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

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 13 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #146

Jul 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


It's sad that the pride in what our country produces matters not anymore. Bye Bye Ford.

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #145

May 012009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

When my car started hesitating and the OD light came on I took my car to the dealership to have them take a look at it. They looked at it and said that my spark plug wires we installed wrong and that is what the problem was. They fixed that and I left a couple of days later started doing the same thing, took it back again and they told me that the spark plugs that were used were not recommended by Ford. Now $300 later and new spark plugs it is still doing the same thing only this time my service engine light came on. I don't have the $3000 to repair the POS and on top of that we owe more than what it is worth.

- , Pipe Creek, TX, USA

problem #144

Dec 192008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Add me to the list. Transmission started slipping and then skipping 3rd gear and wont go into overdrive. Took it to two transmission places and both places said it was going to cost over 2 grand to fix the problem with a complete overhaul. Now I dont know what to do. I have called multiple dealers to see what they would give me for trade in value and the best offer I have had is 1,000 dollars. I still owe 5,000 on this peice of crap. I have called Ford only to find out that there is no recall and their answer was they could find me a close certified Ford dealer for me to take it to to have it fixed. Ford has left me with no choice but to buy a used transmission for it and trade it in ASAP. I feel awful for the next poor person that purchases it but I dont know what else to do. The rear end is starting to whine and its next to go. Im not putting anymore money into this sinking ship. As for Ford, you just lost another costumer! >: I

- , Bates City, MO, USA

problem #143

Jun 182009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Great add me to the list of people with this piece of crap SUV. Transmission totally trashed.Going to cost me over $2000 to get one rebuilt.This is the second explorer

I have owned. The first one was a 1998 XLT. I never had any problems with. Traded

it in for the 2002 when it reached 100,000 miles.Maybe I should have kept it!!!!!!

- , Blacklick, OH, USA

problem #142

Jun 112009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,497 miles

We purchased this vehicle in January and have already put close to $10,000 into this vehicle. This month, the day before we were to take in for an oil change, the OD light started blinking. The next day, we find out we need to have the transmission re-built - cost $3800. This vehicle seems to have all the "typical" Explorer problems - the back panel is split, the seat belt/air bag light is permanently on, the power steering pump is laboring, it clunks when it is put into reverse . . . the list goes on and on. Sure wish we checked out this site before we got this vehicle. It really is a piece of &^^%%%*#()) - it has cost us a bundle -which we don't have. How do you get rid of an awful vehicle - sure don't want to pass these problems onto someone else!!!!!!!

- , Chilliwack, BC, Canada

problem #141

Jun 062009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,500 miles

I just had to replace the bands in my 02 explorer transmission. Cost me $1600. I have talked to others and did my research and found out many others have had this problem. The overdrive light flashes and the rpm and the mph don't match up and the car has trouble kicking into gear. Also, many explorers i see have a crack under the back windshield. It is a straight line and all in the same place. We should get a class action lawsuit to get resolution.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #140

Jun 072009

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,014 miles


O/D light blinking! Trans. rebuild at 34K, 47K, 57K and other related malfunctions in between directly caused from faulty repairs at the dealership. Independent trans. shop now on top of the situation. Only cost around $400.00 this time. Lucky for me the owner knew about some type of fix for the torque converter melt down that caused the OD light to blink this time. Looking for more problems.

- , Howell, MI, USA

problem #139

May 142009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

i was in my way to Jordan ( from Riyadh ) then the o/d off light start to blink i contact the dealer and he told me to turn off the truck for about 15 minute when it comes after 4 hours the transition oil started to fall on the street and the car stopped i returned to Riyadh then my car returned with warranty service .

- , Riyadh, Malaz, Saudi Arabia

problem #138

Apr 062009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Ford lost another customer when my transmission went out like SO MANY others. I still owe more than the POS is worth but am wondering if it wouldn't be worth it just to let someone else have the headaches. In two and a half years I've replaced both rear wheel bearings,one front hub and had to replace the 4 wheel drive module @ $200.00 before 75000 miles Now the transmission is going fast. I really hope Ford realizes how this affects their future. If a class action suit starts count me in. That's all I really want to deal with Ford about from now on.

- , Sully, IA, USA

problem #137

May 222009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

After getting the oil changed and the steering fluid replaced, the o/d off light started blinking on and off. Went to a Ford dealer and they said it was a solenoid problem that would cost $1200 to fix. Went to a reputable repair shop and said the transmission needed to be replaced for $2400-2800. Strange, as I didn't notice any change in the performance of the car (although I had noticed that there was something strange with the shifting from 3rd gear from the moment the car was purchased at 50,000 miles). Is it unsafe to still drive this car without getting it fixed?

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #136

May 292009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


the same problem as everyone else. O/D light starting blinking, the trans. slipped. $2,200 later, a complete rebuild later, truck is back on the road. I contacted ford about this problem. FORD DOES NOT STAND BEHIND THERE PRODUCT.

- , Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #135

Feb 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Here's my response from Ford about my earlier complaint .....

We have reviewed the situation, and unfortunately, there are no warranties, Field Service Actions/Customer Satisfaction Programs on your vehicle that would provide assistance for this repair. However, we do suggest that the repair be done by a Ford/Lincoln-Mercury dealership where the technicians are trained to put your vehicle back into factory specifications, and any Ford covered parts replaced will come with a 12 months/12,000 miles warranty.

- , Levittown, PA, USA

problem #134

May 192009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

I bought this car new in 2001. I now have 111,000 miles and the O/D light is blinking and the check engine light will come on as well. I have it in the shop right now, but, based on what I've seen so far, it looks like its going to be expensive. Wish there was a cheaper solution to fix this car. I might be able to get $2500 on a trade in as is. IF I go and fix it for big money, $2300 or so, then I'm just throwing money away. Not good, really not good!

- , Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #133

Jul 112008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

First the transmission past warranty, then both back springs snapped in half 2 months later, and now the rear bearings went while I was going 50 mph on the highway and was all over the two lanes and was able to pullover without any contact with any other car. My wife and I can't afford to fix these problems right now so we will have to go back to using one vehicle.

- , Manchester, CT, USA

problem #132

May 142009

Explorer XLS 4.0l

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

While going across an intersection,on a highway the o/d light started blinking and the transmission quit working.Their was an semi coming who had to slam on his brakes and swerve off the road to avoid killing me and my children.Had diagnostics ran and came back with codes #po733 and #po745, intermediate bands are screwed the transmission needs rebuilt,


- , Paris, IL, USA

problem #131

Mar 302009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,089 miles

I also bought a 2002 ford explorer with 19,000 miles on it also thinking what a great deal I have had the truck for 3 years it now has 76,000 miles on it.

The check engine light has been coming on and the O/D light will start blinking I tow a boat so I took it to a transmission shop they said it was very common for this to happen with the year of truck that I have. They said the cause was servo piston bore what ever that means they also said that if I donít repair it for $2,400.00 that the lights will continue to come on and the truck will continue to slip.

The other weird thing is I'll be driving and I hear a ding you know the sound you have when you leave your keys in the truck but I'm driving my truck when this happens and the door lock will go off like I'm locking the doors.

I really love my truck the body is in excellent shape I still owe on my truck so buying something new isnít an option. The sad thing is I tow a boat every weekend and Iím worried that something might happen.

- , Reno, NV, USA

problem #130

Apr 302009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

We bought a 2002 ford explorer with 19,000 miles on it. thought we were getting a good deal, but turned out to be a headache. The dealership we bought it from is no help at all for any problem we had with the truck and we had a few. This last problem is the O/D light blinking. The cost to fix the trans is $3200. They said we lost 2nd and 5th gear??? where did we lose it???

- , East Haven, CT, USA

problem #129

Apr 282009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,662 miles

just like the other people same problem o/d light flashing and check engine light on. went to a transmission specialist he said common problem on this vehicle and a tranny rebuild on the order of $1500-$2500. I would like to get rid of the vehicle but other than the transmission problem, I still owe on the vehicle it still in good condition ford needs to step up to the plate and fix this known problem for free and stand behind their product

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #128

Mar 282009

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

click to see larger images

o/d light is blinking o/d light is blinking o/d light is blinking

The O/D light is blinking in my 2002 Ford Explorer. Ford should do something about it. I will NEVER BUY FORD AGAIN!

- , Allen, TX, USA

problem #127

Feb 272009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,543 miles


Took a look at this website when my transmission gave out a couple of months ago, thought i was going to need a new tranny ($4,000). I put it off because i did not have the money to pay for it up front... I finally brought it to ford this week and told them my problem. THEY RETURNED THE CAR NEXT DAY, ford developed a computer upgrade to fix this problem ( LOST GEARS, O/D FLASHING, HARSH SHIFTING INTO REVERSE AND DRIVE). My Explorer now runs better than ever... ONLY $200... posted this to help people out...


- , Minot AFB, ND, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?