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 31 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #288

May 182007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,700 miles

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

Purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer in November 2001. In October/November 2004 had to have transmission serviced with 30000 miles on it. At that time it was repaired under warranty. Now, with 48700 miles the transmission was again shifting very roughly in 2-3 and 3-4 shifts. Ford dealership stated that repairs costs would be $890. Spoke with Ford customer service, and they declined to assist with the cost of the repair because they so graciously helped pay for the 3rd replacement of the plastic applique on the rear liftgate glass even though the warranty expired. Based on the number of complaints filed here and on other internet sites there was clearly an engineering problem with this transmission. Comparing the number of transmission complaints for the 2001 and 2003 Explorer to the 2002 and it was obvious that the 2002 model was defective.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #287

May 032007

Explorer

  • miles
No noticed problems until 68,000 miles and odometer light came on and noticed revving past 4 to get out of first gear. Took to shop and told needed 'update kit', and all enclosed Ford transmissions needed repairs.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #286

May 022007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,450 miles
Transmission problems, no 3rd gear.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #285

Apr 242007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

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

During normal driving with a total of 55,000 miles until delay shifting in 2nd and 3rd gears. This was followed by the overdrive off light flashing and then the check engine light went on. Tower Ford dealership said the transmission had to be overhauled for $3,000 all out of my pocket.

- West Babylon, NY, USA

problem #284

Apr 212007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission broke the 3rd gear band. This is the second rebuild with only 40K miles on it. I feel this is a known issue and this should be covered under the lemon law. I feel these vehicles should last at least 80,000 miles before needing a rebuild.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #283

Apr 132007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,990 miles
I purchased used 2002 Ford Explorer XLT on February 28, 2007 from classic Nissan in mount. Holly, New Jersey. The week of April 9, 2007 my daughter and I took a trip to Florida. On April 11,2007 I noticed that when I would hit 55 mph the odometer off light would start blinking. I notified classic Nissan of the situation. They said that they would look at it when I returned from my vacation. On my way home on April 13,2007 I broke down in fayetteville, North Carolina. The truck would not drive at all. I would push on the gas pedal and it was acting as if I were in neutral position. I was towed to a service station the next morning and they diagnosed it as needing a new transmission. They stated to me that the pump failed in the transmission, which led to no fluid flow and the clutches ultimately malfunctioned. I realize that I am out of the warranty period for classic Nissan to be at any liability as well as Ford Motor Corporation to be at any liability, but I do not feel as if transmissions should fail at 36,000 miles. I only had the car for a month and a half and now have to spend $3,500 to have it repaired. If this is the quality work that Ford gives, then I will not be purchasing any more Ford vehicles in the future. Thank you.

- Southampton, NJ, USA

problem #282

Apr 132007

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

1. was just driving, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, when all of a sudden... 2. the "O/D off" light on the dash started blinking rapidly, and the message panel in the dash said "check transmission". brought it into Ford dealership, was told the transmission needed to be replaced at a cost of $3400. 3. nothing yet, but I'm told if I want to drive the car again, it will require a brand new $3400 transmission. Did a quick search online for "2002 Ford Explorer transmission", and am seeing a lot of transmission problems... probably something that should be looked into.

- Cullowhee, NC, USA

problem #281

Jan 012002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Almost hit someone due to the transmission not down shift coming to a stop and then shifting back into drive after being stopped for a good 10 15 seconds then when it does, it lurches.

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #280

Apr 122007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,196 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the transmission will not engage in the reverse position and failed to accelerate. In addition, when the vehicle turned, the rear of the vehicle produced a loud thumping sound and almost stalled. The contact brought the vehicle to the dealer, who was unable to fix the failure. The current and failure mileages were 123,196.

- Belhaven, NC, USA

problem #279

Apr 102007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,810 miles
Vehicle made a whinning noise when idling. There was a pause when shifting from park to drive, from reverse to drive, and from drive to reverse. The pause caused vehicle to not move forward or reverse until the transmission engaged.

- Hebron, MD, USA

problem #278

Apr 012002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,600 miles

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

Only 58,000 miles and the transmission was slipping when going from 2nd to 3rd gear. I babied this car so it has to be a defect.

- Hannibal, MO, USA

problem #277

Mar 272007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
I have a 2022 Ford Explorer with 82000 miles, and transmission fluid replaced at least twice since I purchased the vehicle. At 74,000 was miles fluid and filter replaced at dealer. When the transmission was warm the vehicle will only travel 2-3 yards in reverse, and then lock. Dealer diagnosed the problem as transmission. Dealer wanted to tear the transmission down and determine the cause. It could require a complete rebuild at $3,500. This was a 5 speed automatic with od. No towing and no plowing. Normal to/from work with vehicle. I noticed hundreds of transmission alerts via a google search, some specific to this vehicle and problem. Also, had problems with upshifting /downshifting on hills. Previously reported this to dealer.

- Clifton Park, NY, USA

problem #276

Mar 152007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer. I have had to replace the transmission at 51,000. I have also had to replace the rear seals axle seals on both sides and they both need it again.

- Gaylord, MI, USA

problem #275

Mar 152007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
I purchased a new 2002 Ford Explorer in October 2002. In the past two years, I have replaced all of the four ball bearing joints, and alternator and now a transmission with total costs to exceed $7000. I am writing now because I felt that the other expenses were wear and tear, as I have have 98,000 miles. But now it is going to cost $3600 to replace my transmssion. Last Thursday 3/15 my vehicle would not shift into gear, as my RPM reached 3000. Then it would shift into gear as I made my way home from my job 100 miles away. My O/D light flashed and then my service engine light came on.

- Carver, MA, USA

problem #274

Sep 112006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,246 miles
After several attempts to diagnose transmission problem while under warranty, Ford finally found a problem at 46, xxx miles (not covered under warranty, but Ford offered a $1000 deductible). Burt Ford of arapahoe Ford Inc. Centennial, Colorado replaced the automatic transmission with a remanufactured serial# 0302462W and replaced the rear axle ring and pinion gear set, bearings, and seals (Sept. '06). We received a Ford powertrain service part warranty until 06/17/2008 (7yrs from original owners date of purchase). We are taking the vehicle back to service now (Mar. '07) for the same problems to champion Ford of sandy, Utah after 6,000 miles of use.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #273

Mar 142007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
2002 Explorer eddie bauer AWD, vehicle mileage just uner 100K. Vehicle (w.O warning) would not shift thru 3rd gear. Symptons are when vehicle gets to 3rd, engine revs as if in neutral, check trans light comes on, od indicater flashes. Backing off on throttle allows hard shift into 4th and vehicle proceeds ok. Ford dealer says 3rd gear band is gone. When I asked the dealership if this is a known problem they claim no. After research online I found many other owners with the identical problem. Also found old Ford tsb outlining the identical symptons. Is there any recall on this issue, do I have any recourse with Ford since it seems to be a fairly common Explorer problem

- Ashby, MA, USA

problem #272

Mar 092007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 960,000 miles
Car started making humming noise when going 30-45 mph, took to a mechanic who ref me to the dealership to check the transmission and then for transmission flush, still the same issue, I was advised that the tires needed to be replaced, I have 4X4 which requires the same 4 tires or the car will jerk. The brake pedal vibrates, and the 4X4 gauge doesn't work, replaced the component and still the same issue. Any who to make a long story short, now I am hearing a clinking and rubbery sound coming from the rear of the vehicle. I am now forced to take the car in... and of course be charged a ridiculous fee, for them to run diagnostics on the truck to diagnose the issue, and then of course pay for parts and labor.... my next car will be a foreign car.. they break down less, and the cost of maintenance and equivalent or less then the cost of maintaining a good ole' american made Ford vehicle. (Lexus, Kia, and I believe either Mazda or Toyota are owned by Ford.. so steer clear of those brands). Timeline reflects the latest issue, and the amount of previous problems.. amount to many.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #271

Feb 262007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer has been repaired for major transmission and rear end problems approx. 15 times in the past 3 years. The transmission continues to slip between 2nd-3rd and 3rd-4th gear. In reverse the clutch binds up. The rear end roars and was replaced at 35,000 miles (after numerous fix attempts) and at 66,000 miles rear wheel bearings, ring gear & pinion were replaced. The transmission was almost overhauled at 35,000, re-programmed approx 3 times and needs to be done again now. The compass has failed twice.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #270

Feb 272007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,031 miles
- the contact stated that while going up an incline at 20 mph in the 2002 Ford Explorer she started feeling a surge in the transmission. The overdrive light started flashing, as well as the check engine light. The contact took the vehicle to the local dealership, and they stated that they will need to replace the transmission solenoid pack. She has done some research online and saw similar complaints. The current and failure mileage were both 105031 miles.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #269

Mar 032007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,350 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. While driving 40 mph on the highway, the contact was accelerating and heard a loud noise and the engine began to idle. The contact was thrown forward into the steering wheel causing the driver to steer to the right. The failure mileage was 31,350. The dealer stated that the third gear bang or the transmission needed to be replaced. The current mileage was 61,350.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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