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 18 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #46

Mar 222007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


Same problem here as everyone else. o/d light starts blinking and then service engine light comes on. Had the dealer fix it once, and cost me 1600. But next month, same problem comes along again. took it back and dealer said I have to get a new transmission or have my old one rebuilt what a bummer...

I don't even think they fixed my solenoid problem the first time.. cause the computer read out still says, pressure b solenoid.

I'm also into the class act lawsuit if you all are... a friend of mines at ford, says that the engineers are told to only design the transmission to last 100k miles.. Just when the warranty expires.

that really ticks me off.

- , Johnston, RI, USA

problem #45

Mar 062008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Well, here it is....The o/d light started flashing off and on. No other warning then that. I pulled off to the closest repair shop. They thought it might be just a solenoid block but after they pulled the pan there was metal all over the magnet. Bottom line looks like it gonna cost me over 2500.00 to fix. I have looked into the web a little and found this is really common. I say we take to fight to Ford with a class action suit. If the off shore engineers can make something work forever why cant the American automakers? I have only bought American cars to this point....But now I am really thinking about selling them all and buying imports.......What a sad freakin day......

- , Los Banos, CA, USA

problem #44

Mar 032008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

called ford they won't do a thing. My dealer won't do a thing. I'm hanging out to dry. NICE

- , Yaphank, NY, USA

problem #43

Feb 012007

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles


Same crap here. O/D Off light screams and slipping at 55mph - 70mph and quick acceleration on freeway (not fun). Granted the there's 124K miles on the car. I called a tranny guy and he said it might be a solenoid or ECU or the tranny. He can't say till I bring it for him to check. Strangely he asked if I was some other person who called with the same year make and problem. It's obviously common as you all see. Thanks God I opted to purchase an extended extended warranty. My warranty expired last year and I got a call from them saying my warranty will expire and if I would like to purchase another warranty for an additional 100K miles. So I did. It covers the entire drive train, no electrical. Murphy's passenger rear power window goes out. I will repost what the tranny dude says and how much it will cost. This is the last nail in the Coffin for Ford. I will never again buy a Fuk....I mean Ford.

- , Elk Grove, CA, US

problem #42

Mar 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have searched throughout the internet and couldn't believe I found so many issues exactly like mine. It amazes me that Ford gets away with this too. Also it happens far after the warranty. I knew when I bought this vehicle Ford was a mistake. I was talked into it by someone who ignorantly believes in that old old buy American crap. I'm sorry I'm American and I buy things all day. 85% of the things I buy all day are not American. So why would I buy something that costs so much and deal with it being substandard

I wish I would have bought the Toyota. I will get rid of it and go back to imports. can't go wrong. And you out there that believe in buy American. Look at your clothes food and almost everything else in your house.. Then you buy a piece of crap Ford and carry a flag on it.. Good Luck.....

- , Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #41

Feb 042008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

My overdrive light is blinking ... doesn't kick on until I get on the highway...but then doesn't turn off until I turn off the car. Is there a fix to this prior to my transmission going bad seems fine at this point and the light has been blinking for a couple of months. (It did it a couple of years ago, but only for a week).

- , Port Crane, NY, USA

problem #40

Feb 292008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


dealer asks how much I like the Explorer as it will likely cost about $3000. He implies I may want to sell it NOW before the transmission dies. I am taking it to AAMCO for a diagnosis. Seems very low mileage for the transmission to go out. It has now happened twice.

- , Pleasant Valley, NY, USA

problem #39

Mar 302007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

O/D light is blinking, then a whole new transmission is needed. This occurred very

shortly after the warranty expired. The mechanic we went to stated he has seen a lot of 2002 Ford Explorers with the same problem. We contacted Ford by phone and with written letters, and statements,.........nothing, absolutely nothing. I could not believe the number of people that had the same problem after researching this on the internet.

I know that Ford must have a computer in their office somewhere, so someone should be able realize the number of complaints posted regarding their transmission problems.

- , Madison, CT, USA

problem #38

Mar 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,600 miles

Well My 2002 explorer was just fine Friday when I drove it got up sat morning and me and hubby was going to go goofing around since it was a warm day and got down the road and it wouldn't shift into second gear when it did it made a clunking sound and. I am totally peed off because I have had two rear ends put in this car. and new front end in this car, new window motors, the 4 wheel drive went out 3 months after i bought it. the sun roof leaked, My son called me one day because I had taken my husband truck to town and said the back plate from your car fell of and is lying in the drive way not once buy twice The rear window leaked and i had to get that fixed. so pretty much will never ever ever buy another ford explorer.

- , Crossville, IL, USA

problem #37

Feb 232008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

Well folks, same problem O/D light started flashing, yesterday. 2 miles later the dreaded service engine soon light. The real kick in the pants was (honest to GOD) when I walked in the house and the wife stated"Hey babe the title for the truck can in the mail today, we finally own it". Hurt me to tell her that now we are going to have

put about 3500.00 into our free and clear piece of crap. then I looked on line and

found this site and WOW, this is crazy, At some point we as consumers have to be able find a way to hold these companies responsible, and make them feel the pain

in the pocket that we are feeling.

- , Upper Darby, PA, USA

problem #36

Jan 152008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles


As most of you have already said, I will NEVER buy another ford vehicle. You can't honestly tell me that Ford doesn't know about the transmission problem on the 02 Explorer? I took my truck to Aamco last week and when I called to check on the status, they guy had to think about which explorer was mine because he had so many in the shop! You have got to be kidding me?! My OD light started blinking in mid January, but my wife had to continue to drive it since the warranty expired and we didn't have the money to fix it. A few weeks later while driving home from the airport with my KIDS and in-laws in the car, the stupid thing wouldn't shift correctly and starting shaking, etc. How embarrassing and unsafe with my kids in the car! I'm glad to be getting it fixed, but as soon as I get the chance, I'm going to get rid of this piece of crap. Ford, I hope you know how your customers feel. You will be out of business very soon.

- , Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #35

Feb 202008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have been a faithful Ford employee and customer for many years and this problem has

has topped it off for me.

My transmission o/d light started blinking and the transmission stopped working completely. I have taken really good care of this vehicle from day one. I have only

60,000 miles on it and it has been serviced by ford. After having my transmission flushed as recommended by ford , I started having this problem. I went to ford and

complained but no help was given. They said they go out all the time with no set mileage. I can guarantee myself and my family will never buy another ford ever.

We have bought over 15 vehicles in the last five years.

- , Arden, NC, USA

problem #34

Jan 012008

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I cannot believe I am back at this web site AGAIN. We had a 1993 Explorer that was very good to us--it's still running with 160,000 while our new 2002 explorer in is the shop AGAIN. (I was on this board b/c the back door cracked badly right underneath the windshield--shop est $600 to fix, that's not going to happen.)

Our air bag light and O/D light we're both blinking, so we brought it in thinking it was an electrical problem. NOPE.

We need to have our transmission rebuilt. The shop said it should be covered under our warranty--thank god my hubby is always insisting we buy warranties (when we bought the car with 20,000 I never thought we'd have a transmission problem with only 50000!)

If not, we're screwed.

- , Woodstock, NY, USA

problem #33

Dec 012007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

well,same problem as many ford owners check engine light is on O/D light

flashing reminding me what an idiot i was for buying a ford!!!!! mechanic said needs a new transmission of course.Nothing like paying 400.00 a month for a piece of sh*t and still owe 13,000 to pay off!!!SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED!

- , Millville, NJ, USA

problem #32

Feb 232008

(reported on)

Explorer Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

This is my 2nd Explorer Sport. I still have a 1999 and all is well with it. My 2nd Explorer 2002 year and purchased new was doing well and now as others the transmission is failing. I have taken to Amocco Transmission and they say needs a complete rebuild.. What is going on with Ford???? I checked many web sites and see horror stories of this same problem s from all over. It is crazy to pay so much money for an American made car and have such problems today. Yes! I have owned foreign cars and have NO PROBLEMS! I try to buy American but this is not fair to us Americans to keep doing this with such problems that Ford will not admit and try to help out us who work hard and continue to buy their products. I even have an old MG that runs great and I can trust better than my Ford. I do not want to sound like a person who complains about all things but I must say I am complaining now and will continue to do so until a recall is done on the 2002 model. I have owned many Fords in the past but I must say if Ford stays silent on this problem then all my future cars will be foreign.

- , Goldsboro, NC, USA

problem #31

Feb 192008

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Few weeks ago, I have changed the transmission oil of my very well maintained Fords 2002. It costed me about $250. I did it because the Ford Engineers (which I do not know where are they getting their degree from), suggest to do it every 30K. I trusted more the Ford Engineers (BIG MISTAKE!!) than all my good mechanic friends, who advise me NOT TO change the oil, because it will cause more harm than good. Transmission is used to the old oil and putting new oil on it will cause shifting issues because the NEW oil is thinner. That was a prophecy...... Just two months after the oil change I need to replace the transmission. According to the FORD dealership, it will cost me about $3400 to do it. The moral of this story to me is: NEVER CHANGE THE TRANSMISSION OIL ON AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION!!!!!!!

- , Oreland, PA, USA

problem #30

Jan 022007

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I had just bought my new - used - 2002 Ford Explorer! I was so excited to get out and drive. However a red flag should have gone off when I was told that the transmission was newly rebuilt just before I bought it. Anyway.... I bought the car and had it about 2 weeks when the Over Drive light came on and began flashing wildly while driving. This in turn messed with the transmission and it wouldn't shift right. The band in the middle of the tranny had broken. So the car went into the transmission shop for a week to have it rebuilt AGAIN. I get the car back. Two days later the O/D light comes on when you start the car if it is left in park. Now while I drive it the electric locks start locking and unlocking at the cars free will. The Door ajar light comes on and off along with the annoying beeping that comes with it. The transmission seems to be fine though. Some months down the road (about 3 months) the tranny starts shifting funny!!! Wow, who'd of thought. So I go to a different tranny shop! I didn't trust the same one. We replaced the main sensor so the lights would go off. Nope still on! Now it has been a year and 2 months and about $3000.00 later I have to spend $3000.00 to rebuild the transmission because the same *&^%$#@ piece broke! Go Figure!!! This is the most expensive annoyance I have ever had! ~Tonya

- , Webster, MA, USA

problem #29

Jan 242008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

I just wanted ot update my previous post, I called the Ford Northeast Regional Office and spoke to Mary. I asked that Ford buy my truck back from me, she said exactly "that is not going to happen." She told me to contact my dealer for financial assistance with the repair, I am trying to get a "goodwill repair" from them. Mary told me I had to deal with the dealer for this.

But the best is that when I first told her my problem she told me:

"Ford no longer has any obligation or responsibility for the truck because it is no longer under warranty."

I could not believe it. I said to her "you made a defective product and now you take no responsibility for it! As long as it lasts 3 years or 36K miles your happy!" But what does she care, plus I had an extended warranty, they would not do a thing. I also emailed my local TV station to see if they'd take up the case??? After I see what the service manager does for me I am writing to the corporate office.

I will let you all know what happens in case I have any luck but I'm not really that optimistic.

- , Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #28

Feb 142008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I am completely sickened to discover this issue is rampant. The O/

D light started blinking followed by the Service Engine Soon light popping on.

I took the Explorer to the repair shop and as soon as the technician asked about the problem and the year of the vehicle, his quick response was: "You're screwed!". He told me to look outside at the 2002 Explorer parked right next to mine...same problem. He proceeded to explain that this problem is well known by Ford and that the '02 Explorers were well known for this issue. I was shocked as I had never had an issue or repair in the 5 years that I've owned this vehicle. I'm awaiting the call back to find out what resolution the repair shop has to offer. I'll hold my breath until then....

- , Clinton Township, MI, US

problem #27

Feb 052008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

Ok.. so I just had to click a category just for this website but let me LIST what has gone wrong with this car.. I still had 14 day plates on it (it was used at 64,000 miles) the front wheel bearings went, so I had that fixed, then within that year I had the whole rear end fixed; new bearings again then just bad luck I had to replace the windshield 3 times b/c of rocks hitting it, then the Ford symbol fell off on the back that's just damn annoying so I had that fixed, then like other complaints about this car the friggen panel underneath the glass cracked so AGAIN I had to get that area fixed where the ford symbol fell off a few months prior haha. Then I had a little incident and backed into my father in-laws truck and had to pay 600 dollars to get the rear pounded out molded and painted and more symbols replaced that said eddie bauer haha and then the BIG ONE my overdrive/off light was flashing like crazy and the check transmission light came on so I took it in and my mechanic said to "dump it" because it was going to cost thousands to just start to fix it, so I was really taken by that because he shut the light off and said I had a decision to make whether to fix it or dump it.. Well, I dumped it and got a Jeep Commander, which is awesome, and I had someone tell me this exact story about someone else's 2002 explorer and it cost them $3500 to fix, Unbelievable is all I have to say. I pondered buying another Ford because I have had 2 prior but I just couldn't. I would recommend researching any vehicle before buying it. Hope this helps someone.

- , Warren, ME, USA

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