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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,174 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 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Dec 252007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,123 miles

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

I tried to put my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, 4WD, 4door in the "P" park position and my lever broke, part # 5L2Z-3cs29-a I am a 47 year old stay at home mom that does not abuse my vehicle. I maintain my vehicle on a set schedule.

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #23

Nov 192007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,501 miles
Operator approached the entrance to a parking lot and placed automatic transmission in park. When the operator attempted to shift out of park, the gear lever broke off of steering column, immobilizing the vehicle in the entrance; blocking traffic flow. The vehicle had to be towed. The failed part is a component of the steering column that connects the gear selector lever to the transmission shift cable. The part is die-cast alloy. The part that failed is not sold separately necessitating the replacement of the entire steering column assembly. The msrp of the column assembly is approximately $600.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #22

Jun 152007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Went to shift into drive and gearshift lever snapped off. $900 for new steering column.

- Blairstown, NJ, USA

problem #21

Feb 012006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Fax from re the problem with a defective gear shift in her 2002 Ford Explorer, gear shift lever has broken off twice. The consumer was told the entire steering column would have to be replaced. The gear shift lever broke for the second time on September 25, 2007.

- Mount Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #20

Feb 012006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer with broken gear shift lever. Customer states that the gear shift lever broke when they were putting the car into reverse. She could turn off the ignition but the key would not come out. The consumer was told the entire steering column would have to be replaced. The gear shift lever broke for the second time on September 25, 2007.

- Mount Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #19

Sep 252007

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer. Vehicle parked - went to put in gear and shifter broke off in steering column. This is the 2nd time this has happened in less than 2 years!

- Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #18

Sep 072007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Vehicle is a 2002 Ford Explorer, purchased new. Gear shift broke off at steering column. A small part broke, but dealer says the entire steering column must be replaced because part that broke is attached to steering column. Dealership reports there is a "nationwide" waiting list for the part and is unable to get a part to fix the vehicle. Dealer is "researching" the issue but has no estimate of when part will be available. Several internet sites report similar complaints, with some reporting they were told up to 5 1/2 months to get part.

- Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, USA

problem #17

May 042007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,052 miles
After backing out of the garage, I put the automatic transmission in park to exit the vehicle, when I returned to the vehicle, I attempted to put the transmission in reverse and the gear shift became completely detached from the steering column. I turned the vehicle off, but could not remove the keys from the ignition. No damage was done because the vehicle was parked. Two weeks before this time I was on the Pennsylvania turnpike in bad weather and used the gear shift to shift to a lower gear on the steep downhill, wet and possibly icy road surface. The consequences could have been much different had the gear shift detached from the steering column under those conditions. There was no indication of the gear shift being loose or difficult to move prior to its failure. The vehicle was towed to the shop and the steering column was replaced.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #16

Jan 262007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles
Gear shift lever broke off column, where it attaches to top of shift cable. Was unable to shift vehicle into or out of any gear. Had to have vehicle towed to a dealership for repair which is costing $1300, service department stated they could not replace part that broke, but had to replace the whole column.

- Twentynine Palms, CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 222006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
With vehicle stopped, while shifting gear lever under steering wheel from drive to park, the gear lever broke rendering the gear lever handle useless with transmission between park and reverse as indicated by the indicator. A cast cylindrical part linked to gear lever broke. Had vehicle towed to dealer to be repaired.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #14

Oct 162006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

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

: the contact stated while attempting to put the gear shifter into park, the shifter detached from the column. The vehicle was towed to a dealership, where the gear shifter was replaced.

- Mcdonald, PA, USA

problem #13

Jun 072006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
: the contact stated while shifting gears, the column shift fractured inside the steering column. The vehicle was towed to the dealership, where the gear shift was replaced.

- La Quinta, CA, USA

problem #12

May 182006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 72,010 miles
Tried to put the vehicle into reverse from park and the column shifter broke off. Vehicle could not be driven and was towed to a transmission business. Cost to repair is $1300. I bought this vehicle in 2004 used. I've had the rear transmission seals, shocks, tires, front window and the entire steering column replaced.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #11

Feb 072006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,061 miles
Vehicle was parked in a parking lot. Went to place the car in reverse to back out of the parking space and the shifter broke off. Fortunately the car was still in park, but would have been disasterous if the car had gone into reverse. We were finally able to turn off the ignition, but could not get the key out. Had to lock the car and leave it until the next morning when the Ford dealership opened. Towed the car to the dealership and were told the entire steering column would have to be replaced at a cost of $961. I asked them to contact Ford as it was obviously a vehicle defect. They responded that I would need to call Ford myself. Spoke with a rep. Of Ford, and they called the local service manager, then told me there was nothing that they could do. The problem was ours to fix at our cost.

- Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #10

Dec 282005

Explorer

  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLS - automatic transmission shift handle on the steering column broke off while shifting from park to drive. The brake pad was depressed during the attempted shift. My mechanic and I never saw this happen before.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #9

Apr 082005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Consumer states that transmission went from park to drive. While she was at her daughter's school she stepped out of the vehicle to talk to someone and the car jumped from park to drive and hit another vehicle. Also the transmission went out. She had several other problems with this vehicle. She was never notified anything from Ford about any type of problem. The service department printed out a tsb for her, including the following numbers; transmission: 03-25-4 dated 12-22-03, and gear selector:04-22-12 dated 11-15-04. The vehicle is regularly maintained.

- Wildwood, MO, USA

problem #8

May 312005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles
Was driving on a highway when the od light started flashing then the transmission failed completely. Having new transmission installed. Many other things have failed too. Three weeks prior shift lever broke off in my hands when I shifted from park to reverse. Have changed right rear bearing which "blew out". the 4 wheel drive quit while the truck was still under warranty. When I first got the truck and complained to the dealer about the way the transmission worked he gave me a printout from Ford stating the transmission was programmed to adjust to the drvers style of driving.

- Pleasantville, NY, USA

problem #7

May 012005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer gear shift fell into the consumer's lap while backing out of the driveway.

- Blackforest, CO, USA

problem #6

Dec 282004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,500 miles
Had trouble shifting column shift & then it broke off in my hand.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #5

Dec 232004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
When shifting from drive to park column shift lever would get stuck. Upon a stalling, , when shifting from drive into park to restart the car, column shift lever broke off resulting in being unable use the vehicle while in a parking lot at night with small children in the car. Vehicle towed to dealer, where we were told the whole steering column needed to be replaced at an estimate of $747 for a three year old vehicle.

- Huffman, TX, USA

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