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. 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.


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 9 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #728

Jan 152010


  • 105,000 miles


2002 Ford Explorer. O/D light flashing with service engine soon flashing. Car jerking between 2nd and 3rd gear. Ford says to replace transmission but after reading so many of the same complaints I thought I should report this incident.

- Heber City, UT, USA

problem #727

Feb 192010


  • 120,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4X4 4.0L SOHC. Transmission broken in 3rd fear. Od light starting flashing with no warning and then transmission broke. The car has 120,000 miles on it. I had a problem with the transmission at around 75,000 miles. I took it to the Ford dealer. It was covered under my extended warranty. Now the transmission broke again. 2,400. - 3,000 to fix.

- Warrington, PA, USA

problem #726

Feb 202010


  • 88,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer eddie bower that I bought new. I have 88000 miles on it and roughly 3weeks ago the O/D light started blinking and the "check transmission" warning comes up. Took it to the dealer and they told me that I need a new or rebuilt transmission costing between $2,200-$3,500. This seems to be a common problem with the 2002 Explorer.

- Sugar Land , TX, USA

problem #725

Mar 292010


  • 106,000 miles


2002 Ford Explorer eddie bauer edition. While shifting the car from park to reverse the shifting lever simply snapped off, leaving the car stuck between park and reverse. The piece of aluminum where this shearing occurred is unbelievably weak material. I have researched on the internet and found hundreds of people with this exact same issue for this exact year of Explorer. The estimate that I received for repairs exceeded $2,000, as they have to replace the entire steering column to correct this manufacturer defect. There has been no recall issued for this, however, the frequency of the problem, the range of mileage this continues to occur in (95-106K), and the extremely high cost to fix, in my opinion, should require manufacturer assistance

- Taylorsville, UT, USA

problem #724

Mar 282010


  • 61,572 miles
Was driving on flat road car started to shift funny car slams into gear problem happens every time the car shifts second gear to third gear vehicle needs new transmission

- Wayne, PA, USA

problem #723

Mar 102010


  • 109,523 miles
O\D light blinking after about five (5) miles. No one can say what the problem is but the cost to replace the transmission is to much. Ford should be ashamed.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #722

Mar 172010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


March 17th, 2010: Wife calls me at work and says she was bringing my daughter home from school and the Explorer 2002 transmission started slipping and the check engine light came on and the O/D light was flashing. She was able to drive it home until I could look at it. I drove it later that evening and determined that it was slipping between 2nd and 3rd hear and the check engine light is on. On March 19th...I drove to autoparts store and had them read code from computer: P0745. I did alot of research and it appears that the intermediate band may have broken and transmission needs repaired/replaced ($1500-$3000"?") I will be contacting Ford on Monday March 22nd, 2010 to take it into shop and have them determine what they think is wrong. Seems to be a very common issue... it is a safety issue due to the fact that the car transmission slips during acceleration and starts to slow possibly causing someone to hit vehicle from behind. Sometimes it kicks it in abruptly...jerking during the gear switching...dangerous!!!

- Dover, OH, USA

problem #721

Dec 012009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer O/D light flashes, the gear slips and truck lunges hard forward. This occurs everytime you accelerate into 1st two gears. Did a search and learned it is common transmission problem for these vehicles, Ford is aware and does nothing to correct the issue.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #720

Mar 182010


  • 65,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer bad transmission. The car has 65,000 miles on it.

- Lighthouse Point, FL, USA

problem #719

Mar 152010


  • 107,058 miles
I was driving home from work yesterday afternoon, and my O/D off light began flashing. I pressed the O/D off button to see if that was the problem, and it did not do anything. I noticed that the car began having trouble when trying to shift gears while accelerating. Once the car does shift into the correct gear there is a strong jerk. Once I got home, I turned the car off and back on to see if the light was still flashing. It was not at first, but after driving a mile or so, it begins flashing again. I took it back to the dealership since I purchased this car less than a month ago. They stated that the solenoid transmission pack needs to be replaced, and that the part alone will cost $860. My family is living on one income right now, so we do not have the money for costly car repairs, especially when this seems to be a common problem and should be recalled by Ford to fix.

- Ellisville, MS, USA

problem #718

Mar 142010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 96,233 miles


When I was in the highway the transmission in the Ford Explorer 2002 begin to slipped in the middle of the highway, was a danger situation but when I put manually the change to the 3rd gear, start to run again and speed up. Then the O/D light begin blinking, and the transmission continue with constant slip all the way. The transmission is broken and I need a replacement. When I look up in the internet for this particular situation find a lot of narrative with the same issue. The Ford Explorer 2002 only have 92,000 miles.

- Carolina, PR, USA

problem #717

Jan 142005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
The 2002 Ford Explorer transmission has well documented issues. These complaints are all over the internet. The transmission fails in as little as 23,000 miles and needs a complete re-build. I have spent over $5000 in repairs and extended warranty service on this transmission alone. Ford won't do anything to help the consumer. What can this Agency do to help?

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #716

Mar 052010


  • 144,008 miles
After driving off the lot with my car the O/D lights start blinking and check transmission light come on so I turn around and go back to the dealership they check and say oh its probably just the trans fluid needs this was one March second here it is March 13th and I'm without a car because on the fifth the car would drive so weird now guess what like all Ford owners of this yr its transmission is gone.

- Memphis , TN, USA

problem #715

Feb 142010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
My son owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. Last year his transmission began experiencing problems where the overdrive light started blinking, it was shifting very hard and sometimes it would even just go into neutral out of the blue. I took it to the local Ford dealership where their transmission technician told me it was easy to diagnose because it was a very common problem, so I was forced to replace the transmission in the fall of 2009 with a used one that I found at a recycling center. Last month my son was leaving the driveway of a friends house and the replacement transmission begin doing the same thing as the first one but only this time it made a loud bang and stopped moving. My son got out of the truck to find that the transmission exploded and all the fluid leaked onto his friends driveway. I have found through researching on the internet that many people are having the same identical problem, so my questions is, what is it going to take to make Ford admit that the transmission is defective? my sons truck only has 103,000 miles on it and it will be on its third transmission! this is becoming way to obvious, he could have been hurt or killed if this had happened on the interstate not to mention the environmental impact.

- Hartford, NY, USA

problem #714

Jun 012009

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Transmissions of the 2002 Ford Explorer seems to have numerous issues. I have had my transmission fixed twice, but there are numerous reports on-line with the same issues. I have addressed with Ford, but they do not see it as a safety issue. When a vehicle does not shift into gear as you pull into a roadway, it is very much a safety issue. I would just like your office to review these issues as a safety concern. Please read the on-line postings of people that own these vehicles. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

- Dover, DE, USA

problem #713

Aug 152008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
- Ford tsb # 06-4-4 (binding during turning); solution is limited slip clutch pack replacement - Ford tsb # 05-23-3 (rear diff. Hum); solution is axle repair kit - Ford tsb # 4-24-17 (5R55W transmission - no 3rd gear or slipping 2-3 shift); solution is replacement of intermediate clutch bands - chronic O/D light blinking with dtc P0755 (pressure control solenoid B circuit malfunction) this is just the list of issues I don't have the capability to properly troubleshoot. I have done a lot of other work already myself which I won't mention. Ford is aware of these problems with many 02' Explorer's as I have read. In my opinion, these problems should be corrected at no charge to the owner as these problems are not isolated cases.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #712

Jan 012010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Overdrive light turned on and now trouble shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. Car did this 25,000 miles ago but adjusted itself.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #711

Mar 062010


  • 129,500 miles
Like many others before me the O/D off light started blinking, I also checked the manual what do my eyes see blinking O/D take in for service==yea guess what? needs a new transmission. I still owe $7900 on this vehicle. Cost of jasper transmission $3550. Don't know bout rebuild vs rebuilt but have to go with best warranty since now I will have so much invested in this that I will have to drive it until the wheels fall off as will not be able to afford to get rid of the piece of trash vehicle it has turned out to be.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #710

Mar 062010


  • 110,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer. Transmission od light flickering, will not shift. Had been rebuilt once and had not had it 3 month and doing it again. Will not purchase another Ford vehicle again.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #709

Mar 102010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
Trans started slipping, od light started blinking, check engine light on, went to dealer stated that need new trans.

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA

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