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

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 19 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #75

Jul 272007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

Car started shifting really hard and I brought to dealership 2 different times to be told there was nothing wrong with it. Finally it totally died and would not shift at all O/D light flashing and check transmission light came on - took it back to dealership and had to pay $3000 for new transmission. New transmission came with a 3 year 35,000 mile warranty. Had to take it back to the dealership again 3 different times after they replaced the transmission because it was shifting hard and revving high before shifting. 3 different times was told by the dealership that nothing was wrong - it must be the way I drive it because there are no codes coming up. 2 days ago O/D light flashing and check transmission light back on - now the dealership says there is a problem - yep - transmission is shot again. So Ford will either replace the transmission or repair it but either way I only have a few thousand miles left on the warranty and once that runs out I am out of luck. I have driven Fords all my life and I will NEVER buy another one - thanks for nothing FORD. When I entered this site to enter the problem about my transmission - I also noticed that there have been many reports about the cracked panel under the rear window (thought that was just me) - another quality part made by Ford.

- , Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #74

Jul 232007

(reported on)

Explorer LXT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,246 miles

I got a call from a friend of mine last month inquiring if I had experienced any problems with the transmission with my 2002 Ford Explorer. At the time I replied that everything was fine with my vehicle. Little did I know that his inquiry would be a prelude to future transmission problems with my vehicle.

I was on my way to Long Island on the Southern State Parkway, when the O/D light began blinking on the dashboard console. I thought, hey, no big deal, I must have inadvertently clicked the O/D button. Let me pull over, put the car in park and engage the O/D button again. It didn't work. I referred to the owner's manual and to my surprise, it stated that there could be serious damage to the engine if the car was not serviced. I was pissed off. How could my car, with only 60,000 miles be experiencing transmission problems. I called some of my other friends to share my pain and bewilderment only to find out that they knew about existing transmission problems with Ford Explorer transmissions. I was told to "get rid" of my Explorer as soon as I can.

I did not and would not believe that I could be going through this. I took my car to AutoZone to have the problem diagnosed. Sure enough, when the diagnostic was completed, it revealed a problem with the third gear--solution- a New or rebuilt transmission. A new one would cost $3,400 and a rebuilt one would cost around $1,400-$1,700. ( I did not purchase the extended warranty). I am out $1,400 and will never again purchase an American vehicle... I'll stick to the imports I was used to before I chose to support American made products. I guess I was wrong.

Ford Sucks!

- , New York, NY, USA

problem #73

Jul 202007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Yeah me too. At just 79000 the freakin tranny craps out on me. $1750 ouch. I've had it with Ford telling me it's just not covered. After researching this problem I've come to the conclusion it is the defective part put in by the builder.... Ford. And no one else. Your new slogan is never look back... ain't that the truth. You've left thousands of us that spent our hard earned money sitting on the side of the road with your crappy product. After being a Ford family member for 34 years I will NEVER buy another Ford again. No wonder you're going broke... and none to soon for me.

- , Leicester, NC, USA

problem #72

Jun 192007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

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

2nd owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer, purchased with 32,000 miles on it. Now, at 55,000, I am replacing the transmission. Dealer estimate to repair was about $3,700. I'm having the work done at a local transmission shop who noted that yes, Ford Explorers are notorious for transmission troubles, but he appreciates it because it keeps him in business. Well, my 1997 Toyota Avalon has 125,000 miles and, outside of routine maintenance, continues to run awesome. Maybe Ford should wake up, realize how inferior their products really are, and take responsibility. Judging by the number of complaints though, I doubt they will "cowboy up" and make the problem right.

- , St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #71

May 032007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Same old story... O/D light starts flashing, then goes off when car turned off. Hit 65 mph again, viola... o/d light flashing. Went to the stearlership, diagnosed as the torque converter was slipping, and... you guessed it - replace the transmission. Offered a 3year / 75k warranty for the Ford rebuilt option ($3,600 - prices seem to go UP as more of these problems arise... hmmm...) TransKing quoted $2,700 and 3yr/36K warr. Called Ford customer service, and same story - out of warranty and no acknowlegement of the problem by Ford. Got another number from another web site 313.845.5903 Karen Jones @ ford's executive offices... we'll see what happens...3rd Ford, but never another.

- , Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #70

May 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

O/D light started flashing and noticed that transmission did not lock-up in overdrive anymore.

ford mechanic told us transmission is shot. $2,500 for a new one and ford will contribute $1,000 for the repair.

- , Bloomer, WI, USA

problem #69

May 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,808 miles

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

just out of the blue the od off light starts blinking then the next day revvs way up before it will shift from 2nd to 3rd, took it in and they recalibrated something, on my way home was even worse. took it back, needs new bands and other things to the amount of 1700 bucks. got it fixed, got rid of it, now im driving a wonderful honda civic with a 7 year bumper to bumper "dont have to worry about nothin but tires and oil changes, warranty". NO MORE FORD!!!!

- , Hannibal, MO, USA

problem #68

Apr 282007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Have a '02 Explorer? O/D OFF light flickering and gears doing wierd stuff? Get ready... walk into the service department backwards with your pants down... because you're about to get it rough with no KY. First they said it would be $1700 because the $85 diagnostic revealed that 2 bands were broken. After I reluctantly agreed to the rebuild, they later called and said they found that the "whole case housing and the solenoid body was bad."

$3200 for a new, excuse me, "certified factory rebuilt" tranny. But the good news, they said, was that you can apply for a credit card through them (22%) and find out an answer in about 5 minutes.

TO HELL WITH FORD! NEVER will I again give them my business. Henry Ford was a wretched, crooked a**hole (look it up). It appears that his nephew or grandson or bastard lovechild or whoever the hell the CEO is now is keeping up the tradition. Yeah, he invented the assembly line or whatever, but he treated his workers like absolute dung. Do yourself a favor, go any route beside Ford. I have a '91 Chevy Blazer that has never had a tranny problem. Thanks for reading. Oh, P. S., if you do have 'em replace your trans, don't let the bastards have the old one to make money on. Take it to a scrap yard and see how much you get for that aluminum case, you'll be surprised (scrap metal is bringing the best price ever right now).

- , Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #67

Apr 152007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

i loved this vehicle, last ford lasted 150,000 miles and i blamed my wife of leaving the brake off when it rolled into the lake.

in retrospect i think it popped out of gear and may have been a transmission problem? bought another and now at 112,000 o/d light flashing as well as check transmission-

my question is will a new transmission from a reputable shop more than likely take care of my problem? please help?

- , Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #66

Apr 092007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,500 miles

My wife took the 02 Explorer out and had the tranny go nuts on her. The Explorer would not shift into second gear without having it rev to 4000 to 5000 RPM before shifting very very hard. I drove it the next morning and all it would do is rev like hell in 1st then snap into second like someone hit me in the rear. The lights started to go off on the dash, blinking OD off then Check Engine.

I just got a call back from the Ford Dealer and it looks like the band broke. What really ticks me off is I serviced the transmission at 40K, and just last week at 71K to the tune of $150 bucks each time. I never towed or hammered the transmission. My total bill looks like it's in the ballpark of $1650 to replace both bands a valve and some other parts. Looks like I'm lucky after looking at some of the posts here, as far as, cost.

I did call the customer help line and all I got was "sorry but it does have 71500 miles on it and we can't help you". That just pushed me to the imports the next time I buy a new car. Sorry Ford, if you can't make a trans go to 140K then I'm not buying another car from you.

I wondered why the service guy told me they have improved parts to install in the transmission now? I guess when you start with bad parts they have nowhere to go but up.

Thanks for letting me vent, Crazy in Cleveland

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #65

Apr 062007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

I took my car in hoping it wouldn't be a huge problem. I found out that I have to get my transmission replaced. The mechanic said that it would cost $350 just to have it inspected. It will take several days to get it back. $2600 later, I am so irate that I had to replace the transmission. They said the problem was the 2nd and 3rd gear and there was a hole in the casing of the transmission. It was going to cost more to get a rebuilt trans so we opted to get this one rebuilt. AND of course the warranty just expired so we are stuck with this huge bill. I have seen SOOOO many complaints about the 2002 ford transmission lately, I don't understand why there is no recall!!!!!

- , Streamwood, IL, USA

problem #64

Apr 062007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

Under normal driving conditions, the trans would shift into lower gear and not shift at all. Took it to trans shop who reported the 5th gear "blew out!" at 83,000 miles! Ford must make their transmissions out of cardboard or something. Aren't transmissions supposed to go at least until 150,000? but not here. I'm trading, no more Ford for me. This is one of 3 major complaints on this vehicle.

- , Redding, CA, USA

problem #63

Mar 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Okay.. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach as I read all the other complaints. The end of February, returning from a trip to Chattanooga, I stop at a light just off the exit I live and the car won't go into gear. I continue to drive and I hear this grinding noise and the O/D light is flashing. I take it to a transmission shop to have it checked and they tell me I have to have a new transmission.(thank god for tax refunds) It takes a week to get it fixed, I drive away and half way home the O/D light is on, flashing. I call the transmission shop and he tells me to bring it back, he goes over it again thinking he's solved the problem. I leave the shop and get half way home and the light is on, flashing. To date the light is flashing and I have called the transmission shop once again. This really pisses me off, I have had 2 Fords in my life time and I have driven them both for at least 10yrs with no major problems. I always up held Ford, right about now they can kiss where the sun don't shine. How could they not have a recall on the problem after damn near 200 complaints. Do we wonder why the closed the Ford plant in Hapeville, Ga? I always wanted a Ford Explorer, I guess I just picked the wrong year to buy one.. huh. SOB's somebody needs to do something.

- , Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #62

Mar 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Like many others, my 2002 started with the O/D Off light flashing on the dash. Then the over revving of the enging and hard switch to second gear. This is my 3rd Explorer and will be my last FORD.

Found On Roadside DYING

- , Livingston, NJ, USA

problem #61

Mar 232007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 VS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I should have stuck with Mopar. My '02 Explorer experienced a transmission failure. Never had I ever had vehicle do this. It began a few days ago with the overdrive light flashing off and on. I parked and switched the engine off and when I turned the vehicle back on it died each time I attempted to place the gear in drive.

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #60

Mar 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I have always been a big fan of Ford explorers until know. I have had my transmission replaced 4 times since owned. First was at 34,000 miles, second time at 63,000 miles, third time at 126,000 miles and for the forth time at 127,324 miles. This is bullsh*t each time and is costing a little over 2000 dollars each time. A Ford mechanic recommended that I put an after market transmission cooler in to help keep it cooler. BULLSH*T, I did that and it still went out. This is the biggest piece of sh*t I have ever owned. I will never buy another Ford again in my life nor will my family. I think everyone should get together and file a class action lawsuit against Ford and make Ford pay everyone back for the cost of repair and the cost for lost time at work and the headaches this pile of sh*t gives us.

I THINK WE SHOULD TAKE FORD TO COURT AND MAKE THEM PAY OUT THE A** LIKE WE HAD TO.....................

- , Culver, IN, USA

problem #59

Mar 172007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Well, to all who own a 2002 Ford Explorer, either total it, burn it, pay someone to steal it, or just get rid of it as fast as you can. I have posted many complaints all over the internet for the last four years, and on Friday I just gave up fighting.

I bought my Explorer in 2003 (it was a 2002 that I was told only the dealer drove)and it had 10,000 miles on it. This was my first brand new vehicle, and the first and probably only vehicle I will ever pay cash for. I bought a Ford against my better judgement. My family buys foreign vehicles, but the in-laws strongly stand behind their Fords. Boy, if I could turn back time and change my mind, I would do it in a heart beat. I bought the vehicle for $24,000 and on Friday I had put $13,250 into the vehicle. You read that right! I kept telling myself "what else can go wrong?" because I had done everything at least once. I replaced the entire engine at 54,000 miles, the first transmission at 62,000 miles, 9 wheel bearings, the air conditioning unit, the back windshield, the rear wiper motor three times, the window control unit, the abs sensor three times, had the air bag light checked numerous times, and have had the overdrive light looked at more times than I can count. There has been many other little things, but these are the big dollar repairs. If you read this closely I mentioned the first transmission repair, well, Friday I got the wonderful news that I was having transmission problems again. First they told me I needed the solenoid pack, but 24 hours later I received the news that I needed to replace the entire transmission again. This was it, I snapped! Enough was enough, these problems were never going to go away. Ford has never given me a cent in repairs, but I've kept every receipt so in the future if I need them they will be there.

I am now the proud owner of a Jeep Commander!!!! You don't even want to know what they gave me for a trade in on the damn thing. Let's just say it was less than a transmission. I tell everyone I know about my experience with Ford, and will continue as long as I live to tell as many people as possible. I can honestly say that I threw $37,000 down the drain, how many people can say that?

- , Johnstown, NY, USA

problem #58

Mar 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I OWN A 2002 FORD EXPLORER XLS THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH (AT FIRST). I ALWAYS WANTED ONE (UNTIL MY PROBLEM!!) I ONLY OWNED MY "EXPLODER" FOR 10 MONTHS WHEN IT STARTED "JERKING" SOMEWHAT MILDLY. I TOOK IT IN A SHOP AND WAS TOLD THAT A TUNE UP WOULD DO THE TRICK. ONE MONTH LATER, MY EXPLORER LEFT MY FAMILY AND I STRANDED ALONG THE ROAD. THE TRANSMISSION "BROKE"! I TOOK IT IN YET AGAIN. THIS TIME THEY WANTED TO FIND ME A USED TRANSMISSION SINCE MINE WAS COMPLETELY BURNED OUT AND COULD NOT BE REBUILT. THEY KEPY MY VEHICLE FOR OVER TWO WEEKS AND GAVE ME A RUN AROUND ON HOW THERE ARE NO TRANSMISSIONS TO BE FOUND. BUT NOW I SEE WHY. THEY SUPPOSEDLY "FIXED" IT AND SENT ME ON MY WAY. TEN MILES UP THE ROAD WE WERE STRANDED YET AGAIN. THIS "USED" TRANSMISSION HAD GIVEN OUT ALSO!! THAT DAY I PARKED IT AND WENT OUT AND BOUGHT A WHOLE OTHER BRAND VEHICLE. NO MORE "EXPLODERS" FOR ME!!!!

- , Zebulon, NC, USA

problem #57

Sep 282006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • 37,000 miles

Bought it 2nd hand, just under the 60Km Ford coverage. I found out too late, it had past record of intense dealer service on the transmission! I have paid twice for an over the warranty related trouble. Now, the transmission sometimes slips during what is not so automatic shifting. Something is still wrong. It will not get any better on its own, it will need to be opened and repaired. Time will result to further internal damage, that I am sure of. Ford knows that there is a problem. A leak between the engine and transmission was serviced at a dealer. They changed a seal. There was some mention of a vent also responsible for exhausting trans oil. This is "Not normal", not in a sealed unit. Why did they not take the transmission down then? While it was under some form of coverage? I drive with little confidence because of the fear that the whole thing is just ticking. I have refrained from much pleasure travel which is the single reason that we bought a seven seater in the first place. I can't help to wonder what Henry Ford would think of that. The entire history of Ford and the model T was that it was solid and trouble free for the times, and it was used for freedom and adventure. A little extension of the frontier days. Shame on you Ford, for not admitting to this problem. Allowing to do nothing of what is obvious to many of us now, "a clearly defective product." If something fails once, its unfortunate, twice, is not lucky, three times there is something wrong. How they deal with a letter that I am preparing for them will say much about what roads we will take in my future. I can assure you that!

- , Laval, QUE, Canada

problem #56

Mar 082007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0LT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Can't believe the similarities in events that led to this failure.. Driving up on ramp to freeway, when thump from 2nd to 4th... Loss of 3rd gear band... Straight to dealership who sent the box away and came back after 2 weeks with a FULL Rebuild and a $4000 (Aus) charge... Approached Fo Mo Co - 80,000 easy miles on a tranny should not result in this... They say it is out of warranty and not an manufacturing issue... If this is typical of their quality of product - I won't be hanging around waiting for the next rebuild!!!!

- , Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Australia

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?