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 35 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #208

Mar 012005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Vehicle started to hesitate when shifting, whining noise from rear end as well. Over drive light on, then finally vehicle stopped engaging gears. 2002 Explorer has been sitting in driveway for one year due to transmission failure. Ford not willing to fix the problem. Vehicle has 58000 miles. Prior to this incident rear hatch window blew out two times with the second time glass blew off so violently it damaged paint on new vehicle (dealer and Ford manufacturer refused to pay for repair and instructed me to file insurance claim) damage to other car was clearly due to defect in window hatch mechanism and they should pay. Nothing has been done.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #207

Jun 152006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles
Overdrive light began to flash, then shifting became very difficult becoming increasingly worse to the point of not shifting at all. Noticeably jerks when shifting into reverse. Lots of whining noise from under the vehicle. Also rear differential makes loud whine/roar at speeds above 30 and at acceleration. I understand these are very common complaints among Explorer owners and can be very costly. Most transmission repair people tell me that it is a manufacturing defect and that Ford should fix it.

- Altoona, AL, USA

problem #206

Aug 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
Transmission went bad when only 3 years old, Ford told me that it's a known problem.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #205

Jun 262006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer XLT, 56,000 miles. Whining from rear differential between 40-60 mph. Whining goes away if pressure is reduced from accelerator or if speed is greater than 60 mph. Some leaking of rear differential fluid around driveshaft pinion seal. Also had transmission rebuilt at 54,000 miles due to rough shifting from 3 to 4. transmission was not covered under 36,000 mile warranty. In my research, I have uncovered many other 2002/2003 Explorer owners with similar whining rear differential issues. Would seem that since there are many others having the same issue that there is some design/materials flaw in the rear end gearbox causing this issue. I will be forced to replace the rear end in addition to the transmission if there is no remedy from Ford.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #204

Jun 152006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,350 miles
Automatic transmission on 2002 Ford Explorer 4WD eddie bauer at 85450 miles - 3rd gear clutch out and requires rebuild.

- Avon, IN, USA

problem #203

Jun 162006

Explorer 4WD

  • 65,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer transmission went out at 65,000 miles. Now its costing me $3500 plus tax to have a refurbished one installed. Transmissions should last much longer than this and I have seen a huge number of Ford transmission failures for this vehicle. Ford needs a recall and to reimburse us that have already paid.

- Downers Grove, IL, USA

problem #202

Jun 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

On or about November 3, 2005, I purchased a break model used Ford Explorer XLT 2002 from norm reeves Honda car dealer in cerritos, ca. The car had 78,000 miles on it at the time of purchase. I signed the papers and took the possession of the car. It has not been more than 2 months that the car started giving me trouble on the pick up of the speed, transmission, gear adjustment, over use of the gas, difficult high altitude driving even after change of gears, air suction into the engine and transmission, accelerator and signs like service engine soon on the front panel, although I have been getting regular lube and tune on the car after every 3000 miles. While driving the, occasionally, the car gives a thundering noise on the tires as if it is dragging itself and running on the road. This makes me fear that my car is not safe for me to drive! the norm reeves Honda super store car dealer knew that the car is defective and they simply wanted to get rid of a used 2002 Ford Explorer XLT vehicle from the fleet as they primarily sell Honda cars and similar vehicles. Despite repeated requests, the norm reeves Honda super store and their sister company Ford of cerritos refused to provide service on the car since I stopped payments on the car loan. Other Ford car dealers have test driven this car and observed the same defects as I have mentioned. My purpose of writing this complaint with the NHTSA is to request the intervention of NHTSA immediately as the questioned vehicle is likely to endanger my life on the local roads and/or on highway/freeways. Due to major defects in the car, I can meet with a serious accident and can be crippled or suffer such pecuniary losses that are irreplaceable and/or I can die also with out any fault of mine. Please recall Firestone tires V. Ford Motor Company case law. Criminal charges against norm reeves Honda, Ford of cerritos and their ceos to follow. Please contact me and the dealers asap. Respectfully submitted, amardeep singh gill.

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #201

Oct 082004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Repeated rear axle and seal failure, transmission issues.

- St Simons Island, GA, USA

problem #200

May 122006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
My 2002 Explorer is also having the same problems which have been previously noted by other Explorer owners. The whining when reaching 50-60 km/hr, which goes away when you take your foot off the gas, the slipping and shuddering of gears and sometimes passing gear never kicks in, the ABS light comes on (usually after the truck has warmed up and it doesn't seem to happen when the weather is really cold), the ABS is now starting to act up, wherein it randomly activates itself even while on dry pavement and the brakes feel mushy when this happens. Now the locks are randomly not working. I would like to share one instance about the passing, shuddering, slipping was when I was traveling on the highway with my kids, I pulled out to pass, and when I stepped on it the truck shuddered so hard, that my daughter, who was coloring a mother' day card, actually scribbled when it shuddered, if that makes any sense. She was po'd at me asking me why did I do that and now her card was ruined. We have had the transmission in for service and were told nothing was wrong. We had the transmission fluid changed and the truck worked fine for about 2 weeks and then back to the same old problems. My husband and I are seriously considering trading this piece of crap vehicle off and we have decided that it will only be imports from now on. Ford needs to wake up and start fixing all of these problems or they will be finding themselves bankrupt in no time. I was brought up as a kid in Ford; 67 T-bird, Ford ltd, 1/2 ton truck, 3/4 ton truck, 78 Ford T-bird, Ford Taurus, my first car being a Mercury lynx, then a 93 Ford festiva, hubby owned a 93 Ford Ranger 4X4, 98 Windstar, my mom owns a 96 Explorer and so on. My friend just got rid of her 2000 Explorer which she lovingly named her 'Ford exploder'. thanks for listening to my rant and I really hope that with everyone's input that something can be done about this.

- Warman, 00, USA

problem #199

Jun 032006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
O/D off light began flashing on dash, followed by service engine soon. Vehicle was taken in to Ford where transmission had to be completely rebuilt with only 53,000 miles on it. Known defect according to Ford tsb.

- New Milford, CT, USA

problem #198

May 182006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,577 miles

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

We own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4X4...5-18-06 overdrive light flashes...5-19-06 it will not shift into drive gear...will only drive in first and second gears. Mechanic says the transmission is shot and needs to be rebuilt for $2200. This seems to be a very common problem with the 2002 Explorer and should be recalled...period.

- Charlestown, IN, USA

problem #197

May 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,890 miles
Car has been having transmission problems, got it checked by a mechanic running diagnostics on the computer, the od light came on and was flashing. At the time of the service it was working correctly but light would not turn off. It finally would not go into gear stranding my wife and infant son. I had the transmission replaced with a jasper transmission.

- Knoxville, MD, USA

problem #196

May 112006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,854 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT 65,000. Transmission has gone bad. Third gear band is broken. Always driven in light city and highway miles. Never towed a trailer. Ford dealer says that truck is out of warranty.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #195

May 062006

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles
Soon after we bought it. The began over-revving before shifting on flat road. At approximately 80K the over drive began light flashing erratically. Would reset if I turned engine off, sat for few minutes, and restarted engine. Began slam shifting on flat road at approximately 100K. Complete transmission failure leaving me stranded at approximately 107K. * repair shop said 02 Explorer are #1 for needing transmission replacements. Going to cost over $3000 to fix.

- Knoxville, MD, USA

problem #194

May 052006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Grinding noise sounding like it is from front end, especially on accelerating at low speeds, and turning slow. Told to replace tires and front hub. Both done and still making same noise. Cannot figure what is wrong. Think the sound is from transmission or rear end. Also having problems with the transmission. The truck does not switch gears properly. It takes to long and sometimes reaches 4 rpms before finally switching on flat road surface.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #193

Mar 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Last year I had an issue with my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. The Ford dealer said it was the rear axel and tranny and fixed the issue. This year the same symptoms occurred plus the od light began flashing signaling tranny problems. Of course I am out of the warranty now and I know that the tranny on this model Ford is "sealed" meaning I cannot check tranny fluids and only the dealer can service the transmission. I hear many horror stories of the tranny going out prematurely and I understand that there is a service bulletin from Ford about this issue. I feel that with so many issues and the irreparable design, that a recall should be considered. I feel cheated and I understand that this fix can be over $2000. Please help.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #192

May 022006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,387 miles
: the contact stated the overdrive light flashed and the check transmission light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop, where it was determined the transmission needed to be rebuilt.

- Forest Hill, MD, USA

problem #191

Apr 242006

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer. Failed transmission, starter, rear wheel bearings, airbag, pinion, electric window. Now loud sounds from rear of car.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #190

Nov 182005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,920 miles
Transmission failure and rear axle noises as well as rear wheel bearings.

- Lima, NY, USA

problem #189

Sep 232005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer. The transmission completely had to be rebuilt at 85,000. The shop we took the car to said he sees a lot of 2002 Ford Explorer because it was a new model and Ford did not build the transmission correctly. The mechanic said Ford did not recall the transmission's but they should as it seemed to him to be a systemic problem, and not from abuse (in our case anyway).

- Easton, CT, USA

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