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:
120,110 miles
Total Complaints:
56 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (29 reports)
  2. replace transmission (24 reports)
  3. replace aluminum bushings in tranny with brass ones (2 reports)
  4. automatic transmission solenoid valve (1 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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Jun 152009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


Same complaints as everyone else. At 65,903 miles 4x4 not workig. Replaced DPFE and transfer case shift module. At 81,587 miles check engine lite on & running very rough $200 repair lasted 1 week then back to the shop because OD light flashing and loud clunking noises while shifting roughly, especially when pulling a lite tent trailer. At 87,992 miles pulled transmission twice. Replaced torque converter. This is the 5th Ford I've owned. All other experiences were great. Think I'll be moving on to a new manufacturer if Ford deosn't make an effort to make this right. It is shocking to see how many people are having the same transmission problems.

- , Manteca, CA, USA

problem #15

Oct 192010

Explorer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300,000 miles

i have always hated fords. i bought one thinking it would change my mind. but i hate them even more. i bought mine july 2008 and since then it has given me nothing but trouble. i have replaced axles bearings u joints. the back window stopped working then six months later the front one stopped working. AND NOW THE EFIN TRANSMISSION IS GOING OUT. I WILL NEVER OWN A BUSTED ASS FORD. GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and whos bright idea was it to not put a transmission stick in the transmission. morons

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #14

Jun 072010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,465 miles

We bought this vehicle used only a year ago and now we're going to be out around $3,000 because apparently Ford Explores have transmission issues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had found this information before we bought. I don't know how I'm supposed to pay for this.

- , Jackson, OH, USA

problem #13

Aug 012010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles


4 times in the past 2 years I had to go to the FORD Dealer in town to get the exploder fixed. 4 times something happened that either cost me more time and/or more $$ than I thought it should.

This time, when the tranny started going - no way was I going back to the dealer.

I went to AAMCO just for a diagnostic on the tranny. Much better experience.

Tranny codes say the ratio is off and I'm missing 2nd and OD. I've read that it is likely just the valve body. They think it is a bigger problem but won't know for sure until they get into the tranny and inspect. I think I should direct them to the valves and ask to look at them for cracks.

Would someone please describe where the cracks on the valve body are located? Got pictures? Thank you!

- , Greenville, NC, USA

problem #12

Aug 222010

Explorer V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 143,900 miles

Point blank. I just can't afford to have this repaired right now so I pray that this vehicle runs as long as possible.

- , Goose Creek, SC, USA

problem #11

Aug 052010

Explorer ? Lx 4x4 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Bought used in 2004 done "many" repairs now out of warranty it sucks !Shifts it clunks between 2nd and 3rd gear doing that since 2006!As of yesterday OD/OFF lite keeps blinking and slipping badly! I have babied her for past few years,most of the miles hwy but she's all I have, I'm a single mom can't afford to replace the trans.The dealership told me it was a cold start problem not to worry( they screwed us cuze its sealed trany , has to go to dealer 4 service). Here I sit with 124,000 miles on it,can't even get up the smallest incline.I heard many complaints about this particular year,make&model, whats up with ford?????Leigh

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #10

Jul 132010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,500 miles


Car made rumbling noise when I put my foot on the gas pedal, hesitated, and then accelerated; o/d off light flashing.

I took the car to the Ford service center at 7:30 a.m. - by 3:30 I hadn't heard from them and called to advise I already had a verbal estimate for a transmission, and I needed to know what the problem was; service tech advised they would look at car and have an answer by day-end; they alled back to advise they thought it was the shift servo failing and they had to remove pan and reinstall at a cost of $575.00 w/no repairs; next day received a call that my transmission did have to be replaced at a total cost of approximately $3500. I have another company tow my car to their facility, and the owner paid the bill at Ford of $237.50; and the cost of transmision totalled $1500.00. I am planning to keep the car no longer than 36,000 miles when the warrany expires, at which time I will probably get a Honda or Toyota. FOREIGN CARS LAST LONGER THAN AMERICAN MADE.

- , 1110 May River Road, Bluffton, SC, USA

problem #9

Jun 252010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,023 miles

This is dangerous. How many people have to experience the same exact thing before FORD will recall it? I am really dissappointed in FORD.

Everyone who has this problem needs to call Ford at voice their complaint at 800-392-3673. Also file the complaint at this website

This problem needs to be acknowledged by Ford!

- , Greenville, NC, USA

problem #8

Nov 012005

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

We purchased this vehicle in a moment of despair. My wife's 1996 Explorer (Eddie Bauer) ran like a top for 10 years. It was also the vehicle that we took our infant son to the hospital on 09 October 2005. We lost him at 23 days. My wife could not bear to sit in that vehicle again. We soon replaced it with a 2002 Explorer XLT, with 48K miles.

Three weeks after purchasing this vehicle, Ford Motor Company showed how poor its quality dropped. 1st to 2nd gear feels like a manual transmission, and you forgot to let the clutch out. Damn tissue paper transmission! Got a "we're sorry, but pissoff" from Ford, regarding this joke of a vehicle.

Three tranny flushes and refills (it has to be hooked up to an apparatus to get the fluid changed) later, the problem continues, and I will be dipped if I'm paying anyone to keep this POS on the road once it says sayonara. It slips, but still keeps moving, and has been babied the whole time we've had it.

This was the first and last Ford I've ever purchased. My 1994 GMC 1/2 ton pickup still runs and looks great, and will NEVER be replaced by a Ford POS.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #7

Apr 132010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,233 miles

why does my pretty car run like crap? just replace a broke rear spring and on way home o/d lite comes on, and it shifts bad

- , Mechanicsburg, OH, USA

problem #6

Apr 022010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles


I have been noticing a lot of 2002 and newer Explorer owners having multiple problems/fixes on transmissions without any solutions or help from Ford Corporation. The average cost for repair/replace/rebuild is $3,000.00.

I have decided to look into starting a class action suit. I personally have replaced the transmission in my vehicle 2 times and it has just gone out again. I had it serviced on schedule so neglect isn't the issue.

I am looking to get a response of how many customers might wish to be part of this type of suit and have documentation to support their claims.

I would appreciate only serious parties responses so provide contact information. Please respond to

Thank you

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

We have a 1996 Ford Explorer with 278,000 miles and were so happy with it that when I had a chance to purchase a 2002 I was so excited as we are over 60 yrs and felt that this would be the last vehicle along with our 2002 Solara, which is a very nice vehicle. Well, now we have some problems and are not looking forward to repair bills. UGH

- , Harrison, OH, US

problem #4

Jan 062010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 174,000 miles

I bought my 2002 Ford Explorer last year, I always felt I would have trouble with the transmission from day one b/c it was hard to put it in gear from park. It would jerk from park to reverse or drive. That was when I first purchased the truck now my O/D light is blinking, it's sluggish and my husband saw smoke coming out of the back. We can not afford to replace the transmission right now and scared to find out how much it would cost to replace the transmission. I have been researching this issue and there are so many complaints there has to be a lawyer to take this on as a class action suit. Where do we start looking for a lawyer.

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #3

Nov 022009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Transmission is going fast. I felt the hard shifting a week back and now the OD light is blinking on and off. I have read many issues throughout the internet and I have not received any good news on how to go about fixing it. Some say the rebuilt ones are crap and the new ones from ford where built poorly the first time so what makes you think the second one is going to be any better. Looking for any success stories with regards to this problem. I don't want to go out and buy a new truck. Sales tax and all the other bull that comes with it.

Please help me out with any positive feed back.

- , Wakefield, MA, USA

problem #2

Jul 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I like others have had the same issue with the Explorer. The O/D light blinking, transmission shifting hard into 2nd gear and engine light on. I even got stranded on the side of the highway after work early one morning. It is currently in the shop. It is going to cost me 1500.00 to 2500.00 dollars since it has to be rebuilt. I have contacted Ford as well and they say the same to me We're Sorry. My family has always believed in fords for many many years but since this incident we have all changed our minds about the company. We will never buy another Ford again.

- , Mcloud, OK, USA

problem #1

Jul 212009

Explorer EB 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

just bought 2002 ford explorer 4 mos ago. already the tranny is out of wack. im having several problems. it shifts hard and soft. when i stop, it makes a slamming sound, it s making a rattling noise all the time. my OD OFF light blinks. the words check transmission shows on the dash. i took it to a tranny mechanic. he told me and showed that the explorer transmission has aluminum bushings in that wear out. and this is what causes the problem with them all. at the time he already had four of them on his lot with the same problem. the gear ratio. he said the only way to fix it is to take it out and replace the bushings with brass ones. he guarantees it with a 36 mo warranty. the cost would be $2200. i just paid $6000 for the truck. im out of money. wish i had done my home work before buying. i am SOL for now. don't get a rebuilt one unless bushings are going to be changed. all of those trannys will have the same problems til the bushings in them are changed. it take a special kit that most shops don't have. so beware. or have the same problems with the next one.

- , Harrisburg, PA, USA

Not what you are looking for?