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.

2.8

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
50,832 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

problem #14

Sep 052007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer - transmission failed at 65,000 miles, it was rebuild and failed again. My rear differential and bearing had to be replaced because it was grinding.

- Somerset, NJ, USA

problem #13

Mar 232008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
At 85K miles, under normal driving use/condition, the transmission and rear differential have failed on my 2002 Explorer. There are Ford tsbs that identify and acknowledge these problems as evident in many of their vehicles, yet refuse to absorb any cost of the $3200 it will take to repair them. The wheel bearings also continually fail at a cost of $500 each, and have been repaired at least 3 times at my own expense. The torque converter and bushings need replaced, and the transmission cooler is worn. My mechanic explained these should not wear as quickly as 85K miles, and from the current state of its condition, recommended a complete transmission rebuild/replace, along with a new rear differential gear set. I have come into contact with hundreds of Ford owners, of new and used vehicles alike, with the exact same problem and am seeking all resources available to initiate a suit against Ford for its evident manufacture defects.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #12

Sep 212007

Explorer 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
I have been driving a 2002 Explorer for about 4 years now. I am currently experiencing a major transmission problem, and just found out last weekend that the rear differential was going out. Now, I don't know much about cars so I rely on others, but when 3 different mechanics repeatedly told me that the rear differential was going out, I think that means something is wrong. I would never have guessed that a transmission would go out after just 5 years, and the rear differential is just icing on the cake. The fact that I have read several other complaints regarding this same issue and yet Ford wants to do nothing about it just totally disgusts me. My family are very loyal to Ford, even have a few relatives that work for them. Ford needs to recognize that this is a major concern and do something about it. Having your tires lock up while you are driving is a very scary thing and honestly I never want to drive that vehicle again.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 042002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Flashing O/D instrument light

- Denver, NC, USA

problem #10

Jun 042002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Flashing O/D instrument light

- Denver, NC, USA

problem #9

Oct 102005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
Transmission broken Ford doesn T care brought it to sam galloway Ford in fort myers at least 20 times they finally refuse to take vehicle into repair with the words there is nothing wrong with it transmission shifting hard from 2-3 gear car is slower then a 4 cylinder no power whining noise from under the hood in the mean time transmission slamming gears still nothing wrong with it hesitating while accelerating grinding noises while accelerating whining from rear end Ford still says nothing wrong transmission went in 1st gear while driving 45 wiped out alomst hit a tree still nothing wrong check engine light is on from time to time error code saying fuel system bank 2 high voltage system too rich brought it to Ford error codes erased came back couple days later Ford says there where no error codes

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #8

Apr 242007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer / trasnmission failure.

- Seymour, TN, USA

problem #7

Apr 302007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the overdrive light was flashing on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the service dealer, who stated that the transmission should be replaced. They further stated that the failure was caused by the torque converter clutch or the solenoid pack. The current and failure mileages were 88,000.

- Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 052006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Ongoing shifting and slipping within the transmission. Also a loud shrill at the end of the acceleration. The transmission converter has been replaced multiple times and the transmission leaked out fluid at highway speed. After the repair of a stripped transmission line connector and a pile of glue to fix a broken electrical connector the vehicle was returned to service by the dealership and the warranty company. The converters are "remanufactured" which have been known to fail. The glob of glue on the electrical connector will be reviewed by the state as to the proper repair procedure. A law suit may follow due to separate repairs including a tire with a nail, where a new tire was purchased and a used on was installed (bf goodrich). The tire was also not balanced and was off by 1.5 oz. There was also a gasket removed from the cooling system that caused antifreeze to spill out onto the engine. The cooling system had been serviced two months prior and was never leaking until the day the vehicle was returned. There was also the discovery of the positive electrical harness to the starter having exposed wires due to the oil filter drain housing made of plastic rubbing against the wires. There are three wires exposed and there may be the potential for fire.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #5

May 022006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Automatic transmission failure (torque converter?)

- Colchester, CT, USA

problem #4

Nov 022004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,649 miles

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

Originally informed Ford dealer of loud shudder in vehicle upon starting when cold at about 11,000 miles and was told that is "normal" for this transmission and they do not know what causes it--"keep on driving it." Transmission over-drive light began to flicker at about 69,400 miles. Ford service department looked into the problem and had the vehicle for repair for over three weeks. Reported broken seal in trans and worn torque converter. Trouble "locking out" after repair so they replaced the warped valve body.

- Yakima, WA, USA

problem #3

Jan 082004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
I am the fleet manager of the buffalo grove park district and we own four Ford Explorer two of the four a 2002, and a 2003, Explorer 4X4 XLT have had numerous expensive problems such as wheel bearing failures three failures on the 02 Explorer and one on the 03, rear strut failure, seals leaking converter clutch failure, rear axle noise gear whine, clutch pack noise, all these problems on vehicles that are out of warranty by mileage but only a couple two or three years old. This year Jan 04 to Jan 05 3,500 in repairs for these two vehicles, not including the rear axle problems on the 03, this is "not acceptable" P.S. the mileage 72,000 on the 02, and 51,000 on the

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

problem #2

Jun 012004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
My Ford truck began making a whining noise and didn't shift out correctly. The Ford technician stated that it was the torque converter and they didn't suggest that I fix it, and that "it was only a gas saver, and the truck would be okay without it." After 2 weeks the truck got worst. After returning it to the Ford service center. I was told I need a new transmission. The truck only has 67,000 miles on it. To replace the transmission cost $2700. The truck is off of warranty and Ford would not assist with any type of help despite the fact that this truck should not be having transmission problems so soon.

- Vance, SC, USA

problem #1

Nov 192003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
From purchase there was a khkhhhkh noise that my brother noticed. I took it back to the dealer and nothing was found. On the 3rd trip back to the dealer, I was told the transmission shield was loose so they tightened it. The noise continued so I had my neighbor who has a trans shop listen and he said have them look at the torque convertor. The dealer did (34,000 miles), had the car for 14 days and fixed?? it. Its back in the shop now (16 days) (37,000 miles) and 1st gear and my forward clutches are being replaced. Did I get a lemon?

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

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