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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,000 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Mar 232008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


At 85K miles, under normal driving use/condition, the transmission and rear differential have failed on my 2002 Explorer. There are Ford tsbs that identify and acknowledge these problems as evident in many of their vehicles, yet refuse to absorb any cost of the $3200 it will take to repair them. The wheel bearings also continually fail at a cost of $500 each, and have been repaired at least 3 times at my own expense. The torque converter and bushings need replaced, and the transmission cooler is worn. My mechanic explained these should not wear as quickly as 85K miles, and from the current state of its condition, recommended a complete transmission rebuild/replace, along with a new rear differential gear set. I have come into contact with hundreds of Ford owners, of new and used vehicles alike, with the exact same problem and am seeking all resources available to initiate a suit against Ford for its evident manufacture defects.

- Columbus, OH, USA

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