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 22 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #468

Jul 302008

Explorer

  • 82,000 miles

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

Transmission failure in 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Lousiville, KY, USA

problem #467

Jul 232008

Explorer

  • 91,116 miles
While driving my 02 Ford Explorer XLT I noticed the O/D light would come on and it would be hard to shift. The was a rattling noise coming from transfer case which had a brownish fluid leaking from it. Went to dealer and was told the transmission had to be replaced.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #466

Jul 262008

Explorer

  • 83,000 miles
A 2002 Ford Explorer, in which I have followed all the mainentance schedules, needs a new transmission.

- La Vista, NE, USA

problem #465

Jul 222008

Explorer

  • 1,000 miles

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

Purchased 2002 Explorer new, have had multiple transmission problems since. Sometimes dealers could find the problem and would repair, other times they couldn't. car now needs new trans again, Ford won't cover since out of warranty. Per multiple transmission shops, the design of the tranny itself is poor. Has metal pin that slides back and forth at an angle (rather than straight), so pin is pushed up against aluminum plate, causing a hole. Shops say this is very common for 2001 & 2002 Explorer.

- Brea, CA, USA

problem #464

Jul 172008

Explorer

  • 90,000 miles
The transmission fails without any warning, in my case was in the middle of traffic and almost got myself hit! the transmission had to be replaced with a new one. I checked consumer complaints on several online resources and found that transmission failure in the 2002 Ford Explorer is an epidemic!

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #463

Jul 142008

Explorer

  • 67,567 miles
My wife's 2002 Ford Explorer had a whine in the rear end since it was new and it continued to get worse with time. At about 55K miles it was so bad that we had to have the entire differential rebuilt at a cost of over $1,000. At 65K miles the engine had begun to make noise and it became much louder rapidly. The entire cam drive (timing chain, sprockets, tensioners) had been ground up. The tensioner pads had 3/8" deep grooves worn into them and there were metal shavings everywhere. The bill this time was almost $1,300. It is interesting that all the parts that were replaced were a different design than the originals. If there was nothing wrong with the original design, why spend the money to change them? of course Ford would not admit that they had a problem with the timing chain for the cams. After the timing chain was fixed there was still a noise so we took it back to the shop that did the work. With a stethoscope the noise was isolated to the bellhousing/torque converter area. We took it to a transmission shop we trust and he thought it was a cracked flex plate because that happens frequently on these vehicles and it causes that kind of noise. The flex plate was fine as was the front pump on the transmission and the starter drive. The only thing left in that area was the torque converter so we replaced that. The noise was still there. He said that the noise had to be coming from the transmission and that would be a $2,000 repair. I've had it with Ford and their "quality is job one" or whatever their current advertising lie is. This car is a lemon and they won't admit to a single thing being wrong with it. Every driveline component has had to be fixed and it only has 67K miles on it. Ford should be ashamed of the way they hang their customers out to dry. Even though I had to identify a particular date below, this car has had major problems since it was new in 2002.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #462

Jul 122008

Explorer

  • 145,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. When the contact attempted to place the vehicle into reverse, the gear shift completely fell off of the steering wheel assembly. The contact did not notice any differences in the vehicle prior to the failure. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 145,000.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #461

Jul 142008

Explorer

  • 145,697 miles
As I was shifting from park to reverse in my 2002 Ford Explorer my shifter broke off in my hand!!! on further inspection I saw that the shift linkage was made of cast aluminum and had sheared off at the pivot point. I am not alone in this as I have read hundreds of complaints on line at www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Explorer/2002/steering/gear_shift_broke_off.shtml.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #460

Jul 122002

Explorer

  • 105,455 miles
Transmission failure on Ford Explorer. Self enclosed transmission, no dipstick for checking fluid levels, poorly designed concept. Here is website with 428 complaints against this particular model/year. All the same issue.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #459

Jun 272008

Explorer

  • 179,800 miles
2002 Ford Explorer O/D light goes off and then the check engine light is activated. The transmission shortly thereafter, starts slipping. The O/D light, is blinking out of control. Excessive complaints from other Ford consumers who bought a Ford Explorer.

- Belhaven, NC, USA

problem #458

Jun 292008

Explorer

  • 122,000 miles

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

The od light on my 2002 eddie bauer Ford Explorer began blinking accompanied by check transmission light. We traveled slowly home amidst whirring and crunching sounds. The car is parked in the driveway and obviously the transmission is shot. The Ford mechanic told me it would close $2800 to fix the transmission and in response to my questions regarding power train, suggested that we fix the rear power train for $1600. Just a week ago, on the way to my daughter's wedding, 4 hours from home, the low oil pressure light began blinking with warning sounds. The car was towed to a Ford dealer and repaired. We picked it up a week later driving 4 hours on busy through ways and highways, when the transmission lights, as noted above, started blinking. About 3 weeks ago, we had the wheel bearings replaced as well as other repairs. However, the transmission failure and upcoming power train failure make the car unreliable and dangerous to drive.

- Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #457

Jun 212008

Explorer

  • 113,000 miles
When attempting to shift from drive to park, the gear shift lever broke from the steering column, making it impossible to change gears. The engine remained running with it in drive. I turned the ignition off & it could not be restarted (ie, ignition/interlock system). The steering wheel wouldn't turn either. The entire steering column (not just small broken piece) had to be replaced (cost=$1372, $897 for parts). As of 7/2/08, 61 exactly the same incidents have been reported via complaints filed with NHTSA website. Some vehicles complained about have experienced this part failure twice. These complaints have been filed under the components - steering: Column, power train: Automatic transmission, power train: Automatic transmission: Gear position indication (prndl), power train: Automatic transmission: Lever and linkage: Column shift, steering: Gear box (other than rack and pinion), steering: Gear box: Shaft sector, steering: Wheel and handle bar, other or unknown this is an obvious design and/or mfg/material defect & it correlates (in many other complaints) with another defect - very difficult shifting of gear lever to or from "park? & ?reverse". 61 reported incidents of the parts failure are significant, but there are obviously far more than have been reported via NHTSA complaints. The defective gear shift part poses serious safety concerns. If the gear shift lever breaks while the vehicle is on a street or expressway (but stopped momentarily by necessity), the driver would be unable to change gears or push and/or steer it to safety, thereby creating a dangerous traffic situation with a high potential for bodily injury. NHTSA has more than adequate data to initiate a defect investigation & should immediately require Ford to provide a full disclosure of the number of steering columns that it has sold as a result of this defect. I have the old steering column (and the broken piece) as well as several pictures of them.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #456

Jan 202008

Explorer

  • 99,500 miles
The gearshift lever broke off while shifting into park. No excessive pressure was exerted at this time or any other to my knowledge. Fortunately this occurred in my driveway but I fear this failure could have happened during a gear change on the road (from reverse to drive, or vice versa in a traffic situation). My repair shop said the parts to repair this were back ordered, apparently due to frequent failures.

- Grayland, WA, USA

problem #455

Jun 272008

Explorer

  • 78,000 miles
O/D light came on in car, ,, acording to Ford drivers with the same problem, ,,nothing is bring done about this, , which leaves on big problem for the cosumers like my self ! and Ford is full aware of this problem !

- Englewood, NJ, USA

problem #454

Jan 252008

Explorer

  • 78,000 miles
I bought a 2002 Ford Explorer in July of 2007 in Jan of the next year our O/D light started flashing and we lost 3rd gear. So we need a new transmission. After getting online and seeing hundreds of other problems that are almost exactly the same its hard to understand why Ford won't issue a recall, this is our only vehicle to drive 3 kids around in and we are still making payments on something that just sits because we can't afford to fix it.

- Triadelphia, WV, USA

problem #453

Jun 252008

Explorer

  • 99,405 miles
Transmission failure.

- Aventura, FL, USA

problem #452

Jun 262008

Explorer

  • 55,000 miles
March '07: Rear gate split under window December '07 through Jan '08: Rear differential rebuilt twice, rear axel hubs and bearings replaced; differential noise still loud June '08: Torque converter replaced.

- Morgan Hill, CA, USA

problem #451

Jun 202008

Explorer

  • 160,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer, O/D light is blinking, check engine soon light stays on continuously. Rear end makes noise, ABS light stays on. Truck shifts hard from reverse to forward. Shifts hard and makes cluncking sound from 2nd to 3rd gear and will not go in to over-drive at all.

- Vancleave, MS, USA

problem #450

Oct 102002

Explorer

  • 36,000 miles
Transmission failure on 2002 Ford Explorer with 36,000 miles.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #449

Jun 162008

Explorer

  • 128,000 miles
Transmission failed without warning at 128,000 miles. Car would not shift out of first gear properly. $3500 to replace at dealer.

- Waxhaw, NC, USA

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