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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
16 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,198 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 14 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #628

Nov 122009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer automatic transmission problems. Various problems. When I first got it (at 45K miles), it would take about 20-30 seconds to engage into first gear after being in reverse. When it did engage, it jumped forward while doing it. That does not happen much anymore. If I have to slam on the brakes (dog, kid, deer runs out, light suddenly changes or someone cuts me off, etc...) the tranny slips out of gear into neutral stays there for an indefinite amount of time, then lurches forward 3-4 feet as it kicks back into gear. This has not caused an accident yet! have seen a dealer for both of these problems - 3 times. Was not able to even get the problem diagnosed, much less repaired. As time has passed, I have learned to be careful and ginger with the vehicle. I shift softly and slowly, I don't gun it and do my best to ensure there is plenty of room between me and the car in front of me. Now the transmission has begun slipping. I have seen multiple accounts online of people having transmission problems with the 02 Explorer. I firmly believe Ford needs to issue a recall. The lurching forward problem is huge! very dangerous! today it was scary. I was approaching a crosswalk and only doing 25. Hikers and bikers notoriously just walk/ride through the crosswalk without looking. There is brush that blocks the view of bikes in one direction. Today, a bike made no effort to stop to look for cars and bolted out into the crosswalk. I did not see him coming for the brush. I had to slam on the brakes. As he was in front of me, he caught some gravel and slid and fell in front of my car. My car lurched forward nearly hitting him. I can't get the problem fixed if the dealer can't figure out what is wrong. Short of having the transmission completely rebuilt...which is what I am going to do. I really feel that Ford should be responsible for the cost of doing so.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #627

Nov 022009

Explorer

  • 100 miles
Transmission failure.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #626

Nov 032009

Explorer

  • 118,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problem. The vehicle has a problem with the transmission in that it will not move into 2nd/3rd gear. The car drove ok the previous day, then on my way to work -- it gave a lurch and after that would not power past 30-35mph. Ford service shop has quoted almost $4K to open up the transmission and fix a valve in the valve body.. 2nd opinion from aamco -- mechanic stated that he has fixed numerous Ford Explorer transmissions with the same problem and he recommends replacing the transmission altogether, as opposed to trying to fix current transmission.. please investigate for class action recall/defect.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #625

Nov 062009

Explorer

  • 95,000 miles

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

Will hesitate when put into drive or will not move at all. Will make a big clunk and hesitate when put into reverse and may not move after gas pedal applied. Od light flashes constantly and service light remains on 95% of time. Transmission will tug hard while trying to accelerate gas pedal. While driving on highway transmission will constantly slip and gas pedal needs to be released and reapplied multiple times to stop auto from jolting/tugging. Must pull off road and turn off engine to reset od light which flashes about 15 minutes after the auto has been on the road. Unable to use cruise control due to the constant tugging and jolting. I will need to replace automatic transmission/power train. Purchased 2 years ago from a used dealership. I started having problems with transmission about 1 year ago. The od lights started to appear regularly 9 months ago. Service light has been on about 2 months now.

- Byron Center, MI, USA

problem #624

Nov 032009

Explorer

  • 47,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer. Shortly after I bought my Explorer after about 40,000 miles on the odometer I began to experience slipping of the transmission every time I drive it. The slipping out of gear happens at all times when I accelerate at speeds under 50 mph. What is dangerous about this is when it happens at a time that I want to get into traffic while crossing the oncoming traffic lane and the transmission won't go back into gear to allow me to complete the road crossing while cars have to apply their brakes to stop for me. When the transmission finally goes into gear, it does so with a big clank. I have personally met a number of people who own this same type of vehicle and every single on complains of the same symptoms and have had close calls in traffic due to this transmission failure. Some of these people have had the transmission worked on and have paid anywhere from $1700 to over $2500 for repairs and the problems return. I have done searches on the web regarding this problem and in every site that has blogs dedicated to people who are victims of this problem, there are literally hundreds of complaints. From what I've heard this was an experimental transmission that was bought by Ford from an outside manufacturer, in order for Ford to save money and now we, the consumer have to pay for this problem. I feel that it is negligent and irresponsible of Ford to allow people to drive their vehicles with this type of dangerous transmissions. People can cause accidents and injure passengers or cause pedestrians to be hurt or killed due to this problem. Please, please look into this matter and consider declaring a recall of this transmission. Please don't wait for people to get hurt before doing something about this serious problem. Thank you for your attention.

- Dahlonega, GA, USA

problem #623

Nov 012009

Explorer

  • 12,000 miles
I am 100% certain you have received this complaint before. My 2002 Ford Explorer has locked up and failed to go into the reverse gear. The number of owners who have had endless transmission problems keeps growing.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #622

Oct 102009

Explorer

  • 75,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer transmission failure.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #621

Oct 292009

Explorer

  • 145,169 miles
Transmission failure while traveling at high speed on interstate 64. This is the 2nd transmission failure for this vehicle, ridiculous!!

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #620

Oct 012009

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer V8 limited event leading to failure: Loud grinding noise in trans. And lurching, slippage of gears. Failure: Transmission needs replaced. Permanent failure. Could potential kill someone if lurches and hits car or pedestrian. No action done yet to costly.

- Lugoff, SC, USA

problem #619

Mar 102009

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer(XLS)one by one each wheel(bearing) hub had to be replaced!the wheels on my truck were actually about to fall off it was scary and very dangerous! it starts out with a squeaking sound like the brakes need to be replaced but no it wasn't the brakes which repairs and parts together range from $60 to $90 it was the wheel bearing which repairs and parts together range from $300 to $400!I had to get every wheel repaired one by one within 6 months so you do the math.also my (od)light flickers and my transmission slips and jumps in to gear!!!

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #618

Jul 012009

Explorer

  • 136,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer XLT - transmission failure - purchased new in 9-02 with extended warranty. Original transmission failed and replaced at 65K miles by dealership under extended warranty. Replacement transmission began slipping at 130K miles. At 136K miles, transmission shifts at random, will not engage from stop.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #617

Oct 162009

Explorer

  • 14,430 miles
I purchased my 2002 Ford Explorer in August 2002. I have been having transmission slippage gear problems since 2003. While driving my 2002 Ford Explorer my transmission will slip without prior warning and just immediately stop accelerating and often completely shuts down. I have had this happen to me since 2003 and have brought it back into the dealer more than three times. Two times they said nothing was found. In March 2004 they finally acknowledged that something was wrong, did a quick flush to the transmission replaced the torque and sent me back out with the problem still occurring. On 10/16/09 now the O/D off light began to blink and once again I brought it back in and now they say I need a new transmission. My vehicle only has 45,000 miles and they are trying to say that this problem is not a safety or manufactures defect!! are you kidding me? I have never driven off road, and with such low mileage, how could this not be a defect. I have luckily avoided several accidents when my vehicle suddenly slips gears, stops accelerating and I have to immediately throw on my hazards, and try to pull off the road immediately!! I researched online and found that nearly 800 others are having the same sort of transmission related problems and have posted them on auto beef. I really need someone to help me and look out for the honest, americans who have brought an amercian car and are being lied to and treated with no customer service or respect. This is exactly why americans are buying foreign made cars!! please help us and recall the transmission, and have the correct people held accountable...the maker, not the buyer.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #616

Oct 162009

Explorer

  • 93,000 miles
While driving home from work the odlight began to blink and then the transmission began to slip, and would not move! I had to cut the car on and off many times before it actually began to move again. I took the car to the dealership and he said that I needed a new transmission. This is an inconvenience because I am six months pregnant, and that can be scary driving and your car will not shift into gear.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #615

Oct 162009

Explorer

  • 83,441 miles
2002 Ford Explorer with 83,000 miles on it's third transmission from Ford.

- Sayville, NY, USA

problem #614

Oct 012009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer V6 4X4, had shifting issues occurred randomly at first when accelerating from stop at lights or pulling into intersection. The first day or so it happened sporadically so went to 2 different mechanics both stated do not need repaired and shows no codes. This has been very frustrating since I purchased this vehicle brand new in Dec. 2001 and have taken good care with all routine maintenance. This problem has been even more worrisome driving with children in the car. After several close calls and almost accidents, the O/D light started flashing. New mechanic looked it over, drove it and suggested I take to a transmission place. As I drove it to transmission shop, check engine light appeared. Mechanic stated transmission needs to be rebuilt/replaced-third gear band is broken. He also informed me that many Ford 2002 Explorer have this problem. Each time it occurred there was hesitation when you press the gas, RPM's increase but slow or no acceleration. From all info I have seen in my research and based on experienced mechanics I spoke to there were design flaws in these 2002 vehicle transmissions (only used by Ford for less than two years). There was no warning, the problem just started happening. I have had many other costly repair problems with this vehicle--this being the most dangerous and expensive. I am a single mom-grandmom and cannot afford to fix this $2500-$3000 problem. What do I do now?!

- Media, PA, USA

problem #613

Jan 012007

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission stutters and shifts hard. I have had it to the dealer many times and paid for nothing as nothing has changed - the situation has been worsening over time. They have changed fluids, reprogrammed a chip and test driven it many times - says they don't feel anything wrong. It is happening every day now.

- Priest River, ID, USA

problem #612

Oct 122009

Explorer

  • 60,000 miles
Power train:automatic transmission:leaver and linkage pulled over on side of road to check trailer got back in went to put car in drive leaver fell off now I'm part way on highway had to be towed lucky I was not hit some is going to get hurt or killed cost $1200.

- Keene, NH, USA

problem #611

Sep 252009

Explorer

  • 73,000 miles
Driving down the road, O/D signal started to flash on and off. Now transmission is slow and hard shifting. We replaced the pressure switch solenoid and changed transmission filter and fluid. We had it put on a computer to see what the problem was and that it what it said, pressure sensor solenoid. Spent almost $400. And it didn't work. It has 73,000 miles on it.

- Danville, KY, USA

problem #610

Oct 102009

Explorer

  • 80,032 miles
I was driving down the highway and without warning my od off light started flicking and my car felt as if it slipped into neutral. I could not keep up to speed and my car started slowing down. I was very lucky to be in the right hand lane and could pull over to the side of the road without causing a major accident. I turned the car off and then back on and it was fine, the light was off and the gears worked as should. Around 40 miles later, I was off the main highway and at a stop light, as I accelerated, the od light started blinking again and shifting was hard, then again once I was up to speed it felt as if the gears slipped, I could not accelerate and the car slowed. What saved me this time was I was off the major highway and on a side country road with very little traffic. This happened October 10, 2009. The car has not yet been serviced as it was over the weekend this happened and today being a holiday, my kids are out of school, and I will not put their lives in danger to drive to the dealership. Like I said there was no warning to these events. I feel very lucky that I was able to avoid an accident.

- Wayne, OH, USA

problem #609

Oct 072002

Explorer

  • 90,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problem, after days of not shifting right, ,it finally, stopped completely, ,,this has been nothing but trouble.

- Billerica, MA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?