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:
94,434 miles
Total Complaints:
439 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (113 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

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 16 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #139

Jan 262008

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


This is an update regarding my previous posting:

Original POST: My Father retired from Ford and my Brother still works there. I have tried diligently to be loyal, but this is the last straw. I have had nothing but problems with every Ford I have ever owned, and it's been a lot of them. I get a new car every 2-3 years. I have an old import that has NEVER let me down. Dad nearly had a stroke when I bought it, but good thing I did or I'd be walking all the time! O/D light is blinking, transmission revs high for a long time before changing gears....sometimes won't change at all....afraid to pull out of anywhere unless I have a mile of clearance just in case in won't leave 1st gear. Now I find that Ford and the dealership knew this all along. I'm outraged. How can they be so deceitful, greedy and uncaring. I will never buy a Ford product of any kind again. I will only buy from Companies that have a conscience and feel obligated to be sound members of society. I'm not going to have it fixed. I am going to have it towed to the heap, sell for scrap and get a new Imported 4x4 for these harsh Ohio winters. Thank God I can afford to dump it and get something safe and dependable. I am willing to contact an attorney as well. It is ridiculous that this transmission is still available to unsuspecting consumers.

Chris R.

Toledo, OH, USA

ADDENDUM: Now that I have calmed dealership is going to pay half the cost of replacing the transmission and are giving me a 3 year warranty. My cost is $1900 and they gave me 90 days same-as-cash to pay it. They even threw in free tickets to the auto show. So, after talking to my Dad, I am satisfied with how Ford has handled the problem with my vehicle and have decided to stay loyal to Ford. Mary, in customer service at Brondes Ford is responsible for this. She really went out of her way to make things right and make sure I was satisfied. Thought it was only fair to post when good things happen, too.

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #138

Dec 022007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,250 miles

It stated when it took 5 seconds to go in reverse. Long story short - a check ball in valve body #28 in book wore out so much it blew through valve body gasket and in to bottom of tranny pulled it out. New check ball, new valve body gasketl good to go runs good.

- , Charlestown, RI, USA

problem #137

Dec 182007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Folks, this is my SECOND transmission in the 2002 Ford Explorer. They replaced the first Transmission at 68000. I followed the maintenance schedule to the letter on the second tranny and here we are again. I am unloading it to a Junk Yard and getting rid of the headache. I will NEVER buy another FORD product again. This vehicle has had a new Rear End installed, new bearings all the way around the wheels......

And they wonder why the Japanese are killing them.

- , Smithsburg, MD, USA

problem #136

Jan 192008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles


Same as everyone else I guess. The 4x4 High light would blink over so often. I could tell the tranny was shifting hard then it just quit. I wish there was another tranny option I could put in it. Hopefully it won't be too hard to place it with a rebuilt one myself.

- , Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #135

Jan 052008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

My fear got to me ...transmission went out. First i had speed sensor go off. Since

i read alot of forums i parked my car right away and then towed it to my mechanic.

Changed the sensor and blinking 4x4high light stopped blinkin and car was driving

sweet for 5 days. Once i felt slip in gears but didn't pay attention to it since i live in Brooklyn and streets could get slippery from dripped car oil. On the 6th day (morning) i started my car, warmed it up, and put it in drive and guess what not moving :( when i was putting it back to park i hear scratching noise and i knew that most common problem got to me. So now car in my mechanics shop (dont trust anyone else but him)

rebuilding transmission. FORD CEO I WILL SEE YOU IN HELL ! I take great care of my car. Even my GF is jealous that i pay more attention to it then her and still transmission goes out. thinking to rebuild this one for now and then most likely to build new and strong transmission.

- , Broklyn, NY, USA

problem #134

Jan 072008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,639 miles

I bought this car from Ford West in 2002. Immediately, there was a problem with the car slipping out of gear. Something was tightened and the problem stopped. In November of 2005, while still under warranty, Beverly Hills Ford had to replace something in the transmission because they found metal parts floating...

In November 06, while still under my extended warranty, I brought it back to Beverly Hills Ford because it was changing gears hard. Just my luck, the transmission was being worked on when they went out of business. I got the car back with no mention of whether or not the transmission was fixed. I assumed it was fixed since it worked fine for the past year, then in December 2007, the transmission started up again. Santa Monica Ford is saying the transmission needs to be replaced or rebuilt. I have lodged a complaint with Ford and am hoping to hear back. Meanwhile, it looks like I am out $3500.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #133

Nov 012007

Explorer XLS 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


My 02 Explorer sits in front of my house doing nothing and I make payments. I have this urge to just blow it up, If this is such a wide problem, why hasn't anything been done?I cant believe that this company or any other would build such a piece of crap tranny.And why i don't hear this from Expeditioner owners or does this happens to them too.As I type this Iam looking for another tranny on Ebay because I was told just to fix it and good luck.

- , Chambersburg, PA, USA

problem #132

Sep 062006

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

This transmission was a piece of crap and the dealer knew it all along. I've had the following problems that they could never find until they finally wanted me to pay $2700 to have the piece of sh*t re-built.

Randomly lurches forward or reverse when going into or out of park

Slipping feeling when shifting

High revving before shifting

And the all telling blinking OD light with Service Engine Soon

- , Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #131

Dec 182007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Ok here we go first of all we bought our Ford Explorer in Alaska as my hubby rejoined the army....We started having problems with our ford just as soon as we got it...Our front windshield leaked all over everything so that was fun to get fixed as we were moving.. Then while driving to Texas where my husband was stationed at our transmission started acting like it was in neutral cruising down the road and then all of a sudden nothing...We had our Transmission rebuilt in may of 07 then everything was fine until this month...I found my husbands family that he hasn't seen since he was three years old and we drove from texas to vermont and on the way up here sure enough guess what our transmission started acting up again...So yup in the shop it went the day before christmas and we are suppose to be back in texas by tomorrow the 1st of january and here we still sit in Vermont because they can't quite figure out what is wrong with our Ford Explorer...I always thought that my dad was just kidding when he told me to never buy a ford guess I learned that lesson the hard way...We are having to pay over 300 bucks because they never billed the extended warranty people right then they went ahead and sent our extended warranty people the invoice so the shop has already been paid for a job that isn't done yet....So I have came on here and ranted and raved lol...but I will never buy a ford again that is for sure as soon as we are back in texas that thing is getting traded in that is for sure...I hope that you all have a wonderful new year :)

- , Fort Hood, TX, USA

problem #130

May 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

From day one, I purchased my Explorer new, I felt that there was something wrong with the transmission. It seemed to slip and make funny noises. I took it back to the dealer the first week and had it checked. They said there were "no events recorded" so nothing was wrong. At 45000 miles an idiot light came on and stayed lit. I don't remember what it said but the transmission wouldn't shift into overdrive. I took it to the dealer with my extended warranty in hand. They gave me a rental car and a week later I had a new transmission. I can only hope this one lasts longer than the first. Ford ought to do something about their drive train problems. I noted in another complaint that I just had my Explorer's rear end replaced too.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #129

May 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Sport 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


who do call to get a recall going ? i have 2 fords and they are doing the same thing i would never buy a ford again and i will keep looking as to how to file something to get a recall going. if i have to get a lawyer i will - this is bull . my tranny is slipping and my over drive light come on i don't understand

- , Detroit, TX, USA

problem #128

Oct 282007

Explorer XLS 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I do not understand - if this is a known problem, why do car dealers take advantage of this and sell this to people in bad credit situations? I have only had the car one year in august and now this. They sold it with only a 30 day warranty and now I do not know what else to do. I cannot replace the transmission nor can I pay for a broken vehicle. I owe $12000 on it as the dealer sold it at 15999 last year and I am in an upside down situation. Can't the FORD company do something- damn if this was known what the hell then. Are people out to just ruin peoples lives or something. I need a car or someone who can afford to fix the piece of sh*t to take over the payments or the FORD company to come and get their piece of sh*t or something. Any one with advice let me know something- FORD hater from pa. By the way this started about 6 months into the owning of this vehicle with the check engine light- then the fact the car had to be towed 3 times from various locations and then the crank sensor went and then the car windows wouldn't open then the car wouldn't reverse or go into drive and now the thing sits collecting bills out front of my house.

- , Chambersburg, PA, USA

problem #127

Dec 052007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

My family too had this issue with an `02 Explorer. Same symptom, blinking O/D light, jerking motion back and forth. The fact is that this is a known issue from Ford, the Government and the public. Ford are all laughing until the we all show muster and actually do something about it. Here is my contribution, please visit this website, tell everyone you know. It's an online legal site, its simple the more people fill in the form with our complaint the closer we are to having a shot at a class action suit. Remember, this is a KNOWN issue across the country at all transmission shops, their databases are proof enough and lets not mention all of the transmissions replaced along with receipts and records of these actions. Ford should not get away with this, the problem is too common and the symptoms far too similar. I would love to be profane and show muster in that manner but the truth is without action words amount to nil (nothing) The link is Good luck to us all!

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #126

Dec 012007

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. The transmission never seemed right. The dealer never could find anything wrong. Serviced the transmission and said it should be ok. I now believe that they knew all along the transmission was a piece of crap and just hope to get it past the warranty. Symptoms very random sometimes would operate fine for weeks then it would start slipping again. Then the O/D light came on followed by the check engine and doesn't want to shift mainly into 3rd gear. I am going to try solenoid pack hope it works. If not guess it is a new transmission.

- , Evans, WV, USA

problem #125

May 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,800 miles

The transmission was REPAIRED 3 times before they finally replaced it 200 miles before extended warranty ran out. All 3 times related to putting into drive or from drive to reverse.

- , Rio Rancho, NM, US

problem #124

Oct 082007

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Looks like we have to all get together and either write ford or go straight to the president of Ford. I will never again buy a Ford. I wish we could get this put on the national news. And let everyone in the US know that Ford sells crap.

- , Hamilton, OH, US

problem #123

Nov 272007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Ok so I start the car up and drive a little and he over-drive light starts flashing repeatedly. So I go to check the transmission fluid level under the hood, oh thats right you cant check the motherF* from under there u gotta go underneath. Level is fine.. the car still drove fine so I drive about 5 or so miles down the road to have it hooked up to a machine and come to a red light when It comes time for me to go from 1st to 2nd sounds like dragging metal on the ground. So you know I take it to the ford people and they say I can either rebuild or buy. I mean why are they going to issue a recall on a damn back glass which they didnt even fix but they got this expensive ass cheap transmission that breaks even when you take care of it. I'm not into conspiracy theories or anything but WTF I think they did this sh*t to make themselves a lot of money. I mean if I get it fixed and sell it I would just screw someone else over. Damn you to hell FORD! I'm going foreign baby.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #122

Nov 142007

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

Here's the deal. Transmission gave out at 48,000 miles on a 2002 Ford Explorer. I was floored! Never heard of such a thing until experiencing this for ourselves. After searching the internet realized this problem is more widespread then we would have ever predicted. Of course, Ford would not cover out of warranty, and in fact advised that we would need to replace the transmission at a cost of $3375! I contacted Ford Corporate for assistance. They said that they referred the assistance to the dealer whom would be willing to help since we were such 'loyal' customers. Anyway, bottom line is they would replace the trans, but it would still be $2500. Yeah, thanks a lot! Then they had the nerve to offer, 'we could repair the stretched band between 2nd and 3rd gear for $700, but there is no warranty'. Couldn't believe it. I asked, no warranty? Not even a 30 day? The mechanic stated no that they could not guarantee the repair. Why would anyone in there right mind do this? So $2500 for a rebuilt with a 3 year warranty or $700 for a repair when I could drive it off the lot and trans could fail leaving me out the $700. At this point, my wife is so pissed that she just wants to trade the dam thing in for something else. I'd like to keep it for a teen that will be of age soon to drive. The car has been decent otherwise. We just replaced the brakes, tires, and had all the service...dam transmission! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

- , Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #121

Nov 222007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,600 miles

Yes, I too am a very furious owner of a 2002 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer V8 whose transmission just went caput without any warnings what so ever. Ford, you really need to do something about this sorry product that you've put out time and time again. So many people have had this same problem and nothing has been done about it. The Ford company should really be ashamed of themselves, robbing us hard working citizens of our money.

Please let's all band together and file a class action lawsuit against Ford. These faulty transmissions among other things are unacceptable!!!

By the time the O/D off light comes on and the Check transmission light comes on in the Ford explorer vehicles, it's too late and the only option is to replace the transmission....I've never had such a sorry vehicle in all my life.

I've had to replace wheel bearings, air compressor, rear henge for lift gate, and now the transmission. What next? I don't want to stick around to find out. I want to go straight to a foreign dealership and trade this piece of crap in.

Ford Co. you're going down.....I will never buy a Ford again. We consumers don't deserve this.....

- , Durham, NC, USA

problem #120

Nov 212007

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I take very good care of my Explorer. I was driving and heard a bell, checked the panel and saw "O/D Off" with a note in the monitor that said CHECK TRANSMISSION. For the next day or so, the transmission "slipped" or "raced," meaning the engine reved but it was obvious the power was not getting to the drive shaft. I took it to the dealer and upon investigation was told a "servo" had become stuck in one of the tracks. They also told me the standard "fix" is a complete replacement of the transmission, which would cost about $3,100. This doesn't seem right for a vehicle that had no hard use (no towing or heavy loads) and was cared for according to the schedule of recommended services in the owner's manual.

- , Newtown Square, PA, USA

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