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 20 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

Mar 062007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

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

Ford is done. The Silverado outsold the F150 last month. A Ford transmission can't go 67,000 highway miles? I don't trust Ford anymore. And every time they fry a consumer, and don't care, they seem to overlook that we take at least our immediete familiy with us. My kids will never own a Ford now. Multiply that times all the failed 02 transmissions. What did that really cost Ford?

- , Laurel Lake, PA, USA

problem #54

Oct 092006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • 64,000 miles

Ford needs to issue a recall. This seems like it happens to every 02' and 03' Explorer owner I know.

- , Lebanon, OH, USA

problem #53

Oct 102006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauier

  • 89,000 miles

after ford had to quick fix leaking trans at 35000 miles again at 89000 miles leaking again this time I have been told

1st was leaking torque converter / AMCCO/ $ 800.

2nd was /MR. Transmission/ just 2 look @ /$1285.

3rd was /FORD / said 2 replace ($ ?) didnt ask !

4th was /Bullitt Co. Trans./ said that Ford knows that this is a problem but will not recall, he has had a lot of them , And for some reason that he is not aware of they are overheating and blowing out of the vent tube, but they all 4, he said he would replace with Jasper Trans. at least you would get a 75000 mile warranty.

- , Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #52

Oct 132006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • 91,000 miles

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

I OWN A 2002 FORD EXPLORER. MY TRANSMISSION WENT OUT AT 91,000 MILES BECAUSE I WAS TOLD BY THE DEALER MY THIRD BAND WENT OUT. I HAD A 100,000 MI WARRANTY OR 5 YEARS WHICH EVERY COMES FIRST. WELL MY WARRANTY ENDED ON 17 SEPT. O6. MY CAR BROKE DOWN ON OCT. 9TH ABOUT 3 WKS AFTER MY AGREEMENT WAS UP. FORD WOULD NOT FIX MY CAR. I HAD MY VEHICLE SERVICED EVERY 30,000 MILES ON TRANNY. SO THE END RESULT GOES LIKE THIS. I FOUND OUT THAT THE EXPLORER, AT LEAST THE 02 THAT I KNOW OF, HAVE HAD LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH TRANNY. I CALLED FORD ABOUT 6 TIMES TRYING TO GET MY CAR FIXED. A NO GO! THIS SHOULD BE A RECALL!!!! THIS IS NOT FAIR TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY OR ANYBODY THAT BUYS FORD CARS AND TRUCKS. PLEASE TAKE MY ADVICE. BUY SOMEWHERE ELSE. I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN FORD MOTOR COMPANY. AND WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD. AND EVERYBODY I KNOW I WILL STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT TO BUY FROM FORD. GO AHEAD IF YOU WANT TO BUT DON'T SAY YOU HAVE NOT BEEN WARNED!!!

- , VIRGINIA BEACH, VA., USA

problem #51

May 102006

(reported on)

Explorer

  • 107,000 miles

Over-revving before shifting began soon after we got it. O/D light began flashing erratically at approx 80K. Would reset if I turned it off, let it sit and then restarted it. Began hard slam shifting at approx 105K. Complete failure at 107K.

Shop said 02 Explorer is #1 for needing tranny repair.

Never again!

- , Knoxville, MD, USA

problem #50

Feb 272007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

About 2 weeks ago I was coming from church going home and my 2002 Ford Explorer with approximatley 85,000 miles began reving very high, and did not want to shift into the next gear. Then after a "Clunk", it would chuck and then go to a higher speed. Shortly after that the OD light came on and blinked on and off rapidly. Then the Service Engine light came on. I called the Ford Dealer and they said that it would be 5 days before I could get in because they only have 1 transmission mechanic. I took the car into AAMCO and after diagnosing the problem said that my transmission needed to be rebuilt at a cost of $2850. I will never by another Ford again. Prior to this purchase, I always own Toyota vehicles. I lost my mind for a minute and purchased a Ford, thinking that supporting American made cars was more patriotic duty, never again.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #49

Dec 102006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

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

Transmission failed (overdrive) at 105000 miles. It had been serviced at 79000 miles. Never towed anything. Repair was going to be approx $2650, so I chose to spend $3150 and get the remanufactured tranny from Ford with a 3YR/75K warranty. Seems obvious that there is a design problem with this thing... I'm sure they are working on improved design at the expense of all of us who suffered the failures. Any installation of the Ford remanufactured unit requires the return of the failed tranny to Ford, so you know they are doing failure analysis. I married into this clunker, but I'll stick to Toyota when I spend my money.

- , Deer Park, TX, USA

problem #48

Dec 102006

(reported on)

Explorer 4DR V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Let me just start by saying that I will never buy a Ford again. I bought the vehicle used with 35,000 miles and around 55,000 the problems began and have since not ended. The transmission was just replaced at 87,000 miles and cost $2500. I will honestly say that I do not know much about cars but I do know that these problems should not be happening at such mileage when the vehicle is one of the best selling vehicles year after year. The reason Ford Explorers are so cheap is because they are made cheap.

- , Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #47

Dec 102006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

One more 2002 Ford Transmission failure. It was never right and I mentioned this to dealer at every service appt. from when I bought the car in 2002. At 71k mi. O/D Off light started to flash, transmission was slipping. Within 10 minutes, something popped and I could hear bolts being ground up. The car would not go into any gear (other than Park I guess). Luckily I wasn't too far from home. Had car towed to my Ford dealer. I had a "3rd party" extended warranty (100k mi./6 yrs.) - Portfolio and was offered 2 options;

A) Used transmission - 30k mi. with a warranty for 12 mo. or 24k mi. plus $420 (cost to me) for transmission cooler (external part not included in warranty).

B) Re-Manufactured transmission (new) - warranty for 3 yrs. or 75k mi. for a cost to me of $1300 (this also included $420 for transmission cooler).

I opted for B) because what good is another defective transmission with 30k mi. on it already?? Somehow the cost wound up being $1k - may have only "flushed" the transmission cooler and not replaced it - wording on invoice is ambiguous - states both.

I am very angry and disappointed with Ford. This was my first Ford purchase and I will never get another one. Only 3 months ago I had a "rear differential" replacement. This was covered fully by the extended warranty. However in my mind - Ford should have a recall for both of these serious problems occurring in relatively new vehicles. Even with the extended warranty this car has cost me too much money. I feel for those who bought this lemon without one! I am now waiting for "rear axle" problems which I hear are also a serious problem with this vehicle. I have heard that 1 in 10 of these vehicles have the transmission problem - outrageous!! Ford will probably be out of business in short order - and well deserved to be putting out junk like this. The dealer tried to push the blame off on the "parts suppliers" for Ford. Shame on them for not doing their homework on their suppliers! It is their name that is being destroyed, not the parts supplier. Never again!!!

- , New Providence, NJ, USA

problem #46

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

I can't say it enough I will never buy another FORD vehicle. I can not understand why there are so many complaints about the 2002 explorer transmission and Ford has not recalled it. I have to get the entire Transmission replaced and it only has 66K miles on it. Ford should be held liable for this and the consumer should not have to pay the price. The customer service people are useless and now understand why everyone is switching to Toyota. Very sad when a company does not stand behind their product. I had the same issue as everyone else with the O/D light flashing etc. Sad very sad...... I want to buy American and I can't anymore.....

- , Bridgewater, NJ, USA

problem #45

Feb 112007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,109 miles

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

I BOUGHT THIS 2002 FORD EXPLORER IN 2004 WITH ONLY 34900 MILES ON IT. AROUND THE 45000 MILE MARK THE TRANSMISSION SOLENOID SENSOR WENT BAD AND HAD TO BE REPLACED, COSTING ABOUT $800 DOLLARS. I'VE MAINTAINED HER PRETTY WELL, GIVING HER A TRANSMISSION FLUSH TWICE A YEAR. AT 85000 MILE MARK THE TRANSMISSION STARTED ACTING UP AGAIN. TOOK IT TO THE FORD DEALER AGAIN, THEY NOTIFIED ME STATING THAT THIRD GEAR WENT BAD. THIS TIME COSTING ME 1,800 DOLLARS. THERE IS NO REASON THAT THE TRANSMISSION SHOULD HAVE THIS MANY PROBLEMS WITH ONLY 85,000 MILES. FORD NEEDS TO DO SOME SERIOUS INVESTIGATING ON THE TRANSMISSION ISSUES. I LOVE MY EXPLORER, SHE IS A VERY COMFORTABLE RIDE, GREAT IN SNOW AND HANDLES PRETTY GOOD FOR A TRUCK, BUT FOR GOODNESS SAKE MAKE BETTER TRANSMISSIONS ON FORD EXPLORERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Saint Joseph, MI, USA

problem #44

Feb 102007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles

I purchased this 2002 Explorer in February 2005. My wife wanted a sport utility & we traded in her 2001 Honda Civic EX against my better judgment. I am a Ford truck person, I have owned a 95 Explorer still running with 185,000 miles on it & an 01 Expedition, which has been a perfect vehicle & has 130,000 miles with no problems. This Explorer has been the biggest piece of crap I have ever owned. The vehicle was purchased from Sutliff Ford with 41,000 miles on it. It was supposed to be a Ford Certified previously owned vehicle (what a joke). It was back to the dealer within a week for the 1st of 20+ visits for a transmission problem. The idiot lights would light up on the dash & the transmission would start with the noises. I would take the vehicle back to the Ford dealer since it was under warranty & they would keep it & give it back & say nothing was wrong with it. The last time it was at the dealer and was under warranty, was August-September 2006. The dealer, Plaza Ford in Bel Air, MD kept the vehicle for over 30 days & gave it back & said they could find nothing wrong with it. Every time I got it back it would run fine for a time & then act up with problems. On Friday, February 2nd, my wife left her job & got in the vehicle to come home. The vehicle would not move. She called me & we had the vehicle towed to the nearest Ford dealer, Bob Davidson Ford in Parkville, MD, even though it now had 80,500 miles. The guy in the service department said to bring him all the receipts from all our times back & they would call Ford & try to help us. He couldn't believe what he read & we told him & they never fixed it. The next day he called & said they couldn't help us, Ford said no. He also told me the transfer case was locked up & the transmission was done & needed to be replaced. The price would be $5200. I started e-mailing Ford, explaining the whole situation, I had called that useless 1-800 # & had never gotten anywhere previously. I basically got back a response that said it wasn't Ford's problem since it was out of warranty. When I called them because they asked me to based on my e mails, they said they could not help because "their guidelines" would not allow it. The guy said it wasn't Ford's problem since it was out of warranty. He said it didn't make a difference that I had taken it to the dealer 20+ times for these problems, it's not their problem now. I pulled the vehicle out of the dealer & took to an off site transmission shop. They said the transfer case was fine & the transmission would be $1800 to replace. I will never buy another Ford product as long as I am buying cars. I am going back to Honda. As soon as I get this POS back from the transmission shop, it's getting traded in & I am washing my hands of it. No wonder Ford lost $12.7 Billion last year, look how they treat their customers. It's like they don't care & are trying to go out of business.

- , New Freedom, PA, USA

problem #43

Feb 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,500 miles

I had to buy my Ford Explorer because my 2000 Ford Escort ZX2 coupe finally crapped out on me, while I was on my way to work. I figured that since my escort was such a great car that this one would be too. I got this car in November 2005 with 62,000 miles on it. I took it to the dealer in April 2005 to have it looked at because it felt like the gears were slipping, the dealer told me that there was nothing wrong with it. Now that it's not under guarantee is up on it the transmisson is taking a great big dump. I'm pissed because this is the family car, can you imagine fitting the family in to an eclipse? I have a lot of running around to do during the day and my hubby has to work so I'm mad because this is a HUGE inconvenience to us financially. I hate being with out my car. I'm really surprised that with all the complaints ford has on it's transmissions that they haven't had some kind of recall. Screw the back window, I want my car to run the way it's suppose to, I don't want to end up dead on the side of the road with my kids in the car waiting for my husband to come and get us. My husband warned me about getting another ford, I should have listened. I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER FORD.

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #42

Feb 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I can say that the vehicle looks pretty nice. Its comfortable, roomy, and has a "good transmission" as well, or so I thought. One day, me and some buddies of mine were taking a trip up to Nashville in the Explorer. The transmission as a whole has never showed any problems for almost the whole two years I owned the vehicle. Well, when I started to drive on the entrance ramp leading to the interstate, the transmission all at once started to act up. It shifted to second normally, but it would not shift into third gear. The transmission acted like it went into neutral before it finally did shift into third. Then, the O/D off light stated to flash rapidly. I decided to end the trip, and carefully drive home. To sum things up, when my transmission technician removed the pan under the "sealed" transmission, he showed me where an accumulation of clutch material and metal shavings developed on the bottom of the pan.

All I can say is, that my warranty had expired, so I had to pay the total three-thousand dollars expense. I used to be a ford man, but now I will never own one again. I hate to say it, but the next car I buy will be Japanese. I think its terrible that the American cars have went downhill so much in the recent years. The American car companies should be "examples" to other companies. It looks like the foreign companies will take the lead in my boat. If anyone is considering the 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, they need consider starting a savings account for their new rebuilt transmission as well.

- , Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #41

Jan 252007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I'm not even gonna list the things other than the transmission... but the transmission is just a lemon,,,, biggest pile sh*t I have EVER came across... these transmissions drop like flies semi-annually... I work on more ford explorer transmissions (and ford transmissions in general) than ANY other vehicle. Ford has had bad automatic transmissions for 15 years or more, you'd think they'd be smart enough to finally make a good one.... Or are we as consumers just dumb for buying a ford in the first place?? If someone is going to buy a ford explorer and has stumbled across this site, I beg you you PLEASE re-think your purchase. All manufactures have their bugs and glitches but ford is just a complete joke... The ONLY vehicle i would EVER buy from ford is a Crown Victoria Police interceptor... Thats the only car that seems to hold up (maybe because they were smart enough to make police cars non-lemons?)

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #40

Jan 252007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

This is my second Ford car, I previously owned a 97 ford explorer sport, I had no problems with that car, so I thought I would stick with Ford, but get a newer model. I bought a 2002 Ford explorer, in November of 2005, by June of 06, with about 43000 miles, I had to get a new transmission. Here we are Jan 07 and my transmission has be replaced AGAIN. I am so glad I got the extended warranty because I don't know what I would do because it costs the dealership $4300 to fix my car the first time. Like all the other complaintants, I am DONE with Ford. I am going to sell this car and by a foreign car.

- , Homewood, IL, USA

problem #39

Jan 222007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I bought the car back in 2003 with 34500 miles certified (sure) after 21000 miles the transmission went bad, ford fixed the problem so it seemed. Now again at 96000 miles went bad the cost it`s about 2100.00 with extended warranty of 2 years or 24000 miles , what #$**^#^% is this, any way I would never buy another ford - again

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #38

Jan 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

I bought this Explorer from a private party with about 50k miles on it. It worked great until it started having some electrical problems........ the "door ajar" light kept turning on and after a search on the internet I tried spraying WD-40 on the latch mechanisms and it only worked intermittently. Then, the drivers side panel started acting up...... the keypad to unlock the car stopped working and the unlock button in the door stopped working when turned off and the drivers side outside mirror light stopped working and it takes about 10 minutes after the car is turned off for the interior lights to turn off where before it only took about a minute. Then, about two weeks ago is when the OD light started flashing and the car had a heck of a time shifting into third gear. Later that day, the "check engine" light turned on so I took it to a trusted local repair shop. By that time I had researched this problem on the internet and knew this was going to cost me a chunk of change. I'd hoped it was a simple problem like some had, where the solenoid packs just needed replaced, but the third band in the transmission was mostly gone with chunks at the bottom like most others described. The mechanic gave me three options: we can rebuild it ourselves and we'll only charge you $1500 (plus $104 diagnostics); we can put in an already rebuilt one for $2100, or give you a brand new one for $2600 w/3 year 36,000 mile warranty. I chose the cheapest option and plan on trading this POS in as soon as it's fixed for a reliable vehicle.

I must say, I've been a Ford fan my whole life and have never had any major problems......... my 2000 Mustang GT Convertible was awesome, no problems at all........ my 1997 Escort has been a tank; it's been in 3 or 4 wrecks and still runs like a champ (it's my 'gas mileage' hoopty that gets abused on a daily basis). It only takes a problem like this to turn people off the brand for good. I'm still probably going to buy a Ford truck for my next purchase (an F250) but you can be dang sure I'll be doing a ton of research next time before I buy. As for SUV's, this was my wife's car that she uses to haul my two little girls around in and this has been a MAJOR inconvenience for us. The second it gets back, we're trading it in for a similar sized Honda Pilot, Toyota Sequoia, or [gasp] maybe even a GMC Envoy.

Bottom line, Ford needs to stand by their product....... this was one of their "prized vehicles", a best-seller....... they need to pull their heads out of their arses and issue a recall for these transmissions. My mechanic said these 2002 explorers have been in his shop for the same problems more than any other car he's worked on. He said he wouldn't take this car if someone gifted it to him.

- , Pocatello, ID, USA

problem #37

Jan 192007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,800 miles

I can't say enough about this transmission problem. How many complaints will it take to fix the problem.

- , El Monte, CA, USA

problem #36

Jan 192007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,400 miles

bought the vehicle with 38,000 miles. had 4000 miles left on extended outside warranty. transmission was slipping & making clunking noises. dealer replaced transmission at a cost of 100.00 (deductible). sounds to me like i had better get rid of it. its a shame, nice vehicle otherwise.

- , Mays Landing, NJ, USA

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