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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:
$2,840.00
Average Mileage:
92,334 miles
Total Complaints:
408 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (102 reports)
  2. replace transmission (79 reports)
  3. transmission needs to be recalled (79 reports)
  4. call Ford customer service and complain 800-392-3673 (63 reports)
  5. not sure (34 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 1 of 21)

problem #408

Nov 302013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

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

Disgusting that so many 2002 Explorers are all having the same transmission problems (Trans failure, O/D light coming on, etc) and Ford is not doing anything about it. This is a manufacturer default that we're all stuck with the bill for.

- , Paramus, NJ, USA

problem #407

Mar 062014

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,000 miles

Transmission failed after buying vehicle from dealer in Colorado and driving to New Mexico (550 miles). This was bought to replace a Dodge Dakota which saved my life in a rollover accident in February but the insurance company only paid out so much and I have to make a move to Ohio to start a new job. I was in a hurry to find a replacement vehicle that can tow a trailer and have some utility to it... boy was I wrong. Should have researched it better. I almost bought a 2004 Dodge Durango... but decided against it.... bummer.

ONE DAY LATER, during the drive to New Mexico, to pack and get on the road; the Engine started surging, and the transmission seized. Currently at the Ford dealer seeking a diagnosis.. will not be able to move my new job in Ohio... will most likely cost me my (not even started) new job. Will try to call Ford and complain. The vehicle came with a "3 month or 3000 mile limited warranty" but I am sure they will tell me to pound sand when I call them tomorrow. Will add few other issues I have had within ONE DAY.

- , Monument, CO, USA

problem #406

Dec 022013

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,904 miles

THIS TRUCK WAS A GOOD TRUCK, THEN SLOWLY TURNED INTO A F*CKING PIECE OF SH*T THAT CAUSED MANY PROBLEMS GETTING TO WORK ON TIME ANYWAYS. FIRST THE SERVICE ENGINE SOON LIGHT CAME ON FOR EMISSIONS. THEN PAINT STARTED PEELING. THEN THE TRANSMISSION F*CKS UP!!! THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A RECALL. THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE. I'LL NEVER BUY AN EXPLORER AGAIN!!!! TRADED THAT PIECE OF SH*T IN ON A HONDA ACCORD. BUYERS BEWARE, STAY AWAY FROM ANY EXPLORERS!

- , Cleveland, Ohio, USA

problem #405

Sep 152013

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

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

I had my transmission replaced with a used one 2 years ago for $1500 (bad idea), only for it to go out again last month and the repair is gonna cost me $1900 that I do not have. So, I am now without a vehicle.....again. I've talked to so many others and they too have the same problem, which is transmission slipping (specifically 3rd gear). There are far too many identical problems for this to not be recalled. I will never buy another Ford.

- , Summit, MS, USA

problem #404

Nov 142011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,523 miles

ford has a ongoing problem with transmission failure on explorers mostly in years 02 to 04 and will not acknowledge it or do anything to help with the cost. I have bought ford products for every new car truck i have owned in the past, over 10 brand new vehicles in all. but i WILL NOT BUY ANOTHER FORD PRODUCT.CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS. GMC HERE I COME MAKE ME AN OFFER AND I'LL BUY IT. FORD SUCKS.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #403

May 152012

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

This will be the 4th rebuild/replacement of the transmission. Just for kicks I called Ford and made a formal complaint which probably falls on deaf ears. I let them know the differential has also been replaced as well. My 4x4 light blinks non-stop and I've had all the sensors, conversion kits, and upgrades done that Ford has offered.

What are my options now, Ford? I've got none that I know of, so I'll be shelling out $1800 that I would prefer to use for vacation, NOT another transmission repair.

Anyway, instead of everyone bitching on this forum, CALL FORD AND MAKE A FORMAL COMPLAINT!!!!! I can't stress that enough.

PLEASE CALL!!!!!

- , Chicago, Illinois, USA

problem #402

Jul 282013

Explorer LXT 4.L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

The transmission problem is very something else without any help from the Ford dealer. I cannot use my Explorer anymore because of this situation and also i do not have any idea about the cost to repair it. I will never buy any other Ford car because I know now the type of support I can get from the Ford dealer.

- , Fort Mitchell, Alabama, USA

problem #401

Sep 142012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 199,000 miles

hey hey hey! I was "lucky" to have mine last to 199,000 miles! I should say nanana booo booo to the rest of you! Damn transmissions in these things are junk, along with the wheel bearings, toe links....all of those things repeatedly replaced, I will find a tranny from a wrecked donor car, put it in my explorer and proceed to sell it to the next stupid person I see! Hey do any of you ford loyalists want to buy a great vehicle with an awesome reputation for, well, okay you can haul alot of people in it, 7 I think? I have the lemon, errr, vehicle for you! Thank you Ford for proving my point to my wife which is, if you buy blue oval you walk to work eventually. The bummer of it is, I was driving the Piece of crap at the time of break down! hahahaha She was driving my Chevy because, it rides nicer, it doesnt rattle ( oh yeah this explorer rattled since 54,000 miles when my wife decided to bring this rolling turd home). I will say DAMN the HEATER works like a sum bitch! They should duct the heat to the bumpers so when you push it in the winter your hands won't get too cold! ha heated bumpers! Oh which I have to close with this one, stop me if you heard it already.................................................You know 90% of ALL Fords are still on the road today..........................................................................................................................................................The other 10% actually MADE it home!!!!!! Another fine vehicle ford! Too bad it didnt have your fancy sync and navigation with it! I'd look hella cool looking up a towing service on the side of the road all while listening to a tune downloaded from itunes! Thank you so much Ford for not taking bail out money! hell you dont need to because you make defective parts and dont fix them.....EVER! oh, anyone that has owned a ford taurus SHO MTX or ATX ( I have owned 2, a 90 MTX and a 94 ATX) will back me up on this, FORD makes SLUSH BOXES not transmissions!

- , Muscatine, IA, USA

problem #400

Sep 112012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,254 miles

I had the same old problem with my 2002 Explorer that seems to plague most the other owners. I also got the blinking O/D light of death and the harsh shifting. So instead of giving up and having a rebuilt transmission put into the truck just to have the same old problem again, I did some research on what exactly is going on. I found out that the servo (on the outside) of the transmission which controls the bands (on the inside) of the transmission create an oblong hole over time. This creates and pressure leak and thus shifting problems. The solution...instead of replacing the transmission with a new or rebuild one just to have the same issue return I had the servo hole re-bored and a brass sleeve installed.(brass is tougher than aluminum case the transmission is made of) Problem solved and it will last a lot longer now. My cost was $1500 thru a local transmission shop. That was the complete cost including parts and labor.

My suggestion to all of the hate/love Explorer owners out there is to research servo bore and ask some shops if they perform this service. I now have 40k more miles on the Explorer and not a single shifting issue.

- , Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #399

Mar 292013

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I wanted to do my small part in helping Americans to keep manufacturing cars in the USA, so I purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer. In 2004, the hatchback/lift gate cracked. When I contacted Ford, they said it would cost me approximately $300 to fix the problem. I believe it is a design flaw and not due to neglect on my part. I have never had it fixed and now there are multiple cracks on the liftgate. Also, in 2004, the "Check Engine Light" permanently came on, despite different mechanics seemingly fixing the issue. In about 2006, the "Over Drive" turned on randomly. Now, in 2013, with 88,000 miles on my Explorer, it was diagnosed to need a transmission. The cost we were quoted by our mechanic to install a new one is $3890. My husband and I contacted Ford and they suggested we take it into a Ford dealer and have it replaced. We have to pay for the transmission if we want an operable vehicle. I am now left with the opinion that my Ford is an INFERIOR auto that lacks the support of the manufacturer. It is Ford's choice to ignore my issues and it is my choice to NEVER again purchase a Ford and I my choice to tell my friends and family my experience with my Ford Explorer.

- , Loveland, CO, USA

problem #398

Mar 292013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

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

On the phone today with Ford as my 2009 transmission has now blown up. What the hell? There has to be a limit as to how many of these complaints need to be filed before something happens to FORD regarding this matter. Why do we the consumer have to keep paying for their errors and poor materials. Clearly, I will never buy another Ford.

- , Tappahannock, VA, USA

problem #397

Mar 142012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

Moms explorer went out at 83000 1st time last march. Then only 3 months later needed another one at 86000 and now at 93000 a year later its slamming into reverse and hesitating alot im sure it won't be long before the next one. Can't get rid of it cause we are still in debt from the first 2 trannys and my mom works for a ford dealer. Mine is an 02 as well same car. Only has 66k miles and I cross my fingers when i drive all the time. Mine has had no problems except the one wheel bearing. My moms has been a total f*ck job. Probably 5 different times wheel bearings went. Rear window cracked. A/c went out, and heat then the regulator broke, and now with the 3rd tranny on its way out. the rear end is making noise and i took a look at it, pretty sure it needs rebuilt and a new pinion bearing. Mine has been good but i drive very carefully and i definetly plan to sell it asap

- , york, Pennsylvania, USA

problem #396

Apr 012013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L 302 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,360 miles

O/D LIGHT STARTED FLASHING AND CHECK TRANSMISSION CAME ON IN INFORMATION CENTER WHEN OUT OF TOWN, THEN WE HAD STOPPED, CALLED A FORD DEALER AT 11:20 AM, AND WAS TOLD, SORRY NO MECHANICS ON, CALL BACK TOMORROW. I CONFIRMED WHAT I HEARD, THEN WAS TOLD NO ONE HAD TIME TO TALK TO ME TODAY, SO I CALLED A TRANS.SHOP. HE SAID BRING IT IN, STARTED TRUCK BACK UP, HAD NO GEARS WOULDN'T MOVE IN ANY GEAR. HAD TO BE FLATBED TO TRANS. SHOP, WE HAVE PENN WARRANTY COMPANY AS EXT SERVICE, BUT THEY WONT EVEN COVER 1/4 OF THE COST, CALLED FORD, THEY SAID NO RECALLS, AND ITS OUT OF WARRANTY, SORRY CANT HELP YA.

- , Kerhonkson, NY, USA

problem #395

Mar 042009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Could not understand why transmission would be problem after on 72k miles and no warning or indication that anything was wrong. On my way home from work yellow od light came on took to AAMCO the same day and was told entire system burnout. They had the car a week and half and 2500 usd later gave it back. Called Ford no response other than they had other complaints but no resolution. They freaking suck so bad.

- , Tappahannock, VA, USA

problem #394

Apr 012012

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,343 miles

Ford transmission slipping from park into reverse. As these cars start to age the problem with the faulty transmission is becoming more and more apparent. Please anyone who has a similar story share it with my family, this is our story....

My name was Kim, I was 30 years old...the mother of 2 little children, Jace 5 and Julie 2. I had a good life and enjoyed it to the fullest, I was a nurse, a teacher, and I was going to the University of Alberta in September to complete my masters in nursing.

On April 1st, 2012 Ford took all of that away from me and took me away from my family when my SUV surged into reverse and killed me in my garage as I was getting ready to take my dog to the park. It destroyed a lot of people. Never thought I would die that way!

Update from Apr 3, 2013: One week prior to the accident my sister was telling me and my family how her car was surging while driving down the highway coming back to Spruce Grove Ab from Banff Ab. If your vehicle is experiencing any of these issues please STOP driving it. Do your research for injuries / deaths related to these vehicles. This is a SERIOUS issue!!

- , Spruce Grove, AB, canada

problem #393

Mar 112013

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This my second Ford and my last if Ford doesn't belly up and make it right...This 2002 Explorer is nothing but junk!!!

- , Dalton, GA, USA

problem #392

Jan 012013

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Explorer transmission failure. Same as everybody else.

- , Atl, GA, USA

problem #391

Jan 012013

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

My car alarm goes off when it feels like it, my door open light won't go off, and if parked up hill, it doesn't like to go in to reverse. On flat level, it will go in to reverse just fine but it doesn't want to move in reverse. It feels like it's catching or stuck in the mud...

- , Ketchikan, AK, USA

problem #390

May 222012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

this car has always has something wrong with it. $4200 for a new trans at 109000 miles is crazy. how can you make a transmission that cannot be serviced. It was designed to be a disposable item. then when you get it back the 4 wheel drive does not work. Webb ford says that is not a related problem even though it worked before the trans was replaced. I guess I should be happy these explorers don't flip and kill you they just bleed you dry.

- , Hammond, Indiana, USA

problem #389

Dec 232012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I am (was) a ford truck guy. I spent most of my summer vacation, as a youth, on my grandfathers farm. Every tractor, and truck was a ford. So naturally when as an adult, it was just ingrained in me, when the time came to buy a truck...buy a ford. And i did. My wife and I are on our 8th ford vehicle in about 22 yrs. 4 where explorers ( 1991 thru 2002), 2 where p/u (1992 & 1997), 1 was a E150 conv. hi-top ( 2002 ) and the Flex (2009). So i think Ford motor company might consider me a loyal customer !?!?

My issue is with my wife's 02 explorer XLT. The tranny just Sh!T the bed. With 71000k mi. We are the orig. owners and it hasn't haul anything other than a double stroller and the kids. And the tranny is just the last straw with this Suv.

Prior to the 02 explorer, i owned a 98 explorer sport and my wife owned a 2000 explorer xlt. But with the family growing, and me hitting my head on the door jam ever time i strapped Jr. in the car seat, we trade up. That was the beginning of the end.

Within the first yr. it was back to ford for: Interior lights that stayed on, steering column replacement, And though the years a host of annoying things like broken rear strut, window motor, heater coil, water pump, e-brake cable, heater blower switch, rear lift gate strut, and the computer modular for the anti lock brakes. With by the way is another design flaw the ford has turned a blind eye to.

Even with all the problems we had with the 02, i kinda chalked it out to " first model yr flaws", i still went out and bought an 09 Flex.

But if ford doesn't stand behind the product and at least offer a pro rated refund for the replacement.....

I'M DONE...FOREVER....AND I'LL TELL EVERYONE WHO ASK (and those who don't) TO PISS ON FORD !!!

- , GARNERVILLE, NEW YORK, USA

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