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 9 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #226

Nov 072009

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,206 miles


listen up 2002 xlt 4.6 new tranny, 3 out of 4 wheel bearing replaced, cat converter, replaced,new cpu, new transfer cpu, abs sensor, rear calipers replaced ,dps for the egr replaced twice , both rear coil springs broken not replaced yet, lower panel for rear window cracked, cylinder head gasket leaking coolant, My wife drives this suv a total of 14 kms a day i will never buy a ford again oh yeah i also had a metal grinding sound coming from the back bottom of the motor i was told loose springs in the torque converter yeah can you say money pit

Update from Jun 8, 2010: Don't go to your ford dealership your tranny problems they don't care replace any thing that goes bad with aftermarket parts the tranny case the bushings are soft i had it refurbed in montreal and your blinking o/d light is the tranny module replace the main cpu it controls your tranny do it soon before you fry your tranny again get a used one around $400 the dealership has to flash it before it works I've also had my guy bypass the transfer case clutch because that module stop working so he set me up with a switch so i turn on the 4wd only when i need it Right now i'm just waiting for someone to steal it and set it on fire lol, Well i hope this helped

- , London, Ontario, Canada

problem #225

Apr 022010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Took to dealer and first thing he says was "Did I have the trans serviced every 30K. I said I bought the vehicle only a year ago. A tranny should last more than 100K. This is the 4th Ford vehicle I have had to have a transmission replaced (avg $2500 each) and one with rear axle replacement ($900). How can Ford honestly stand behind their product. We force Toyota to recall millions of vehicles for safety issues, fine them a huge amt but let Ford completely off the hook so their shares won't dwindle down any further. I would think that they would stand behind their vehicle to ensure customer satisfaction and keep them coming back to buy new vehicles. Apparently its the same old business philosophy - treate the customer like royalty until they sign on the dotted line then kick them out the door as quick as possible.

- , OVerland Park, KS, USA

problem #224

Jul 042008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,477 miles

Transmission $4000 Steering column $2300 wheel bearings $450 each owning a 2002 ford explorer priceless.Time for ford to own up to there mistakes and do some recalls on F@#KUPS

- , Guelph, Ontario, Canada

problem #223

Apr 142010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,500 miles


Sounds like one more for the long list of bad transmissions, not to mention wheel bearings, rear springs, and 4WD select.

- , Midland, MI, USA

problem #222

Apr 132010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

We've had what we've bee told were wiring issues, door ajar light staying on, at first random, then constant. Same time power locks & window operation quit working from driver door along with interior light staying on. Check engine light has been on for months. Finally brought it in to be fixed and mechanic said there were wiring issues and a broken window switch. The day I get it back the ABS light comes on and a half mile later the alternator is out. They replace alternator and the day I pick it up the O/D OFF lights starts flashing like crazy. Seemed to shift a little hard or slow - something funky. So far when I shut truck off light goes off and has only come on twice in last 4 days and I'm driving like a grandma. Also heard loud banging from behind dash (same day) while temp dial turned to heat and told it's some part behind there that will cost about $700 to fix since it's such a pain to take dash apart. OMG!!! In addition, I brought it in to dealership a few weeks ago for some recall for cruise control (ironically before all of this other crap started breaking) and they told me back springs are broken, back struts are shot and front struts are leaking. I'm also pretty sure the 4WD is funky as I could only get it into low this winter. POS for sure. I know I'm supposed to do one entry per issue, sorry, but I have to get to work to keep this thing on the road.

- , St. Paul, MN, USA

problem #221

Apr 292010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

OD light started flashing. Felt it gear down out of overdrive and CHECK TRANSMISSION appeared on message board. when I cut car off and re cranked it would be fine. Took to Ford dealership, put on computer and no codes came up. Kept doing this for about 9 months until finally it wouldn't go in any gear and finally coded TRANSMISSION SOLENOID on computer. It is currently in shop and waiting to here the word. From what I've read, Im not looking forward to it. Im going to phone my aunt tomorrow who is an attorney. Someone needs to light a fire under Fords rear. In the meantime, we need to blow up the customer service phone line to FORD MOTOR COMPANY until someone listens and file complaints to the NHTSA as well. This will be my last ford.

- , Trinity, NC, USA

problem #220

May 052010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,148 miles


od lite blinks' service light on'.' car stalls whean this happens' power controls go out. and i was driving with no power brakes or steering. lucky i know how to drive.if my wife was driving, she probably wont be here today..paid 10 grand cash 3 years ago. ford was very pushy to sell it to us. it looked very good as i checked under it. and saw the transmission looked brand new, thay must have replaced it. be cause of the same problem from first owner'.took it to ford. to check computer codes.they told me its needs new tranmission. the car was shifting fine before. whats the deal 'ford'. the transmission can break at any time. and cost 3000 thousand that people don't have. this car is dangerous and somebody gona get killed.. get it' recalled' ford. its your fault..and your ass is gonna get sued!

- , Texas City, TX, USA

problem #219

Apr 302010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Ford wonders why they are broke all there customers are buying cars from people who will help when they have problems. this Transmission issue has been going on since day 1. FORD fix your junk. I had a 1968 chevy with the original trans that i gave to a friend and hes still using it and it has never been rebuilt

- , Gary, IN, USA

problem #218

Apr 252010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

In Feb of 09, I had the O/D light blinking problem and had the solenoid replaced for $1200.00. The gears sounded like they were shifting themselves. A few months later the transmission completely went out and we had it rebuilt for $3200. 1 year later and my O/D light is blinking and it feels like I am in neutral and then shifts quickly into drive. I am sick that this is happening again and wished we would have just bought another car last year. This one was paid off so we chose to make the repairs and the place that fixed it said we would get another 100,000 miles out of it. Of course the work was only guaranteed for a year.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #217

Mar 022010

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

The problems in the transmission system are present in my Ford Explorer purchased in 2002. In the first year the light O/D flickered and was corrected under warranty by repairing the transmission, changing bands third and fourth gear and the solenoids group. Now is the second time the problem arises, the Over Drive light flashes. This case has been reported in several trucks Explorer. I would like to make a complaint at the NHTSA but ask hard to find data such as manufacturer and assembler of the vehicle transmission, my trucks was assembler and bought in Venezuela.

- , Merida, Merida, Venezuela

problem #216

Apr 142010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles


Really Ford?! Really? are you kidding me?!? this is insane! RECALL YOUR EFFING SCREW UP.

- , Fairfield, CT, USA

problem #215

Apr 012007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

called ford. received no help. had it rebuilt by amoco. they said they rebuilt a lot of these explorers. cost about 2800 for the rebuild that lasted about 13000 miles then went out again. we bought this auto new. we still have it sitting here now.

- , Middleburg, PA, USA

problem #214

Mar 232010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,143 miles

Service eng soon light first went on and then od light light without any reason. Immediately trans started to slip barely can make up a small hill. I know always had problems with explorer trans and they know it so why not have a recall, like they did with the 97 explorer? Come on ford, get it together and do the right thing and fix this problem

- , Newark, NJ, USA

problem #213

Mar 192010

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Seems like the blinking o/d light is really a common issue with the 2002 Ford Explorer. My O/D off light went on over the weekend while I was driving from Milwaukee, WI to MI. After the light began flashing I noticed a jerking while I was accelerating or stopping. Looks like it will cost around $4000 to fix. I called Ford and they said there is no recall and I'm pretty much out of luck. They also mentioned I should call THEM with any future complaints and not post on the internet. HA! In fact, I'm posting a complaint on NHTSA as well. This problem needs to be resolved. Ford needs to recognize that this is a common issue and take responsibility. I've put way too much money into this vehicle and now it's worthless. THANKS FORD!!!!

- , East Troy, WI, USA

problem #212

Oct 222009

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I am a single mother of 2 who works 2 jobs i had to get a 3rd job and still not enough....I don't even know where to start...I 've replaced wheel bearings 10 times thank GOD that the warranty didn't wear off rom the time of purchase, transmission was shot ,I had it rebuilt and no sooner i got my car back and the o/d light and service engine light was on...only to find out its the shift solenoid package welllllll did you ever hear Adam Sandlers song? "I've got a piece of sh*t car....I'm disappointed in Ford why buy American when you get screwed! this was my first ford and my last ...JUNK JUNK JUNK and i tell everyone buy a Chevy!!!! admit the mistake and replace our cars..... the economy is hard enough things are tight all the car companies got bailed out but screw the American people that bought you've invested around r product I hope that ford goes bankrupt and until someone contacts me and tells me there is a recall or wants to replace this vehicle that I payed almost 14000 for and i have invested 4500 in...I on average make less than 17000 a year....How can you sleep at night slimy worms!!!

- , Shamokin, PA, USA

problem #211

Feb 012010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,111 miles

like everyone else my OD light started blinking. Went to transmission paid $577.00 for a new solenoid pack didn't solve the problem. didn't' even help the problem. Stopped at a used car dealership on my way home and the sales guy says to me- what year is your Explorer? I say 2002, - he says - replace the transmission yet???

FORD sucks!!!! you know what they say, when you buy a Ford you buy the best drive a mile WALK the rest! where is the darn recall.

- , Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #210

Feb 262010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,004 miles

After researching this and speaking to some friends in the field of auto mechanics, this problem is very common and I think ford needs to address it. I am a loyal ford buyer and so is my family but that could all change. I have small children and I depend on my truck but I cant afford to fix it because the average cost to fix this problem is 2200.00 to 5000.00 depending on were you go. This is ridiculous. Ford needs to do something quick.

- , Metuchen, NJ, USA

problem #209

Nov 072009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Recall, recall, recall, recall, recall. Ford should admit their mistake and recall the transmission. There are too many people with the same complaints. Toyota will survive their problems because they are admitting their mistake. I will never buy another Ford and I will tell everyone I know is even thinking about buying one to beware!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #208

Mar 022010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

Happened second day after purchased car from a Ford dealer.Returned to have service dept check and recommendation was 500-plus dollar repair, Mgr said would check for dealer participation, no return call week three.

Ford needs to step up customer service and quality. Not looking for a hand out just a sign they care about their customers. Good business is exceeding your customers expectations especially when they open their wallet. Last Ford I`will buy EVER. Rather drive a runaway Toyota that a non moving Ford!

- , Portland, TX, USA

problem #207

Mar 092010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

OD Light Flashing, Ford wants $3200.00 to repair, Have had this Vehicle 3 years, and I have already invested over $3000.00 in various repairs What a frigging Joke, by the time I repair the transmission, I will have invested 2/3rds of what I payed for this peice of sh*t.

I called ford: and I all I got from them was sorry about your luck. I will never buy another ford!!!!! Looks like I will be looking at something other that american made.

- , Nicholasville, KY, USA

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