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

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 19 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #528

Dec 012008

Explorer

  • 82,000 miles

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

My Explorer has the same problem as everyone else. 82,000 miles and the truck wont shift into what seem like 3rd gear I really wish Ford would help us out. This is why the are failing. I would love to continue to purchase american made but how can I knowing this is the service you get.

- Dunmore, PA, USA

problem #527

Sep 152008

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and all of a sudden the O/D light started flashing I have read other peoples experiences and this has led me to file a complaint about this and now that I realize that im not the only one well I hope you can help I was expecting for this vehicle to last longer than my 1994 Dodge Ram. And another thing the side of the windows started pealing off my back door is cracked because it would not close right and none of my three of my windows have stopped working at one time. This car is full of malfunctions and I thing that there should be something done about it I bought it brand new and paid 25,000 for this piece of junk.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #526

Jan 182009

Explorer

  • 64,000 miles
On 1/18/09 I was driving my 2002 Ford Explorer on a 50 mph road and noticed that it would not accelerate - like I had the emergency brake on. 10 minutes later my service engine light came on and my O/D light started to flash and I could not get over 25 mph. I managed to get safely to a relatives house but had to have the car towed to a repair facility - to be looked at. I have been told the transmission is shot and after going on line have found that this has happened to a number of people with 2002 Ford Explorer. I was driving with my children in the car and one minute was doing 45 mph and the next I was barely at 25 mph on a very busy road.

- Medford , NJ, USA

problem #525

Jan 052009

Explorer

  • 84,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer transmission flew into 4X4 low automatic while driving at 50 mph. The 4X4 module part had been replaced once already, and is the culprit of throwing it into an unsafe position. The issue keeps coming up, and the dealer has had no responsibility for replacing the "known Ford problem" in over 7 years. This issue is expensive to repair, but the problem is the safety of the vehicle and the passengers at higher speeds. It can cause the vehicle to first slow down by the physical limitations of the transfer case, and cause the vehicle to be out of control and flip. It's so present on the internet now, I wonder why no one has gotten Ford to face the issue, even the dealers know, but get no response back from parent Ford. The vehicle mentioned is well cared for, as well as only in the low 80,000 mile area presently. This happened around 38,000, 43,000, 58,000, 63,000, and now at 84,000. Even the dealer agrees that the 4 wheel auto feature, (which is the idle state of the transaxle) cannot be started when the vehicle is fired up. This causes numerous issues with other components reliable to the module. The module, is built by motorola and I've been advised that the any new owner of an Explorer in the date range should have it replaced or inspected due to it not being able to handle typical surge spikes from the vehicles power systems. The replacements should have it. But that doesn't help with the advise if it already occurs. Which it has been. Now I've got a $45,000 paperweight in my driveway again. Corrections are made, but results are always the same. Ford needs to address the issue publicly before others are in accidents or fatalities occur.

- Trafford , PA, USA

problem #524

Jan 072009

Explorer

  • 109,390 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT. Transmission problem, od light flickers, tranny slipping. My wife was put in grave danger traveling at a reasonable speed in moderate to heavy traffic. Searching the web for other issues I found a host of the same problems with the same model and year. Here is a link to the site I visited...www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Explorer/2002/transmission/O_D_light_is_blinking.shtml this vehicle should be recalled by Ford! with such a overwhelming response on this site one can only imagine how many others have not found the site.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #523

Jan 032009

Explorer

  • 148,000 miles
I was driving home from Florida in my 2002 Ford Explorer. The O/D light started blinking. I was towing a trailer and pulled over on the side of the road to see if it needed cooled off. The O/D light continued to flash, meanwhile while I was towing the vehicle started jerking like a huge hammer was hitting the transmission.

- Catlettsburg, KY, USA

problem #522

Dec 112008

Explorer

  • 950,000 miles

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

Ford Explorer O/D flashing and check transmission coming on it was at the Ford dealer for 3 weeks they said it was my PCM and now they are saying it a wiring problem but my car is doing the same thing it was before I took it to them.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #521

Dec 192008

Explorer

  • 86,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer 2wd, six cylinder. It has approximately 86,000 miles and I just spent $2,000 replacing the transmission. I now have to have the rear end checked due to a roar that is so loud it is impossible to hear the radio. This vehicle has been maintained and driven in a very conservative manner. I understand that Ford is aware of these problems but will not stand behind the vehicle with service. We are on our own.

- Holiday, FL, USA

problem #520

Dec 292008

Explorer

  • 121,400 miles
The O/D light on my 2002 Ford Explorer started flickering about a month ago. Four days ago, I noticed that my truck wouldn't go from second to third gear while driving. I will get up to 25 mph and the truck would rev up to 3500 rpms and not change gears. I have to ease up off the gas and let the rpms drop and then accelerate again and that's how it changes gears.

- Ridgefield Park, NJ, USA

problem #519

Dec 222008

Explorer

  • 82,000 miles
Overdrive off light started blinking, took it into a transmission shop just in case. The od unit went bad causing an internal lock in the tranny. It cost $3000 to fix, and from what I am reading this is happening quite a bit to thousands of people out there that bought this year of Explorer. If anyone knows of anything else that can be done to make Ford pay for this please let me know.

- Maricopa, AZ, USA

problem #518

Dec 212008

Explorer

  • 85,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer with broken coil spring, crack under rear window, and transmission slip, broken parking brake shoes in assembly. Same complaints that seem to be common. And same with everyone else, no help from Ford.

- South Berwick, ME, USA

problem #517

Jan 022005

Explorer

  • 68,000 miles
It started very early after buying the 2002 Ford Explorer...electrical prob..couldn't get veh started...100 miles away from home dealership....towed to closest Ford dealership...fixed; or so we thought. Same thing happened a week later. Home dealership advised us that the other dealership installed the wrong part and it could have caused life-threatening problems....we contacted the other dealership and advised them what our home dealership said...of course the dealership denied this...anyway...home dealership installed new part...veh ok....then wheel bearings had to be replaced in front 1st left side-then right. (this was after the rear end was replaced) boy, was that a major fight with the home dealership! now! the transmission is gone!!!!! isn't there something we can do" Ford has been using defective parts!!!!and now asking for government money??"!!!!Ford should be paying for this!

- Hamptonville, NC, USA

problem #516

Nov 272008

Explorer

  • 78,500 miles
Like others on your blog, my 2002 Explorer O/D light is flashing. I was lucky and had a friend who could rebuild the broken parts for $950 instead of the $3,000 for a new transmission. When I did some research on this, it was startling how many complaints have been logged about the transmission. I am not surprised that Ford is unwilling to do anything about this. After all, this is the same company who tried to cover up the fact the pinto was a fire bomb.

- Williamsville, NY, USA

problem #515

Sep 152008

Explorer

  • 91,000 miles
I have a '02 Ford Explorer XLT with 91,000 miles and the 'O/D off' light now flashes constantly. In having a automotive mechanic look at it and in doing research online, I have come to find out I will need a new transmission! based on research it appears there are hundreds of complaints of this same issue and Ford is apparently doing nothing to correct it. Obviously with the popularity of the Explorer it would costs them millions to correct this defect. I find this despicable that a company fully knows about an issue with their vehicles yet does nothing to back up their reputation (and we wonder why car companies are crying about bailouts"!?!"). I am in no position to afford a $2-3K repair and this is the vehicle I use to go back and forth to work.

- Broadview Heights, OH, USA

problem #514

Dec 082008

Explorer

  • miles
I replaced my transmission in 2005 with a brand new one. I own a Ford Explorer Jeep 2005 and it now needs another transmission. I spoke with several persons and Ford has a history of needing transmissions, what can I do?

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #513

Jun 042007

Explorer

  • 72,000 miles
First the car would not engage into reverse or drive, then there is a hesitation when accelerating, the O/D light comes on and revs the engine while traveling, sometimes it lurches forward while sitting at a light.

- Manistee, MI, USA

problem #512

Dec 102008

Explorer

  • 87,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and at less than 90,000 miles the transmission is failing. It takes 5-10 seconds to engage and then 'clunks' and jumps badly. Rough shifting between gears. After some web research I see that this is in fact a common problem in this model. This is crazy. The estimated cost of repair/replacement is over $3,000.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #511

Nov 202008

Explorer

  • 57,000 miles
2002 Ford explore 4L six, starting in 2006 I began to have transmission problems, my initial problem developed when the Explorer had around 57,000 miles, the transmission would not shift to drive. In November 2008, now with about 74,000, miles the transmission has developed more problems it currently jumps forward when I shift to drive. After checking autobeef.com, with over 500 complaints posted, I found out that this is a re-occurring problem with 2002 Ford Explorer transmissions. The initial repair cost over $700 and I do not know what it is going to cost the second time. I believe that this type of problem should be checked by your Agency for possible recall because of the burden it places on consumer to keep repairing the problem. This may also a safety issue that should be addressed.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #510

Aug 192008

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
After buying my 2002 Ford Explorer used in 2006, I had no problems until Aug. Of 2008 when O/D light started blinking. At this point, vehicle was just under 80,000 miles. Transmission shifts rough between 2nd and 3rd gears. When taken to a repair shop, was told that it is a common problem with this model and would need to spend $2000 for a transmission rebuild. Upon further investigation, I was surprised to see many complaints of the same nature regarding the Explorer transmissions. This is ridiculous considering I still have 3 1/2 years left on my loan. Ford needs to recall this and fix the problem.

- Oak Grove, KY, USA

problem #509

Oct 012008

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer with a V8 auto transmission. This transmission has been having issues since I reached 60,000 miles. It would take over 5 seconds to engage into gear which could cause an accident if on a stopped and switching gears. Then one day I am driving and the overdrive light begins to flash. I went home and since it was a Saturday night, I decided to do a google search on 2002 overdrive light flashing. Oh boy did I wish I knew that all 2002 Ford Explorer are having this issue before I bought it. Ford has put a sealed transmission in this vehicle which is flat out dangerous!! how can they put a transmission into a vehicle that your not even able to check your fluid level. Your transmission could be low causing the transmission to go out, and the owner would never know. Not only are there massive amounts of Explorer with this issue, but with the same exact issue. Between 20 to 30 mph (going from 2nd to 3rd) the transmission will slip allowing the vehicle RPM's to soar to 5000 + and then slams into gear. If you do a internet search there are thousands of people with this same exact issue. Some vehicles report as low as 20,000 miles when the transmission fails. Ford should be held responsible for putting transmissions that are obviously faulty. Read the thousands of complaints out there from the hard working consumer, and I think you will agree. I hope to hear back from you soon about this issue.

- Portland, OR, USA

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