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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 43 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #48

Nov 122003

Explorer

  • 20,392 miles

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

Problems with the transmission, rear axle and seatbelts. (nar) transmission problem was found out to be a problem in the rear differential. Vehicle was serviced also for parking brake not locking in position. Also, consumer encountered a problem with right rear hatch guide for door pin coming apart, and trim on driver's seat bottom was coming loose. In addition, air bag light on dash kept coming on and stayed on.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #47

Mar 162004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at any speed transmission jerked when it engaged from park to reverse, and vehicle won't move. Dealer inspected vehicleseveral times, and could not duplicate or correct the problem.

- Elizabeth, PA, USA

problem #46

Oct 022001

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
On 3 separate occasions transmission slipped and jumped out of gear. Dealership changed several parts in the transmission. The consumer was not sure what parts were replaced.

- Elizabeth, PA, USA

problem #45

Jan 062004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,100 miles

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

Vehicle stalls after driving 20 miles or above on freeway. When on exit ramp, engine light turns on and the engine shuts off. I have to put it in park and start engine again. The vehicle also accelerates when stopped at light, while foot is on brake. The engine stalls to change into faster speed.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #44

Jan 032004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
When driving at any speed 4-wheel drive changed from high to low without warning. The transmission made grinding noises when in reverse and slips when pulling off.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #43

Jan 262004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,150 miles
Auto-transmission started out with delayed engagement in to reverse and hard shifts 25-30 mph. Started to slip out of drive with no power to the wheels. This happen several times, once when pulling out across traffic and could have caused an accident. Repairs are estimated to exceed $2500.

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #42

Dec 272003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

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

02 Explorer XLT, around 28000 miles start having problem with overdrive going out. While driving, overdrive light start blinking and overdrive not engages. Had one repair, took over 10 days to fix. It's been two weeks since I got my car back and driving home from work yesterday same thing happens again. I'm taking the car back for repair again but not sure they know what they are doing. If there other similar problem" is there a fix or do I have a lemon"

- Gainesville, VA, USA

problem #41

Jan 172004

Explorer

  • miles
While driving and without warning transmission failed, causing the vehicle to pull off the highway. Driver had the vehicle towed to the dealer.

- Mitchellville, MD, USA

problem #40

Jan 102004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
Power train...transmission needs to be replaced....transfer case was replaced before warranty ran out...have 40,000 miles on truck. Was told it would cost $3350 to fix, I asked for help from my salesman and Ford knocked off $1700 leaving me to pay $1650. I had no warning signs until the speedometer stated 30 miles per hour while the I was going 5 miles per hour. Then the high pitched whining noise started. The transmission should not give out at 40,000 miles.

- So Bound Brook, NJ, USA

problem #39

Jan 062004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,500 miles
While driving during heavy snow transmission module was not working. There was no dashboard indication of 4X4 failure. Dealer replaced the module sensor.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #38

Dec 232003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

I have a 2002 Explorer purchased brand new in 2001. Have advised dealer once that vehicle makes hard shifts and that it has a vibration when stopped, they advised this was normal. Vehicle is now in shop due to transmission slipping. Whines between 2nd and 3rd gear at about 25 mph, then slams into gear. Overdrive off light kept flashing. Dealer shop says it will probably need "major surgery". vehicle has 44,000 miles, just went out of warranty.

- Auburndale, FL, USA

problem #37

Oct 152003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,585 miles
I have had several instances when trying to accelerate from a stopped position when there has been a 2-3 second hesitation before it actually kicks in, causing the vehicle to stall. At highway speeds, there is a loud vibration coming from the right rear of the vehicle, and the shifting becomes very erratic and the O/D light flickers. I have talked to several dealers. Two of them have stated that the vibration is because of the road surface. When trying to shift into reverse, there is a popping sound and hesitation before the vehicle actually moves.

- Gloucester, VA, USA

problem #36

Nov 192003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
The Explorer has done about 21,000 miles in 2 and 1/2 years. About 2 months ago, it started having big clunks in the transmission when cold and even a grinding sound. Seemed to be when vehicle was being turned in either direction at low speed. The dealer replicated the problem and ordered and installed a "new clutch" in the transfer case -there was some kind of "fluid leakage." Problem is now worse, was replicated with the mechanic in the car and the dealer has it back in for another attempt at fixing it. My wife won't drive it anymore. A few months ago it used to have a loud squeak when the vehicle went over speed bumps slowly and this was eventually found and "fixed." I wonder if the clunk in the transfer case is not that at all, but a loose/worn front suspension part giving way or losing tension when the vehicle is turned in either direction. Perhaps associated with the strut on the right side but not sure. Dealer has tried to be responsive and is not the problem. Any one else have a similar problem?

- Blaine, WA, USA

problem #35

Oct 102003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I purchased a 2002 Explorer new and have had this vehicle in to dealer twice with same complaints. Vehicle goes into neutral while in drive and back into drive with a loud bang and clung. Vehicle also takes about 30 seconds to go into gear from park to drive or reverse and also a loud bang & clung when it finally does go in. There is also a loud whining sound on the highway at higher speeds. Dealer each time says they can not find anything wrong with vehicle and unless they can duplicate the problem they claim they cannot fix. It does not matter that it has been happening while I drive it.

- Leicester, MA, USA

problem #34

Sep 262003

Explorer

  • 20,700 miles
While driving approximately 35 mph transmission locked up in 2nd or 3rd gear. Had to move vehicle to side of road, and then had it towed to dealership. Mechanic checked the vehicle over and could not resolve the locked gear problem.

- Natick, MA, USA

problem #33

Nov 012002

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
Transmission slips when stopped at a intersection or stoplight. Sometimes the vehicle will stall. The dealer has stated they could notreproduce the problem during and after the warranty period. I have filed safety complaint with Ford Motor Company consumer relations and the dealer has attempted to repair without success. The delay in the transmission engaging is a safety hazard since the delay in pulling out into traffic could result in a serious accident. The problem is becoming more frequent, almost daily occurence.

- North Kingstown, RI, USA

problem #32

Sep 082003

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles
When moving the drive selector from park to reverse, often there is a long delay before the gear engages. When it engages, the transmission makes a loud bang and the vehicle lunges backward at hihg speed.

- Poulsbo, WA, USA

problem #31

Jul 162003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer purchased Feb. 2002 new. Vehicle now has 17,000 miles. Several automatic transmission problems. When shifting out of park into drive the shift lever pops as if it never engaged. The car lurches forward or backward 1-2 feet after shifting into park, engaging emergency brake, and getting out of car. Vehicle drifts backward several feet when stopped on a hill and trying to accelerate from a stopped position. At 17,000 miles, and about 1 month after a normal scheduled service, started to experience a loud whining sound coming from under the vehicle and only on acceleration (not when coasting). The whining would come and go. The overdrive light started to flicker and then when out. The next day, transmission started severe slipping, especially at low speeds. Immediatlely took it to Ford garage and they said it needed a total transmission overhaul. They also explained that Ford will not replace with new transmission if it can be overhauled for under $2100. Also, there is no place to check transmission fluid. Manual states that it should be checked periodically by Ford dealer and especially if slipping or other problems are noticed.

- Canonsburg, PA, USA

problem #30

Jul 172002

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
I purchased my '02 Explorer new. From the begining the same problem persists. With your foot on the brake, if you place the vehicle in park and remove your foot from the brake the vehicle will roll foward approx 1-2 ft. It concerns me. There have been many instances when purchasing fuel that I have nearly rolled into a pedestrian from a dead stop. I have asked the dealer about this problem only to be told it is nomal for this vehicle. I don't think any vehicle should make that pronounced a roll when removing your foot from the brake.

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #29

Jun 202003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,755 miles
4 failures of the transmission. Common problems have been miss shifts from 2-3 and 3-4, delayed shifts from 2-3 and 3-4, and severely hard shifts in all gears. Transmission has been rebuilt twice and replaced once. Ford has bought the vehicle back after arbitration under the lemon law. The vehicle also has severe problems with the rear differential and right half shaft. I have had 6 total failures of the rear end. Warning signs have been a whine from the right rear the grows louder over time and then a vibration in the right rear. Ford knows of these problems as they have issued maintenance instructions to the servicing dealers of the order of repair attempts to be made. A recall may in order.

- Athens, AL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?