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 33 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #248

May 012005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,231 miles

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

In may of 2005 the transmission was rebuilt at the dealer. The vehicle had 34,767 miles. In may of 2006 the rebuilt trans converter failed with about 47,000 miles. This was just a few hundred miles out of the 12 month, 12,000 Ford service warranty. There was an aftermarket warranty on the vehicle that covered it. Upon written notification to the dealer and Ford we set an appointment to have the vehicle inspected and test driven again due to more transmission problems. The vehicle was serviced then the shift lever locked up between park and reverse and had to be serviced within hours of pickup. Then a coolant gasket was discovered to have been removed and a electrical connector damaged and glued together and tie wrapped to the trans. The dealer was notified in writing of the discoveries. There was no response. The vehicle was inspected independently. A shop diagnosed a poor shift, short shift, long shift, and clunking with vibration condition in the transmission. The dealer was called twice with no response. On December 20, 2006 the trans failed for the third time at 57,231 miles. The after market warranty was notified and directed us to the Ford service warranty. The vehicle was towed to another dealership due to a certified letter that was received by the first stating that our trans problems were "perceived" and that they were ending our "business relationship." The next dealership performed the eec code check. A tsb had been issued, codes 733 and 745. The dealership told us that we must guarantee their fee to tear down the transmission and that the repair may not be covered. They also stated that we had "no warranty" on the vehicle. The service manager after some discussion stated "we are not involved in your truck repair at all." We immediately had our vehicle removed from their dealership. Another shop stated that the transmission has in fact failed again. We are waiting for a possible coverage determination from the after market company. Ford was notified.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #247

Jan 092007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,600 miles
2002 Ford Explorer - 58,000 original miles. No indication of problem, automatic transmission would not shift into gear. Local Ford dealer says the 3rd gear is gone and will cost $1800 to fix.

- Aiken, SC, USA

problem #246

Dec 232004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
At 74000 miles our transmission went out completely while we were on vacation! the dealership where we bought the vehicle, said that "we were the only one's who have had this problem" (yeah right!) it cost us $6000 out of our pocket to fix. At 86000 miles the rear window cracked right below the window. Ford and the dealership refuses to fix it. Again, stayton Ford told us that, "we were the only people who have had this particular issue." At around 85000, 95000 and 105000 miles, the rear seals leaked. We were promised each time that they would last "for at least 50000 miles." We were always a few miles away from getting them replaced for free since they're limited warranty is only good for 10000 miles. At 111000 miles the electrical system went "haywire." Even when all of the door and hatch are closed, the dome light continues to go on and off (making it hard to drive at night) because it senses that a "door is a jar." Sometimes, the key pad that's located on the drivers side window sets off the alarm when we push the first number on the key. Totally unreliable vehicle that I'm afraid to drive!

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #245

Jan 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer limited, O/D light flashing and transmission had to be replaced at 72,000 miles.

- Brownstown, MI, USA

problem #244

Jan 022007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,942 miles
Regular driving of a Ford Explorer 2002 XLT, very early transmission failure the vehicle's transmission just gives out O/D light starts flashing all of a sudden the vehicle does not go in to gear all of this while driving. Checked online turns out many people have had the exact same problem with this vehicle, called Ford they said that it would cost about $4000 to repair.

- Port St. Lucie, FL, USA

problem #243

Nov 012006

Explorer 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer. My complaint is having this car for only 2 years after buying it from the rancho santa margarita Ford dealer, now the car has a transmission problem. I have looked up a lot of complaints regarding this particular problem with 2002 Ford Explorer. And they all have the same problems as mine.. and we get stuck with $4K for a new transmission. I think they should have a recall on this vehicle because it's a common problems with this particular vehicle.. consumers shouldn't be paying $4K for a new transmission after only 4 years having the vehicle..some people complaints even happens after 2 years buying the vehicle. I think you should investigate this problem and make sure Ford company is not making money from consumers through repairs of a new transmission.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #242

Nov 222006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,143 miles

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

Purchased vehicle from crossroads Ford, raleigh nc June 24,06 while driving in traffic Nov 22,06 check transmission appeared on message center, odo light started flashing, check engine light illuminated and vehicle would not shift gears. The vehicle would not increase speed while engine RPM were increasing. Vehicle gave no prior warning of impending problem from Jun to Nov and had been driven locally for the period of ownership. Took vehicle to the local Ford dealer close to my home I was informed that after diagnostic testing and referring to Ford tsb the transmission needed to be replaced. Called Ford customer service, they informed me that it was an unfortunate situation, but there was nothing they could do for me and to call the dealer where I purchased the vehicle. Called crossroads Ford and left a message for mike bevan (service advisor) he failed to return my calls. My husband called mike bevan and was able to speak with him, mike informed my husband that there was nothing they could do and if we would bring the vehicle to him they would let us know the cost to replace the transmission. I did some research online and was surprised at the large number of owners listed on carreview.com with the same situation. If this happened on the highway another vehicle could have rear ended my vehicle causing damage and injury.

- Youngsville, NC, USA

problem #241

Nov 292006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. I bought it November of 2004 with 40,000 miles on it. It now has 80,000 miles on it and slips while shifting from 2nd to 1st gear and I also hear a whining noise in the rear end. It jerks and slips consistently. The overdrive off light is flashing, and the service engine light is on. The car says "check transmission" on the instrument cluster. I called 4 Ford dealers and was told there was nothing they could do. This is low mileage to have to replace the transmission. It is a known problem for these cars, and Ford doesn't care. I am stuck with the car that cannot be safely driven now. Owners of these cars need help to get Ford to issue a recall.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #240

Nov 192006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,159 miles
Transmission needs replacing in a 2002 Ford Explorer, 81,000 miles.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #239

Nov 092006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
11/7/03 at 20,272 miles unit in for rear axle whine dealer replaced the drive shaft but rear axle whine not fixed. 11/13/04 at 34269 miles vehicle taken to dealer for rear end howl again replaced rear differential unit. Next morning wife went to take child to day care and vehicle would not go over 35 mph without resistance. Had towed to the dealer and the was told a faulty differential unit. Put the old one back in and reordered another rear differential unit and put the new unit in on 11//17/04 at 34,291 miles. When the service records state found bad bearing in the unit. 6/12/06 rear end axle seal leaking replaced the rear end whine was still evident. 6/12/06 at 62,31 miles rear axle seal leak repaired. 11/09/06 at approx 68,000 miles transmission has failed. Reference tsb#16898 rear axle whine and tsb#03254. Have seen a lot of complaints about these transmission failures on line for the 2002 Ford Explorer's. leads me to believe that the rear end whining is binding the transmissions and causing them to fail. Also see tsb#06216, tsb#18466, tsb#18423.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #238

Nov 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,550 miles

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

Transmission out.

- Englewood, OH, USA

problem #237

Nov 062006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,050 miles
: the contact stated while accelerating, the vehicle vibrated and a noise was heard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times where the transmission converter was replaced twice, however the problem recurred. Also, while the contact was changing the oil it was noticed a wire from the battery was bare. The consumer stated the transmission is still not shifting properly and during acceleration, the vehicle still vibrates. Upon inspection the 02 sensor was found damaged. The sensor was covered in glue and wrapped around to the transmission mount. Updated 12/01/06.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #236

Nov 012006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer XLS, 85,000 miles, started without warning to flash the O/D light and the transmission failed.

- Perkasie, PA, USA

problem #235

Oct 252006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,900 miles
2002 Ford Explorer - overdrive light flashing, transmission has difficulty shifting. Winds up to excessive RPM's before shifting. Vehicle has only 57,000 miles.

- Kingwood, TX, USA

problem #234

Oct 232006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
Transmission shifts hard both in/out of park as well as between gears. Cylanoid replaced twice within 2 years. Loud whine in rear assembly/axle fluid leak. NHTSA relects numerous complaints/service bulletins on this issue.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #233

Oct 242006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 60 mph on the highway, the overdrive light illuminated, and the vehicle operated at a reduced speed. It was driven to the dealer for inspection, who determined the automatic transmission needed to be replaced. After the replacement, the problem persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who determined the automatic transmission needed to be replaced again. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #232

Oct 152006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,090 miles
Vehicle O/D light began to flash. Stopped vehicle and tried to get it to go off - won't go off. Started home and vehicle shifted "very hard" into 3 or 4th gear. Took to dealership the next available day - trans mission needs pressure solenoid, valve body and other parts - $2000 worth of repairs. Vehicle is 4 years old and has 75,000. Now taking to another dealer to get resolved. Called Ford - will do nothing about it. Advised them of the multiple ntsb complaints, said we know nothing about recurring problems with vehicle.

- Granite Falls, NC, USA

problem #231

Mar 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
Overdrive light flashes leading to transmission failure on my 2002 Ford explore XLT.

- Staten Island , NY, USA

problem #230

Oct 082006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,884 miles
2002 Ford Explorer - transmission went out at 63,884 miles - no warning - just went out. After reviewing so many complaints on the internet it appears that there is a major defect in this particular engine. Ford needs to do something about this. This will definitely be my last Ford product.

- Mt. Olive, AL, USA

problem #229

Oct 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
O/D light flicker. On restart went away. Dealer indicated there was internal transmission damage. Transmission could not be rebuilt needed to be replaced. While in shop they discovered problems with the rear end as well. Car has 72,000 miles and needs transmission and new rear end. I was shocked.

- Duluth, GA, USA

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