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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
97,444 miles
Total Complaints:
149 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should recall these enclosed transmissions (39 reports)
  2. Replace transmission (37 reports)
  3. not sure (34 reports)
  4. repair transmisson (11 reports)
  5. drop the tranny and bring to a shop for a rebuild (8 reports)
  6. rebuild / replace transmission (7 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 2 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #129

Feb 202012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 922,074 miles


I took it to a transmission place and they told me they have 3 other Ford Explorer 2002 in shop waiting to be repaired. WHY hasn't ford put out a recall.. I don't have warranty anymore and dealership way to high to fix. ford stands for Found on road dead .

Update from Mar 8, 2012: Supposedly the Transfer case according to the Mechanic at Belle Tire said it is worth crap,

I had to get a front wheelbearing and back wheelbearing and shaft and bushings

- , Southfield, MI, USA

problem #128

Jan 102012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

My transmission just failed at 135,000 miles. This wouldn't be so bad if this was the first transmission, but this happens to be the 3rd transmission and now I need to get a 4th. 1st transmission went out around 35,000 miles (covered under New Vehicle warranty), 2nd tranny went out around 77,000 miles (covered under extended warranty through my insurance co), and now this 3rd tranny just went out at 135,000 miles and I'm out of warranties. This is ridiculous and now that I did a quick search and found this site I know I'm not alone. Why isn't there a recall yet? What can I do to help make Ford issue a recall on these vehicles? Does this site help with that process or should I be calling Ford directly?

- , Orange, CA, USA

problem #127

Jan 052012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,998 miles


- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #126

Jul 182011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,235 miles


I have a 2002 Ford Explorer, I got it in 2008. I Loved my truck, it never gave me problems; until now! My o/d light started blinking, I really didn't think of it. Then a few days later my "Check Engine" light came on, and again I didn't think it was serious, at this time my truck was driving fine. Then one day I felt it different, so I decided to take it to get the check engine light checked out. IT came back that it was the solenoid pack, so I took it to a Transmission place, and they said it would cost me $400 to replace it! I said Ok , and left my truck there to get fixed. About an hour later the mechanic calls and tells me the problem is bigger; the transmission was slipping. He said I can re-build it for $1500, or I can replace it with a new one. I can't afford that, so I took my truck home. I researched the problem online and I came upon this website. I was astonished on how many people had the same problem! I saw a lot of people re-built their transmissions for it to go out AGAIN!!! I realized that, there's was no point in fix'in my truck, every complaint I read, The transmission kept going out, People replace it 3, 4, or even 5 times! I don't see why FORD, won't step up to the plate and recall these trucks! IT's ridiculous!!!!!!! All I can say, is that I'm not even gonna bother fixing my truck, and I WILL NEVER BUY FORD AGAIN! WE should take this to the news, and other media outlets, and spread the word, in hopes that FORD will recall these trucks.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #125

Mar 202010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

It runs but transmission slip and sometimes flunks.

- , Marion, IN, USA

problem #124

Feb 252011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Transmission slipping. It takes a long time to shift into first gear and it feels like i'm pulling something heavy. My overdrive light keeps blinking, check engine light on, ABS light, and it snatches when i slow to a stop

- , Moultrie, GA, USA

problem #123

Nov 112010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles


This vehicle had its transmission rebuilt at 107,000 miles by a reputable transmission company in business for over 31 yrs. Then at 111,000 miles it started clunky will shifting into park and absolutely jerking your entire body while shifting into gears as you drove. Still under warranty I took it back to transmission company, one person told me that this year vehicle was HORRIBLE FOR THE PROBLEM AND TO GET RID OF IT.....then the owner took it out to test drive it. He said since I only drive occasionally that I have to drive it for 200-300 miles and keep taking it to him to put on a scanner so he CAN REPROGRAM THE COMPUTER IN IT SINCE FORD MADE ONE THAT DID NOT.....I have to drive 63 miles round trip to do this and I AM SCARED TO DEATH WHEN MY WARRANTY RUNS OUT 11-11-2011 THAT I AM STUCK WITH ANOTHER REBUILT ON ANOTHER BAD FORD PRODUCT......How can Ford charge such a large amount for a ford explorer eddie bauer and it cannot even get over 100,000 miles on this vehicle.....IF I WOULD HAVE KNOW BEFORE THAT THIS FORD TRANSMISSION HAS SUCH A BAD REPUTATION...I WOULD NOT HAVE PURCHASED IT. I GAVE FORD ANOTHER CHANCE AFTER 22 YRS OF OWNING ONE AND GOT SCREWED AGAIN......AFTER MUCH RESEARCH NOW...... I WAS TOLD NOT TO BUY ANY FORD SUV/TRUCK 2002 TO 2008 BECAUSE OF ALL THE TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS........

- , Madrid, IA, USA

problem #122

Jun 022011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,119 miles

I called Ford, unless more people call them directly to complain, they will not recall these transmission. Please call them and place your complaint at 800-392-3673. This is my third replacement in this vehicle the second lasted 35,000 miles and the third, only 19,000 miles. There is obviously something seriously wrong with these transmissions, just call any transmission shop and they will tell you these don't last. I love my vehicle all expect the transmission.

- , Redlands, CA, USA

problem #121

Sep 012010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Transmission went out.. Thought it would last longer than that...

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #120

Oct 292010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I purchased my truck in october of 2008. it was a fleet vehicle. I started having problems with it around late october of 2009 with the transmission where the car wouldn't go above 30mph., I took it to AAMCO because I thought they were a reputable company. they fixed it or so i thought with a 1 year nation wide. forward to now. It is late march 2011 when my truck starts to slip and my o/d light is flashing for two days. the truck slows and starts to not go above 30mph. I think of my transmission. but it shouldn't be acting up because I just had it fixed. During april, 2011 my spring break it slows again and I take it up to ammco they say its sticking in 3rd and something about a converter...they say they won't charge for labor since i worked with them and only charge parts...I get my qoute and two options 1. $1100 to just fix damaged parts or 2. $2018 for a manufactured refurbed transmission w/ a 3yr warranty....why is it still so much if I'm no paying labor? and is there a cheaper way or recall for this problem? I also shopped around this time and some ppl are saying they can fix it cheaper...What should I do? I am currently trying to figure out what to do as I only have a couple of months left before my truck is paid off. it is currently at Ammco...waiting... as am I I need my vehicle...Am I to be stuck paying for this again? or can I trade?

- , Decatur, GA, USA

problem #119

Mar 012011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles


ford does not back up their products. sad to say there is no recall on this transmission with only 30,000 miles on it. they said the vehicle was too old for any assistance. look on the internet there are thousands of complaints. they wonder why people buy foreign vehicles. next they will be asking for more government assistance.nice job ford keep up the good work by taking care of your customers.

- , Rossford, OH, USA

problem #118

Jan 032011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

My transmission has finally blown! Prior to now it would not shift into 3rd gear without giving me jolts. This is truly a hazard and finally my car simply stopped while driving in the middle of the road! I called several mechanics and surprisingly they ALL knew exactly what the issue was and told me what year and model my car was before i told them! They had seen the same issue and stated how there is a flaw in the design of the 2002 Explorer. I'm sure Ford knows this as well SO WHY IS THERE NOT A RECALL FOR THE TRANSMISSION! I am in need of a new car and I will NOT be going near FORD!

- , Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #117

Jan 222011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Currently own 5 Ford vehicles, have driven all of my previous Fords 200,000+ miles and have never had transmission problems before. I think that Ford should make this right for all the customers that may be future customers....or NOT!

- , Dorr, MI, USA

problem #116

Nov 162010

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

I owned a ford tarsus and the transmission went out at a 130000 miles,now I own a 2002 ford explorer. The transmission is slipping.What is it with ford transmissions?

- , Burlington, NC, USA

problem #115

Oct 292010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,800 miles

This Explorer has been exceptionally well maintained vehicle and is a one owner car. This is the very first transmission failure I have had, and have owned ten or so vehcles, with most of them going 130,000 miles before trading. Is has not towed anything. I can't believe it needs a rebuild on the transmission. This is the 2nd significant repair due to the lack of Ford quality. The first one was when the entire gas tank had to be replaced because the neck valve got astuck and I couldn't fill the gas tank ($800).

Next SUV will have to be GM or Dodge!!!!!!!!!!

- , Newburgh, IN, USA

problem #114

Nov 052010

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I purchased this vehicle off of my sister in-law about 5 months ago and never had an issue with anything on this truck. She babied the hell out of it for the time she had it. I get in one day drive the 20 miles to work and as I pull in the truck starts to clang and bang as I accelerate. Unbelievable. I am so disappointed this has happened and now i have means to fix the issue. Ford knew about this problem I've read and did nothing about it. I will never buy a ford again. Found On Road Dead!!!!

- , Hamburg, NY, USA

problem #113

Sep 222010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Well after about 45,000 miles I noticed a rattle when in park and the way it would drive I did think it was a strange shift but thought maybe that's the way a transmission for a V8 was supposed to be. It wasn't something you would notice without really concentrating on the acceleration. But I also thought that I would someday probably be buying a transmission for this vehicle. The dealer said when I purchased this new Eddie Bower back in Nov 2001, ( yes, I have been driving it for nine years) they told me it has a sealed transmission and that I never have to check the fluid for 100,000 mile's. I asked because of the fact that it does not have a dipstick for fluid. The vehicle overall has been great, drives like a car, works like a horse and literally hauls butt.

- , Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #112

Jul 212010

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

had vechile transmission serviced at 110000 mi ( they badgered me into it, had freee oil changes at the dealer fot the life of the vechile but not transmission change $129.00) service took about 1 hr, they reversed flushed it and did not road test. took vehicle home and it seemed ok! about 3 months later went around a corner and vehicle and the vechile went into neutral ( would not go anywhere) pulled over and it picked up and was driveable again. brought back to dealer to have the oil level checked (NO DIPSTICK) and they said it was only a pint low. at 126000 mi transmission now slips in 3rd and 4th and needs to be rebuilt cost est $2200. to $2400.


- , Meriden, CT, Albania

problem #111

Nov 152009

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Transmission started slipping winter of 09. Attempted to put some Lucas junk in it to stop the slipping but the good folks at Ford chose not to put a fill tube on the Explorer in 02 and probably other years and makes and models so I could not get much in it because it is too thick to pump through the little place you fill it under the vehicle. I even tried warming it some with no luck. I have yet to fix it, I just have to baby it when moving from a stop and be careful while accelerating.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #110

Sep 112010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,000 miles

This is the 3rd time I'm having the transmission rebuilt. This time I've decided to go to a private transmission repair shop to have it rebuilt. The first two rebuilds were done by Ford service. Obviously the transmission broke down after the service warranty has run out.

I regret not getting an extended warranty. That was my fault. BUT...this vehicle has had numerous things wrong with it. Some that one would never thing that could occur. I would list all the things that have gone bad on this vehicle but I don't have the time to enter each issue.

I am never, ever going to buy a Ford again. I don't even think I'll buy a domestic again. I just don't believe they are building these things to last.

- , Evergreen Park, IL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?