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.


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 15 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #608

Oct 062009


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. When he attempted to turn the ignition switch, the steering column fractured. Secondly, the rear lift-gates panel split in half. Thirdly, the transmission intermittently slipped out of gear. None of the failures have been remedied. He previously filed a complaint. The failure and current mileages were 80,000.

- Dover, OH, USA

problem #607

Sep 202009


  • 89,000 miles
Transmission slip when accelerating mostly when power is needed(passing another vehicle)forced to brake harshly two times while passing another vehicle. On occasion, truck feels like in neutral after stopping at a light for about 4-5 seconds. On occasion truck stalls when putting into drive. Transmission has a leak but always checked level and top up if needed.

- Val-Des-Monts, 00, USA

problem #606

Sep 022009


  • 101,090 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer. Rear end hums and vibrates. The transmission was shifting hard from 2nd to 3rd and made a jerking motion around 40-45 mph. The transmission now has the over drive light flashing and is stuck in gear. It will not shift. Looking online for a remedy, I have noticed that this is a major problem among thousands of Explorer owners. Just try it out yourselves, google 2002 Ford Explorer... very 1st hit is page after page of how terrible this vehicle and its transmission is. Now I am making payments on a vehicle that is sitting in my driveway and is inoperable due to Ford lack of concern about its product. They were quick to sell this vehicle! quick to take a multi million dollar bail out! take some of the bail out money and fix their product!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #605

Sep 192009


  • 82,000 miles


2002 Ford Explorer with 82K miles overdrive light flashing. Truck taken in for service and transmission needs to be rebuilt. Online research shows numerous other parties with same issue. Ford motor has been notified and fails to recall.

- Fall River, MA, USA

problem #604

Sep 122009


  • 75,311 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with an automatic transmission that is going bad. On my way back from a vacation traveling South on interstate 5, I notice that I'd burn a half a tank on gas from la to san diego (75miles). I didn't know there was a problem until my overdrive light on the dash started blinking & the service engine soon light soon followed. The RPM and speed does not match up and there is always a jerk when the car shifts gears. This all happened with absolutely no warning. I feel the car is dangerous to drive and am not sure what I am going to do....except I know I cannot drive it anymore. I have a wife and two young children that are in this truck all the time. Now it's going to cost me over $3,000 to repair, which is almost what the car is worth at this point. The sad part about all this is Ford knows that this problem exsist and is willing to let its customers take the risk of injury if the transmission gives out on a busy interstate. Lord knows what'll happen if someone dies in that accident.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #603

Dec 012008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0L V-6 automatic transmission. At about 90,000 miles, vehicle started to slip while changing gears. Problem worsened and now shutters during up shifting. Vehicle also jumps from drive to neutral under hard braking. Vehicle also hesitates during shifting. Transmission will only shift after releasing the accelerator.

- Kenly, NC, USA

problem #602

Sep 092009


  • 68,769 miles


2002 Ford Explorer, O/D light on, transmission slipping, engine light on. Car has 67,000, only driven to work. One owner, brought new Ford from dealer.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #601

May 012009


  • miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and I have had the transmission replaced. When it was replaced by the Ford dealership I had to take it back the very next morning due to it leaking. When I got it back I was never satisfied so I eventually took it to another dealership where they told me they rebuild the transmission. Now my O/D light is blinking like so many other owners but I haven't gotten anywhere with Ford.

- Commerce, GA, USA

problem #600

Aug 182009


  • 94,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer that the transmission has started to fail on, after checking online I have found that this is a common problem.

- Norfork, AR, USA

problem #599

Aug 172009


  • 79,300 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving, the transmission started to shift with resistance and the over drive light flashed continually. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 79300.

- Ytsilanti, MI, USA

problem #598

Aug 122009


  • 60,000 miles


In May 2005, the car would not go into reverse. The O/D light had been going on and off for a number of days. Transmission has to be replaced at a cost of $4500. Car had approximately 60000 miles. In January of 2008, the engine had to be replaced due to because the timing belt went at a cost of $3000. Car had 75000 miles. In August 2009, both rear spring were discovered to be broken when the car was taken in for a whining in the rear, which was the rear axle bearing. The car had 94000 miles, cost of repair was $1200.

- Bethel, CT, USA

problem #597

Aug 032009


  • 68,500 miles
Like so many others, I am the unfortunate owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer. And like the thousands of others, I am having a transmission problem - flashing overdrive light - hard shifting between second and third gears - at times difficulty going into first gear. Ford is fully aware of the problem and has done nothing to rectify it. I think that someone needs to hold Ford accountable. The online complaints are overwhelming. They need to fix their problems just like everyone else!

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #596

Aug 032009


  • 68,500 miles
Like so many others, I am the unfortunate owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer. And like the thousands of others, I am having a transmission problem - flashing overdrive light - hard shifting between second and third gears - at times difficulty going into first gear. Ford is fully aware of the problem and has done nothing to rectify it. I think that someone needs to hold Ford accountable. The online complaints are overwhelming. They need to fix their problems just like everyone else!

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #595

Apr 102003


  • 26,000 miles
I pulled up into the drive and put the car into park. I exited my 2002 Ford Explorer and opened the back door, unstrapped my grandson from his safety seat. He went into the house to get a game boy so I re-entered the front seat to wait for him. I sat there a few minutes and when he came out of the house, I was exiting my 2002 Ford Explorer when I heard a noise. The car engaged itself into reverse. I tried to place my right foot back into the car and press on the brake, but the door knocked me down. I went under the drivers door and the front left tire began to run over me. I grabbed the underneath of the door and tried to hang on but the tire was running over my pelvic and my left leg. The car drug me on the concrete, then it stopped. I was pinned under the front driver's tire. Before this injury, I had problems with this car at 26,000 miles sent it for repairs but the dealer kept telling me it was ok. The car would jerk during take off and hesitate when placed in reverse. After the accident I took it to other dealers and finally one put it on the test rack and told me it had transmission problems. Not sure what Ford has done with the parts.

- Ridgeville, SC, USA

problem #594

Apr 122006


  • 91,000 miles
Tranny slips on 2002 Ford Explorer had my kids in car did not accelerate almost got hit in an intersection. Changed solenoid was good for couple months then started slipping and making clunking noise new tranny cost me $2400 @ yrs later starting again with the blinking O/D lite.

- Rosedale, NY, USA

problem #593

Jul 262009


  • 85,360 miles
Faulty transmission. Was replaced at 58,049 miles with a re-manufactured one direct from Ford. 85,374 miles and it needs to be replaced again. Less than 20 days after the three year warranty, but mileage is still under. This made a loud grinding noise, and was dangerous when driving in traffic on the interstate. I have two small children that ride in this vehicle and do not appreciate that this has been a known issue with this vehicle model year, there is a part of the solenoid that could literally blow a hole in the transmission, which could cause a vehicle fire, and nothing has been done to hold Ford accountable by our government. We want people to buy american, yet aren't holding the manufacturers accountable for the quality of the products they put out, nor will they themselves stand behind a known issue and make it right for the thousands of consumers that gave them our hard earned money and purchased from them. I've owned five other brands of vehicles, which had more mileage on all of them than I currently have on this vehicle, and never had issues with a transmission on any of them. You ask several questions below relating to fire, damage, crash, death or injuries. It is only a matter of time before a fire or crash occurs because of this issue. A faulty transmission could cause a serious accident in heavy traffic because of non-performance, not to mention that the noise it made was very scary and I'm lucky that noise alone did not cause me to lose Focus and have an accident. The government just provided millions of dollars in "bail-out" money to this company (again - consumer's hard earned money). Perhaps if they put out a higher quality product and stood behind it their sales would've been better and we wouldn't have to give them more money to keep selling us products that are not of the quality I expect from american made.

- Muskego, WI, USA

problem #592

Jul 202009


  • 132,000 miles
Being doing some research online about the "O/D" light blinking on my 2002 Ford Explorer. From what I found, the results have been astounding. Every issue I found on blinking O/D in my research led to having to rebuild the transmission; avg. Costs being around $2600. Even after the repairs, they state that the issues still continue and spend over $1000 on something else the dealers say is wrong. One site,, had approximately 740 complaints (I stopped reading after 150) on this issue. Before I pay out over $3000, I just want to get to the bottom of this issue plaguing the 2002 Ford Explorer line.

- Fairview Heights, IL, USA

problem #591

Jul 042009


  • 105,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer has shifting issue as a result of transmission not working properly. Occurs random when accelerating from stop at lights or pulling into intersection. Have been to 2 different mechanics and repaired once and has started to occur again although mechanics state do not need repaired and shows no codes. Also, the fluid cannot be checked from under the hood as it is located underneath the vehicle. Each oil change I have them check and the level is ok. Since happens randomly does not always happen when the mechanics look at the vehicle. Has been frustrating since vehicle was bought new and taken care of with routine maintenance. All mechanics are aware of this issue and just state to drive it until it fails completely and needs a rebuild or sell it before the rebuild is needed. Each time it occurs usually there is not an issue just a hesitation with a slow acceleration. Although, several times this has occurred recently when pulling or merging into traffic nearly causing accidents with the wife and kids in the car. From all info I have seen and based on experienced mechanics they feel there were design flaws in these 2002 vehicle transmissions. They all recommend either to sell the vehicle or be prepared to drive until they completely fail and need rebuilt. Some state they have worked on these vehicles and that I am actually lucky that I have only had these problems as many of their customers have had accidents and issues through out their entire ownership of the vehicle. We have only had this issue for approx the last 2-3 years since purchased new in 2002. Although, a near collision with my family and another vehicle from this issue is a serious concern.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #590

Jul 022009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 and would like to request that an investigation launched into the vehicle's transmission. The other day, as I was traveling down the highway, the O/D off indicator began blinking and shortly thereafter the check engine soon indicator light came on. In doing my research, after reading numerous online complaints related to this issue, I have chosen to seek your assistance as a means to help offset the costs associated with this wide-spread, very well known and documented problem. Basically, the transmission needs to be rebuilt or replaced, at costs that range from $2,000 to $4,000. Thank you!

- Clarks Summit, PA, USA

problem #589

Jun 202009


  • 95,000 miles
The transmission in my 2002 Ford Explorer stopped working at aprox. 95000 miles, just like the hundreds of other Explorer in 2002 have and Ford refuses to recall the vehicle.

- Deptford, NJ, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?