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 21 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #488

Oct 082008

Explorer

  • 153,000 miles

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

Check transmission messaged appeared and od off light started blinking.

- Christiana, TN, USA

problem #487

Oct 072008

Explorer

  • 103,000 miles
I bought my 2002 Explorer with 80,000 miles on it from a respected local Ford dealer. 20,000 miles later, my O/D light won't go off and my gears won't engage properly. This happens for 2 days before I sputter into a dealership for service. I'm now being told that I need to replace the whole transmission at a cost of $2,500. The kelley blue book trade-in value is only $2,100 and I still owe $4,000! I feel duped and scammed by Ford: A company my father has worked for 34 years. Ford insists there's nothing they can do about this cost. My question is: Why hasn't there been a recall when I've found hundreds of complaints filed about the very same problem I'm having" why am I just supposed to eat this cost when it's an obvious manufacturer's defect"! help!!!

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #486

Apr 092008

Explorer

  • 70,000 miles
Parked in the driveway ahead of my wife's car. Started the Ford Explorer and put it in reverse, nothing happened, it did not engage. Then all of a sudden it engaged and leaped backwards into my wife's car. Since this it has happened several more times. I hope that a person isn't standing behind me when it happens.

- Hinsdale, IL, USA

problem #485

Sep 222008

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles

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

My Ford Explorer transmission started slipping, it is starting to fail. It seem that this is a big problem with these vehicles, there should be a recall. There have been recalls for less.

- Norwich, NY, USA

problem #484

Sep 062008

Explorer

  • 64,042 miles
The overdrive light was blinking, and the check engine light was on. After having the car scanned by a mechanic, we were told that the pc solenoid in the tranny was out. We brought it to the dealer it was purchased at, and they performed the same test and fixed it at a cost of $1058.18. A week later it is shifting hard. Plus after using the 4wheel drive only twice, it would not go into 4 wheel drive. When I took it to the dealership they told me the 4X4 modular had failed this after a $140.50 check, and they wanted $600 to fix, this while putting brakes on it. And when I asked what would cause it go out, the service manager told me " how would I know?"

- Eureka, CA, USA

problem #483

Sep 182008

Explorer

  • 67,000 miles
My wife was in the left lane of a busy hwy and the transmission went out. There was no shoulder to safely pull off on. I own a 2002 Ford Explorer, there are numerous complaints for the exact same failure. How can Ford not recall this problem? my wife was lucky that she was not seriously hurt. It could have been alot worse.

- Farmingdale, NY, USA

problem #482

Sep 092008

Explorer

  • 75,880 miles

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

The O/D off light came on my 2002 Ford Explorer 2 days ago. It has 75,880 miles on it.this seems to be a typical problem with these vehicles.how can Ford Motor Corp not know about this problem?who can afford to pay $2600 to $3500 for a transmission repair!!!!!like always the middle class gets the short end of the stick again.....

- Newark, NJ, USA

problem #481

Sep 052008

Explorer

  • 51,000 miles
Car had no accidents or unusual usage. I had both city and highway driving with predominantly city driving, no hauling heavy loads or off road driving. The shift lever broke off and the entire steering column had to be replaced, car could not be started, gears engaged or moved and had to be towed. This event occurred during hurricane evacuation as well. After research on the internet there seems to be a large number of the same (similar)complaint. If this occurred during highway or high traffic driving a serious accident most likely would have occurred.

- Key West, FL, USA

problem #480

Sep 102008

Explorer

  • 157,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems. Ford is aware that the transmission solenoid they use in their transmissions are faulty.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #479

Aug 312008

Explorer

  • 102,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer! getting on interstate, on the ramp, hit 30 mph's, and nothing! the RPM's shoot straight up, and the car acts like its in neutral!! I have 2 children in the car with me, and almost create a pile-up because the car would not move on entrance ramp! come to find out, a new transmission is needed. I could not believe the number of complaints on this topic. Somebody is going to get killed with this mess up. I was about ran over!! ridiculous!

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #478

Jun 072008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

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

Driving on highway 60mph - car began to shift randomly and than would not shift at all (automatic transmission) - had to coast across several lanes of traffic and try to pull out of danger. Transmission was replaced for the cost of $3,400.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #477

Aug 042008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,810 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer limited that had an automatic transmission failure at 51,000 miles. The transmission is sealed and does not have a dipstick to check fluid levels, therefore making it non-serviceable by the owner. This transmission appears to have an inherent design flaw resulting in premature failure. The check transmission light appeared on the dash and the transmission started slipping when attempting to change gears while driving. This created a hazardous condition because the transmission would slip out of gear while driving causing the engine to rev extremely high. The transmission had to be replaced by a local Ford dealer at a cost of over $3,500.

- Forestville, MD, USA

problem #476

Feb 112008

Explorer

  • 63,000 miles
I am very concerned at all of the transmissions complaints that the NHTSA has had on the Ford 2002 Explorer and nothing is being done about this. I have sent in 1 of many complaints because of course I am one of the unlucky citizens of the U.S. who believed that the Ford Explorer was a very dependable vehicle. Hello is it going to take someone actually getting killed for this vehicle to be recalled for the transmission. I almost got rear ended and just in the past 4 months there has been complaints of people going in ditches, running off the side of the road, do you think that someone could really research this damn issue and get this damn vehicle recalled before someone does get hurt or at least make Ford replace the transmissions and reimburse anyone who has had their transmission replaced. Oh they might as well just give everyone a new vehicle because from what I am reading all 2002 Ford Explorer have had transmissions problems. Why isn't anyone doing anything about this.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #475

Aug 142008

Explorer

  • 78,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with just under 78,000 miles. I was driving home from work and the automatic transmission went out with no warning at all. Causing the truck to shake and slow down very fast. In the result of that. I jumped and hit the curb and popped on tire. I could have died or my kids. If I had been on the interstate or highway.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #474

Jun 282008

Explorer

  • 83,590 miles
1.nothing leading up to. 2. 2002 Ford Explorer transmission failed on highway causing the vehicle to vibrate horribly causing us to go off the road into a ditch. 3.transmission needs replaced on vehicle estimate of $2800 on a 2002 model year. I come to find out this has happen to many I.e. thousands 2002 Ford Explorer owners and nothing is being done? Ford Motor Company basically told me too bad and they wonder why they are having difficulty. A Ford service mechanic told me that Ford knows this transmission was not built properly and sold it to this public anyway. If there has ever needed to be a recall this is it after reading about all the see incidents happening to others while driving this vehicle.

- Warner Robins, GA, USA

problem #473

Aug 092008

Explorer

  • 100,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission goes out while driving making it very dangerous.

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #472

Jun 302008

Explorer 4WD

  • 35,000 miles
Purchased a 2002 Ford exp eddie bauer ed used with 35,000 miles. Transmission had to be repaired within 3 weeks due to 4WD malfunction covered by warranty. Passenger side window motor assembly has been replaced once, and window regulator has been replaced once, and is in need of a second replacement. Took to local dealership and was told window was not meant to be lowered halfway. The rear hatch has also cracked completely down from window to lower panel. Dealership will not acknowledge issues with this occurring, but upon further research have found this to be a common problem with this vehicle make and model. Overdrive light blinks continuously and dealership reports it to be a malfunctioning electrical switch repair cost at around $400. Have continued to drive vehicle, but will no longer drive vehicle after discovering that this is a precursor to transmission failure. May possibly trade-in this vehicle and lose monetary value for private sale. Will not be responsible for selling this vehicle to a private party and risk injury to next owner. Shame on Ford for not taking care of their customers.

- San Angelo, TX, USA

problem #471

Jun 192008

Explorer

  • 92,600 miles
O/D light came on and the transmission started to slip I have been told that Ford knows about this but is not doing anything about it. I understand that over 60 other people have had this happen to them.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #470

Mar 172008

Explorer

  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. Two weeks after purchasing the vehicle, the contact had to take the vehicle back to have the rear end replaced for free. She asked the dealer to check the transmission and they informed her that it was fine. While driving at an unknown speed, the overdrive light flashes intermittently and the check engine light illuminates. The vehicle stalls and loses power before 30 mph, but afterwards the vehicle functions properly. The contact notified the dealer about the failure and had the vehicle towed to a transmission shop for repair. The contact was informed that the third gear band in the transmission failed; therefore, a new transmission was needed. The vehicle has not yet been repaired. The failure mileage was 58,000 and current mileage was 63,000.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #469

Aug 222005

Explorer

  • miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer that I have taken back to the dealership around 4 times regarding the transmission. Each time they tell me they fixed it and a few weeks or months later it is having problems again. It shifts rough and sometimes feels like it is slipping.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

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