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 19 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #79

Aug 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,700 miles


This was my first and last Ford purchase. Too many issues with this vehicle in spite of the fact that I keep up with the maintenance.

Ford sucks!

- , Springfield, VA, USA

problem #78

Jul 092007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

F. O. R. D a.k.a Fix or Repair Daily... We thought we would give FORD another chance after the salesman sold us on the safety improvements in early 2002. What a big mistake! The transmission went out in our Explorer without any warning or indication, almost as if it was timed to do so. It's no surprise that Ford is closing plants in the Southest. The sooner the better! You won't be missed.

- , 4211 Zephyrhills Drive, GA, USA

problem #77

Jul 112007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

After my wife is stranded with the broken down "Top of the Line" Explorer we fell in love with I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I laughed, at first. After towing it to the dealer I get the call that the mid range band completely failed. Faced with a large repair bill ($2000) I called Ford Motor Company and they told me "they felt my pain", "realized that was a lot of money" but there was nothing they can do as the 81,000 mile stopped them from helping me. 72,000 would have given me recourse. Damn, missed it by 9,000 miles. What a bunch of crap. If you think that's funny, read my next issue with this piece of crap they call a FORD "Built Ford Tough" my ass

- , Leicester, NC, USA

problem #76

Jul 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


right after turning over 72K miles, the O/D Off light began flashing like crazy. I was about to take it in & have the tranny serviced but before I got there, it quit shifting. I was in a parking lot, tried to shift from park & it wouldn't change out of park. It had just began shifting hard in the lower gears while driving & I didn't even have the chance to get it into the dealership. It has always had an issue with shifting hard from Park to Reverse to the point of feeling like I hit something but never just quit shifting. I just had to have it towed to a tranny mechanic to replace a solenoid. No more money to Ford for me, not even repairs. My Ford loyalty has ended!

- , Hueytown, AL, USA

problem #75

Jul 272007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Car started shifting really hard and I brought to dealership 2 different times to be told there was nothing wrong with it. Finally it totally died and would not shift at all O/D light flashing and check transmission light came on - took it back to dealership and had to pay $3000 for new transmission. New transmission came with a 3 year 35,000 mile warranty. Had to take it back to the dealership again 3 different times after they replaced the transmission because it was shifting hard and revving high before shifting. 3 different times was told by the dealership that nothing was wrong - it must be the way I drive it because there are no codes coming up. 2 days ago O/D light flashing and check transmission light back on - now the dealership says there is a problem - yep - transmission is shot again. So Ford will either replace the transmission or repair it but either way I only have a few thousand miles left on the warranty and once that runs out I am out of luck. I have driven Fords all my life and I will NEVER buy another one - thanks for nothing FORD. When I entered this site to enter the problem about my transmission - I also noticed that there have been many reports about the cracked panel under the rear window (thought that was just me) - another quality part made by Ford.

- , Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #74

Jul 232007

(reported on)

Explorer LXT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,246 miles

I got a call from a friend of mine last month inquiring if I had experienced any problems with the transmission with my 2002 Ford Explorer. At the time I replied that everything was fine with my vehicle. Little did I know that his inquiry would be a prelude to future transmission problems with my vehicle.

I was on my way to Long Island on the Southern State Parkway, when the O/D light began blinking on the dashboard console. I thought, hey, no big deal, I must have inadvertently clicked the O/D button. Let me pull over, put the car in park and engage the O/D button again. It didn't work. I referred to the owner's manual and to my surprise, it stated that there could be serious damage to the engine if the car was not serviced. I was pissed off. How could my car, with only 60,000 miles be experiencing transmission problems. I called some of my other friends to share my pain and bewilderment only to find out that they knew about existing transmission problems with Ford Explorer transmissions. I was told to "get rid" of my Explorer as soon as I can.

I did not and would not believe that I could be going through this. I took my car to AutoZone to have the problem diagnosed. Sure enough, when the diagnostic was completed, it revealed a problem with the third gear--solution- a New or rebuilt transmission. A new one would cost $3,400 and a rebuilt one would cost around $1,400-$1,700. ( I did not purchase the extended warranty). I am out $1,400 and will never again purchase an American vehicle... I'll stick to the imports I was used to before I chose to support American made products. I guess I was wrong.

Ford Sucks!

- , New York, NY, USA

problem #73

Jul 202007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles


Yeah me too. At just 79000 the freakin tranny craps out on me. $1750 ouch. I've had it with Ford telling me it's just not covered. After researching this problem I've come to the conclusion it is the defective part put in by the builder.... Ford. And no one else. Your new slogan is never look back... ain't that the truth. You've left thousands of us that spent our hard earned money sitting on the side of the road with your crappy product. After being a Ford family member for 34 years I will NEVER buy another Ford again. No wonder you're going broke... and none to soon for me.

- , Leicester, NC, USA

problem #72

Jun 192007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

2nd owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer, purchased with 32,000 miles on it. Now, at 55,000, I am replacing the transmission. Dealer estimate to repair was about $3,700. I'm having the work done at a local transmission shop who noted that yes, Ford Explorers are notorious for transmission troubles, but he appreciates it because it keeps him in business. Well, my 1997 Toyota Avalon has 125,000 miles and, outside of routine maintenance, continues to run awesome. Maybe Ford should wake up, realize how inferior their products really are, and take responsibility. Judging by the number of complaints though, I doubt they will "cowboy up" and make the problem right.

- , St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #71

May 032007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Same old story... O/D light starts flashing, then goes off when car turned off. Hit 65 mph again, viola... o/d light flashing. Went to the stearlership, diagnosed as the torque converter was slipping, and... you guessed it - replace the transmission. Offered a 3year / 75k warranty for the Ford rebuilt option ($3,600 - prices seem to go UP as more of these problems arise... hmmm...) TransKing quoted $2,700 and 3yr/36K warr. Called Ford customer service, and same story - out of warranty and no acknowlegement of the problem by Ford. Got another number from another web site 313.845.5903 Karen Jones @ ford's executive offices... we'll see what happens...3rd Ford, but never another.

- , Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #70

May 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

O/D light started flashing and noticed that transmission did not lock-up in overdrive anymore.

ford mechanic told us transmission is shot. $2,500 for a new one and ford will contribute $1,000 for the repair.

- , Bloomer, WI, USA

problem #69

May 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,808 miles


just out of the blue the od off light starts blinking then the next day revvs way up before it will shift from 2nd to 3rd, took it in and they recalibrated something, on my way home was even worse. took it back, needs new bands and other things to the amount of 1700 bucks. got it fixed, got rid of it, now im driving a wonderful honda civic with a 7 year bumper to bumper "dont have to worry about nothin but tires and oil changes, warranty". NO MORE FORD!!!!

- , Hannibal, MO, USA

problem #68

Apr 282007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Have a '02 Explorer? O/D OFF light flickering and gears doing wierd stuff? Get ready... walk into the service department backwards with your pants down... because you're about to get it rough with no KY. First they said it would be $1700 because the $85 diagnostic revealed that 2 bands were broken. After I reluctantly agreed to the rebuild, they later called and said they found that the "whole case housing and the solenoid body was bad."

$3200 for a new, excuse me, "certified factory rebuilt" tranny. But the good news, they said, was that you can apply for a credit card through them (22%) and find out an answer in about 5 minutes.

TO HELL WITH FORD! NEVER will I again give them my business. Henry Ford was a wretched, crooked a**hole (look it up). It appears that his nephew or grandson or bastard lovechild or whoever the hell the CEO is now is keeping up the tradition. Yeah, he invented the assembly line or whatever, but he treated his workers like absolute dung. Do yourself a favor, go any route beside Ford. I have a '91 Chevy Blazer that has never had a tranny problem. Thanks for reading. Oh, P. S., if you do have 'em replace your trans, don't let the bastards have the old one to make money on. Take it to a scrap yard and see how much you get for that aluminum case, you'll be surprised (scrap metal is bringing the best price ever right now).

- , Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #67

Apr 152007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

i loved this vehicle, last ford lasted 150,000 miles and i blamed my wife of leaving the brake off when it rolled into the lake.

in retrospect i think it popped out of gear and may have been a transmission problem? bought another and now at 112,000 o/d light flashing as well as check transmission-

my question is will a new transmission from a reputable shop more than likely take care of my problem? please help?

- , Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #66

Apr 092007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,500 miles

My wife took the 02 Explorer out and had the tranny go nuts on her. The Explorer would not shift into second gear without having it rev to 4000 to 5000 RPM before shifting very very hard. I drove it the next morning and all it would do is rev like hell in 1st then snap into second like someone hit me in the rear. The lights started to go off on the dash, blinking OD off then Check Engine.

I just got a call back from the Ford Dealer and it looks like the band broke. What really ticks me off is I serviced the transmission at 40K, and just last week at 71K to the tune of $150 bucks each time. I never towed or hammered the transmission. My total bill looks like it's in the ballpark of $1650 to replace both bands a valve and some other parts. Looks like I'm lucky after looking at some of the posts here, as far as, cost.

I did call the customer help line and all I got was "sorry but it does have 71500 miles on it and we can't help you". That just pushed me to the imports the next time I buy a new car. Sorry Ford, if you can't make a trans go to 140K then I'm not buying another car from you.

I wondered why the service guy told me they have improved parts to install in the transmission now? I guess when you start with bad parts they have nowhere to go but up.

Thanks for letting me vent, Crazy in Cleveland

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #65

Apr 062007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I took my car in hoping it wouldn't be a huge problem. I found out that I have to get my transmission replaced. The mechanic said that it would cost $350 just to have it inspected. It will take several days to get it back. $2600 later, I am so irate that I had to replace the transmission. They said the problem was the 2nd and 3rd gear and there was a hole in the casing of the transmission. It was going to cost more to get a rebuilt trans so we opted to get this one rebuilt. AND of course the warranty just expired so we are stuck with this huge bill. I have seen SOOOO many complaints about the 2002 ford transmission lately, I don't understand why there is no recall!!!!!

- , Streamwood, IL, USA

problem #64

Apr 062007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

Under normal driving conditions, the trans would shift into lower gear and not shift at all. Took it to trans shop who reported the 5th gear "blew out!" at 83,000 miles! Ford must make their transmissions out of cardboard or something. Aren't transmissions supposed to go at least until 150,000? but not here. I'm trading, no more Ford for me. This is one of 3 major complaints on this vehicle.

- , Redding, CA, US

problem #63

Mar 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Okay.. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach as I read all the other complaints. The end of February, returning from a trip to Chattanooga, I stop at a light just off the exit I live and the car won't go into gear. I continue to drive and I hear this grinding noise and the O/D light is flashing. I take it to a transmission shop to have it checked and they tell me I have to have a new transmission.(thank god for tax refunds) It takes a week to get it fixed, I drive away and half way home the O/D light is on, flashing. I call the transmission shop and he tells me to bring it back, he goes over it again thinking he's solved the problem. I leave the shop and get half way home and the light is on, flashing. To date the light is flashing and I have called the transmission shop once again. This really pisses me off, I have had 2 Fords in my life time and I have driven them both for at least 10yrs with no major problems. I always up held Ford, right about now they can kiss where the sun don't shine. How could they not have a recall on the problem after damn near 200 complaints. Do we wonder why the closed the Ford plant in Hapeville, Ga? I always wanted a Ford Explorer, I guess I just picked the wrong year to buy one.. huh. SOB's somebody needs to do something.

- , Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #62

Mar 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Like many others, my 2002 started with the O/D Off light flashing on the dash. Then the over revving of the enging and hard switch to second gear. This is my 3rd Explorer and will be my last FORD.

Found On Roadside DYING

- , Livingston, NJ, USA

problem #61

Mar 232007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0 VS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I should have stuck with Mopar. My '02 Explorer experienced a transmission failure. Never had I ever had vehicle do this. It began a few days ago with the overdrive light flashing off and on. I parked and switched the engine off and when I turned the vehicle back on it died each time I attempted to place the gear in drive.

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #60

Mar 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I have always been a big fan of Ford explorers until know. I have had my transmission replaced 4 times since owned. First was at 34,000 miles, second time at 63,000 miles, third time at 126,000 miles and for the forth time at 127,324 miles. This is bullsh*t each time and is costing a little over 2000 dollars each time. A Ford mechanic recommended that I put an after market transmission cooler in to help keep it cooler. BULLSH*T, I did that and it still went out. This is the biggest piece of sh*t I have ever owned. I will never buy another Ford again in my life nor will my family. I think everyone should get together and file a class action lawsuit against Ford and make Ford pay everyone back for the cost of repair and the cost for lost time at work and the headaches this pile of sh*t gives us.


- , Culver, IN, USA

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