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 38 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #148

Dec 072005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

Bought 2002 Explorer XLT 4X4 new. Has been in for transmission-related problems multiple time during warranty and extended warranty. A couple times, they could not duplicate the problem and did nothing. # other times, they found thing wrong and 'supposedly' fixed them. Went back into the dealer again today with O/D off light flashing. Warranty has now expired. I am waiting for a call back from them to tell me what's wrong 'this time'. I'm relatively certain I have kept all the dealer statements from all the times it has went in for service.

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #147

Dec 042005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer - od light flashing and engine over-revving when going fm 2nd to 3rd gear - automatic transmission. When it does finally shift into gear, it is very hard and jolting. 73,000 miles on the car and it was purchased new. I'm being told by the Ford dealership that the transmission will have to be "overhauled" at a cost of $1500-minimum. I understand that there is a history of this type of problem with the 2002 Ford Explorer. Is the NHTSA looking into it?

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #146

Nov 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer had transmission problems from the beginning. Took the vehicle in prior to the 36K warranty expiring and was told that the trouble was due to a new type of transmission that was used in this model. Was told it was a "memory transmission" and that was why it shifted so hard and made noises. Problem never went away and had to get the transmission rebuilt in 12/05 because the problem became so severe. From research we have done this is not a random case but rather a recurring problem for owners of this vehicle. Ford should be responsible for the fixing the transmissions because they know that they are not reliable.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #145

Nov 132005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

The band in my transmission broke, it would not shift to third gear, I have seen in forums that many people have this problem, I think Ford should issue a recall and fix this problem, the minimum charge to rebuild the transmission is about $2500.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #144

Oct 182005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When we first bought our 2002 Explorer XLT from finks used car lot in zanesville Ohio it had about 22 or so thousand miles on it and we requested a check up on the vehicle. The back hatch brackets was replaced, and the back wheel brakes were sticking and burning, locking up. That problem seemed to be fixed. Then the antilock brake system light started coming on and the front brakes seemed to be grabbing....just last month. I had the cruise control set on the vehicle once and it smelled like something smoldering so I shut it off and it hasn't been on since. I called the Ford garage to ask if my cruise control was on the fire hazard list because the vehicle was built in 2001. I was told if I did not receive a letter in the mail it wouldn't be replaced. This vehicle was still under warranty when I bought it. So far I am getting nothing but the back hatch brackets replaced. The vehicle was parked and it now has 29,956.0 miles on it. I am driving my 1995 auto with 122,000 miles on it waiting for winter and graduation from college. I am afraid the brakes are going to lock up in the winter and send me sailing. I want to know if there have been any other complaints on this Explorer built in 2001 that is a 2002 Explorer.

- Corning, OH, USA

problem #143

Nov 272005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission band broken -- only 50,000 miles Ford has performed all service repairs including oil changes ever done on this vehicle. One day while driving, I heard a pop and the vehicle would not accelerate. The speed would only go up to 30 mph and would jerk again. I have now been told it would cost 2500 dollars to fix. After researching the issue, I found out information that this problem is common to a lot of people who own the same year, make, and model. The problems occurs at the same approximate mileage.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #142

Nov 262005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

Our 2002 Ford Explorer had issues almost from the beginning, when putting it into drive it sometimes would hesitate and then lurch forward, even with the brake applied. Lately, after 65,000 miles, the transmission would not shift into 3rd gear, the engine would rev., but not shift. If you left your foot off the gas, it might shift. Then the O/D light would blink. We have taken it to a transmission repair shop.

- Denver, PA, USA

problem #141

Nov 182005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,298 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. Have had transmission problems since about 58000 miles and has been in the shop 5 times for the same problem of hard shifting to transmission having problems finding the correct gears to finaly, 3rd gear band finaly broke at 68000 miles. Just got fixed but still having issues. Now I have a shutter and third gear still slips slightly. This is just frustrating!!

- Gig Harbor, WA, USA

problem #140

Oct 042005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
2002 Explorer, started to notice a bit of a lag from 2nd to 3rd gear, then a big lag and lurch, followed by O/D light flashing followed by check engine light. Had solenoid pack replaced for $320 lasted five weeks and failed again, with O/D flashing and car lurching and grabbing hard between 2nd and 3rd shift on an automatic transmission. Also noticed after first repair, hard to shift from drive to park, would hang up trying to get in park.

- Dyer, IN, USA

problem #139

Nov 052005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,905 miles
I bought a new 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. At 13,743 work order writes my complaints as "when going from park to drive trans clunks into gear and delay up shift a slow speeds". dealer wrote on completed order form "cause: Inop, correction:reprogram PCM, tech notes:roadtest trans engagement are harsh intermittent upshifts are firm, reprogram PCM...". at 16,482 miles I again complained of clunking when shifting gears. Dealer said could not reproduce. At 24,613 I complained of trans clunking, and hesitating between shifting, again dealer said could not reproduce. At 35,976 miles they said there was a trans problem and rehauled (rebuilt) trans. At 50,295 miles car was hesitating again between shifts and clunking again. At stopping the car would jerk hard. They said the trans was bad again and rehauled it again. At 52,900 miles I was going to stop at a light, I thought something had happened to the brakes as the car would not slow any further (I was at a low speed at this time) for a few seconds and the brake pedal was shuttering and grinding. I immediately went to the dealer. The brakes twice more the way over felt strange but not as much as the first time. I would step on the gas, the car would hesitate before going faster and then would jerk forward. The RPM needle during this time would not move and then jump forward and then jump down. Three times on the way to the dealer the car would on it's own go slightly faster without me depressing the gas pedal further. This was on Saturday and I told the person writing up my paper work I could not except that they can not reproduce the problem, I need an answer since this is beyond being a time consuming problem and bother into a safety issue and I will not drive that car as is. Since there was no service manager there, I returned on Monday to talk with him. He was very nice and said they would look into it. But again, I am without my car for I do not know how long.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #138

Nov 042005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

Since I purchased the vehicle new in July 220 I have had noise coming from rear of car. There are occasionally loud clangs coming from what appears to be transmission when shifting from park to drive. Now, the O/D light is flashing continuously and it looks as if the car needs a new transmission with 65,000 miles on it. The consumer requested that his complaint be deleted. Updated 11/29/05.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #137

Aug 222005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
The consumer stated that the 2002 Ford Explorer XLT was having problems with the transmission. The consumer said that the vehicle would not accelerate, and then would accelerate quickly up to O 80 mph. The truck would decelerate and accelerate randomly. The transmission knocked when going into gear. The owner had requested that the transmission be checked prior to the warranty expiring on two different occasions. At this point, the vehicle only had 25,000 miles on it. The consumer was out of town and had a complete transmission failure which resulted in the installment of a new transmission when reaching home. Currently, the new transmission was having problems going into gear. There was a knocking sound in the transmission when the gears were changing. The consumer was constantly dealing with the dealership general manager, who in return, was dealing with the Ford regional representative. This has been on going for the past two weeks. The dealership tested the old transmission with diagnostics and found nothing. The consumer for dealing with the dealership and Ford simultaneously concerning reimbursement for repair expenses.

- Greenwich, CT, USA

problem #136

Sep 292005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,400 miles
2002 Ford Explorer, 5R55W transmission. 84K on vehicle, transmission no-shift/late shift between 1st and 2nd. Od light on intermittently, occasionally no power, transmission slips between 1-2 and 2-3.

- Black Forest, CO, USA

problem #135

Sep 262005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer that is now having its transmission replaced for the second time. The first time I was at 77000 mile, just outside the extended 75000 mile warranty that I purchased, when the car began shifting with a hard jerk or slip when it was trying to change for second to third gear. After further driving the O/D light began to flicker on and off and the service engine light came on. I took it to the local Ford dealer, which did not seem to be surprised that I had this problem, and told me it would take a couple of weeks and cost me $3600. He said he could take it down the road to a transmission repair shop that they used so that maybe he could get it done faster. Well, I decided to take it there myself. I got the same report, but they could fix it, with all new parts, for $2000. So, I let them fix it. After one year and 44000 miles I am having the same exact problem and it is in the process of being fixed. I do not know what it will cost me this time around. I have made a complaint with Ford motor customer service. I just want someone to know based on what I am hearing and reading that this along with the rear diff. Problem, which I also have, seems to be common in the 2002 Ford Explorer. In the last ten years I have owned 5 Ford and this is the second Explorer. I do not think I will be buying another one unless Ford can do something about the transmission problem they seem to have.

- Mccalla, AL, USA

problem #134

Sep 242005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
1.) no indication of impending failure 2.) transmission is completely gone. 3.) $4000 later a new transmission is being installed.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #133

Jan 012005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles
2002 4 door Explorer 4X4 eddie bauer transmission replaced at 40,000 miles now the rear end has a humming noise at 50,000 miles.

- Marstons Mills, MA, USA

problem #132

Sep 232005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75 miles
Transmission 3rd gear slipping causing transmission to have to be completely re built. There is a service bulletin #03254. How come Ford has not done any thing? because this is a well known fact. Ford should hay to pay for its mistake or help the consumer in some way. They new in 12/13/24 there is failure in this transmission # 5R55W. I checked on this at www.car review.com and there was many complaints thanks.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #131

Apr 112005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,666 miles
Began backing out of garage but noticed "door ajar" light on; a frequent occurrence in this car, and light doesn't indicate which door is the problem. So, finished backing car out of garage and parked it in driveway, placing car in park and applying emergency brake. Left car running. Exited car, left driver door open, and had some time to stand, turn around and look at back door behind driver's side first. Determined it was closed by visual check. Began to move toward rear of car to check hatch next (hatch problematic; had it fixed after bought the car then it was just recently recalled again. But much to my shock the car slipped out of park and ran over me. Tried to dive out of way; car ran over me at both knees. Suffered crush injury. Had car examined; forensic specialist thought it was a design flaw with lots of gap in steering column between reverse and park and some play in where it would groove in.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #130

Oct 162003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
Automatic transmission failing in 2nd gear. Seems to be a widely known problem in the V-6 2002 Explorer. Started acting up at 60K, as soon as the warranty was out.

- Cheyenne, WY, USA

problem #129

Aug 052005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer 4X4 and while driving the vehicle the O/D light begin to flash and at a stop light the vehicle would not engaged to drive. Finally after turning of the vehicle and re starting it and proceeded to go. Took it into the dealership where they informed me that they would have to drop the pan and if there was metal in it I would need a whole new transmission. They called me a few hours later to inform me that the technician saw lots of metal and the cost of a new transmission would be $3400 dollars. I said are you sure that the problem has been diagnosed properly with a transmission with 50,000 miles and he said the tests don't lie. Well, I said I would be up to the dealership to see this metal and 2 minutes later he called saying that the tech. Didn't actually pull the pan down. I picked up my Explorer and they were so very nice to give me the technical service bulletin on it too; think that was a mistake. Took it to cottmans transmission right down from the dealership and they hooked it up to a computer and codes P0733 and P0745 were flashing: Problem a broken intermediate band and O/D band. They said that it could have more damage but would see when transmission was down. They weren't surprised by the dealerships claim; it is all about money to them. After 2 days they informed me that the 2 bands would have to be replaced, a torque converter, transmission rebuild kit and a little thing called a planet gear was causing the whole problem it seems. The bearing in the gear was destroyed. They ordered the planet gear from the Kentucky plant and low and behold that bearing in the gear was destroyed as well. I believe that the transmission problems that people are experiencing is coming from the defect. The cost of this little repair was $1500 dollars more than half of what they said and they have the same tsb report on the problem. Crown Ford is the dealer.

- Chapel Hill, TN, USA

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