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. 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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
93,770 miles
Total Complaints:
433 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (112 reports)
  2. replace transmission (85 reports)
  3. transmission needs to be recalled (81 reports)
  4. call Ford customer service and complain 800-392-3673 (63 reports)
  5. not sure (36 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 7 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #313

Dec 122010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and the Transmission just went out on it. I will tell the story from the beginning. Ok so I was about 30 mins away from my home and driving on the freeway back home when the OD light started blinking very fast. Then I get off the freeway and stop and the red light then when i started to go the transmission started doing all sorts of crazy sh*t it was changing gears like crazy and finally settle out. Then right before i turn in my drive the transmission just QUITS! it just STOPPED! i put it in park then drive and sound.. no movement it would just roll backwards. so now it sitting on the side of the road where i pushed it to. ALL OF THIS HAPPENED IN 30 MINS! Nothing was wrong before this happened.!!!! Please someone help and lets get this to be recalled!

- , Fort Leonard Wood, MO, MO, USA

problem #312

Nov 092009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

This was the first time i had the tranny rebuilt i would be driving and everything was fine and then when i was coming to a stop my truck would die, and i couldn't drive i could only go in reverse.

- , Newark, OH, USA

problem #311

Oct 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,500 miles

i have a 2002 ford exploder which i only have a month left to pay it. owned the vehicle for 4 yrs. on the first year, master switch (window) replaced, window regulator driver side front and rear went out, followed by pass. side rear window kit not to mention rear panel w/c we sould know pretty common. before deployment, master cylinder replaced, when i got back, transmission replaced, rear shocks replaced and they're out again with some knocking sound on the rear end!!!! when is it gnna end?! geeeez! selling this vehicle is not even worth the money i already put in it. so i might as well keep it, hoping for a recall! oh, i forgot to mention some minor defficiencies and i just hope my transfer case would not give up on me.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #310

Nov 092010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6 V-8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles


I feel like Ford should change there name to SEONTA ( screw every one in the ASS! ) there Transmissions are straight up JUNK! They have been for years the old E4OD electronic four speeds over drive. And I guess their new ones are Junk too. They know they have issues and they do nothing to help people. Well let me tell you something, Karma is a bitch. They will get theirs.

- , St Peters, MO, USA

problem #309

Jul 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Ford sucks! They have lost a really good customer! Not only one, but many! Ford knew the transmission was a major issue with the 2002 Ford Explorer's and did nothing about it! This should be a Major Recall! We will never purchase another Ford product! They are all Lemons and Ford will not back them up! We will only purchase from reputable companies!

- , Dana Point, CA, USA

problem #308

Apr 032005

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Luckily covered under warranty. This is a very common problem (inevitable) with the 2002 Explorer.

- , Park Ridge, IL, USA

problem #307

Oct 282010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,500 miles


Transmission is failing in my 2002 Ford Explorer 4x4. A local transmission shop confirmed that my fear that the gears were not shifting properly was due to the transmission failing. It will cost $2400 to $2800 to repair. Because the transmission is sealed it will cost extra. Only through the first half of the year of 2002 were the Explorers made with this transmission and mine was manufactured in May 2001.

It's a beautiful truck, no one believes how old it is or how many miles are on it. But to me, all A/T die by 100,000 miles. It really doesn't matter what brand, they all die.

- , Coon Rapids, MN, USA

problem #306

Oct 062010


  • 140,575 miles

Called Ford customer service to complain and said that it was out of warranty by 4 MONTHS! No good-faith warranty or discount was going to be given to us. We were simply out of luck. We are currently having it replaced at independent dealership. Transmissions should not be a costly disposable part. This is clearly a defect and consumers should be reimbursed.

- , Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #305

Apr 192007


  • 70,000 miles

OD dash light came on, 3 miles later was not drivable. Chino Hills Ford Dealership had to put in new transmission with a 3 year warranty.

- , Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #304

Sep 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Bought this car from ford dealership in 2004 with 22k miles, with warranty up to 75k miles first transmission went bad at 50k second transmission went bad 50 miles later ( went bad as i drove home) third transmission went bad at 107k (warranty expired had to pay 4300.00 to ford dealer) forth transmission went bad at 110k fifth transmission is yet to be installed

ford you suck, i will never buy another ford product ever again. Ford shows no quality or workmanship in there ford explorer series. I will buy foreign next time.

- , Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #303

Aug 182010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


I had just put a rebuilt engine in this pile about 6 months before this f*en transmission took a sh*t . now i go online and see how many other people are getting screwed by ford. i did this for my sister and after putting the engine in(which by the way was the WORST job I have ever had to do in my 25 years of auto experience) in the back of my head i knew that if the engine takes a sh*t the transmission usually isnt far behind and sure enough here i am. Now I haven't contacted ford yet but i know they will just blow me off . no one has died because of this problem i know of so they wont be concerned and say its f*ed to be you.In my opinion a transmission should last 150000 miles before you have to open it up for major repair and seeing how there is no dipstick and the trans is not servicable by normal means there should be some kind of service fluid light or shutdown system before transmission damage occurs.

The engineer who dreamt up the engine must be the same dumass that dreamt up this pile of sh*t transmission.Even the earlier ford AOD/AODE transmissions were sh*t . you would think they would have learned. appartently not.Gosh I sure am happy I am a Chevy guy

- , Omak, WA, USA

problem #302

Sep 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,000 miles

Now that I read about all these transmission failures I'm not surprised that mine crapped also. O/D light started flashing, then the trans started slipping. I've been told that the trans without the dip-stick (mine) have an awfully bad design. This could be my second trans, the first one was at about 65000 miles. Ford tough is only if you don't drive it... I'm not going to fix the problem, just try to sell the SUV as one part, get what I can an buy a GMC.

- , Mountain Home, AR, USA

problem #301

Jul 242009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I purchased my 2002 Ford Explorer new. When I purchased the vehicle I also purchased an extended warranty to cover the car to 100,000 miles. When the transmission went out, I discovered that the company I purchased the extended warranty with went Bankrupt. This repair cost me $3,300 dollars! I think the transmission problem should be address by Ford and they should have a recall on this vehicle, This vehicle should not have a transmission failure at 90,000 miles!

- , Sherwood, OR, USA

problem #300

Sep 202010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

Can't believe how many similar stories of transmission failure are out there, yet there's no recall! My Ford Explorer first had the issues of "clunky changing gears" and then moving when put into park. When the OD/off light started flashing I took it in to the shop ... they are telling me the transmission needs to be completely rebuilt!

I'm so mad, especially since I have had so many other issues with the vehicle. I had to replace all four wheel bearings on this POS before 100,000 miles! Ridiculous! I can't afford to fix this vehicle so I'm going to have to trade it in

I'm never buying a Ford again!

- , Delafield, WI, USA

problem #299

Feb 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Very disapointing.....5 months after purchasing this vehicle, third gear started to slip...a few months later one day i went to start it and put it reverse and no reverse!! No forwards no nothing!! Just before all of this staring happening, the O/D light was staying on. And then a few months ago I got this little card in the mail about a recall on the lighting system. I mean really!! The lighting can be recalled but not something as important as a transmission. Well I dont have that kind of money just to pull out of my pocket. So I have been having to get rides everywhere I go. I am saving for this to be repaired but with the recent separation from my husband and my daughter having medical conditions, some other things have to come first.

America?? Where is the proof of a quality product? Where is the ackowledgement of failure and the responsibility to resolve the problem without pointing the finger and blaming and ignoring? I guess thats where we the people have to use our brains. Obviously Ford and anyone else who had a hand in making these didnt use theirs. I guess when I finally save the money to get it fixed, I may either buy a beater that runs rather than get the Explorer fixed. Theres kind of no sense in that considering it will have to be rebuilt again, eventually!! A beautiful vehicle though. There's always something positve in something negative!!

- , Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #298

Aug 162010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This car is the biggest flop since the Ford Edsel. This is the second time I have had to replace the transmission so 3 trannys in 120,000 miles. Way to build quality cars Ford. 2002 was the last time I ever bought any Ford Product

- , North East, PA, USA

problem #297

Jul 232010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

NEVER AGAIN WILL I BUY A FORD PRODUCT!!! after replacing the engine of our 2002 explorer less than 6 months ago, we are now looking at a total transmission replacement. no one will ever convince me that this p.o.s. was built to last. class action on this transmission...i sure hope so!!

Update from Sep 6, 2010: sold the exploder for what we owed...unfixed. did i mention that we had also replaced the engine in this vehicle just six months ago? never again will we buy a ford product!!!

- , Gravois Mills, MO, USA

problem #296

Aug 022010

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer is the worst money pit I ever owned. I have had it for 6 years and have averaged around $1500 per/yr in repairs. I bought it in 2004 from Simmons-Rockwell. It had 31,000 miles when I got it and I have never been rough with it. I just put $800 into it to fix the ABS and to put in a sensor. And now the tranny is shot...I will not put another penny into it. I will never purchase another UAW vehicle. That union has squeezed all of the quality from Ford products. The damned thing didn't even come with a dip stick to check the transmission!!!!!!!!

- , Whitney Point, NY, USA

problem #295

Jul 262010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

This truck is a big let-down. Like nearly everyone else owning this truck, my transmission blew, to the tune of $3200 (if I wanted a new transmission). I don't think so!!!! I put a few bucks into having the tranny rebuilt and am going to dump this truck like a bad debt.

Its truly unfortunate for Ford that I will never be buying another one of their vehicles. I am also spreading the word to all my friends cautioning them to stay away from Ford products as well. At one time I was proud to own Ford vehicles, but this experience has changed my mind entirely. My next truck will NOT be a Ford.

- , Bardonia, NY, USA

problem #294

Jul 052010

Explorer 3.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,645 miles

II am truly pissed off at Ford for making poor quality cars. I purchased a brand new Ford Explorer 2002. 8 years that i have this car, guess what there is a problem with my transmission. Are you kidding me? You won't believe the mileage that I have on my car, ready for this: 45,645 miles. Insane and unbelievable. This is the only car that I own, and it is costing me a fortune to have it fixed.

I already made a complaint with the National Highway safety etc. I hope many of you own this piece of crap car PLEASE COMPLAIN!!!! To be honest with this will be my last purchase of a Ford car. I am very disatisfied and at one time I was a pro believer in buying American made cars. Well, i am going foreign and bet it will last longer than 8 years. I am not going to purchase any more Ford cars in the future, they can kiss my ass! Another note, my brother in law purchased a Ford Focus in 2003, he also needs a new transmission. If Ford goes bankrupt, frankly, I don't give a Damn! It's their own Fault! Please COMPLAIN!

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

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