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:
109,087 miles
Total Complaints:
386 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford needs to recall their faulty transmission (123 reports)
  2. not sure (120 reports)
  3. complete rebuild (78 reports)
  4. new tranmission (46 reports)
  5. new solenoid, pistol in tranny broken (11 reports)
  6. new solenoid (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 10 of 20)

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problem #206

Mar 082010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


They said they know there has been a problem with this transmission, but nothing they can do (ford dealer ). They want $3100.00 for installed rebuilt tranny.

- , Illiopolis, IL, USA

problem #205

Jun 202009

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #204

Mar 072010

(reported on)

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

first of all my wife and I had to replace the engine last fall of 09,Then i had my rear brakes and rotors replaced on 3/5/10 after replacing those parts my left rear wheel had a lt of play in it!!! So now i need to replace some sort of bearings or wheel assembly hub!!! which cost us 230.00. so we picked up the truck from the mechanic and soon a we pull off the o/d light started blinking as well as service engine soon light!! I took it right away to a reputable transmission shop and was told that we need a new transmission!!!! which will cost about 2000.00 to get it overhauled.After reading all the complaints on carcomplaints . com site i was stunned to see that Ford (Fix Or Repair Daily) has not done anything!!!!

- , Lansing, IL, US

problem #203

Feb 102010

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


I think it a shame that ford sale these cars that are a piece of sh*t. I know it had to be alot of complaint about this piece of sh*t SUV. I will never by another ford EVER!!!!. I already put $1,200. in this thing and I only had it a week. It ran fine the first 5 days and then all hell broke loss. I got to rid of this piece of sh*t truck

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #202

Feb 152010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I am totally shocked to read that everyone who owns this vehicle (2002 ford explorer) is experiencing the same exact problem. Not a car expert but sounds like FORD should be recalling or taking responsibility for the problem. Got the o/d blinking light and the slipping gear shifts between 2nd and 3rd. Taking to a mechanic today to get the official bad word! Way to go Ford! ...have a 2002 Corolla that has more mileage and God forbid, no issues!

- , Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #201

Jan 152010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,182 miles

I went to ford and they said I needed a new or rebuilt transmission but was going to cost $5000.00 I believe the vehicleis only in book value $8000.00 why expend that money? so i went to local got it rebuild for $2000 . But it only lasted 50 miles when the od started blinking. this is unacceptable! i went back and they said there is nothing wrong inside the transmission. The mecanic believed it was an electrical problem and change all the cables but that didnt last 35 miles. this happen in january 15 feb 24 im still with out a car.

Ford fix your problem dont create a problem that can close American job if we win the law suit againt you. Thanks ford, you are the worst enemy.

- , Guaynabo, PR, Puerto Rico

problem #200

Feb 022009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


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!

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #199

Feb 022010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

My trucks O/D light started blinking today later on after being parked for an hour or so went to back up and nothing no movement forward or reverse. I was informed it was the transmission and after reading several other complaints with the 02' Explorer became furious as this has been a repeated issue that has not been addressed by Ford. Everyone is being so negative about Toyota but they are doing the right thing by recalling the faults in there cars so it's time Ford steps up and addresses this obvious common faulty transmission problem!

Update from Feb 22, 2010: Please go to the NHTSA website I believe at the following and file a complaint against the Ford Company and their crappy transmission!!! Hopefully this can eventually be recalled and all us reimbursed for their crappy product!!!

- , Buffalo, NY, US

problem #198

Feb 182010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

So my O/D off light is flickering again. I had the original transmission replaced by Ford in 2006 for a reduced rate of $250.00 for the same issue but I will not have it repaired by them again. The first replacement took multiple trips and it was never right - and here is the same light & delayed.slamming gear shifting.

Makes my stomach turn. This is my second Explorer & my last Ford ever!

- , Chmapaign, IL, USA

problem #197

Feb 142010

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

Transmission bangs into gear O/D light flashes.( It even says the symtom in the book, like they new it would happen! I did a transmission flush and it helped for a while. Mechanic found a broken band tensioner in the pan and welded it back on. He said it was originally rivited on. I got about 8000 miles out of it and same problem again. Also the voltage gauge goes below the red and that when the trans slips and bangs the most.The old chevy's of the 80's ran much better and i could change a wheel bearing my self for 10 bucks not $250 Ford blows!

- , Warrensburg, NY, USA

problem #196

Feb 112010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


This is a piece of crap cheap a!! vehicle. I am so sick and tired of Fords. Now I need a new transmission. It is never ending with this vehicle. Broken rear coil springs, wheel bearings, 4wd switch ($500), now transmission. This is my 3rd Ford vehicle and every one has been a major problem. Each one has had to get a new tranny, 1 blown head gasket, plus much much more. I"M DONE. Don't ever buy a Ford again!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Madison, OH, USA

problem #195

Oct 222009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Im extremely upset words cant describe how i feel right now. I purchased my 2002 ford explorer from the original owner in 2004 and have had it ever since. I was happy with the vehicle until the o/d light came on blinking and the check transmission light. the repair is roughly 2000 and its obviously not covered by ford. ford also does not stand behind this product despite all the bad reviews and all the customers with the same problem. My friends were right about ford, they have their Toyotas and Hondas and have never had problems. I took such good care of my explorer. I WILL NEVER PURCHASE FORD AGAIN UNTIL THIS IS FIXED OR RECALLED!!!!!

- , Shelby, MI, USA

problem #194

Jan 292010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,236 miles

Well, I have owned 4 other fords and up until this piece of crap was a ford fan NOT ANYMORE!!! I think Ford should stand behind their vehicles and recall the 2002 explorers and fix the faulty transmissions, I have now been on several web sites including Fords and the 2002 explorer has MORE complaints than almost any vehicle I can find and for some reason Ford Motor Company is doing NOTHING about it. I just purchased my vehicle 3 months ago used of course but so was all my other vehicles and now the o/d light is flashing and message center says check transmission, I spoke to a transmission specialist who was "imagine this" rebuilding a 2002 transmission when I called says this is a VERY common thing apparently happens all the time and again Ford does nothing about it.

I am furious and want something done, and if something is not done I will NEVER buy a FORD again and intend to tell everyone I know that the explorer is a piece of crap and obviously Ford wont stand behind their products so DON'T BUY FORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is going to cost MINIMUM $1800 to fix if not more.

- , Stanton, KY, USA

problem #193

Feb 012010

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and like many of you have the same problem. O/D blinking and check transmission light. Ford indicated needs new transmission. I went to the NHSTA site and lodged a complaint and suggest all of you do to. Since 8/09 they have an open investigation on the power train; however, more complaints need to be filed.

- , Kansas City, MO, US

problem #192

Feb 012010

Explorer LS 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

damm shame ford cannot make a good tranny,never again will i buy a new American car.

- , Angleton, TX, USA

problem #191

Dec 152009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,500 miles

Another problem with this car, after brakes, shattered back glass, rear heat no longer works, 6 disc cd won't eject any CDs and this, transmission problems.

- , Allen, TX, USA

problem #190

Jan 142010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

Well like all of the problems on here mine is the same my boyfriend and i noticed it today, the o/d off light started to blink and when i pressed on the gas peddle the rpm's went up like crazy the car was hard to shift. After reading all of the 200 complaints that are just like mine im pissed the hell off why doesn't ford recall the transmissions? It annoys me my truck is payed off im only 19 years old with a 16 month old son. How do I have the money to pay for a sh*tty transmission that is not even my fault? I don't beat the hell outta my car or race around town i put maybe 5000 miles on it in a year so im upset that i now have to pay tons of money to get a tranny fixed rebuilt replaced whatever i have to do im taking it in tomorrow to get it looked at BUT NOT AT FORD. As a matter a fact im selling it to buy a new car and will never buy a car off ford again!!!! So pretty much you buy a 02 ford explorer youll get your money stolen!

- , Lafayette, IN, US

problem #189

Jan 022010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,398 miles

Have had 2 Explorers the same damn thing happened and ford tell me "SO what"

- , Ephraim, UT, USA

problem #188

Jan 032010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Can't believe that this vehicle can have such a problem with so few miles. Was so excited to purchase and now am so frustrated as more cost involved. Should be a recall.

- , Harrison, OH, US

problem #187

Dec 112009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

I have to say that I was surprised to see so many complaints about this problem. I just figured that my transmission crapped out on me, but almost every complaint is identical to the problem that just happened with my 2002 Ford Explorer. Blinking O/D light, hard shifting, slips into to neutral etc. etc. I even called the number that someone else posted on here. Ford doesn't seem like they're in any hurry to recall these vehicles. The cust. rep at Ford told me that complaints like all of ours need to go to them and not to websites like this. I have to say that if it wasn't for this website, I would never have known how much of a problem this really is. Everyone who has this TRANSMISSION problem needs to call this number 800-392-3673. And also visit this web site This is the government agency that can force Ford into a state of recall. Takes about ten minutes to fill out. If WE don't do anything about it, I'm pretty sure that FORD won't either.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

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