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.

9.3

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,829.00
Average Mileage:
93,936 miles
Total Complaints:
435 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (112 reports)
  2. replace transmission (86 reports)
  3. transmission needs to be recalled (81 reports)
  4. call Ford customer service and complain 800-392-3673 (63 reports)
  5. not sure (37 reports)
  6. local mechanic fixed, not giving dealer any more business (18 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 18 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #95

Sep 082007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

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

I bought this car 6 months ago and it's already giving me problems... If I would've known Ford was a piece of sh*t I wouldn't have bought it... I bought this Explorer for $10,000 and I need to replace the transmission????? What the f*ck is this??? The dealership told me one of the bands in the transmission broke and I need to overhaul the transmission which is going to cost me $2,500. I told them to stick it up their ass and tell Ford Corp. to start making cars that will actually last. I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN.... NOT RELIABLE AT ALL!!!!

- , Bentonville, AR, USA

problem #94

Sep 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

I bought this car from a ford dealership three years ago. I will never buy a ford again!!! They knew these vehicles had this problem and sold it to me anyway. I wish I had found this web site sooner before my warranty passed.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #93

Sep 022007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My 2002 Explorer has 100,000 miles on it. Purchased new in August 2001. For past year all I have done is replace parts on it. Frosting on the cake was the transmission which failed this week. Before that it was the 4WD (doesn't work and I haven't had it fixed yet), both heavy duty rear springs broke (never used off road; only on highways and local roads), starter, door locks, electrical system problems, etc etc. I will never purchase a Ford again.

- , Wilmington, MA, USA

problem #92

Aug 232007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

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

Here is another complaint about the gool ole 2002 Ford Explorer. it was leaking transmission fluid and shifting hard so we took it to a dealer. They put a new transmission cooling system in and then it got worse. Now they want to charge me $3,500 for a new transmission. I think I will get a second opinion. Ford stinks.

- , Nesbit, MS, USA

problem #91

Aug 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

First off it gives me trouble shifting from park to reverse and from drive to park, rolls after it is in park, won't change from 4th to 5th gear and makes this horrible thumping noise as if you have a flat tire. When the warranty was still valid I complained about the shifting and changing of gears that it felt like the truck was dragging and was told it was fine. Well needless to say the warranty goes and now I'm having all these problems. From what I have found researching this problem it appears Ford knew all about this crappy transmission they put in these Explorers and now we have to pay for their ignorance.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #90

Aug 212007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

I purchased my 2002 Ford Explorer Limited from a Ford Dealership as a used vehicle in 2003 with with two years left on the warranty. Vehicle drove well till 2007 when I started to notice slight slips in the shifting of gears. Problem only became worse as I could hear a grinding noise, although I didn't realize it was the transmission at first. Within two months, the O/D light started to blink and the check transmission problem message came on. I have the car in Italy and you probably have no idea how hard it is to find someone to work on an American car in Italy, especially an automatic transmission. I finally found an Italian dealership that imports American cars (I don't know why they would do that, but some Europeans buy them I guess) who would work on it. It turns out, once they took it apart, that something came loose inside and essentially tore the transmission apart. I have bits of metal everywhere. Parts are being shipped from the States and I'll be a few thousand Euro out of pocket and without a car for over a month when it is all said and done. Will probably sell it once I get it fixed with all of the other complaints I've read about with their Explorers experiencing multiple transmission problems. I'm surprised I haven't read about anyone filing a Class Action Lawsuit against Ford for this problem. Of course many people drive European cars here in Italy. I use to laugh at their reoccurring costs for services as they are expensive as compared to my Ford, but many of them put over 100,000 miles on their Mercedes, BMWs, Volvos, and Audis. Now they are laughing at me because I had to buy another used car just to get by with while my Explorer is being fixed for a month. Oh yes, the dealership I have my Explorer at told me that they have seen this problem before with other Ford transmissions. That's really sad!

- , Vicenza, AE, Italy

problem #89

Aug 152007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

I am joining the club of never buying a FORD again! I had heard the horror stories of the trannys on the explorer and now I have experienced it. At 90 k the O/D light of death started flashing. I took it into the local Ford dealer. Got the need to replace the tranny for 4 grand. When asked if they had many problems with the 02 trannys of course they replied "Not really". Bull crap!! I shopped around the price and found a local mechanic that was 1/2 price with same warranty. He said he has seen a ton of 02 explorers with tranny problems. Surprisingly though he said Jeep Cherokees were worse. I can't believe something would be worse.

So his diagnosis was that the solenoid failed completely. So no fluid was being pumped in the tranny and it burned up basically. He said it looked pretty bad that it was tore up in there. The sad thing is I have maintained this car perfectly even getting the tranny flushed at 30, 60 and was just about to again. What a piece of JUNK!! I love the car otherwise as far as the look, drive etc but if its not reliable whats the point.

As he was in there I told him to check the differential. Oh of course that is messed up too. He said my ring and pinion was missing teeth and he wasn't sure which was worse the tranny or the rear end. So he is estimating another grand there in cost to fix all of it.

Ford please wake up and fix your crap!! Why would I buy anything from you again? I don't even have 100 k on a perfectly maintained vehicle. This is ridiculous. I hadn't had any problems with this car until this huge problem. I will definitley be buying foreign next time. Screw American cars, until they can produce something that is reliable I don't have money to waste on them. Toyota here I come!

- , Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #88

Jun 072007

(reported on)

Explorer LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,600 miles

2002 Ford Explorer with 75,400 miles and transmission shot. (400 miles after ESP expired. Car was in shop under ESP for transmission problem at 74,300 . ALL highway miles on this vehicle! From my research, this is a known problem with this transmission. ITS A BAD DESIGN . When I bought my Ford , I did not include in the cost an almost guaranteed transmission replacement.

Ford dealership talked in circles to get around fact that transmission failed in warranty just 1100 miles ago. That failure was covered... This new failure is not covered. Called Ford Customer service. Very polite but of no help whatsoever... Just blowing smoke in your face... nicey nicey... but no solutions or help ! ( it may be worth a call to get their 15% discount that they often dole out to keep you from completely freaking out )

This should be recalled. If its not, I will never , ever, ever buy Ford again . Have owned Fords for 30 years ... THE END ...

- , Jenkintown, PA, USA

problem #87

Jun 142007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Overdrive light flashed and RPMs jumped through the roof. Had to give it gas and let off to make it shift, looking for my stick and clutch, any way went to the dealer, took two days to get on machine to tell me it was a broken band he thinks in the transmission. Now the fun begins, the scenarios of how much to rebuild vs a rebuilt. Same cost either way and they don't know what is wrong. $3500.00 Tell him I will pick it up, now they bend over backwards and got it down to $2900 for a rebuilt. Still going to pick it up, now they are looking for a junkyard for a transmission, to get price down. I see why they are bending over backwards now, they didn't tell me the price on the bad wheel bearing this is a sick joke. 2nd Ford with problems, 98 contour was check engine light every 15,000 miles, misconception that the explorer was the way to go, you would think that by now these bugs would be worked out.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #86

Jun 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,500 miles

Sounds like the same old song, the OD light started blinking then the transmission started jerking and just finally stopped moving. Ford needs to at least respect their current customers and have it recalled. My Toyota, 171,000 miles, never touched, my GMC pickup 145,000 never touched.

- , Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #85

Jun 232007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,417 miles

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

This is the second transmission for this vehicle. The first one was replaced under warranty at 22,550 miles in Sept of 2004. The next transmission is being replaced as we speak, now at 63,417 miles. Warranty does not cover this transmission this time around. I am very upset because I'm throwing $4100.00 at this car again. After contacting Ford Motor Company (which I'm waiting to hear back from) and doing much research, I have found out that the 2002 Explorers have had a ton of problems and Ford is aware of this problem but is choosing to do nothing about it. This will be the last Ford I ever buy. After my Explorer comes out of the shop next week, I will be looking to trade it in.

- , Greenwood, AR, USA

problem #84

Jun 292007

(reported on)

Explorer XL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

After 80 thousand miles my explorer started failing on me. First the truck wouldn't go more than 30 miles and when it did i would make a loud whistling sound, than the o/d light would turn on, and last my reverse did not work at all, and all this happened within days. Took truck to my mechanic, told me i needed new transmission. Cost me $2000 including labor. I spoke to a friend that also owns a Ford Explored 2003 and in the same week she was told she needed new transmission after 1,000 miles over warranty, and she told me a few other people she knew had the same problem, so i called ford asking them if there was a recall on ford transmissions they told me "no, but we do have a recall for your hinges" well hinges are the least of my problems right now. I have sworn never to buy another ford in my lifetime, and i sure will never recommend ford to anyone looking to purchase a new vehicle. I've definitely learned my leason with that company, but I assured myself first and last time...

- , New Bedford, MA, USA

problem #83

Jul 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Purchased 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 1 1/2 years ago. My transmission was loud when it was shifting recently. NOW it will not go into any gear. After a $80.00 towing fee, I found out the transmission needs to be rebuilt. $2200 - $2500.00 is what the shop told me. He also told me it is his biggest money maker and he calls them "Exploders" because the transmission is SO bad! Not to mention, two weeks ago the emergency brakes came apart inside the rotor and the rear hatch was making all kinds of noise as the unlocking motor was constantly running!!!

- , Chelsea, MI, USA

problem #82

Jul 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

The OD light started blinking, the service engine light came on and you could feel the transmission slipping. Needed transmission completely rebuilt. After researching this problem on the internet it seems to be a very common problem in the 2002 Ford Explorer. I think an investigation should occur and possible recall for Ford to take ownership of the default. This is the first and last Ford I will ever purchase.

- , Covington, KY, USA

problem #81

Jul 072007

(reported on)

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

FORD HAS TO BE AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM-TRANSMISSION FAILED AT 78000 MILES-DEALER SAID HOW STRANGE-COST 3200.00 -THIS IS MY 4TH AND LAST FORD-THEY KNOW ABOUT IT BUT WON'T FIX IT-NO WONDER THEY'RE IN TROUBLE. I LOST FIRST GEAR AND REVERSE-NO INDICATION OF A PROBLEM BEFORE AND I ALWAYS BROUGHT IT TO MY FORD DEALER FOR SERVICE.

- , Pittsfield, Mass., USA

problem #80

Aug 052007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Guys and Gals. I am seemingly having the same problem as anyone who has bought one of these explorers. Well, to your delight... I will make a request for the Ford motor company to pay for the full repair. As I believe they will tell me to go to hell in a nice way... I will enjoy this... as I'm the wrong person to tell this to. It will be in their best interest to repair all of our problems... or it will cost them more than it is worth in the long run. Fortunately for us.... Ford must leave their cars parked on a lot for the public to see at night. That's too bad for them... what goes around comes around... f*ck us.. no Ford ... f*ck you.... when you experience problems of unheard capacity... and want it to stop... you will now understand why it wont. Sometimes.... its just wrong to piss off the wrong person... some of us are nuts... I be the one! Actions speak louder than words... and here the actions come baby... It's bad when you piss off a person with alot of I don't give a f*ck... and yup... im badder than you... call the police... call whoever.. cuz i'll giggle. Fix it or pay motherf*ckers... I wont say it's not a threat it's a promise... This is much worse than both! So you people with problems... feel a lil better... know you can giggle inside... I'll get you guys a lil happy revenge... and they can't do sh*t but grin and bare it... They are weak people... I promise you people... there are so many easy things to do to cost them... And im the one with the balls... this is fun for me... it's right up my ally. I WILL have their heads spinning... There are ways to fix some of the things in this world.... just sometime unfortunately, we have to go to war with our own people... as they have gone above and beyond the american dream at our expense. I have been trying to be a good person now... but i can see... someone needs to do something... So, I'll let you guys know what Ford tells me. Then we'll let the games begin.

- , Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #79

Aug 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,700 miles

This was my first and last Ford purchase. Too many issues with this vehicle in spite of the fact that I keep up with the maintenance.

Ford sucks!

- , Springfield, VA, USA

problem #78

Jul 092007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

F. O. R. D a.k.a Fix or Repair Daily... We thought we would give FORD another chance after the salesman sold us on the safety improvements in early 2002. What a big mistake! The transmission went out in our Explorer without any warning or indication, almost as if it was timed to do so. It's no surprise that Ford is closing plants in the Southest. The sooner the better! You won't be missed.

- , 4211 Zephyrhills Drive, GA, USA

problem #77

Jul 112007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

After my wife is stranded with the broken down "Top of the Line" Explorer we fell in love with I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I laughed, at first. After towing it to the dealer I get the call that the mid range band completely failed. Faced with a large repair bill ($2000) I called Ford Motor Company and they told me "they felt my pain", "realized that was a lot of money" but there was nothing they can do as the 81,000 mile stopped them from helping me. 72,000 would have given me recourse. Damn, missed it by 9,000 miles. What a bunch of crap. If you think that's funny, read my next issue with this piece of crap they call a FORD "Built Ford Tough" my ass

- , Leicester, NC, USA

problem #76

Jul 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

right after turning over 72K miles, the O/D Off light began flashing like crazy. I was about to take it in & have the tranny serviced but before I got there, it quit shifting. I was in a parking lot, tried to shift from park & it wouldn't change out of park. It had just began shifting hard in the lower gears while driving & I didn't even have the chance to get it into the dealership. It has always had an issue with shifting hard from Park to Reverse to the point of feeling like I hit something but never just quit shifting. I just had to have it towed to a tranny mechanic to replace a solenoid. No more money to Ford for me, not even repairs. My Ford loyalty has ended!

- , Hueytown, AL, USA

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