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 37 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #168

Sep 022005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,010 miles

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

I brought this SUV last year at bill heard Chevrolet dealership. Even though this was a new vehicle. When I went to the dealership they told me that I could pay this car in three years but in reality it was five years. I signed all the paperwork I had to but they didn't give me any papers when I left. However when I went to apply to buy another car they didn't accept my application because they told me that I was already being finance a car for five years. This car has had many problems like the transmission would just make really loud noises when I drove the SUV; the transmission was simply not functioning properly. When I drove the car 60 mph or more the vehicle would just start vibrating. I contact the dealership to make a complaint but they simply just ignore my complaint.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #167

Jan 202006

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer ltd's transmission failed on or about 20 January without any prior warning. The vehicle had apprx. 65,000 miles. The vehicle has been with the veterans Ford dealership in metairie, la for over 3 weeks. They have informed me the transmission will have to be replaced at a cost of apprx. $3000. I now understand this is a widespread problem with the 2002 Ford Explorer and urge a recall.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #166

Feb 122006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The transmission on the car has problems and the 4X4 doesn't work with only 80000 miles.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #165

Jan 122006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,962 miles

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

Transmission has been making soft shifts and sounds as it shifts. Dealer has "reprogrammed" the transmission. Now transmission has completely failed. Dealer claims the 3 gear in this heavy duty transmission is broken and transmission must be replaced.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #164

Feb 042006

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission - gear band.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #163

Jan 162006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On January 16, 2006 while driving on the highway I noticed a shaking feeling under the driver's side floor. There was also loud noise. I slowed down and continued to drive. On Saturday, January 21, 2006 I brought Ford Explorer 2002 to a Ford dealer for them to drive and take a look. The result was vehicle all over the road, was unstable and needed all 4 wheel bearings, upper rear ball joints. Replaced. Not safe to drive for very long, must go slow and a $3,000 approximate cost to repair. I contacted Ford to complain and to see if they could help out by reducing the cost of fixing it for free. Their response was sorry but they could not help. I cannot see how Ford can tell me there was nothing they could do when every mechanic I have spoken to said it was unheard for all 4 wheel bearings to go at the same time, especially with only 73,000 miles on the truck. I drive my 6 year old sun to school, left to Ford I'm supposed to take my chances with his safety while driving one of their poorly made vehicles. All this after I had to replace the transmission in October when than went while I was on vacation in New Hampshire.

- Boston, MA, USA

problem #162

Jan 232006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer, when the car is at 30-40 mph and shifting gears it lurchers forward. I spent $1000 for repair 2 months ago with Ford dealer. I am back again now they say I need a full tranmission.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #161

Jan 262006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles
Transmission failure on 2002 Ford Explorer at 50,000 miles. Transmission jumps out of gear randomly, almost causing collision.

- Saratoga, CA, USA

problem #160

Jan 202006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
The transmission sometimes slipped when we first bought the vehicle new. We were told that was normal. The vehicle now will not lock into second gear, told we needed a new transmission. It is only 4 years old and has 58,000 miles; too soon for this kind of expense for a well cared for car. We are out of warranty.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #159

May 032003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,854 miles
Recurring problems with transmission. Every now an then, the overdrive off light blinks, occasionally causing the check engine light to come on. 14854 miles the transmission was overhauled by the dealer. From about 50,000 miles the overdrive light would occasional flash but as long as I shut off the engine and restarted it, the problem wouldn't pop up for a few months. There didn't seem to be any consistent reason for it to flash. The dealer said the only thing they could do is to test it when the light was flashing so they could diagnose the problem. Since the problem was so intermittent it was difficult to get to a dealer at the particular time the light would flash. The truck seemed to be operating as it always did. Eventually the check engine light came on as a result of the O/D off light being on and at 63,329 the dealer replaced the solenoid body and serviced the transmission. The light still came on occasional, but only on long trips, more than 75 miles one way. At 66,274 miles the dealer took the truck and tried to duplicate the problem but was unable to. At about 73299 miles, like before, the service engine light finally kicked and the dealer replaced the O/D piston and rod. At 73,564 miles the transmission need to be completely overhauled. Now at 80,800 the service engine light is on again because of the O/D off light blinking and the dealer will be looking at it again on Monday, January 20, 2006. For number of failures I'm guessing that 20 or more times the O/D light has come on. 5 times the check engine light activated and the dealer tried to fix the problem. Monday will be the 6th attempt to fix the problem.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #158

Jan 022006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,500 miles

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

: the contact stated without warning, the transmission would slip when shifting into second or third gear. The dealership determined the transmission needed to be rebuilt.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #157

Jan 112006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
While driving the SUV to work on 11 Jan 2006 @0800 on the interstate, everything was operating normally then suddenly the overdrive light began to flash and the transmission began to slip and would not shift out of 2nd gear, with no prior warning light to this day or malfunctions. @ 0900 I took the SUV to a local near by transmission shop where they deemed after driving and running diagnostic testing that it needed to be rebuilt, they further stated that they have had several 2002 Ford Explorer with the same problem. After tearing the transmission apart further inspection revealed that it was in need of a total overhaul costing $2079. The SUV is a 2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer with 64,000 miles.

- Fairdale , KY, USA

problem #156

Jan 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT with 4.0L engine, 2wd: After 100,000 miles, the O/D light began flashing. Transmission service technician noticed chunks of brass and steel in the tran pan (this had been checked 6 months earlier and there was no sign of metal in the pan). Technician dropped the valve body, thinking that the valve body gasket was blown. However, the gasket was fine, but there was more metal found in the valve body. At this point it was determined that there was an internal problem with the transmission. The next day, the vehicle began to fail to shift into upper gears. After checking a couple of web-sites, it appears there is a fairly widespread problem with the transmission that is used in the 2002 Explorer. Ford relayed to me that there are no recalls on the transmission.

- Corydon, IN, USA

problem #155

Dec 282005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
I have had my vehicle in to Ford for transmissions and differential problems over the last 2 years. They could not fix the problem while under warranty and now the transmission failed and left me stranded on a cross country move. I had the vehicle in for service right before the trip stating the truck was not right. They could not fix it.

- Anthem, AZ, USA

problem #154

Dec 282005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Rear differential makes a howling noise at highway speeds. Noise goes away when letting off accelerator. It's been reported to dealer many times. This problem is common to Explorer of the same year as evidenced by numerous internet forums. Transmission also shudders in 3rd gear, especially when cold.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #153

Oct 102005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer has required 5 separate transmission repairs in last 2 years. Including 1 total rebuild at 50,000 miles. Ford dealer and Ford corporate will not stand behind their product.

- Ft Myers, FL, USA

problem #152

Mar 012005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Whine in the rear end. Mechanic rebuilt the rear end and the bearing all show signs of failure according to the mechanic Ford had used cheap bearings in the rear end. The transmission also has problems shifting. Each time the vehicle shifts, it shutters and jerks. I am afraid that Ford used the same type bearings in the transmission as they did in the rear end and they are failing as well.

- Ashland City, TN, USA

problem #151

Dec 152005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
O/D light flashing so I took car into dealer. Transmission is bad and needs new solenoids at 45,000 miles.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #150

Dec 072005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,542 miles
2002 transmission failure causing me to buy a new transmission at only 45,000 miles..2002 Ford Explorer XLT 2wd 4.0L V6. It has been rebuilt 2 times since I was made to buy a new transmission. This is totally unacceptable and there are others with the same problems at this site. We shouldn't be forced to pay $4000 to fix a problem on a vehicle that is nowhere near the expected timeframe for this sort of malfunction (I.e. 150K to 200K miles). forums.carreview.com/showthread.php?T=93&page=2&pp=25.

- Beale Afb, CA, USA

problem #149

Nov 242005

Explorer 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
The transmission on my 2002 Ford Explorer with only 45,000 miles has gone out. I started to notice problems when it hard shifted between 2nd and 3rd gear. On November 24, 2005, the overdrive off light started flashing and the vehicle no longer shifted into 3rd gear. After several attempted to fix it at the dealership, they finally determined the problem had to do with an aluminum case around a steel moving part. The part is wearing away the aluminum case. This shouldn't be happening at only 45,000 miles. This will cost me approximate $2000 to fix. Absolutely absurd! I've talked to Ford and they won't do anything about it. Multiple posts on carreview.com have the same exact problem with this make and model.

- Marshfield, WI, USA

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