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 2 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #868

Jun 072011

Explorer

  • 84,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the odometer began to flash and the vehicle began to jerk abnormally. The vehicle was taken home and parked. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were 84,000.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #867

Apr 062011

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the automatic transmission failed and was replaced at the contacts expense. Two years later, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic shop who advised that the transmission would need to be replaced or rebuilt a second time. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted who offered no assistance and there were no recalls for the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Norway, ME, USA

problem #866

Sep 012009

Explorer 4WD

  • 60,000 miles
Transmission failure at 60K miles. Hard shifting, jerking, sudden shifts into 4X4 high. Replacement cost of 2800 dollars. Three visits later and it still isn't right.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #865

May 012011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 112,904 miles

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

Transmission has had problems since car was bought. Have had work down on it and finall Y had to replace it in May 2011, cost $5000.

- Seaford, NY, USA

problem #864

Feb 102011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
Our 2002 Ford Explorer XLT with 109,000 miles has serious transmission slippage between 2nd and 3rd gears. The local dealer and an independent repair shop state that the transmission needs replaced at a cost between $2,500 and $3,500. It is dangerous to drive in its current condition because there are times when it will not accelerate. The rear differential and ball bearings also need replaced according to 2 separate mechanics. There is a random thumping coming from the back of the vehicle daily. The cost to repair is between $2,000 and $5,000. They cannot tell us exactly until they actually get in there to do the repair.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #863

Apr 122011

Explorer

  • 135,000 miles
My transmission on my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT wont shift into 3rd gear.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #862

Apr 152011

Explorer

  • 114,071 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph when the overdrive warning indicator illuminated until the engine was turned off. The transmission also exhibited severe hesitation. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection where the technician detected that the failure was related to the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 114,071.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #861

Apr 102011

Explorer

  • 93,522 miles
Driving 2002 Ford Explorer when O/D light flashed and warning came on to check transmission. Will need a new transmission.

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #860

Sep 152010

Explorer

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving various speeds the vehicle would lunge forward at times, stall, and shifting would be difficult. The vehicle was not inspected by the dealer nor been was it repaired. The manufacturer advised her that the transmission might need to be replaced. The failure mileage was approximately 75,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #859

Mar 012011

Explorer

  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle would not shift properly from second to third gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they performed a diagnostic test which concluded that the hydraulic pressure build up had caused the torque converter to pop out and advised the contact that they would need to replace or rebuild the transmission. A private mechanic confirmed the failure and rebuilt the transmission. The current and failure mileage was 115,000.the VIN was unavailable. Updated 03/24/11

- Bayonne, NJ, USA

problem #858

Feb 222011

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 105,000 miles

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

I was driving my 2002 Ford Explorer SUV when the transmission suddenly failed, shifting into neutral/losing power in traffic. This was a dangerous situation! fortunately I was able to get out of the way of traffic.

- Lehi, UT, USA

problem #857

Feb 172011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
Going out of town driving on the highway in traffic at 65mph. O/D light started flashing on and off. Transmission started acting erratically and I felt that I lost 5th and 2nd gears. Shop ran diagnostic test and codes P0732, P0735 and P0775. Codes confirmed problems with 2nd and 5th gears and solenoid B malfunction.

- Lake Zurich, IL, USA

problem #856

Feb 212002

Explorer

  • 87,000 miles
Today is 2/21/2011 and just had the crap scared out of me, three children (ages 4, 2, and a 10 month old) and 4 other vehicles when guess what---my transmission blew the servo plug!!!! gee imagine that another piece of junk that china/Japan or whatever you call them people, assembled!!! thanks again Ford for selling out!!! Ford CEO's whom I'm sure are filthy rich arent true american people otherwise they wouldnt have sold us out to another country!!!!! driving today at a legal 45 mph my servo plug blew out causing me to lose control of my vehicle and causing not only myself but 4 other vehicles to end up of the road causing a near pile up!!!!! what are you (Ford) going to do for us people that were conned into buying a piece of crap from a pushy salesmen that Ford trained!!!! did these salesmen know that these were junk and thats why the price was right!!! well anyways Ford hasnt seen/heard the last from me about this issue!!!! I will be that guy that Ford is gonna hate, I must admit to you guys as you will find out I am without any doubt the "biggest [xxx] on the face of this planet" and I intend on being just that until Ford takes care of my transmission!!!!!! if needed I will spend every day of my life (until I'm 6 feet under) pursuing this issue!!!! look out Ford here I come!!!!!! parts of this document have been redacted to protect personally identifiable information pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Meadville , PA, USA

problem #855

May 022010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
2002 4 X 4 Ford Explorer, while driving in rush hour traffic the timing chains went on this truck. Of course the engine stopped working and I had the huge problem of pushing it off this 3 lane busy highway. Did get it off and now waiting to raise enough money for replacement engine. Yes the oil was changed every 3200 - 3400 miles, default with the Ford engines, plastic sprocks. So I am without a truck until money is raised or Ford does a recall. I know! there was no sign other than a slight noise starting and called the garage and never got there. My truck is in great shape, no rust, no accidents and I love to drive it! the gas is not bad at all if you don't horse it!

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #854

Feb 132011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 99,600 miles
I am another victim of the 2002 Ford Explorer and its transmission woes. Alerted by a flashing od yellow warning light, after a trip to the garage and research on the internet, I discover this is a sign that I will need a $3000 transmission rebuild on a vehicle with only 99K miles that was carefully used and dealer serviced. This is a known problem by Ford and have done nothing to rectify if with consumers.

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #853

Oct 102010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
O/D light flashes for a few days then at around 25 mph the gear switches into neutral and runs very rough then the car is thrown forward. Had a rebuilt transmission (we were told we were getting a brand new transmission and paid extra for it!) at 83K miles on Oct 15, 2010 then Feb 5, 2011 the same exact thing happens. The dealer cannot take the truck for another 5 days and refused to give me a loner car because it is not under the warranty. Please note: Below I put in the first incident date, Feb 2011 is the second incident date. In may of 2009 I was told my engine failed at about 76,000 miles. We did buy the extended warranty and we were covered. The Ford dealership told us we were not covered. They had our truck for 3 weeks until the warranty people called the dealership and let them know it should be fixed. We also had a rental car or a loner car under the warranty. They refused to pay for a rental car and said they did not have a loaner car available. It took 4 more weeks (in total 7 weeks) to get the truck back and never paid for the rental.

- Brookfield, CT, USA

problem #852

Jan 012010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
At approximately 60,000 miles, my transmission on my 2002 Ford Explorer failed. There are thousands upon thousands of complaints regarding this issue. Ford has not recognized the defect. This poses several hazards such as a locking transmission on the highway, slipping transmission when in park, no ability to move when in traffic.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #851

Feb 022011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
There was no indication that there was a problem, the vehicle suddenly stopped shifting correctly, started making bad noises, won't shift out of second gear, and the overdrive light is flashing spastic. The vehicle is almost undriveable, and this appears to be a systemic problem from what I have read. I am about to take it into a transmission shop for diagnosis.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #850

Mar 182010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I have 2 issues with my 2002 Ford Explorer..the first issue is with the transmission. I bought this last year and took it back to where I bought it 2 days later and they had the transmission shop they deal with look at it and was told there's nothing wrong. When I go to put it in drive or reverse the vehicle wont move. Once I start driving the transmission keeps slipping and when stopped at red light or stop sign I have to be very cautious because it wont go and wants to drift backwards and wants to stall and I don't want to cause an accident by drifting into someone. I have to deal with this everyday and it's getting old now. The second issue is the rear hatch/door.. today I took notice that there is a crack right under the window where the rear Ford emblem is located.

- Lewisburg, PA, USA

problem #849

Jan 242011

Explorer

  • 112,214 miles
I was driving my Explorer yesterday and it was attempting to shift gears and instead sounded like an explosion or a tire getting busted. The O/D light came on and start flashing. It would reset itself everytime the car was restarted but immediately came back on. Later in the evening, the service engine soon light came on. I'm not one to wait and let something terrible happen to my vehicles so I took it to aamco after Ford told us they were too busy to run diagnostics on it. Aamco explained that it was either the transmission or the solenoid pack. Upon opening the pan underneath, they explained that if there were metal chunks it would be the transmission; if not, the solenoid pack. Sure enough, there were big metal chunks. Now, after having the car only two months, I'm having to come up with money to replace the transmission in a car that appeared to be in stellar condition. Upon doing some research today, apparently this is a common and well known issue in the Ford Explorer. Ford needs to step up their quality of equipment used in their vehicles. It is scary to know I could have been in traffic or somewhere else and the car die and leave me stranded or hurt.

- Hattiesburg, MS, USA

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