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 16 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #86

Sep 182008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


Well, I feel like I'm repeating what everyone else is saying. My 2002 Eddie Bauer Explorer's transmission decided to crap out on me while my wife was in the left lane of a busy Hwy, with no shoulder to pull off on. But that's right FORD says it's not a safety issue. I am so outraged by the number of complaints for the same thing, how can they just turn their heads on this.

- , Farmingdale, NY, USA

problem #85

Sep 062008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,408 miles

My husband was taking the car on a fishing trip, towing a small tent trailer, when the o/d light started flashing, and the service engine light came on. It started shifting very hard. Was in the middle of nowhere, so he turned around and went it to supply store. And he drove it home. A mechanic friend scanned it and told us the PC solenoid was out in the tranny. We took it back to the dealer we purchased it, who has done all and any work on it, and they fixed it, ha, for 1058.18. A week later it is shifting hard again. After reading all these complaints I as very upset. And I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I hope everyone does! I have had a Ford for 35 years, and will NEVER buy another one. As a matter of fact they can take it and put it where the sun doesn't shine!

- , Eureka, CA, USA

problem #84

Oct 202008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

The problem first happened in TJ one year ago. SUV didn't make it going-up on a street and now O/D flickering problem. Result "Transmission Rebuild".

- , Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #83

Aug 192008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


I've had this 2002 Ford Explorer for 2 years now, and last month in August, my o/d light starts flashing non stop. The manual says that the tranny needs to be serviced, so I take it to my local repair shop. $42 dollars later, they tell me that it's certainly something with the tranny, may be a sensor or something worse, and they can't even give me an estimate on how much it's going to cost to fix it unless I bring in it for 2 days. This is my only vehicle, meaning I would also need to rent a car.

I've been saving up some cash to try and get this thing repaired, when I stumbled across this site. Now I'm scared, thinking that they might try to pull one over on me and charge me for a tranny rebuild (which from the looks of it, doesn't seem to last in these vehicles afterwards anyways).

I've always been a Chevy girl and buying this Ford was a last minute, out of desperation decision. It was this or a Chevy Trailblazer that would have cost me an extra $40 a month in payments. Now I'm wishing I had just sucked it up and bought the Chevy. I will never buy another Ford again. Tomorrow I'm going to a CHEVY dealer with the hopes that I can somehow manage to trade this hunk of junk Ford in for a real vehicle.

- , Oak Grove, KY, USA

problem #82

Aug 302008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88 miles

My O/D light kept blinking and Transmission light kept coming on.

- , Cochranville, PA, USA

problem #81

Sep 192008

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

First of all, this 2002 Ford Explorer was my boyfriends first car. It's something that he really worked hard for. So, let me tell the horrible story of what happened. Well, September 19, 2008 my boyfriend came and picked me up from work and he parked the car so that i can drive home, so he put the car in Park and got out and i got in and then i put the car in reverse and the car wouldn't go. No matter how hard i pressed the gas pedal it wouldn't go. So, I next put it in drive and it barely moved but it moved very slowly. The car was going about 15 m.p.h and there were cars behind us and i tried to go a little faster but the car made this LOUD SCRAPPING RIDICULOUS NOISE, it was horrible. This noise was a sound i never heard in my life or in any other car. As, i drove 5 m.p.h to get home. Finally, when i got one block from my house the car wouldn't go even while i was giving it gas. Me and my boyfriend are only 22 and 21 years old. This is something that we cant afford to pay. When we left the dealership in June they said that everything was okay. In the short time that we've had the car, we've had to change the brakes and a full oil change. If i would've known that this car was going to be like this we wouldn't never purchased but as soon as this PROBLEM get fixed it's gotta go. FORD YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God knows how much this is going to cost us..... THANKS FORD!

- , Chicago, IL, US

problem #80

Aug 072008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles




problem #79

Sep 092008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

So NHTS has 478 complaints on this issue. Considering there are several thousand of this year and type vehicle on the road this number of complaints is not significant nor is it likely there will be a recall since it has not posed a safety hazard. Assuming for every complaint there is an average of 10 non posted complaints that would roughly be 4780 current vehicle owners with issues to this effect. This is still a very low number of issues for a vehicle that over 2000 per day are produced. I believe Ford is aware of this issue and of course is the reason they are giving a 3 yr, 100,000 mile warranty on the replacement trans. Of course since mine made 93,000.00 before the issue come up that would be about right. We didn't experience any transmission effects only the lights flashed both O/D and Check Transmission.

- , Louisville, KY, US

problem #78

Apr 122006

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

2002 Explorer XLT O/D light started blinking rapidly after 80000 miles and check engine light on. Had to have the tranny completely rebuilt. Now after only 2 years the same is happening again. Ford is completely irresponsible in the tranny equipment that are on these models of Fords and refuses to do anything about it. Should be recalled due to the fact that so many people are having the same problems.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #77

Aug 202008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,058 miles

o/d light started blinking. then shifts wont change, i dont use my explorer no more because the transmission is bad.and because its really expensive to fix. i have a friend thats has the same problem, ford should fix the problem, Ford should of never put that transmission type on any of their vehicles. if any one is suing ford let me know.

- , South Gate, CA, USA

problem #76

Aug 102008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


Bought my 2002 Ford Explorer used in 2004. Had read online about a year ago about problems with that year, especially transmission problems. Didn't think anything of it after I passed 100,000 miles. Little did I know that last Sunday would be the start of it. First I started having problems accelerating once I hit 20 MPH, wouldn't accelerate at that point, then finally shifted into gear at 30 MPH. O/D light started flashing, check engine light came on. Problem seems to be getting worse, won't accelerate after 20 MPH and when it finally does it jerks and continues on slowly until I reach my desired speed. Took it to my local shop, told me the bad news, it's my transmission. Advice my mechanic gave me?? Trade it in. If only I didn't owe more than it was worth, who would have known that it would depreciate worse than I had expected as well..?? Really upset, especially after reading all of these same complaints...wake up Ford!!!

- , Eustis, FL, USA

problem #75

Jan 012007

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

I had my truch for 4 years, I got it when it was 2 yrs old and in January 2007 I first started having problems with my transmission. When I would start to drive my vehicle there would be this be kicking noise as if someone had hit me from behind. Soon thereafter the o/d light started flashing and about a day or so later the check engine soon light came on. I couldn't afford to take it right away so I figured out how to drive the car like this. I took it to Aamco in February and they rebuilt my transmission at a cost of 2600 with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty. Just recently in August, 2008 I was driving and felt the biggest jerk that I ever felt in my truck and right after that the o/d light starts flashing again. Although my warranty had now expired I contact Aamco since that had just rebuilt the transmission a year and a half ago. They told me to bring it in, they did the diagnostic and of course it was the transmission again. They told me that even though my warranty had expired they would rebuild the transmission again at no cost to me. That I was happy to hear because at this time I definitely could not afford to pay for it a second time. Although I didn't think I should be having problems a second time and I think aamco felt that way also, which is why I don't have to pay anything... Too bad Ford isn't anything like them.... They suck!

- , Rahway, NJ, USA

problem #74

Aug 052008

Explorer XLT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

About 3 months ago I noticed my O/D light would blink for no reason. At first this would happen about once every 2 weeks but after about a month it started happening more frequently. I then started to hear a roaring in the rear of the car. I took it to Midas and they said the bearings needed replacing so I did that. Now I hear this whining from the rear and I feel a small vibration. When I put the truck in gear there is a small jerk before it is actually in gear. I have already taken this piece of crap truck to the dealer for the transmission once. I have spent about $3500 in this truck for timing belts, o2 sensors, catalytic converters. What else can go wrong? This vehicle is a money pit. All 2002 Explorer owners should get together and go after them in court. Than maybe they will stop making crap for cars!!!! There are about 550 Explorer owners with the same issue. Something needs to be done

- , Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #73

Jun 192008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

Started with a whining noise, then blinking OD light. Just like everyone else took it in to our nearby transmission shop. according to them the computer returned a code that showed an overheat. They replaced everything electronic in the tranny. The shop would not trust the transmission if the electronics got cooked. $3000 latter i'm back on the road.

There is no reason for the overheat condition. my wife uses it primarily for shopping and taking the kids to pre-school, it's only got 54,000 miles on it. This seems to of happened way early compared to most of the complaints i've read here. a lot of good the factory tow package did me. what a piece.

- , Canyon Country, CA, USA

problem #72

Jul 162008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

This just happened to me on July 16,2008..the flashing O/D light..check engine light..not shifting..I also have a 2002 Explorer... seems like there should be something we all could a class action suit? There's to many complaints about this problem..and it cost to much to fix..I still owe 7,000 on my vehicle..FORD SUCKS!!! I also will never buy another Ford..If Ford had a recall on this problem it would put them out of business!....Henry Ford should turning over in his grave!!

- , Bellingham, MA, USA

problem #71

Jul 152008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

What the bloody hell 54000 miles on the car that goes 6 miles to work and back every day 6 MILES and I got to replace a transmission ! Ford what the hell are you churning out garbage? I have been a loyal ford driver since I was 16 years old. Thats 20 Plus years of driving your vehicles and I got to now ride my bike to work for a few days cause you cant send out a notice to customers regarding your faulty transmissions. Thanks Ford, I think next time I will buy a Toyota ..... No wonder they are kicking your backside !

- , Eagan, MN, USA

problem #70

Jul 042008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

On 07-04-08 the O/D light in the 2002 Ford Explorer started to blink and the truck would make a winding sound, I took it to my mechanic who happened to be a retired Ford mechanic for 20yrs. As soon as I told him the problem he said oh yea those explorers are famous for this one, before he even test drove the vehicle he said its your transmission and it needs a new one or a rebuild, I said ford knows about this ? and he said absolutely and they wont do anything for you!!!

I find it funny (Ha Ha!! Real Funny) that on this Countries (USA's) Birthday we have One of the Founding Father Companies of the American Automobile acting in such an irresponsible manner, I have been reading hundreds of the same problems and Ford will not contact these owners and attempt to correct such an injustice.

Well its not just the Mechanics in the Transmission shops who know of these problems but its the Ford Mechanics in the Ford Dealership shops who know of these issues too. Maybe Ford should start a program that the potential buyer of one of there vehicles should be given the names of 5 surrounding dealerships and be given the opportunity to speak to the mechanics in these shops, they know the real problems, but then again it seems that the Ford upper echelon is not even listening to the little Mechanics who handle the daily issues so why should they listen to us the customer....good luck ford owners

- , Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #69

Jul 072008

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

WOW!!! I sure wish I would have viewed this site before purchasing this POS Ford Exploder! Yes I said Exploder. I had just had my daughter and thought this would be a great vehicle (even after all the bad things I had heard), so I purchased it used in 2006. The truck only had 20,000 miles on it. Days after leaving the lot I had to have the rear end replaced (luckily under warranty), then at about 60,000 miles I had to have a solenoid replaced due to a malfunction that was making the truck jerk when I went into reverse and the RPMs would skyrocket, and now again at 80,000 miles I see the O/D light on again and the check engine light, and sure enough the reading is that there is a solenoid B malfunction...what a surprise. It seems to me that Ford would fix the issue. Its not like there are only a handful of people with these problems. It looks to me that it is every ford exploder! I just purchased a brand new Mitsubishi lancer last week. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! No more FORDS (fix or repair daily) for me and I'd urge all of you to not even look in that direction anyways. Its pretty sad that we can't even trust american made cars and have to buy foreign.

- , Valparaiso, IN, US

problem #68

Jul 052008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Just found out this morning that the transmission on my 2002 Ford Explorer V6 XLS is basically shot. 85K miles and the O/D light is flashing. My local mechanic advised towing to a tranny shop. Called a highly recommended shop and was advised approximately $300 to diagnose and an estimate (based on history with 2002 Explorer') of $3400. I have no idea what I am going to do. Can not afford this bill! Called Ford and they basically said nothing was recalled and they would do nothing for me either. Rep said "have a nice day".

- , Grandville, MI, USA

problem #67

Jun 272008

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

Service engine and o/d light is activated and blinking. The gears seemed to be hesitating to shift properly. I thought there was some type "recall" issue on this vehicle by Ford. However, I was wrong. The Warranty has already expired and I nearly have this vehicle paid for. I will never buy a FORD ever again. I wished there was something I could do to file a "LAWSUIT."

- , Belhaven, NC, USA

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