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 29 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #328

Dec 082007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

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

Was driving my 2002 Ford Explorer with only 55K miles, overdrive light suddenly started flashing and now the transmission will not shift from second gear into third gear. The RPM`S rev very high and then it clunks into third gear. I understand there have been a lot of problems with this transmission. Something needs to be done about this immediately.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #327

Sep 072007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles
The transmission in my 2002 Ford Explorer began to slip at 57,000 miles. From first gear into second it would rev high and then with a clunk and a grinding noise reluctantly go into second gear.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #326

Sep 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer transmission failed. O/D off light blinks constantly. Hard shifting and slipping is constant. Dealer wants $3,000 to repair. This has happened to hundreds / thousands of Explorer owners. Someone can get killed if the transmission slips on the highway and the driver loses control the way I did. I was lucky. Someone else may not be. Ford ignores the issue altogether.

- Park Forest, IL, USA

problem #325

Nov 272007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

I drive a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0 V6. My over drive light begun flashing and shortly after that my transmission failed. I own many Ford and this is an issue that defiantly needs to be recalled. Perfect maintenance.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #324

Nov 192007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT transmission failure at 45,000 miles. Had to have a new one installed for $3,000.

- Bethpage, NY, USA

problem #323

Oct 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4L 6cyl. Will not shift into 3rd gear smoothly. O/D light flashes.

- Harwich, MA, USA

problem #322

Jun 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer transmission started failing at 80,000 miles. Overdrive light constantly flashes, transmission does not shift into od, hard shifts between 2-3, 3-4, sometimes misses 3rd, clunks in reverse. All scheduled maintenance was performed on transmission.

- Calera, AL, USA

problem #321

Oct 092007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,800 miles
Transmission seized after approximately 75K on car 5 years old. Luckily my husband was driving slowly on local streets when it occurred so he was uninjured. Transmission was repaired at dealer costing $3546.23 this happened to our previous Ford Explorer and if you look online at carcomplaints.com seems to be an extremely common occurrence with 2002 Ford Explorer. Ford doesn't see a need to repair this problem since it conveniently happens after warranty is up.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #320

Oct 272007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,775 miles
My 2002 Explorer transmission started slipping as shifting and putting in reverse and drive. This vehicle has 76000 miles on it. Took to the Ford garage, all test came out ok, tech stated I need a new transmission at a cost of $3500. After doing some research and reading complaints of other Explorer owners, I feel this expense should be covered by Ford.

- Clymer, PA, USA

problem #319

Oct 162007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving between 65-70 mph, the transmission failed. The engine revved, but the vehicle would not move. The check engine, odometer, and transmission lights illuminated. The vehicle was towed to a shop and they stated that the transmission failure was due to a manufacturer defect. The vehicle is currently being repaired at the shop. The current and failure mileages were 70,000. Updated 01/11/08.

- Oxford, ME, USA

problem #318

Jun 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle stopped in traffic; however, the engine was still running. There were no warning indicators present. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and they stated that the oil pump failed. The transmission was rebuilt twice. The failure mileage was 48,000 and current mileage was 72,000. Updated 11/20/07

- Kansas City , MO, USA

problem #317

Aug 152007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer "sealed" transmission failure. Regular maintenance performed, transmission began to slip when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #316

Dec 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,835 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 55-60 mph, the transmission stopped shifting. The affected gears were second and overdrive. The gear was able to shift from first to third gear without any problems. The contact took the vehicle to a transmission shop the same day and they diagnosed a major internal failure. He purchased a reconditioned transmission from Ford and had it installed. The cost to replace the transmission was $3,100. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 145,000 and failure mileage was 105,835. Updated 01/09/08. Updated 12/12/07

- Deer Park, TX, USA

problem #315

Jul 272007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
Transmission began shifting hard & then the od off light began flashing. Before I could get it to the dealership that day, the transmission just quit. I parked at a grocery store, ran in & when I came back out to leave, it wouldn't shift. It remained in park even though the gear shift was being moved through the gears. I took it to a transmission shop & had the whole transmission rebuilt. It was full of metal. I was going to have the transmission serviced for the regular maintenance but never got the chance. At 72,000 miles, it was rebuilt for $1800 plus the $180 towing fee. If I had more warning, I may have been able to catch it before the whole thing went bad, but the light never came on until it was too late. I have taken good care of this vehicle, no off-roading, rough driving, or anything. Never so much as a hiccup until this.

- Hueytown, AL, USA

problem #314

Oct 252007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
My gear shift snapped off. I've noticed many similar complaints. This is not an inexpensive repair and it appears the parts are not available. I'm an older driver, handicapped and I'm the only person who has driven my vehicle. It is not the result of abuse.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #313

Oct 102007

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Transmission slipping, gears slippage, O/D light flashing, all equals a new transmission at price of $3100. Only reached 80,000 miles an maintained properly at all times!

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #312

Aug 242007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,100 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 2wd, it started to do this grinding noise in tranny, /D light flasihng, couldnt shift, took it to dealer in Mexico, yeah middle of vacation, said coulnt do anything to save it. Car is sitting in Mexico. Thanks Ford

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #311

Aug 152007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 50 mph, the contact noticed that the vehicle began to drastically decelerate. The vehicle would not exceed speeds of 20 mph. She heard a loud winding noise, but no warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that the transmission was defective. The vehicle was serviced, but she does not know what parts were repaired. The manufacturer stated that they would not reimburse her for the repairs. The powertrain was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 78,000.

- Stonlen High, MN, USA

problem #310

Jul 012006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,049 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission and rear differential failures, reported well before 100,000 warranty expiration and ignored by Ford!

- Litchfield, CT, USA

problem #309

Sep 202007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Automatic transmission shift level housing broke off. When attempting to place the car into reverse the level broke from the housing requiring the car to be towed to the dealership. Basic part# 3C529. Currently, have the car at sill-terhar motors where we are awaiting used replacement, since no parts are available. Seeing that this part is only used for shifting there is no reason for this to break this soon and felt this is a defect in manufacturing.

- Northglenn, CO, USA

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