2001 Explorer before the 2002. It is a shame that Ford is not stepping to the plate on this issue. WILL NOT BUY ANOTHER FORD PRODUCT. WHAT A SHAME.

- , Wildwood, MO, USA

problem #306

Jul 112011

Explorer Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,796 miles

O/D light began to flicker on and off, and the transmission would not shift properly. Would stay in a lower gear during acceleration as the rpm continued to climb. Had stored codes diagnosed with the following: P0732 (gear 2 incorrect ratio), P0733 (gear 3 incorrect ratio), P0734 (gear 4 incorrect ratio). Was advised not to continue to drive vehicle. Required complete transmission rebuild (by an independent including upgrades) including the replacement of the torque converter due to excessive metal filings throughout. Reputation and customer loyalty needs to be earned. Seems to me that Ford should value its customer base and do the right thing such as issue a recall, or offer some reimbursement to the many that have already incurred the costly rebuild.

- , Shorewood, IL, USA

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