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 39 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #128

Aug 052005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

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

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. Pick 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 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

problem #127

Aug 242002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
5 speed auto transmission on 2002 Ford Explorer XLT failed at 43000 miles. Transmission was flushed at 40000 and problems began after flush. No financial help from dealer. Service rep told me piston striking transmission case was common problem on this transmission and warned me not to replace it with a used 2002 Ford 5 speed auto tranny.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #126

Sep 012005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Hard shifting of transmission. Especially going into 3rd gear. Sounds & feels like the transmission is going to break down at any time. In turn, leaving me & my children stranded on the side of the road.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #125

Aug 012005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

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

Transmission failure to shift properly into reverse and between 3rd and 4th gears after normal usage for 38 months and 66,00 miles. Repair facility states that this is a recurring problem for this make/model/year between 60 and 80K miles. Transmission rebuild and remilling of transmission case is required.

- Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #124

Aug 052005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT transmission problems. Shifting from park to reverse causes a loud clunking noise and the vehicle jerks forward. There is also a problem with the transmission shifting when driving the vehicle.

- Laporte, IN, USA

problem #123

Sep 262002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,775 miles
The caller said vehicle had problems with the transmission. In September 2002 at 4775 miles when trying to accelerate the vehicle made noise and would not accelerate. In November 2003 at 34,114 miles the lights on the dashboard came on. She could smell something. Both times she was told nothing could be found. Currently, all the lights on the dashboard came on again. While getting on the highway the vehicle lost power and would only go 20 mph. Dealer told her the transmission needed to be replaced, and the caller would have to pay for it.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #122

Apr 112005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

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

Consumer complained about transmission problems. While driving 65 mph the transmission locked. The vehicle slowed down, operating at a reduced speed, and then the engine suddenly shut off. The car coasted to the side of the road. Consumer inspected vehicle and found nothing. Got back into vehicle about 10 minutes after the occurrence, restarted the vehicle, and drove to a dealership about 5 miles down the road and the car was making funny noises. Dealership said the transmission had a solenoid problem that caused it to lock. Dealer kept car about week and a half. The solenoid valve shift was replaced along with the transmission pan and gasket. This lasted about 2 weeks and again this problem recurred. The transmission did not lock at this time but the transmission slipped. Vehicle is currently at dealer for an ignition problem. The dealer could duplicate the problem, but they do not know what was causing this.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #121

Sep 152003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer appears to have rear-end problems. Have owned the vehicle for a couple of years and it started out with a whining noise in the rear-end and has progressed to a hard shift and on occasion a clunking when the vehicle shifts around third gear.

- Hiawatha, IA, USA

problem #120

Aug 192005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Loud niose coming from the rear end of my 2002 Ford Explorer 4X4 that has not been fixed after repeated complaints or taken seriously by the service department at the Ford dealership in simi valley, California.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #119

Jun 182003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. The contact has been having a problem with the rear end. The rear end made an extremely loud roaring sound. Took the vehicle the vehicle to three different repair shops. One said it was the tires, and the other two maintained that it was an expensive rear end problem. She talked to other people with this same type of vehicle and they all had this problem. Also, had a ring and pinion replaced in the rear end not long after she purchased the vehicle. Currently, they told her that this what was needed to be replaced again along with other parts, including the rear axle. This noise originally started at 55-65 mph, and now it was making noise at 40-70 mph. After going over 70 mph could not hear it as badly. Also, the vehicle was leaking fluid from the ring and pinion. A strange sound that was coming from under the hood, like a buzzing sound that sounds like transmission. In addition, the hatchback glass fell on the contact's head. It just popped out. This happened twice. They do not even attempt to open the glass in the hatch. The dealership where she purcahsed her vehicle still has records of what was replaced on vehicle.

- Carrier, MS, USA

problem #118

Aug 172005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer. For the past 2 months the overdrive light has come on periodically and blinks until the vehicle is turned off. I took it to lindsay Ford in wheaton, md and they charged me $180 for a diagnostic test to determine the problem. They called to tell me I needed a new transmission. My vehicle is 4 years old and only has 63,000 miles on it. I think it's ridiculous that I have to spend almost $3,000 for a new transmission with this low mileage on my car. This sounds like a defective transmission to me.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #117

Aug 102005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,205 miles
Contact stated 2002, Ford Explorer has been having shifting problems. He noticed the problem occurring at 26,000 miles. It was shifting very hard. He will be driving when the car will not shift into second or third gears, it will slip into neutral, the car will slow down in traffic and cause a safety hazard. He had the transmission re programmed. It helped it twice; but then it started doing the same thing. The third time the contact went back to dealer and they would not reprogram it again. He thought the transmission failed. Second and third gears gear were not shifting properly. Found identical problems on the internet. There was 62,000 miles on the car. It started happening around 2003 and has gotten progressively worse.

- New London, NC, USA

problem #116

Aug 052005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
The contact was driving the owner's car and pulled over to park. He switched the car into drive just to pull up a few feet and the car leaped forward. He hit the brake as hard as he could but could not stop the car, and hit the bumper of the car in front. This happened on 8-5-05. The owner of the car nor the contact had any prior problems with the car. The contact stated he had no further problems since 8-5-05.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #115

Aug 042005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,800 miles
My wife was unloading two grandsons from our 2002 Ford Explorer. She had removed the youngest one when the four year old got into the driver's seat on his knees and pretended to drive. The iginition was off and transmission in park. He pulled on the shift lever, the automobile began to roll backwards. My wife opened the drivers door to stop the vehicle. It began to roll backwards faster and the open door struck her knocking her to the ground. The vehicle struck two trees shhortly after that causing $5675.77 in damages to the vehicle. I called Ford Motor Company 0N August 5, 2005and spoke to tiffany explaining that the "brake-shift interlock' had failed causing the incident described above. Her question to me was, "what do you want Ford Motor Company to do about this." I replied that I wanted compensation for damages and the defect corrected. She said that Ford Motor Company would not investigate this defect, nor make any compensation for damages and that I should handle everything through my insurance company. I called again on August,09,05 and spoke to damian who gave me the same reply as yiffany.

- Lecompte, LA, USA

problem #114

Jun 082005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
I have had my transmission in my 2002 Ford Explorer rebuilt by a local Ford dealership at 53,000 miles and a Ford re-manufactured transmission installed at this dealership at 69,000. This local dealership has replaced the transfer case twice, drive axle, and universal joints between 69,000 and 74,000 to correct an ongoing reported shifting problem with the transmission. My transmission failed at 109,000, again, much to my dismay. The dealership responded that it was a manufacturer's issue and suggested that I contact Ford. Upon contacting Ford Motor Company, I was told that it was a dealership issue as the dealership had installed the transmission and may had done so incorrectly. I took my vehicle to an independent transmission specialist who replaced the transmission and indicated that the previous transmission was, in fact, defective.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #113

Aug 092005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving down the road the air conditioner quit working. I heard the coolant and compressor still working, but no fan blower on levels 1,2 and 3 level 4 still worked luckily. I also have a howling sound coming from the rear end under light acceleration and hard shifting when accelerating and letting off of the gas during a shift. The air conditioner was caused by a faulty resistor, the rest has yet to be determined. I notice a number of complaints on this site for the same symptoms, a recall should be issued.

- Durant, OK, USA

problem #112

Aug 102005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
Transmission case wearing to the point where it has to be replaced for approximately $3000.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #111

Dec 202004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
April 04 purchased 2002 Ford Explorer; just over 60,000 miles. No longer under warranty'sold as is. Day after purchase, noticed knocking sound. Returned to dealer. Stated sound coming from the rear ac. Repaired, did not hear after repair. Approximately one week after purchase, noticed delay in gears engaging when going from park to drive, park to reverse also gear shift seemed to be loose. Returned to dealer; told it was normal for this model. Advised to keep in overdrive. Late July 2004, noticed delay seem to be getting longer and jerking suddenly when finally engaged. While driving, od light flashed on and off erratically. Problem with od light intermittent. Spouse took the car to the dealer; told that it wasn't under warranty, but we could make a service appointment. Spouse took the vehicle to a shop had done business in the past. Thought that it could need transmission fluid. Checked fluid levels not deficient. Problems continued; had them look at it a couple of months later. Could not determine problem, advised to take to a transmission specialist if continued. Problem persisted. Seemed to get worse as the weather turned colder. Late December 04, delays in engaging gears worsened; now making a loud clunking noise and lunges when engages, od light flashed erratically on a frequent basis and engine service light on and gear shift seemed to be coming out. January 2005, spouse took the vehicle to a transmission shop for diagnostic. Transmission shot. Rebuilt at a cost of $2900. Found out that the vehicle had been repaired twice before, while under warranty for the same problems described. Its obvious from the number of complaints that this is a known design defect. When a company sells defective products they should be held liable, especially when they do so knowingly. I stopped making payments on this junk and will notify the lender so that they and Ford can fight it out. Any owner who wishes may contact me at 703-998-5510.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #110

Aug 082005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,400 miles
I have received only one recall notice on my 2002 Ford Explorer relating to problems with the tailgate window. Tonight, after experiencing problems that caused the automatic transmission to jump to a higher rate of a markedly higher rate of revolution, I was informed by the dealership that I had transmission problems. These problems cost over $815 to repair. The dealership also had to replace a solenoid switch on two different occasions in the automatic transmission. I quickly looked at the vehicle recall database to see if others had experienced the problems I experienced. I was surprised to see a large number of recalls that I failed to receive any notification for. I am filing this to request: (I) Ford to require dealerships to notify consumers personally in writing of recalls...if NHTSA or the manufacturer deems an issue important enough to issue a recall notice, shouldn't the dealer be required to deliver written notification to the consumer? it is an unfair and deceptive trade practice to do less than this, especially after the consumer has failed to receive the benefit of his or her purchase and may be risking of danger to himself or others; and II. NHTSA to investigate the automatic transmission failures described above. The car literally "jumps" into a much higher rate of revolution and acceleration requiring the driver to immediately hit the brakes. It's too dangerous, especially in city traffic or in areas where small children are playing.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #109

Jul 022005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer [xxx] transmisssion not shifting properly. Rear end noisy at 40 mph. Not repaired. Updated 07/19/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Little Elm, TX, USA

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