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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,536 miles
Total Complaints:
440 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (114 reports)
  2. replace transmission (86 reports)
  3. transmission needs to be recalled (81 reports)
  4. call Ford customer service and complain 800-392-3673 (63 reports)
  5. not sure (40 reports)
  6. local mechanic fixed, not giving dealer any more business (18 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 15 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #160

Mar 022008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


my wife and i bought this truck 1 year ago i am deployed to the middle east right now and this is the only truck we have running the problem is very bad for us will never buy a new ford ever!!!

it was at a light and just quit.

- , Santapaula, CA, USA

problem #159

Mar 102008

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

This should not have happened. The O'D light began flashing and we immediately took the car in for service. The transmission needed to be rebuilt. This car is driven by my wife primarily to shuttle our children around town. Is there a class action lawsuit pending; I was told that there was.

- , Millburn, NJ, USA

problem #158

Mar 102008

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I was apprised that there is a pending class action lawsuit for 2002 Ford Explorers for transmission failure. Has anyone heard of such a class action lawsuit. Our transmission failed. The car was used by my wife primarily to shuttle my children around town. The transmission should not have failed.

- , Millburn, NJ, USA

problem #157

Mar 172008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


transmission won't go into reverse won't go into third gear

- , George Town, BWI, Cayman Islands

problem #156

Apr 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,808 miles

suddenly out of the blue the OD light starts blinking, stopped at a stop light tried to take off, revved way up going from 2nd to 3rd gear had to back off it several times before it finally went into gear. Service guys says band needs replaced and slight overhaul at 18oo bucks........come the hell on ford! read this board and fix this damn problem. Too many people with the same problem for it NOT to be yours.... no more fords for me! im getting it fixed and trading for a foreign car or maybe a Chevy who the hell knows.. im pissed

- , Hannibal, MO, USA

problem #155

Apr 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

So LOW AND BEHOLD my second complaint on the transmission, now the re manufactured transmission Ford put in to replace the other piece of crap--- Apparently the warranty on this piece of junk goes to 36,000.. well guess what I just so happen to be 799 miles over the warranty and FORD will not pay a dime. I was actually pulling onto a major street and I heard a loud clunking noise, then a scraping sound. Barely made it to the dealership. The transmission had dropped, shards of metal were found in the transmission. FORD would not do a damn thing, and wants to charge appx 3600 to replace it with another piece of junk. guess I will be going elsewhere and NEVER purchasing a FORD again!!!!

- , Forest City, MO, USA

problem #154

Mar 052008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


I have always driven Fords. After this car, I do not know that I will buy another one. Car was fine 1 minute, then the next, will not shift to 2nd gear. Repair person said these cars have a problem with 3rd gear breaking.

- , Balch Springs, TX, USA

problem #153

Dec 232007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Well its seems apparent that there is definitely a problem with the Ford Transmission of 2002 Ford Explorer. If after all these complaints Ford refuses to face this complaint head on then there is only one thing to do. QUIT BUYING FORDS!!!! I have had Fords in my life from childhood, my dad was a definite Ford Man. But the Ford is not as good as it once was in the day? I own a 2002 Beautiful Blue Ford Explorer, and that is just what it is, beautiful no body damage, no interior damage, but so what! It sits in the driveway with a failed transmission. We had it in Ford several different times long before the transmission went out and they continued to say it was nothing, until one day is just did not move or shift into gear. I have had it....I really think that everyone who has posted a complaint on this website should all get together and file a suit against Ford. I myself and going to contact an attorney and give him a copy of all these complaints as well as the ones on the Department of Transportation Government Website. If you are interested in being apart of the lawsuit contact me at this is my other halves email which she gets daily. Being a firefighter, I don't always have time to check my email. Everyone get together and lets stop this once an for all.

- , Boring, OR, USA

problem #152

Feb 142008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

So my problems is very similar to others. I leased the vehicle and at 51,xxx miles (and out of warranty) the transmission started acting-up. Brought to Ford dealer and stated transmission needed to be repaired, $1200 later problem seem fine. Bought the vehicle and at 65000 miles, the rear clutches need to be replaced, $900 latter problem is fixed. At 121000 miles, the same symptoms of the rear clutches started to appear again, to the point where the vehicle was difficult to drive. brought to dealer, and again indicates rear clutches need to be replaced. This time a bit less money, $700. Picked the vehicle up on Thursday afternoon, Friday morning drove the vehicle and same noise still there as well as jerking/growling when making a sharp turn. Called dealer, and they claim they fixed, but I should bring back to test drive with technician on Monday. On the drive home from work on Friday, transmission starts slipping. By the time I get could get the car back to the dealer the transmission completely failed. So now, another $3000 to fix. In reading the other entries, it is very clear Ford has an issue which they refuse to acknowledge.

- , Macungie, PA, USA

problem #151

Feb 182008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Bought used from local Ford dealer in 2006, 67,000 miles. It just turned 120,000 miles when "o/d off" light started flashing and check transmission warning displayed. Local transmission shop charged $42.00 to check. He said torque converter failed and recommended full rebuild. Says it will be around $1700.00. Looks like I'll fix and sell , never Ford again!

ps. Vehicle is driven by wife like a "granny" never abused, well cared for...

- , Creighton, MO, USA

problem #150

Feb 242008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


I guess Ill join the club. Went shopping with wife. Noticed the O/D light went to blinking and went out after a bit. Came out the store and went to leave and you guessed,no gears what so ever!!!!!!!! Damn thing wouldn't move an inch. Thank goodness for AAA,had it towed to the house and called a mechanic friend and its goin to be about a $3000 fix,WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH FORD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seems theres a problem and they wont do anything. Ill be calling them with my thoughts,wont do any good but make me feel better. I will NEVER buy a Ford again and I mean never.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #149

Feb 152008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,069 miles

Bought new 2002 Ford Explorer XLT here in Ketchikan and driven from town to home as a daily driver [30 miles a day]. Last night my wife parked he car [the Explorer] in the driveway and this morning after the standard 15 minute warmup... nothing! It wouldn't move in any gear. I started looking for the fluid level dipstick, and even used the Haynes Manual which gives a location behind the generator... it isn't there. So I start surfing the net and find out this POS has a sealed tranny, no dipstick. And then I find this site and everything becomes clear to me. Ford, I see your stock sitting at $6.00/share and know why you're going down the toilet. Read Adrian J. Slywotzky's "The Upside" and see why Toyota is terminating your miserable existence. You only exist to make them look good. I'm looking for another way to get my transmission fixed but not through the Ford garage here. IF I COULD BUY PARTS FROM THE PRC... IT WOULD HAPPEN! I will never buy a Ford mfg. component or product again! Get it together, do the right thing or EAT DIRT!

- , Ketchikan, AK, USA

problem #148

Jan 122008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

This Ford Explorer is hands down the WORST vehicle I have ever owned. Sorry for the workers that lost theirs jobs from the Ford Plant closing in Norfolk, VA, but Ford obviously no longer cares about quality vehicles or employees!

With that said, I was traveling in my 2002 Ford Explorer on the interstate when I felt a surge forward from the truck which caused the RPM's to increase and the Tranny Light to come on. Every time I tried to drive it the tranny would clunk. Parked the truck for 1 month and had to take out a Home Equity Loan to fix this piece of CRAP!!! AAMMCO has it now and states that it will be $2400 for a rebuild.

I hope Ford goes out of business!

- , Newport News, VA, USA

problem #147

Jan 292008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Leaving the gym, getting in my car and starting the engine. All routine, right? No! I pull out of the parking lot and the $#&$ car just stopped. Engine still running. I knew what it was right away--the @&#$ transmission!! I had it towed to a Ford dealership, but then I talked to a buddy of mine and he advised me to take it to shop that specializes in transmissions. I took it to Mr. Transmission. This problem occurred the week of Thanksgiving. The repair cost me $1900! But that's not all. Recently, in January, the truck would slip 2nd gear and you would hear a loud rev sound! Fortunately, they were about to fix it and it didn't cost me anything. This is my last Ford. I bought it used and it had 42,000 miles on it, but once I hit the 110,000 mark, things started to fall apart.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #146

Jan 282008

Explorer XLT 4.0lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,044 miles

Never again.......and Ford wants to know why their products don't sell and why the Explorer has earned the nickname the Exploder. Its an easy answer.....THEY SUCK!!!! My wifes 2002 Explorer was shifting really hard between 2nd and 3rd gear. I figured it was something that can be fixed in a fluid and filter change. Nope......when I took it to the transmission shop, they found metal in the pan. The transmission was falling apart from the inside out!

I ended up shelling out money for the transmissions shops time and having to buy a remanufactured unit. Here it is 2 days after the reman unit was put in and the son of If I didn't owe any money on this shitbox, I would be either trading it in for something more reliable or better yet I would tow it to the crusher at the local junkyard. Ford definitely isnt living up to the reputation of "Ford Tough".... Its more like "Ford Junk".

- , Concord, NC, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #145

Jan 022008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

i will never buy another ford product......................

- , Oconomowoc, WI, USA

problem #144

Jan 312008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,365 miles

Add me to the (growing) list of transmission failures on the 2002 Explorer. First problem was at about 80,000 miles. The O/D light would flash and "check transmission" would come up in the display. Took a long time to shift from 1st to 2nd gear. No overdrive as well. Dealer said it was a bad servo & replaced for $594. Same exact problem 3 months later. Dealer now says servo bore is worn and needs a new case. They tell me $3044 for a transmission. Called around and EVERY SINGLE PLACE TOLD ME THIS WAS THIER #1 VEHICLE FOR TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS. They knew the exact model of the trans right off the top of their head, and most predicted exactly the problem I was having. Now it cost me $2668 to have the transmission rebuilt. I was told normally they can do this procedure by boring out the hole the servo sits in, inserting a brass fitting to bring it back to original size, and replacing servo for about $800-$900, but my servo was broken and lodged in there, and the overdrive band was burnt, requiring an overhaul. Of course, Ford does not (will not), do the insert, only replaces the transmission. FORD REFUSES TO ADMIT TO THIS KNOWN PROBLEM WITH THIS TRANSMISSION (AMONG OTHER THINGS). They even have 10 (thats right - 10 !!!!) Technical Service Bulletins on this transmission, but of course, no recall. I will NEVER buy a Ford product again. I don't want to buy an import, so GM or Dodge. Lifetime warranty on the Dodge is sounding pretty good right now.

- , Channahon, IL, USA

problem #143

Jan 302008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Yes, I too have to have my transmission replaced in my 2002, Ford Explorer, with only 50,000 miles. It is costing me $3,500.00. The same thing happened, my service engine and o/d light went on and I could feel the transmission slipping. This is ridiculous, to say the least. I had a 1994, Ford T-bird and that transmission went out, too at exactly the same time, just turned 6 yrs. old and low miles. Ford did finally recall them and reimbursed me. If Fords does not recall these transmissions and pay me back my $3,500.00, I will never buy another Ford, again. There's something obviously wrong here, and they know it, too.

Update from Dec 21, 2010: Ok, so since I got nowhere after calling and writing to Fords concerning my trans. failure at only 50,000 miles. I told them if they did not issue a recall and/or pay for my trans. that I would never buy another Ford & I stuck to my word, cuz my husband just bought a new car.....a PONTIAC. BTW, right before my trans. went out on my 6 yr. old 50,000 mile Explorer that I bought new, my axel and ball bearings broke while out of state driving on the freeway.....this and the trans. failure are dangerous SAFETY issues.

Update from May 4, 2012: Anything that can break on a car has broke on this defected poc vehicle. I had to replace my bearings last wk. AGAIN. I had to replace another spring, AGAIN, two months ago. Now I have that beautiful cracked panel on my rear hatch door. This is obviously a manufacturing defect. There should be no cracks in the body of my vehicle. Of course, like with the trans. there is no recall and they will not pay to have it repaired. They do not stand behind their product & do not care about their once loyal customers. I am so done with Ford.

- , Brighton, MI, USA

problem #142

Jan 152008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Hello, all 2002 Ford Explorer sufferers. This is some information that may be helpful to us. I have found a website that may be beneficial to us. It's a government site that if enough people have issues with one particular issue they do a recall investigation. So far on this site there are 341 complaints about 2002 transmissions. If you all could please post your complaint on the site maybe they will finally do a recall for the transmission issue. I'm not sure exactly how many complaints they need but hey, at least it feels like we are doing something to help. The website is for the National Highway Transportation and Safety Assoc. Site is

Please check it out!!!!

- , Red Lion, PA, USA

problem #141

Jan 282008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I guess I am "lucky" that my transmission went 96,000 before the servo gave out?

I just replaced the bearings on the driver's side last month, and now the servo goes out.

The interior has held together and the cosmetic stuff is okay, but if the engine won't turn the transmission and the wheels won't spin on their bearings, then the car is useless.

The center clutch pack broke at 50k, the stereo went out around then too.

I have been a big Ford truck fan, but this car has been a huge disappointment. I learned to never buy the first model year. But really, Ford has been a big disappointment.

I don't think that I will ever buy another Ford. Definitely not another Explorer.

I am just disappointed in Ford. Like someone else, no wonder that the Japanese are kicking their butts.

- , Spring Lake, MI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?