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 23 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #448

Jun 012008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

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

Transmission in 2002 Ford Explorer failed w/O warning. Directly (3 days) after getting it back from transmission shop, both rear hub assemblies went. Again, seemingly overnight. My wife said, "it feels like the wheels are going to fall off." Service shop said, "it's a wonder the wheels didn't fall off." Did this thing just self-destruct or what? Ford needs to be held accountable for these untimely failures. I have three small children. Updated 06/25/08

- Perry, NY, USA

problem #447

Jun 132008

Explorer

  • 104,000 miles
Transmission slipped while shifting from 2nd to 3rd. At next light, would not shift from 2nd to 3rd until I took my foot off the gas. Vehicle felt like it left the ground as it attempted to shift from 2nd to 3rd. Noticed od/off light flashing. Check engine light came on. I have been quoted new tranny for $3,814.18, rear brakes, rear end noise, egr system code a $5,000 repair and the SUV is only worth 7 grand.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #446

Jun 092008

Explorer

  • 69,000 miles
Driving when the over drive light started flashing. The car wouldn't go into 3rd gear, causing the car to rev real high and slow down. Total repair for a rebuilt transmission $2,500.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #445

Jun 102008

Explorer

  • 56,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer- a nightmare of problems that keep getting worse. It has 56K miles on it and I am about to replace the transmission. Fuel pump, 2 rear springs, 2 wheel bearings and the drivers side window motor have already been replaced. Neither of the 2 rear windows roll down and the back hatch lift replace on recall is broken yet again. This is the biggest hunk of junk on 4 wheels. Ford needs to do something. Thank god I didn't buy it new because that really would have been a rip off.

- Rome, NY, USA

problem #444

Jun 102008

Explorer

  • 99,000 miles
Indicator lights flashing on and off, transmission rattling noise and failure at 99,000 miles.

- Livermore, CA, USA

problem #443

May 312008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
My wife and I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. The vehicle O/D lights started blinking and the check engine light as well. The SUV then just quit. Took the vehicle to a mechanic and it has been diagnosed with complete transmission failure. After reading many other web sites this appears to be a very common problem with this particular vehicle and model year. Ford is aware of the problem, even going so far as issuing a technical service bulletin about it. If it has become standard practice for these transmissions to fail then Ford needs to be held accountable for the cost of the repairs.

- Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #442

May 242008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 149,288 miles

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

We own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT with a V6 engine. It has approximately 149,000 miles but has been well-maintained. On 5/24/08 we experienced a sudden catastrophic failure of our transmission when driving in downtown seattle. The O/D light would blink and the vehicle would not move. Attempts to resolve this found that first gear was available if we would only go for about 100 yards at best. We ended up having it towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed it as a total failure and required a full rebuild. He also found that the vehicle had been maintained to spec and there were no service-related issues. If this had happened when we were on I-5 or going up a steep hill (of which there are many in seattle) this could have been a very serious problem. As it was, a family of 5 was left stranded on a long holiday weekend by a problem that should not have occurred.

- Wauna, WA, USA

problem #441

Jan 022002

Explorer

  • 24,000 miles
With in the first year of having my vehicle I had to have 2 transmission repairs. Within the next year it was done again and then I started to complain about noises and a thumping coming from the rear during acceleration. I now know that the thumping is due to the rear differential and axle needing repairs. Now the vehicle is out of warranty and this is going to cost me about $1,000 not to mention that I have had to have the transmission done also at a cost of $400 there are many other people with this same complaint that I have noticed on the internet and I think that something should be done.

- Miami, FM, USA

problem #440

May 212008

Explorer

  • 74,000 miles
Transmission failed in my 2002 Ford Explorer..I wish I would have researched the 2002 before I purchased the car. If I knew then what I know now I would have never bought this truck. This is the second issue I've had with Ford, my 1996 Ford Explorer had the issues with the tires and it took people losing their lives before Ford and federal government finally recalled the tires on the trucks. I gave Ford another chance and purchased my second Ford Explorer..never again will I ever purchase another Ford Explorer or any other Ford products. I will not even get the trans fixed, I traded the truck in for a Chevy and will never purchase Ford again. If you look all the complaints about the trans, why would Ford and feds wait to recall these cars?

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #439

Oct 072007

Explorer

  • 98,000 miles
Transmission started to slip with no warning and completely went out on my wife's way to work. This happened at 98,000 miles. Now there is a issue with the wheel bearings and also had to replace the four wheel drive module two years earlier.

- Lawndale, NC, USA

problem #438

May 172008

Explorer

  • 115,455 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer, I was driving about 65 mph on the interstate when the truck just started stalling and the O/D light started blinking. I almost was hit from behind, and the vehicle almost lost control. After pulling over, and putting the vehicle in park, and turning the O/D back on, the truck hesitated to go into 1st gear. Now it won't drive normal, and I keep getting the staggered shifting. This is a major safety failure I believe, as it may easily cause a crash.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #437

Feb 152005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
I bought my Ford Explorer XLS on Feb 5 2005. Complained about the transmission at time of purchase and they said that nothing was wrong. About 6 months later I had it checked at another dealership and they said the shifter solenoid was bad. I had it replaced for a price of $2100 to go 50 miles down the road and same thing started again. They then said it was the transmission itself. Nothing but problems from day one and no one at Ford cares. Now I am paying for something that I cant drive cause I cant afford to have it fixed. Please help me.

- Walls, MS, USA

problem #436

May 142008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
I'm the first owner of a 2002 Explorer. At 30K miles, had to have the transmission rebuilt due to slipping, od light flashing and would not go into gear. At 60K miles, the exact same symptoms have re-appeared and Ford is unwilling to provide any compensation. Looking on-line, many owners of this model have the same issue. Other cars I have owned and have many more miles logged have never had transmission needing replacement. Ford's is obviously a defective design/product.

- Alhambra, CA, USA

problem #435

May 122008

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Noticed a grinding and whining noise coming from right side of my 2002 Ford XLT Explorer. Also thought that I needed a new exhaust the car was making such loud noise. Went to 2 different garages for pricing, I needed both front and rear bearings replaced actually the front bearing was about to fall off both garages stated. Also the loud noise from my exhaust it was missing one bolt to the cover, covering the exhaust and or catalytic converter. Also 8months prior the cars transmission was replaced. All of this expensive and costly repairs happened at 79,000 miles. This is a very dangerous vehicle and reading all of the other complaints this problem needs to be considered for recalls from Ford. My family is very important to me and I use this car to travel and Transport my family. I am very concerned and Ford needs to investigate the problems arising with the 2002 Ford XLT Explorer problems and fix them. So far I have invested $5500 into this car I would not even get this for a trade in value. Please consider my complaint and the many others very important. Thank you

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #434

Oct 132007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
Bought the car used in Sept. 2007. A month and a half later, had to replace rear passenger wheel bearing. A month after that, we had to replace the driver side rear wheel bearing. Driver door window motor went a week after the wheel bearings. ABS light is on. Also had to replace two coils in the electrical unit. Put approximately $3,000 into car since purchase in less than eight months.

- Elderton, PA, USA

problem #433

May 122008

Explorer

  • 77,000 miles
1. my family was driving on a state highway and the car's O/D off light started flashing. No other warning lights were going off. It was a matter of miles before the car stopped going. It's extremely dangerous for a car to suddenly slow down on a fast moving highway. 2. after the light flashed, the car stopped going into gear. We were going down the highway with other cars when our car suddenly slowed down because it would not go into gear. We were barely able to get up a hill before coasting to the side of the road. This occurred in the middle of nowhere with other traffic going high rates of speed. 3. the entire transmission had to be replaced.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #432

Jul 142007

Explorer

  • 103,425 miles
2002 Ford explore XLT V6 transmission failed in the middle of traffic while my children were on board. Frightening experience and quite sad that Ford did nothing. Truck was only 4 yrs old and should not have needed a rebuilt transmission. I had to get it towed to a mechanic and get transportation home. They had to rebuild it completely!

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #431

Jan 012008

Explorer 8-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Transmission slippage, rear end clunks when the tranny finally shifts to another gear, rear end whine at 60-70mph. Hasn't been fixed but the dealership estimates $2K for the rear end and $3K for the tranny.

- Laramie, WY, USA

problem #430

Sep 012007

Explorer

  • miles
Started as my 4 wheel drive would kick in and I would have to wait to get it out. Then my trans started slipping I hit the brake and goes out of gear. Now it just takes itself in and out when ever only have 95,000car has been driven easy.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #429

May 022008

Explorer

  • 890,000 miles
Same as all the others. O/D light started flashing, started shifting hard, then lost all gears except first. Transmission needs replaced! called Ford they don't care.

- Mount Olive, IL, USA

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