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 17 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #119

Aug 092007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,900 miles



- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #118

Nov 212007

Explorer V

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I just dropped my car off to my mechanic because my O/D light started flashing and the "check transmission" alert came on. $4000 to replace the transmission!!! That a bunch of crap. Thanks Ford, you're the greatest!

- , Athens, TN, USA

problem #117

Nov 092007

(reported on)

Explorer 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

What a mistake it was to buy this car. We have had two other Fords with no problems and we were initially thrilled with our Explorer, until one day the OD light flashed and the next thing I knew we had to have the whole transmission replaced. less than 70K We are selling it now but I feel really guilty because I think it is a piece of crap. I really hope Ford does something about it! How many complaints does it take for them to recall it?

- , Escondido, Ca, USA

problem #116

Nov 122007

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,400 miles


Transmission failed. Service Bulletins have mentioned the issues for years. Ford knows very well exactly what is happening in these transmissions.

How do we initiate recall, class action lawsuit for 2002 Ford Explorer owners with 5R55W transmission?

This is unsafe. Transmission failed during rush hour with family in the vehicle.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #115

Nov 132007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I have worked hard in my life.I have 3,500 left to pay off this truck and it seems that its falling apart.I never drive it hard.It was all local driving and the transmission went.I find this to be unfair and out of control.

- , Miami, FL, US

problem #114

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

About one year ago I felt a kick when shifting from reverse to drive. Two days ago, I was driving and the overdrive light started to flash as off!!! Then the Service Engine Soon light starts to flash. Long story short, I need a new transmission on a car with less than 50k miles... I guess I should be welcomed to the club?!?!?!?

- , Middletown, NY, US

problem #113

Oct 302007

(reported on)

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


I get in the car and it won't go into gear. I'm a struggling college student who needs this crap right now. I can get past the rust on a 4 year old car, but I just paid it off and now look what happens as soon as the warranty is over.

- , Calumet City, IL, USA

problem #112

Oct 302007

(reported on)

Explorer Biege 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

my wife and i decided the best thing to do was buy a safe, "reliable" vehicle due to the fact that we have 3 kids. well, that was the plan anyway. the problems started with rear wheel bearings, then the transmission completely went at around 69,000 miles, which cost me $2500.00. so much for the reliable part! after researching this transmission problem, it seems to me that once a certain amount of people experience a certain problem with a vehicle, it should be investigated, and eventually the vehicle should be recalled.....right? i will never, ever recommend an explorer of any year to anyone, not even to my worst needs to take responsibility for their screw ups....there is enough hard working people being left to take on the financial burden of fixing fords mistakes..hey,'s time to step up and do whats right!

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #111

Oct 262007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

Our 2002 Ford Explorer needed a completely rebuild transmission after only 57k miles. While driving, the car suddenly failed to accelerate. We could see the RPMs climb but the car would not accelerate. We felt very lucky that it didn't cause an accident.

We took it to Reliable Transmission in Hillsboro and were charged $3200 to repair. Definately seems on the high side but once you take it in and they have your car taken apart, it costs hundreds just to put it back together so we had no choice.

This was our first Ford and will be our last Ford. We have learned our lesson and will not be giving Ford any more of our business. We're now debating whether to sell or keep the car. If we keep the car, we run the risk of more repairs. The problem is Ford's depreciate like a rock and now the car is worthless. Live and learn.

- , Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #110

Oct 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

Transmission failure on the road caused us to spend a day at a Ford dealer out of state while we were on route back from a vacation. After fitting us in to their shcedule, having the car and "diagnosing" the problem, They told us we could drive the vehicle but we should get it fixed at our local dealer. Local dealer said transmission should be replaced, warranty company said no, must be rebuilt. Car was out of service for a week (loaner car was provided). A few weeks later, same issue, car went back transmission rebuilt again...out of service for a week, they failed to replace a solenoid which probably was the cause of the original problem (should have just replaced it). Many other problems with this vehicle, will report the others appropriately

- , Monroe, CT, USA

problem #109

Oct 212007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


I will never buy another Ford Explorer again. It along with many other Ford Transmissions went out after day one when we purchased it at 31,000 miles. We took the vehicle in with the chief complaint of it not shifting immediately when put into gear. It would hesitate, then jerk into gear. We babied our Explorer so much and it caused us extreme problems because my husband is a Lieutenant for the state of Nevada and has to commute to work of 35miles each way and is the sole provider for our family. Luckily his Warden let him use the State Truck until we could scrape up the money to replace the transmission. I HATE FORD!

- , Wendover, NV, USA

problem #108

Oct 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,800 miles

So I was driving down the street and stopping at a red light. Suddenly the truck had sort of a hiccup before stopping. The light turns green and so I lightly accelerate, and the truck just dies on me. So I'm stuck in the middle of the intersection with cars flying by me. Luckily I was able to push it to the side of the road without getting hit. Had it towed to a shop and they told me the insides were totally ripped up. He showed me the parts and I've never seen anything so bad, looks like all the teeth were ripped off. Ended up shelling out nearly $3100. The list of repairs keep growing.

- , South Ogden, UT, USA

problem #107

Oct 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

This was the second time the transmission had failed and the car was not even two years old. The worst part was that the car stopped in the middle of a freeway and I was able to move it to the shoulder through the sheer speed built up by inertia.

I complained to Ford and asked for vehicle to be replaced. I seriously doubted the safety of the vehicle even after it was fixed but here in Mexico, those kind of complaints go nowhere. Ford feels they have no responsibility even though the car comes with so many faults. The car has since had a multitude of mechanical failures which have had to be fixed. Once I get rid of this car, I will never buy from Ford again after this experience.

- , Mexico City, 52783, Mexico

problem #106

Oct 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,600 miles

The car was new still in the first year of waranty when the transmission failed. It took six weeks to repair and I assume they replaced it with a new transmission unit.

- , Mexico City, 52783, Mexico

problem #105

Oct 172007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

everyone has this problem. ford should help or dateline will

- , Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #104

Oct 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

There are simply too many problems with Ford. I bought this one brand new. Then the door would not lock, then the shift handle was broken- can you believe it? Then the HUB needs to be replaced. Now, at 73000 miles, the transmission need to be totally replaced.

In addition, the service was awlful. One time I had it serviced at an Alexandria dealer, they could not find my car for THREE days and I had to rent a car as they told me. Then they refused to reimburse the cost of the rental.


- , Herndon, VA, USA

problem #103

Oct 162007

(reported on)


  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought a 2002 Explorer against the wishes of some very well informed friends but I got a discount from a relative. By far my biggest car buying mistake ever I've only bought Nissans in the past. The transmission went out soon after warranty was over but only had it for 2 years and about 50K miles the usual crap O/D comes on and completely stops rolling had that replace for bout $2000 since then 3 of the window motors have all died. All four CV boots had to be replace i.e. for each wheel on the vehicle and now the rebuilt transmision is getting stuck in second and did I mention the O/D light has been coming on and off for the everpast 2 years but I'm gonna ride til it dies to spite Ford. I can say I will never buy a Ford for myself, wife and definitely not for my kids it is the worst vehicle purchase i've ever made I seriously hope they go bankrupt or get bought out by a decent carmakers and revamp. I've never had a vehicle break down and be on the side of the road or have a need for AAA with this piece of crap I've been stranded 5 times. Do yourself a favor buy a Nissan/Toyota/Chevy.

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #102

Aug 252007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

i bought this piece of sh*t in 2005 after about a week the tranny started slamming gears making loud noises brought it back to the dealer SAM GFALLOWAY FORD to get it fixed all they tell me is that there is nothing wrong with the transmission but replaced 2 torq converters and 3 valve bodys (wonder why they did that when nothing is wrong )

they also broke a lot of stuff while in the shop they killed my gauges in the dashboard (not once but 3 times) while there they replaced the recalled hinges in the back got the car back with the rear window crucket in there and the plastic piece cracked since they where at it they scratched my hood to all hell and told me it was like that when the car came in there

it is now 1 1/2 years after the first visit at the shop teh tranny is still slamming and whining begging for mercy and a fix but sam galloway ford incists there is nothing wrong with it

this company needs to get the sh*t sued out of


Email : rossi@fedoraproject. org

- , Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #101

Oct 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 81,000 miles

Ok, like many others on this informative site, I'm a 2nd owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer, purchased with 36,000 miles on it. Easy driving, no 4-wheelin', consistent maintenance, yadda yadda. Now, at 81k miles the O/D light starts flashing. I drove home and found this forum; you predicted exactly what the dealer would tell me (dirty fluid, metal scraps, band 5 gone), except their estimate is $4000, and I was told to take the "cheaper" option which is to replace rather than repair. He wouldn't give me any details over the phone, not even the diag code information. I'm going back tomorrow to make a scene, pick up the vehicle, and take it somewhere else. It is bad enough that the darn tranny is shot, but the attitude of the dealer is unforgiveable. $4000 is a LOT of money, and he acted like it was an oil change....take it or leave it. Well, I'm not taking it.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #100

Oct 122007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Transmission problems since new. Started skipping at under 12000 miles. Repaired by dealer 3 times within first 36,000 miles. Broke down just after warranty. Hassled with local dealer and Ford Motor Co, but finally got them to do some repair work. After warranty, I rebuilt twice, and replaced once with a used transmission. Used transmission skipping after 90 day warranty. Car sitting in drive way, until I decide what to do. Would not ever buy another ford, would not rccommend another ford, and still get up upset when I see the explorer everyday. Eventually, I'll get rid of it and move on.

- , Chula Vista, CA, US

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