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 20 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #508

Nov 262008

Explorer

  • miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer with 81,000 and tranny is already on the way out.

- West Warwick, RI, USA

problem #507

Aug 182008

Explorer 4WD

  • 45,000 miles
I have a 2002 XLT Explorer with the 4WD not working. During my research on the internet I have discovered that when the battery is disconnected for replacement the 4X4 cm unit fails and the 4WD system becomes inop. Ford has recognized this problem and has upgraded the motorola unit with the end result costing the consumer $500 for the repair. This is a safety feature because the vehicle runs in 4X4 auto adjusting the drivetrain to weather conditions optimizing the control of the vehicle.. this component replacement should be qualified as a re-call by Ford and the cost should not effect the consumer. This is a common problem with the 2002 Explorer vehicles and is more serious then the Firestone tire complaint. Since Ford recognizes this defective module they should pay for the repair. I'm shocked that this defective part that controls the safety performance of the 2002 explores has not already registered a recall.

- Riverview, MI, USA

problem #506

Oct 202008

Explorer

  • 86,000 miles
Vehicle purchased in July of 07 from dealer with 75,000K. Currently has 86,000K, and transmission needs replaced. Vehicle began slipping a month ago, and now slams into gear. I'm afraid to take it out of the drive way. I went to the Ford dealer to have the fluids checked, and they refused unless I would pay for the service inspection. These tranny's are made so as I cannot check them myself due to the enclosed casing. After researching, I found over 300 individuals on one web site with the exact same problem. Called dealer about service inspection and they want $100+ to do a diagnostic check before they will even talk about the problems. Contacted Ford Motor Company directly and they informed me via email that they cooperate fully with the NHTSA during investigations and I should take my vehicle to my local Ford dealer to have it serviced and have them correct the problem. They also suggested I should deal directly with the service manager at the local dealership. I do not want to deal with anyone. I want Ford to be made to take responsibility for the thousands of individuals who purchased this vehicle on a payment plan and are now stuck with a lemon that they can neither afford to fix or replace. I took a loan on this vehicle for over $10,000, and the Ford dealership offered me $3000 trade-in value for it less than a year after purchase. What does that tell you about the vehicle itself. If they know it isn't worth anything, they should be made to rectify the situation. I am currently making a monthly payment on a vehicle that is not able to be moved from my drive-way. After researching and speaking with others with the same vehicle year, make and model, I have not found one that has not had the same problems.

- Westville, IN, USA

problem #505

Nov 072008

Explorer

  • 60,000 miles

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

Rebuilt the transmission two times in 30,000 for the same problem. O/D band.

- California, MO, USA

problem #504

Apr 052008

Explorer

  • 119,000 miles
I bought my Explorer used with 67000 miles on it I had it checked out by a mechanic before I bought it but he didn't do a very thorough job. After about 3 weeks I had a hard time putting into reverse but then slammed into gear and I did not happen again for awhile this lasted on and off for a year and half when one day it wouldn't go into reverse at all and no other gears either I had it repaired and they said it was the transfer case then my 4 wheel drive light flashed and stopped working that was something electrical, 1st, 2nd and reverse gears started slipping I had those repaired now my overdrive light flashes on and off and I have been told it is definitely my transmission and probably always has been. I know someone else having this problem with their 02 Ford and speaking to the mechanics they were not surprised at all and it seems as though lots of 02 Ford Explorer owners on line are having the same or similar problems. How many vehicles does it take to turn into a recall"?"

- Wareham, MA, USA

problem #503

Nov 072008

Explorer

  • 140,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer with 140,000 highway miles. Bought brand new by owner in 2005, at 90,000 miles transmission was making loud clunking noises. Transmission fluid changed, but still clunking noises. Now at 140,000 miles the transmission is slipping and not going into 1st or second gear. I have been on numerous websites, and have seen thousands of complaints about this same exact problem with Ford's enclosed transmissions on their Explorer and other vehicles. This needs to be a recall due to the fact that it is a redesigned transmission and failing for thousands of Ford's customers. I owned a Jeep Cherokee for ten years, and had over 350,000 miles on it, and never had a problem like this. Please understand that I am only one of thousands of consumers who has this problem. Our economy is nervous because our american car manufacturers are falling apart. This is the reason why.

- Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #502

Nov 042008

Explorer

  • 69,000 miles

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

The transmission on my 2002 Ford Explorer had to be replaced after approximately 69,000 miles. Ford has refused to provide me with any compensation.

- Spring Valley, NY, USA

problem #501

Jun 012007

Explorer

  • 107,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and wound up rebuilding my transmission - like thousands of other people with the same car. This cost me over $3000. Why hasn't there been any investigation into Ford and all the 2002 Explorer with failed transmissions?

- Huntley, IL, USA

problem #500

Nov 012008

Explorer

  • 87,006 miles
Automatic transmission failure on 2002 Ford Explorer with 87,000 miles. While accelerating from a stoplight, the vehicle would not shift into third gear. No previous problems with this vehicle's transmission. I took it to an automatic transmission repair facility and was informed that the transmission had to be rebuilt as the vehicle was not roadworthy.

- Hollidaysburg, PA, USA

problem #499

Oct 272007

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles
We have 02 Ford Explorer XLT with a faulty transmission that has failed. I reviewed car complaints.com regarding the 02 Ford Explorer transmission failures and the complaints are enormous but yet there has been no safety recall regarding this faulty transmission which Ford has discontinued use after 2 years. This transmission obviously has problems as failure is being seen with 80,000 miles or less which is ridiculous and this should be recalled before someone actually injures or kills themselves driving this vehicle.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #498

Oct 202008

Explorer

  • 65,690 miles

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

Was driving and transmission would not shift gears. O/D lights started to blink. Vehicle would not go anymore then 5 mph. Was taken home and research was done and found many people with the same complaint. Transmission problems. Vehicle was taken to aamco and transmission was repaired at a cost of $2748.69.

- Honey Brook, PA, USA

problem #497

Oct 012008

Explorer

  • 108,644 miles
Transmission started to slam into gear. Transmission failure. Had to have a complete rebuild/overhaul of transmission.

- Woodstock, CT, USA

problem #496

Sep 152008

Explorer

  • 64,350 miles
Transmission slipped gears and "check transmission" message came up on dash. Bolt was loose inside of the transmission and pieces of metal throughout. This led to full transmission replacement and close to $3500 in repair bills at 64K miles.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #495

Apr 132006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLS 4.0L V6, these transmissions need to be investigated, you cant check the fluid level in them which is not right only to be designed to benefit Ford when it tears up with high repair costs, my Explorer had only about 60000 miles when trans went out. I had it rebuilt at a licensed transmission repair shop for about $3000 it drove good for about the same miles and stop pulling in the middle of busy traffic with cars tailgating me luckily no accident. Please how can this trans be investigated.

- Dothan, AL, USA

problem #494

Jan 282008

Explorer

  • 99,000 miles
In late January, 2008 something struck the radiator and transmission cooler of my 2002 Ford Explorer. I was not aware that an object had penetrated both of these causing coolant and transmission fluid leakage. The engine locked up and the transmission stopped working. My local Ford dealer replaced my engine and some parts in my transmission. Since then my transmission has failed numerous times having to be towed back to the dealer. When the failures occur, the vehicle will rapidly slow to a stop in mid traffic. I have been almost struck in the rear each time this has happened. The Ford dealer that repaired my transmission at a cost of $2000 will do nothing to correct the problem especially now that total transmission failure has occurred. I have researched the internet and found thousands of these vehicles have the same problem. I was a deputy sheriff for 16 years. This is definitely a safety issue and a severe traffic hazard. Please help all motorists by forcing Ford to recall these transmissions and replace them.

- Villa Rica, GA, USA

problem #493

Oct 122008

Explorer

  • 140,000 miles
The O/D light started coming on for no reason. Then the car started shake when it was shifting gears. Then it was shaking a lot at about 60-65 mph.

- Gold River, CA, USA

problem #492

Jun 102006

Explorer

  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. Intermittently, the vehicle would not shift out of park. The manual stated to bypass the shift interlock with a screwdriver, but then the brake lights would not illuminate. The vehicle has been taken to the dealer approximately six times regarding this same issue, but they could not duplicate the failure. The current mileage was 57,000 and failure mileage was 40,000.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #491

Sep 282008

Explorer

  • 82,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission failure while driving. Vehicle had trouble shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear (automatic transmission). Accelerating from 2nd gear, the engine would rev. Then I feathered off of the accelerator, stepped on pedal gently, accelerated and vehicle made a loud squeaking noise and then lurched forward as it went into 3rd gear. Overdrive light started flashing, then check engine light came on. Had vehicle towed almost 100 miles and taken to independent transmission repair shop. Band was broken and planetary gears/bearings were damaged. Transmission rebuilt for $2200.

- Califon, NJ, USA

problem #490

Mar 172004

Explorer

  • miles
Windshield, water leaking from the front windshield on my 02 Ford Explorer XLT, besides that having problems shifting gears, some times gears get stuck in between park and reverse. Sometimes I hear a loud popping sound when gears finally go into reverse....have had both problems checked and repaired, but gears continue to stick.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #489

Oct 102008

Explorer

  • 50,000 miles
Transmission failure. Overdrive light flashing and erratic shifting. Dealer diagnosis is that transmission needs to be replaced.

- Ansonia, CT, USA

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