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 7 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #266

Nov 182010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,405 miles


I will never buy another ford. I also own a 2006 F150 and the transmission is slipping. I am trying to trade it in. Back to Chevy. The Explorer also has many electrical problems. The trim on the back panel door also has the crack along with every other explorer I see on the road. Ford lost me and I tell everyone of my problems. DO NOT BUY A FORD!!!!!!

- , Keller, TX, USA

problem #265

Jan 042011

Explorer LXT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,233 miles

Well the O/D light is blinking and the car feels heavy like I am pulling something. If someone has the same problem please contact me for any solution. Thank you for your time.

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #264

Dec 102010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Ford is truly the devil and I will wait as long as I have to for the class action law suit. I was naive to think it was just my bad luck to have taken a loan for my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT in 2008, only to have a huge $3,000 transmission problem before I was even done paying the loan. I am more than angry, I am hostile and agitated over this issue. I am not a rich person who just can throw money away. I am a single mother, living on peanuts, I have a bachelors degree and am suffering in this economy as most of us are. My problem came out of no where. The truck was running fine until 12/10/10. First the "check transmission" sensor went on, then the O/D light started blinking and it was failing to switch into gear if I went over 40 miles and hour. On this day in Minnesota is was below zero temperatures and the Minnesota State Police had called a snow emergency so when I called AAA to tow me I was informed that it would be 5 hours before a tow truck would be able to get to me. When I realized that this issue was severe and would cost at least $3,000 to fix it brought me to tears. Realizing that I would still have to continue to pay the loan in spite of this, more tears. Realizing that almost every person with this model has had the same exact issue and Ford has failed to recall it brought me to ANGER. I walked 2 miles with a 9 year old child in below zero temperatures, spent all my money, and Ford is responsible? Ford could have prevented this or issued a recall? REALLY? Good ol' American Ford. As I sit here and read each and every story I wonder why we don't somehow all unite against the DEVIL THAT IS FORD MOTOR COMPANY? Lets fight for this! We can try doing it as individuals, each with our own story but if we unite we have a better chance. We can get justice and we can save others from making this same mistake and putting their hard earned money into a vehicle that will fail them in spite of their best efforts. I say we start a war, what do we have to lose? There has got to be some attorney out there that will see all of this and want to cash in. For me its not even about the money anymore. Its the principle.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #263

Dec 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles


Have to drive this truck like it's about to break down. Driving with overdrive off because of the blinking. Told by two mechanics will cost up to $5,000 to fix. Ford should have to pay for shoddy vehicles.

- , Readfield, ME, USA

problem #262

Dec 192010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

I have nothing but issue with this truck....I've had 3 fuel pump replaced, back axle/spring replaced, engine replaced, something with the brake wiring replaced, and now the darn o/d light is blinking and it feels like i'm pulling another car. I had the tran checked it turns out it's working properly. I'm hoping maybe I can get the o/d disconnected and hopefully the problem will go away. But reading all of these comments regarding the same issue is making me wonder...why was this not a recall. They recalled the hatch back! I'm sorry unless they offer a five year warranty and long term trans warranty...I can not think about buying another FORD.

- , Riverdale, IL, USA

problem #261

Dec 012010

Explorer XLT 4.6 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

My O/D on/off started flashing and the trans seems to be shifting hard in between 3rd and 4th gear. All seems okay besides that which after reading all the complaints of this problem, it could cost me me between 200 and 3500 dollars. What does it ,mean exactly. I mean what code is being revealed by the flashing light. No other lights are on, ie. check engine or whatnot. Please some advice if anybody out there has some.

- , Carmichael, CA, US

problem #260

Jun 202009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


I will never purchase a Ford again. I bought this SUV brand new off the show room floor. At 30,000 miles the transmission went out. Had it fixed. At 60,000 miles it went out again. Call Ford Motor Company and they didn't do a damn thing. So I had to anty up another three grand for a piece of ???????. Presently I have 70,000 miles on it, because I'm too afraid to drive it. What a waste of money.


- , Chicago, IL, US

problem #259

Nov 282010

Explorer Sport 6cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

I guess I'm not alone on this one. Driving the other night, my O/D light came on and was flashing for about 20 minutes. Once I turned the car off, the light stayed off until I hit a big bump then it came on again and was flashing. Next morning, the light was off. I drove about 15 miles and was climbing a hill; the tach was rising and my car started decelerating then I saw smoke in my rear view mirror. I pulled over and got the heck out of the car thinking it would catch on fire. Lots of transmission fluid was under the car when it was towed. Garage said they can't say if the trannie is bad or not, but recommended replacing the trans fluid and filters since they looked off color and the filter looked clogged. Said the dipstick was blown out and that's where the fluid came from. Will know tomorrow if changing the fluid and filter helped or if it will be a bigger problem. Fingers crossed, but after seeing this site, you guys have really ruined my night lol. Any luck contacting Ford?

- , Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #258

Nov 132010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,096 miles

I had the transmission fluid changed hoping it would make a difference. Well, it did. On the way home from the dealership, the "service engine soon" light came on. I have had nothing but trouble with this explorer.

- , Gautier, MS, USA

problem #257

Jul 122010

Explorer XLT 6 cyc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,705 miles

Ford Dealer told me to take it a Transmission Shop about a half a mile form their Dealership. They came up with a problem code and said if Ford does not repair it they must replace the entire Transmission. Called Fords 800 number and received the run around; and its not our problem.

- , Pittsburgh, Penna, USA

problem #256

Nov 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles


I purchased this vehicle on 11/16/09 in after I purchased it they took it to the Chevy house NOT FORD to have it serviced. I had to take it back to put a new fan or something on it & they told me so did the ford place that the gears are spread to far apart and thats why it shifts hard along with everything else.

- , Idabel, OK, USA

problem #255

Oct 032010


  • 130,000 miles

I've had this truck for 4 years. Never had a problem until now. My high beam light got stuck first, then my o/d light start blinking, and now my check engine light is on. i suspect will cost an arm and a leg. The Ford company should recall it since it is happen to the same year, make, and model. It is happening to many people, so it has to be a manufactoring issues. Everyone let contact the FORD company NOW. File complaints. ASAP

United States Telephone 800-392-3673 800-232-5952 (TDD for the Hearing Impaired)

Available 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Local Time Monday-Friday

Mailing Address Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center P.O. Box 6248 Dearborn, MI 48126

Also contact: Consumer Protection Agency. FTC toll-free helpline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261

Contact me to keep in touch with results. If we all come together we can get some results. Sonja-

Have a Blessed Day!

- , High Point, NC, USA

problem #254

Nov 122010

Explorer v6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

Not yet looked into it but from what I'm seeing I'm not happy. that's the last thing that i need to spend my hard earned money / That's great!!

- , Oak Island, NC, USA

problem #253

Sep 072009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

There are a lot of olks out there with this problem. Talk to a Ford dealership and they will try and pretend that they don't know about it - before offering you a transmission rebuild for $3000. Just one important item on a list of reasons not to buy Ford.

- , Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #252

Mar 262010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,599 miles

check egine comes on i take it back to the place i had trans rebuilded, recommened replacing sensor.

- , Garland, TX, USA

problem #251

Apr 042009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,552 miles

engine light came on o/d light started flickering, took it in and it was check out and said i need to have tranmission rebuild. everything was fine.

- , Garland, TX, USA

problem #250

Oct 082010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

oct 8,10,on my way to okla city, ok stoped to get gas, get back in the on the highway the ligth starts to flicker, and the check egine light is on. i make it to okla city, but i could not make it back, it will start but it will not move.

- , Garland, TX, USA

problem #249

May 242010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This weekend we were going to deployment meeting for my stepson. He wanted to drive because he knew the way, o.k/ Went 20 miles o.d light started blinking ,smoke started rolling out from rear of car. Pulled over seen we were leaking fluid. Left it set. Took it to transmission shop they called and said we need to have it rebuilt ( 2700.00) Wife is furious thinking it was my fault for not knowing the blinking o.d light is actually a transmission warning signal.

Fords 1st dumb a-- mistake. Do you know you cant check your transmission fluid or add any if you wanted. ( takes special gun) That was brilliant design by an engineer that probably does not know the difference from a screwdriver or a wrench ( dumba--) Im glad to see that ford is at fault and not me. Now my wife can get a ladder and climb off my back. She bought the damn vehicle.Makes me mad that it was our tax dollars that bailed out the big 3 auto dealers. Ford is not big enough to stand behind their vehicles and mistakes. I will by a Toyota next I have much more respect for someone who admits thier mistakes and makes it right. For you need to quit screwing the American people over. fix it dumba--.

- , kokomo, IN, USA

problem #248

Jan 012002

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,312 miles

This was the first sign of transmission trouble. The SUV was shifting hard while driving at speeds around 50 to 55mph. The Ford dealer reprogramed the PCM and replaced the solenoid body. They also replaced the transmission fluid.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #247

Sep 242010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,000 miles

Bought with 36,000 miles. Had the solenoid (sp) replaced every 40,000 due to shifting issues. Then the O/d light started blinking and shift from 2-3rd was terrible...had to slide shift it. Worked as usual yesterday shifting roughly from 2 to 3rd then last night no transmission at all...Everyone that I know with a 2002 Explorer has tranny issues...I am not exagerating...they all have issues. Ford knows it but wont make a recall on it.

- , Rogers, MN, USA

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