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 8 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #246

Sep 142010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


Well let me start off by saying that so far I think I have been pretty lucky with my Explorer.140,000 miles and the only problems I have had are the rear struts rusted out and I had to replace the emergency brake pads.I might add, what a stupid design. That was until a few months ago. I first noticed, after I got stuck in the snow, that my 4 wheel drive wasnt working. Seems to be a control module that has gone out and they want about $600 bucks for a litttle box behind the glove box. So I was driving home a few days ago and all off a sudden my overdrive light starts blinking like crazy. Then I notice it jumps and clunks when shifting from 3rd to 4th. All other gears are are fine when going forward. When I put it in reverse, it jumps very hard.

I did call Ford and was told common problem on both and will need to have tranny rebuilt or replaced. Three grand average. Ofcourse dont you know I just put new tires all the eway around. I do not drive it hard nor do I abuse it. After looking on the web and seeing all the complaints about both problems, I feel Ford is very well aweare of the problem and should fix this because it is very common. I dont care about my rear glass that can not stay open. That was 1 recall. Most of the other recalls were about lighting issues.

Cmon Ford fess up. Okay so what do we do, let the big auto companies decide what defect they will fix. Seems like they only fix the cheap ones. Toyota at least was man enough to admit their fault and fix it. Ford it is now your turn to step up to the plate. Show me why I bought an American car and why I should continue. Are you only going to stand behind your product only if it costs you less than $100 to fix.If it costs you more, DENY DENY DENY. The data is inconclusive. Right.

- , Galloway, OH, USA

problem #245

Sep 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

well,what a costly lesson i've learned in life this month.dont ever buy a vechile without researching it husband and i have always bought 1,000 cars,usally they are cheap to fix and we can fix them ourselves.we have 10yr.old twins girls who hated driving in our super bomb bombs they called this year we took a leap of faith and took our tax refund and put money down on a 2002 ford explorer in april. it looks great,silver ,20inch chrome wheels,tinted windows,ac,6 player cd and low miles very clean!!!! well the worst possible thing that can be wrong with a car,the transmission!

it seems i am having the same problem as everyone,o/d light flashing,rpm's going up to 3 thousand before it shifts.i'm taking the explorer to the shop on wednesday,and hoping for just a simple fix,wishful thinking!!!! to kim s in decatur,il a class action law suit is what all owners of the explorers in the yrs. mentioned should do.i'll call an attorney today so we can get this going.i work to hard for money to let this happen.and to the FORD company,shame on you, people like me have made you what you are today. now its clear to me why the FORD company didnt take the goverment bail out!! it seems you made enough money ripping us off.

- , Granite City, IL, USA

problem #244

Aug 212010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,800 miles

I can't believe there are soooo many complaints about 2002 FORD explorers! I was searching the web to find out about my 2002 ford explorer's o/d light when I came across this site. UNBELIEVABLE why isn't Ford doing anything? I've had trouble with my transmission for a year now and yesterday that darn light starts blinking. What does that mean? I am soooo afraid to drive my car. I start praying as soon as I get on hoping it will get my kids to school and me to work! And praying that when I'm at a stop light and it turns green It won't jerk so hard that I hit the car in front of me or that my car takes so long to go forward that someone may ram into me!!!! This is becoming a safety issue for me! I had a 1991 explorer and I loved it- never gave me problems that's why I chose the 2002 but now I am totally disgusted with Ford and their lack of responsibility!!!!!!!

- , Immokalee, FL, USA

problem #243

Jul 152010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


this is the second time. 1st time it cost me 2,700. what's up with that.

- , Bloomfield, NJ, USA

problem #242

Jul 172010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,860 miles

I took out an extended warranty through one of those not worth mentioning companies. The first thing he asked me was how the transmission was, which at the time was perfectly fine(we only had the vehicle for three months maybe). Then he continued to tell me that they were natorious for going out. But offered me the power trained warranty which covered everything. Now not even a year later the transmission has failed. I am really ticked off after reading all of these complaints.

Ford does need to recall the transmission if they would like to keep a good name. Now of couse the company that I have the extended warranty through is sending me through all these loops to get out of paying for it even though it is covered. I am in quite the situation I have two kids and attend classes at my home town college. What do you do other than complain??

- , Murray, KY, USA

problem #241

Jul 012008

Explorer LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

EXACTLY what everyone else says... at first the light just randomly happened, now it is flashing all day everyday, plus you can tell it has alot of troubles shifting into gears. At first I thought the thing was going to explode, but now I have learned to deal with it. But with in the past 2 months it is now occasionally doing some weird clunking thing when driving at say a consistant 35mph, but it does not do that at higher speeds.

Also I just got 2 new front tires and Firestone pointed out my back tires are loose... the mechanic said he had also seen that alot on this model.

I don't plan on fixing any of it honestly... due to gas prices and being a Ford it has NO value anyways. Just wish this big stuff would get recalled, not a stupid little metal parts on the lift gate that rusted out,

This is a piece of sh*t.. obviously its a Ford! My husband purchased it, but this isn't the site for that complaint ;)

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #240

Jun 042010

Explorer ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles


Had an '89 Explorer Eddie Bauer and loved it... no troubles. My son was hit by another car while driving it, and it was totaled. Fortunately, my son was unhurt. I used the insurance money to purchase a used 2002 Explorer, thinking this would be as close to having what we had, without all the bells and whistles. Boy, was I wrong! Within a few months, the transmission started to present problems. The OD light began to blink, I had to start out slow so the engine wouldn't redlight waiting to shift gears, and trouble shifting from park to reverse. After spending $350.00 to have the mechanic tell me it couldn't be fixed without a rebuild or replacement, it's now locked up in park, so I can't even drive it to the shop. Can't believe Ford is ignoring this. None of my family will waste money on Ford products ever again. Wish I had seen this website before I made my mistake!

- , Statesville, NC, USA

problem #239

Apr 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

OD light blinking, rebuild transmission!!!? Ford should recall this model and every model that is defective!!!!!

- , Fontana, CA, US

problem #238

May 042010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,000 miles

Just wanted to thank the others who posted the NHTSA website. I did forge a formal complaint & hope Ford does something that resembles fair. No need to for me to tell another story about yet another blinking o/d light. I hope everyone who makes it to this portion of this website does the right thing & goes to the NHTSA's website. Otherwise, Ford will continue to make a profit and not have to do anything about this obvious issue. I do not have time right now to add an additional complaint on this website, but back in 2003 when I first bought this car, a few months later(appx 25k miles on it) the o/d went blinking. The local Ford shop mechanic requested Ford replace the tranny, but Ford denied it & just replaced the solenoid(for the 1st&2nd gear, I think). I've taken care of my tranny since with proper maintenance & do not drive my car hard...But, now the blinking light is back.

- , Murrieta, CA, US

problem #237

Jun 212010

Explorer ES 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

I read about O/D light blinking from the peoples on internet,now my truck it happen after 58000 miles, I don't know what I should do, truck is still running but it's make a lot of noise on the back, sound like the truck carry something very heavy....etc.

I had a Toyota truck 2.4L I4 with 196,000 still running after I gave away for my good friend, FORD is a BAD design Engeneeeeeering......maybe I turn to TOYOTA again. I need your guys help please. Can we sue them...? Thanx

- , Stockton, CA, USA

problem #236

Jun 112010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,843 miles


Well i bought the vehicle at a dealership and the o/d light started to flash on the drive home,unbelievable.called the dealership and they came and my mistake was shutting off the vehicle,cause it didn't come back on when the dealership guy arrived,so thought nothing of it but was still nervous.the following day i went to visit a friend and 'THERE IT GOES AGAIN' whenever i reach 70 km per instead of bringing it to the dealer first to hear some lie,i brought it over to mister transmission and what do u know...'U NEED A NEW TRANSMISSION'.I was really upset and went back to the dealership and told them off,they said they didn't know 'RIGHT'.But they ran their own test and did say the transmission needed to be rebuilt and told me to leave it with them over the weekend and they would start working on it on the Monday or drive it for the weekend and bring it on Monday i am bringing it in for a new transmission,i am under warranty for 2 yrs,and i just got the truck 2 days ago,great i will keep everyone in touch with what happened.

- , North York, Ontario, Canada

problem #235

Jun 032010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I guess I'm on the same boat as everyone else. My wife talked me into buying a Ford because her mother worked there and we got the A-plan pricing. They need to name it pain in the A$$ plan pricing. Have replaced bearings, window motors, etc.. and NOW the tranny is blown in under 100K??? Are you kidding me?? Will NEVER buy a Ford again! EVER!!! They SHOULD be ashamed of this piece of sh!t. No wonder secretary's retire from that place with a million bucks. DON'T BUY A FORD!!!!

- , Canton, OH, USA

problem #234

Jun 152010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,497 miles

O/D light blinking , transmission not operating smoothly

- , Norman, OK, USA

problem #233

Jun 132010

Explorer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Of course I buy this truck I asked for an extended warrenty back in 2006. Just to make sure I don't get broken down while driving down to school(4 hrs from home) I get a 3 month 3,000 mile warrenty for 100 bucks. It was 2k and 2 months into my new (Used) Explorer and it starts messing up. I brought it back and the warrenty covered it. So after I got it back I got a carfax report and I found out that the new transmission they just put in was now the 3rd one in the truck. With the new warrenty they gave me a 1 year 20k warrenty. It was about 6 months again and O/D blinking light happens again. They coverd the cost of that. Than about a year after that it was doing the shifting hard again. I guess it was a broken bolt and spring. I covered that. It was around 650.

Now the damn thing is doing the O/D blinking again. If this happends again this will be the 4 transmission in the truck. I don't understand why they have not recalled them because of all the damn issues. But i guess thats life and so good with standing behind your products.

- , Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #232

May 212010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,700 miles

Under 57000 miles on the truck. Do not do a lot of driving and am very up to date on all fluid changes and maintenance. Transmission sh*ts the bed needed a new one.

- , Jupiter, FL, USA

problem #231

Jun 112010

Explorer Xls 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,100 miles

It started on a random day, never driven off-road, or excessive acceleration. Yet all of a sudden i notice that the truck jerked when taking the 4th gear. It also felt like it wasn't shifting on the right times. At that time i noticed the overdrive light blinking, looked online, and found this to be a very common problem. Took it immediately to transmission repair shop, it was Friday, said they needed to order some parts, and that a rough estimate was 750 dollars, and they told me to return Monday, but not to drive the truck unless necessary. On Monday morning i took my truck, that afternoon it was fixed. $710 was the final cost.

- , Alvin, TX, USA

problem #230

Mar 022010

Explorer XLT 4.O

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

same prolbem with transmission. ford needs to step up and fix prolbem with the transmission next car or truck will be forigen

- , Monroe, NY, USA

problem #229

May 252010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Today the O/D light started blinking again. The transmission seems to hesitate then jump. I had the transmission completely rebuilt 15 months ago due to the same problem. I drive 40 miles a day round trip to work. I have not had a recurring problem until today. I rarely tow anything so I don't understand why this is happening again. Is there really a fix for this or is it going to keep costing me money. This is the first Ford I have ever owned and it will be the last.

- , Black River Falls, WI, USA

problem #228

Feb 062009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer O/D light started blinking and soon after started shifting bad. I had the transmission rebuilt with a new solenoid installed for $2300.00. Ok the problem is fixed.I was told this was a common problem with this vehicle. So why is it not recalled. This is my only vehicle so it is important that it runs.

- , Black River Falls, WI, USA

problem #227

May 192010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,000 miles

...adding to the continuous, endless list of 2002 Ford ExploDer transmission complaints. Same thing - O/D started blinking, would not go into gear, when it finally did, would shoot off like a bottle rocket. Then, the inevitable....was almost to work and then it would not go into gear AT ALL and left me stranded on the side of the road. Could turn off, turn on and inch my way - about 8X's I did this to get to work cuz yes, first time in 5 yrs, I had no cell phone service to call anyone! NEVER again will I buy a Ford. Everything from the electrical, wheel bearings and hub assemblies, axel bearings, clunky, clanky, whining noises...third time in shop in what, 6 months? Will only cost anywhere from $2200.-$2500. plusl labor for THIS fix. NOT ! ^%$(!(@$#)!

- , Saint Augustine, FL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?