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:
88,967 miles
Total Complaints:
136 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rebuild transmission (66 reports)
  2. transmission overhauled (21 reports)
  3. Ford should comp the damage (17 reports)
  4. issue a recall! (14 reports)
  5. replace transmission (14 reports)
  6. not sure (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #96

Sep 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


My first mistake was to purchase my Explorer from a non-Ford dealership. I purchased the Explorer at the end of June, had it for four weeks before I noticed the transmission starting to slip and brought it back in. They sent it out (had it for two weeks), replaced the transmission (they said with a new one but turns out it was a rebuilt one) and I got it back. Nine days later the "new" transmission totally died. It's back at the Ford dealership again.

I've had it for 10 weeks and it's been in the shop for 4-1/2 weeks. The sad thing is I really like the Explorer but I don't get an opportunity to do anything with it.

- , Birdsboro, PA, USA

problem #95

Jan 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I have always driven a Ford, But bet your ass it will be my last.... I have had to replace the tran. 3 times now, it started when we first got it by jerking and not going into gear all the time , every time I took it to the dealer they said there is nothing wrong. One month after my warranty expired the had the nerve to say you need a new transmission for only 8000,00, There should be a lawsuit and if there is one please count me in..... I was also one of the lucky ones to have the back window explode.

- , Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #94

Jun 262009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,456 miles

We have had several problems with this vehicle. We bought used and have only had it for 6 months. So far, the shifter has broken off, resulting in the whole column needing to be replaced. That cost 2000.11 at the dealership. Not even two weeks later, we noticed clunking when going from park to reverse and drive. Also slipping when shifting between gears. We took it to a local shop and they recommended a rebuild on the transmission. That cost 3245.00. Now we are hearing a whining sound and it STILL clunks and slips!!!!! Why hasn't ford done something? How many people does this have to happen to before they admit that something is wrong with this vehicle? I have never cared for ford. This is all just a reminder as to why!

- , Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #93

Jun 032009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


I bought this 2002 Ford Explorer in 2005, it was a rush decision, bought it because I needed the space for my 3 children. The Factory stereo was replaced 3 times under warranty, still does not work. basically totaled my truck on glare ice,Geico did not total it for me and basically paid $18,000 in repairs initially, ford missed a ton of other things that needed repair, so that ended up being another $4,000 in repairs. 1 year later I realized there was a rattling noise and after thorough inspection found several other things that ford must have overlooked. Among the most shocking was to see my coil over springs in the rear on left and right cracked in 3 places each, on a vehicle with high rollover risk I assure you the damaged coil over springs triple the risk. The dealer ripped me off, the Ford blue team is highly disappointing and the paint job sucked, its chipping off and bubbling, plus overspray with the clear coat. Now in April I had a check engine light come on, had a friend read the code. Bad EGR valve. A week ago I got another light on the dash, o/d is flashing, the same day the truck started shifting HARD. All 65,000 miles that I personally put on the truck are highway miles. Another thing that sucks is that you can not check your tranny fluid with a dipstick(lame). My compass insists that I am always going south. There is a ticking noise in the back of my truck, I do not know the source of it. A common thing that I seem to see is the cracked piece under the rear window, I got it. Keyless entry is junk. I am constantly replacing fuses for my seats. I guess I better go by a Chevy. Bottom line dont trust ford Company's dealers, their warranties, or the wretched blue team. I have lost my faith in Ford products after seeing all these similar complaints. Its making it really hard for those of us who believe in buying AMERICAN.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #92

Jun 012006

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,500 miles

After having the vehicle to the dealer twice for trans leaking it started not shifting properly. The dealer then rebuilt the transmission. THIS WAS THE ONLY VEHICLE I EVER PURCHASED AN EXTENDED WARRANTY FOR AND I AM GLAD I DID!!!!! Ford will never get another dime from me!!!!!

- , Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #91

Oct 062006

Explorer XLT 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,400 miles

At an oil change at 38,500 miles, the Ford dealer's report card for the transmission gave it an "A" grade. Only 900 miles later it failed (out of warranty). It had had the standard recommended transmission upkeep service at the same Ford dealer at 28,500 miles.

If not for the extended service contract, it would have been a $ 3,400 repair.

- , South Bend, IN, USA

problem #90

May 062009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


Just adding to the list, without warning at 68,000 miles O/D light starts flashing while trying to get on highway, transmission wont go from 2-3 gear, repair estimate $2900 to overhaul. There is no way I should have to pay for a transmission at 68,000 miles. I was the sole owner of this vehicle and i have definitely not abused it. Unless ford stands behind their vehicles and compensate people for what they know is a defective product I will never buy another Ford again!!!

- , Camp Springs, MD, USA

problem #89

May 302009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I am also incredibly frustrated with FORD and will NEVER buy another FORD product again! My FIRST transmission went at only 34K miles and I was within my warranty by 5 days! Talk about cutting it close! After battling with them to get it replaced, it worked until 85K miles when the transmission failed without warning! You'd think there'd be a warning light for something as significant as the transmission.

As I was driving my son to a soccer game, the car started bucking! The check transmission and O/D off lights were illuminated. When I stepped on the gas, the RPMs revved up, but the car didn't engage. It never crossed my mind that a SECOND TRANSMISSION would FAIL - let alone after 50K miles (on this tranny)!!!!! I'm now being told that it needs to be replaced to the tune of $3400 because the fluid is black and burnt!!! (This price includes a Ford or Jasper tranny with 3 years/100K mile warranty). Another mechanic stated that the pins failed and 3rd gear is gone. He will replace them with brass casings for $2400 assuming that is all that's wrong. Since I don't know about cars, I don't know if I'm being scammed. The price seems high, especially since it only comes with a 12 month/12K mile warranty. If this 2nd mechanic replaces the tranny, it will cost $3300, carry the same 12 month/12K miles, and pins cased in brass. You'd think Ford would have put the brass casings on the 2nd tranny to ensure this one wouldn't fail.

Not to mention the inconvenience of it all, missed work, and the safety of my children and me, I'm done! As soon as I can dump it, I'm buying a Toyota or Honda. There's a reason they don't need a government bailout! What a pity! We invented the car and we can't figure out HOW to make a transmission last? Sounds like this is a NEW problem. Why did they change the old transmission? Makes no sense! Then, to not stand by their product, is ludicrous. This is why Ford will become obsolete. My last 3 cars were Fords. NO MORE!!! I wonder how many people will have to die before something is done? Have they not learned from the Pinto fiasco? What is the value of a life? of a family??? of a honest and reputable car company? I guess, nothing...

- , Damascus, MD, USA

problem #88

Jan 162009

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

As I have read from this "complaint" page, I had the same issue as everyone else. At 122,000 miles all was well until that beautiful day in Jan when my car stop going over 40 miles an hour. I was able to roll into the mechanic that I "trusted" and said as womanless as possible...What the ---- is wrong with my EXPLORER?

Needless to say, my transmission was shot and needed some major love. They had to out source the repair, which was fine with me. I had a sense of uncertainty when I picked up the repaired vehicle, and now I know why. No more than 4 months later I am on I-4 coming home from the beach when the blasted transmission completely failed again. This time leaving me stranded on top of an overpass with my 6 year old son in the car. After being without transportation for 8 days, I was told that the damage was so bad that they had to replace my torque converter and 4x4 transfer case.

I am a single mom and live 30 minutes away from my unfortunately, I no longer "trust" my Ford to get my from point A to point B and can not wait to drive it into a lake!

- , Sanford, FL, USA

problem #87

Feb 252009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,800 miles


- , Windsor, NC, USA

problem #86

May 052009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,200 miles


I think that as many problems as everyone is having with there 02 tranny that ford should have to repay the people if less than 100,000 miles that is way to soon to go out. My wife drives it and she does good to get over 65 MPH she drive like she is 90yrs old. If it want last under her then it is really a piece of sh*t and we need our money back for it.

- , Nashville, GA, USA

problem #85

Apr 202009

Explorer Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Ok, So I've heard my yr truck is a pain. I purchased the extended warranty, every time things went wrong I had it fixed, (I had a WONDERFUL service writer that could perform wonders!) Well my warranty went out at about 100k. I always keep it serviced, e/thing up to date. The other day I'm heading home and BAM.... my transmission goes out. I knew right away what it was, I've had other cars that weren't as new. I took it in anyways and low and behold, it's my trans. Not only that my rear end is gone! Its about to fall off. GEESE! I'm now stuck with a payment on a truck that I really don't want to spend to fix, especially after reading all of these complaints and wt the rear and trans together its about 5k. (that I don't have) I owe more than that though! SOOOOOOO here I am with a truck payment and a broke truck YEAH- Thanks Ford! Appreciate it!

- , Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #84

Feb 232009

Explorer Eddie Baur 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Didn't expect this to happen. The transmission started slipping when shifting into 3rd gear. 1st time it took a week to get back from repair and it still slipped. 2nd time, they had it 2 days and it still slipped. 3rd time it took nearly 3 weeks and they finally fixed it. They took the transmission out 3 times! It is a piece of junk. The only thing going for me now is the fact that I have a 2 year warranty on it.

- , Cape Girardeau, MO, USA

problem #83

Jan 022009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

At 86000 miles tranny overdrive started flashing and blowing tranny fluid with no previous troubles at all . Truck was serviced as it is recommended and after a trip to the shop a $3200 hit in the wallet.This was just a start to the problems I had with this truck . Will never buy a Ford again I wish I read this site before

- , Barnegat, NJ, US

problem #82

Feb 032009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

First O/D light started to flash, about 5 miles later rpm started to race.

Took it to the dealer, the did not want to repair it because the extended warranty was not from FORD. After 2 weeks and countless phone calls it was repaired-used transmission (11,000 miles) was installed, 3 DAYS LATER, service engine light & O/D Light are on. Bottom Line-FORD products are very inferior to other auto companies.

And we (USA) wonder why US auto mfg are in trouble ($$$$$)

- , Salisbury, VT, USA

problem #81

Jan 282009

Explorer LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

After reading all the similar complaints about this problem, I am angry that Ford is willing to ignore the owners of this vehicle. I think the transmission should be recalled. Ford is only thinking of their own selves - if I had to vote for bail out - I would say NO WAY.

We have bought numerous Fords, but the next vehicle we are going to buy is going to be a Nissan.

Ford are you listening? We need for you to care as much about your customers as you do flying on your corporate jets!

- , Pearl, MS, USA

problem #80

Jan 222009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Tranny slipped and put itself into 4x4low and would not shift out. still at dealership a week later with another week to go at least before finished.

- , Langhorne, P, USA

problem #79

Dec 182008


  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Yeah just got online and discovered this site! I too have a 2002 Ford Explorer and have also been blessed with the curse of the 100,000 mile tranny failure. In the last year I have also replaced rear wheel bearings at a cost of nearly $400.00, and not 1 but 2 motors in the windows at $350.00 a piece. So my luck with Ford this year has not been so grand. My Transmission problems started with a blinking O/D light which then led to not wanting to shift into O/D which then lead into not shifting past 3rd. Replacement at a cost of $3200.00. Who can afford this? Ford installed the most ridiculous Tranny on this model. If you cant check the transmission fluid on your own, there is a problem. I have three small children as well as many out there the seating capacity is the reason I purchased this big money pit. In saying that who, with or with out kids in this day and age can come up with $3200.00 for this kind of repair. It is ridiculous. I will be calling FORD today with this complaint and urge everybody else with this problem to do the same. Even though Ford has been my family's chosen brand for as long as I can remember I will never own another one. This IS the last FORD for me.

- , Sullivan, IN, USA

problem #78

Dec 222008

Explorer LT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


- , Hahira, GA, USA

problem #77

Apr 052006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I purchased my 2002 Explorer from Military car sales in South Korea brand new. Needless to say at 42,000 miles just after my warranty expired my OD light started flashing and it would not shift into third gear. I take it to one of the few Ford dealers in Korea and they tell me that the transmission is totally shot due to a defective third gear band. After doing some research on the internet I realized that most of the owners of the 2002 Explorer have the same problem. I was pissed so I called Ford in the US and they basically told me to get lost. I then contacted Ford Korea and I could not believe it but they paid for 50% of the repairs. I cannot believe that Ford in another country would take better care of their customers than Ford does in the USA. I then had the rear end blow at 46,000 miles and once again Ford Korea paid for 50% of the repairs. To top it off the rear end blew again less than a year later and Ford Korea paid for 100% of the repairs.

I would never buy a Ford again and if not for Ford Korea I probably would already be figuring out a way to start a class action lawsuit.

- , Py, GY, South Korea

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