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 42 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #68

Oct 102004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

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

Complete failure of transmission without any warning at low mileage.

- Metamora, MI, USA

problem #67

Nov 112003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,156 miles
Transmission failure in a 2002 Ford Explorer, timing chain guide failure (4.0L previous Ford recall) Ford replaced trans. Now that trans is failing. Replaced timing chain and gear set.

- Endicott, NY, USA

problem #66

Aug 202004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
My 2002 Explorer has been through two transmission overhauls in only 53,000 mi. The first transmission overhaul was performed at 35,000mi by a local Ford dealer who claimed to have replaced this, that and the other! I was given an extra 12,000mi warranty on that transmission. Well it lasted 12,000mi but at 50,000mi the transmission went out again!!! Ford insists that I take the vehicle to the dealer who wants to charge me $3000 to fix this problem again! I opted to take the vehicle to another shop that specializes in transmission repairs. I paid them $2000 to rebuild the transmission yet again. Apparently, on this model year the casings are defective. The transmission shop told me that he has already seen 4 of these Explorer all with the same problems. There needs to be a recall done on the 2002 Explorer along with the 2004.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #65

Oct 302004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

While driving 30 mph, the consumer heard a loud knocking noise coming from the front of the vehicle. While shifting gears the vehicle vibrated uncontrollably. The consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle and pulled over.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #64

Nov 012002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Constant transmission problems since purchase of car from Ford dealer w/29,000 miles on it. Roblems: Transmission shuttering, banging in gear, banging into reverse(always) and overdrive light blinks on and off sometimes. Sometimes the banging into gear feels like someone has hit you from behind. Car always bangs into reverse. Service to automatic as recommended by Ford manual and Ford dealer: We had the transmission fluid changed, we had the trans. Computer reset twice, and we had to fix the 4-wheel drive that broke at about 40,000 miles. Since none of these services fixed the transmission, the Ford dealer recommended a new transmission for about $3000. Which is ridiculous when the car is so new and so expensive. The cars transmission has never worked properly, and has the same problems the 2004 Explorer transmission have. The investigation in the expolorer's bad transmissions goes back beyond the 2004 models, because ours is a 2002 and has never worked properly.

- Newtown, CT, USA

problem #63

Nov 122004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,900 miles
My transmission failed in my 2002 Ford Explorer V-8 eddie bauer edition. It's 2 weeks over the warranty period, but has about 35000 miles on it, so it's under the 36000 mileage. Ford won't cover the repair even though my car has been properly maintained.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #62

Nov 032004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

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

I have owned a 2002 Ford Explorer for 27 months. During that time I have had numerous issues with the auto transmission delaying before engaging into reverse and not smoothly going into forward gears when travelling. The dealer has tuned the transmission 3 times and now at 109,000 hwy miles I need a new tranmission for $3,000 usd. This tranmission has received numerous complaints in the NHTSA database and has almost caused an accident where I hit another car when reverse engaged after 3 seconds. I have already spent in excess of $500 on this transmission and the first maintenance occurred at 32,000 miles. In addition, the axle seals continue to leak after being replaced several times and per my dealer sources are a design flaw. NHTSA needs to get this public before someone gets killed with the transmission issues and have Ford correct their design flaw on the axle.

- Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #61

Oct 202004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Transmission failure, overdrive band caused damage inside transmission. Then hairline cracks were found in the transmission casing. Ford engineers told the service tech at the dealarship that they have seen cracks in Explorer transmission casings.

- North Kingstown, RI, USA

problem #60

Oct 282004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
While driving the odd light started flashing, the vehicle stalled and the consumer had to use the manual shift to get it to the dealer and it was discovered the transmission is defective.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #59

Oct 202004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
When the consumer attempted to place the gear in park, it became stuck in reverse. As a result the vehicle drifted backwards. No impact reported. Please provide additional information.

- Newark, OH, USA

problem #58

Sep 172004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,849 miles

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

While shifting into third gear vehicle slipped and it felt like the transmission was in neutral. Transmission down shifted on its own. Consumer took vehicle to dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that transmission needed to be replaced due to shaft sensor. Consumer informed the mechanic that this problem occurred more than once, and had not been resolved. The consumer stated that the transmission is slipping out of gear.

- Saint John, IN, USA

problem #57

Apr 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2002 Explorer with around 67, xxx miles. The problem first started out with a loud "pop" sound when engaging in reverse. Then while driving my overdrive off light started flashing like crazy and not wanting to shift. Have gotten several estimates on fixing this problem and we are looking at about $1,500-2,000 to get this all taken care of. After reading that this is a repeat complaint from several other owners of this 2002 Explorer, I personally feel that this is the fault of the manufacturer and that they should fix this problem!

- Verona, MO, USA

problem #56

Jun 202004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
Leased new '02 Explorer in Mar 02. Have had a warped driveshaft replaced, clunking noise in rear end area was "normal', and now at 65K miles have to replace entire transmission. Fmc of course claims no responsibility- vehicle isn't under warranty and I should take it up with dealer. Dealer says 3000 dollars to fix. Also had the stalling at highway speeds with speedometer reading between 5 and 95 mph approximately 1 1/2 years ago. Dealer found nothing wrong.

- Fennville, MI, USA

problem #55

Jul 122004

Explorer

  • 60,000 miles
Problems with transmission on 2002 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for it's 60000 mile service and at that time the consumer complained about the vibration when the vehicle shifted gears. The technician indicated that nothing was wrong. Four days later the service transmission and O/D light illuminated. The vehicle was taken had to the dealer who informed the consumer that the transmission had failed. Since the vehicle is no longer under it's warranty the consumer feels the manufacturer should be responsible for the cost of a new transmission.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #54

Jul 202004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,680 miles
Transmission problems, slippage on 2nd to 3rd engine revs up to 6000 RPM, taken to dealer 4 times already they can't find cause of problem.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #53

Jul 032004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT that has 68000 miles on it. Since we have had it the transmission has done nothing but shift hard and washboard from 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to overdrive. This vehicle was taken in 2 times, and both times we were told that it was normal. I have had issue going up hill in mine because of the shifting, afraid to pass because I am not sure if the vehicle will shift. I finally took in my Explorer last week and they told me that the computer said that the bearings were bad in my transmission and that I had to pay $3000 to replace it. This same issue has been going on since I first complained about it at 16000 miles.

- Smithsburg, MD, USA

problem #52

May 062003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Harsh shifting of automatic transmission.

- Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #51

Jun 062004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,200 miles
I am the owner of 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. I placed the vehicle in park and exited the vehicle, I took items out of the back hatch and left the vehicle area. Within a 5 to 10 minute period of time, the vehicle's transmission slipped out of park and began rolling, the vehicle rolled down an embankment, flipped over on it's roof then landed on another vehicle parked down in the yard. The vehicle has been determined to be totalled. I am thankful that no one was in the vehicle at the time of this malfunction because they surely would have been seriously injured. I am very concerned that this transmission malfunction may occur to others who may not be so fortunate and injuries may occur.

- Stuyvesant, NY, USA

problem #50

Apr 152004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles
The transmission malfunctioned. As a result, when applying the accelerator pedal the vehicle revved and rolled into a busy intersection. Please provide additional information.

- Daniels, WV, USA

problem #49

May 192004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,500 miles
Dealership replaced the automatic transmission at 39,500 miles. Dealer and consumer split the expenses.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

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