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

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 7 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #320

Jan 312011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 182,622 miles


Bought the car used last summer from a guy who had the transmission repaired a year ago, Feb 10. Thought it would be good for a long time. I was driving home and the vehicle started to not respond, engine was revving but nothing was catching. I pulled over and called a tow truck. It is at an AAMCO as we call Ford and do research on whether to cut our losses or repair.

- , Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #319

Mar 092009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

I wish Ford would do the F**in right thing ! They know they have built a POS that they will only give you 1500 on a trade in on it cause they dont want it! My truck was bought after my mom passed away with the life insurance money that my stepdad got he bout it for me... Im kinda emontionaly attached to this POS I dont want to get rid of it but my good how may time can you put the truck in the shop? Ford needs to send a recall out on this transmission it is a safety hazzard if it goes out on the freeway ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it could be bad. If they would send me a new tranny I would even pay to have it put in!!!!!!

- , ALvin, TX, USA

problem #318

Jan 102011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,323 miles

i bought my 2002 explorer from a dealer aug 2010, its now jan 2011 and my trans went. I am a single mother of 3 i work two jobs, and now i have no car..I am about to not have my two jobs.thanks alot FORDS. you sure know how to screw the little people.

- , Westland, MI, USA

problem #317

Apr 292010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


Ford should be made to pay for these failing transmissions.

- , Swedesboro, NJ, USA

problem #316

Nov 262010

Explorer 4.0L V-6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,500 miles

Not only did the transmission go, but the 4 wheel drive has not worked since I've had it. I feel this transmission problem should be recalled & people should be reimbursed for their expenses. This was very aggravating as it happened as I was halfway to Louisville to visit mt daughter & her family over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am a Millwright employed by Ford & it makes me very ashamed of the way Ford is treating their customers, (& employees). I'm hoping this will lead to a class action suit.

Ford needs to take these complaints a little more seriously. Something needs to be done about this.

- , Lorain, OH, USA

problem #315

Apr 052010

Explorer XLT

  • 65,000 miles

I am very disappointed with FORD Explorer! I purchased this car brand new 02’ and bought it instead of a BMW thinking I would save money on repairs. Well my piece of junk Ford Explorer XLT 02 has had problems since day one. Yes, I had a extended warranty but all the issues it has had from day one was never fixed because the mechanics from Fords said the “computer” could never diagnose the problems so dealership said they could not send the parts to FORD( back east main office) to get paid for them if they found nothing wrong with it!! What?? You mean to tell me we take our cars in for service when it’s under warranty and to get repairs done and if the computer doesn’t diagnose what he issues are the dealership will not get paid for the repairs or parts used?? There is clearly a problem with the car and the Ford mechanic says there an issue but the computer can’t figure out the part, so the service department will not repair it because they will not get paid from FORD!!!????

Now 1/3/2011 This 7”crack appeared on the panel below in my rear tail gate window is just disgusting and after doing a search on complaints with this issue which I should have done first before accusing my husband that he did it when he took the car to work! I felt horrible and thought you know maybe since I had already issues with it maybe I should check if I am the only one that this happened to then to blame him….. What a discovery after doing the research, sure enough I am not the only one that this problem has appeared out of the blue!!!! IT should be replaced by FORD Along with the other panels that I had already replaced because of peeling paint etc. This 7” crack that is on the rear tail gate probably will not be fixed by FORD since they do not honor there warranties when they are paid for and will wait till they expire to have you pay for the repairs!! WHAT A RIP OFF!! I was actually appalled when a Ford Service manager said you need to buy another FORD instead of fixing the problem because FORD back east will not honor the warranty!

I have had transmission problems, electrical etc and the service dept will not fix the problems!! When under warranty telling me to come back when the issue(s) is always there and not intermittent?? What a joke! Mind you my car had issues and it doesn't even have 80miles on it! The transmission will cost me $3000.00 per Ford service to replace; I have all ready spent replacing the gear shifter that broke on the freeway and the main steering will column on the car!!! Oh Yes also the front suspension ball joint!! Yes it cost me a pretty penny Total $4000.00 + WHAT A RIP OFF! Now add in the $3000.00 Transmission that I am waiting for it to completely go out of wack ( per FORD service dept) before they fix it!! That is a down payment $7000.00 for a brand new car that I have spent in the last year 2010 of owning the SUV!!! I will never buy this kind of SUV or ANY PRODUCT that FORD makes. They do not take care for there customers.

Oh! for you Ford owners there is an attorney in New Jersey who is doing a class action law suit to recall the ford 2002 Explorer as FORD is aware of a design defect regarding the transmission design and now the new ones have the corrected transmissions in them.. Any suggestions on the cracked panel on the rear tail gate window would be great appreciated. Oh don’t worry I am going to contact that attorney again to tell them what just happened. NEVER BUY A FORD !!

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #314

Dec 162010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


O/D light started blinking at about 95,000 miles. I would pull over turn off the car & restart it and it would be fine. Then a week before it completely died it would not go into gear. I revved up the motor, it engaged and it was fine for a week. Then we were leaving one day and it died in the driveway. It had been slipping for a year and finally died. I met a guy with a 2002 V8 Merc. Mountaineer last month that had his trans replaced at about 68,000 mi. My brother has an 02 V8 Explorer and his went out last year at 96,000. My nephew has a 03 with low miles (63,000) he is planning on selling it within a year before it is his turn. We have had as many as 12 Fords in the family. Now people are starting to by other brands as they get new cars. I have a 92 Explorer with a standard trans & 204,000 mi.. Other than normal repairs it is great. I also have 93 Tracer that lost its transmission at 118,000. Maybe ford should stick with just standard transmissions. Ford does many of things right, just not standing behind their Trans.

- , Salt Lake, UT, USA

problem #313

Dec 122010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and the Transmission just went out on it. I will tell the story from the beginning. Ok so I was about 30 mins away from my home and driving on the freeway back home when the OD light started blinking very fast. Then I get off the freeway and stop and the red light then when i started to go the transmission started doing all sorts of crazy sh*t it was changing gears like crazy and finally settle out. Then right before i turn in my drive the transmission just QUITS! it just STOPPED! i put it in park then drive and sound.. no movement it would just roll backwards. so now it sitting on the side of the road where i pushed it to. ALL OF THIS HAPPENED IN 30 MINS! Nothing was wrong before this happened.!!!! Please someone help and lets get this to be recalled!

- , Fort Leonard Wood, MO, MO, USA

problem #312

Nov 092009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

This was the first time i had the tranny rebuilt i would be driving and everything was fine and then when i was coming to a stop my truck would die, and i couldn't drive i could only go in reverse.

- , Newark, OH, US

problem #311

Oct 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,500 miles

i have a 2002 ford exploder which i only have a month left to pay it. owned the vehicle for 4 yrs. on the first year, master switch (window) replaced, window regulator driver side front and rear went out, followed by pass. side rear window kit not to mention rear panel w/c we sould know pretty common. before deployment, master cylinder replaced, when i got back, transmission replaced, rear shocks replaced and they're out again with some knocking sound on the rear end!!!! when is it gnna end?! geeeez! selling this vehicle is not even worth the money i already put in it. so i might as well keep it, hoping for a recall! oh, i forgot to mention some minor defficiencies and i just hope my transfer case would not give up on me.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #310

Nov 092010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6 V-8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles


I feel like Ford should change there name to SEONTA ( screw every one in the ASS! ) there Transmissions are straight up JUNK! They have been for years the old E4OD electronic four speeds over drive. And I guess their new ones are Junk too. They know they have issues and they do nothing to help people. Well let me tell you something, Karma is a bitch. They will get theirs.

- , St Peters, MO, USA

problem #309

Jul 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Ford sucks! They have lost a really good customer! Not only one, but many! Ford knew the transmission was a major issue with the 2002 Ford Explorer's and did nothing about it! This should be a Major Recall! We will never purchase another Ford product! They are all Lemons and Ford will not back them up! We will only purchase from reputable companies!

- , Dana Point, CA, USA

problem #308

Apr 032005

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Luckily covered under warranty. This is a very common problem (inevitable) with the 2002 Explorer.

- , Park Ridge, IL, USA

problem #307

Oct 282010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,500 miles

Transmission is failing in my 2002 Ford Explorer 4x4. A local transmission shop confirmed that my fear that the gears were not shifting properly was due to the transmission failing. It will cost $2400 to $2800 to repair. Because the transmission is sealed it will cost extra. Only through the first half of the year of 2002 were the Explorers made with this transmission and mine was manufactured in May 2001.

It's a beautiful truck, no one believes how old it is or how many miles are on it. But to me, all A/T die by 100,000 miles. It really doesn't matter what brand, they all die.

- , Coon Rapids, MN, USA

problem #306

Oct 062010


  • 140,575 miles

Called Ford customer service to complain and said that it was out of warranty by 4 MONTHS! No good-faith warranty or discount was going to be given to us. We were simply out of luck. We are currently having it replaced at independent dealership. Transmissions should not be a costly disposable part. This is clearly a defect and consumers should be reimbursed.

- , Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #305

Apr 192007


  • 70,000 miles

OD dash light came on, 3 miles later was not drivable. Chino Hills Ford Dealership had to put in new transmission with a 3 year warranty.

- , Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #304

Sep 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Bought this car from ford dealership in 2004 with 22k miles, with warranty up to 75k miles first transmission went bad at 50k second transmission went bad 50 miles later ( went bad as i drove home) third transmission went bad at 107k (warranty expired had to pay 4300.00 to ford dealer) forth transmission went bad at 110k fifth transmission is yet to be installed

ford you suck, i will never buy another ford product ever again. Ford shows no quality or workmanship in there ford explorer series. I will buy foreign next time.

- , Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #303

Aug 182010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I had just put a rebuilt engine in this pile about 6 months before this f*en transmission took a sh*t . now i go online and see how many other people are getting screwed by ford. i did this for my sister and after putting the engine in(which by the way was the WORST job I have ever had to do in my 25 years of auto experience) in the back of my head i knew that if the engine takes a sh*t the transmission usually isnt far behind and sure enough here i am. Now I haven't contacted ford yet but i know they will just blow me off . no one has died because of this problem i know of so they wont be concerned and say its f*ed to be you.In my opinion a transmission should last 150000 miles before you have to open it up for major repair and seeing how there is no dipstick and the trans is not servicable by normal means there should be some kind of service fluid light or shutdown system before transmission damage occurs.

The engineer who dreamt up the engine must be the same dumass that dreamt up this pile of sh*t transmission.Even the earlier ford AOD/AODE transmissions were sh*t . you would think they would have learned. appartently not.Gosh I sure am happy I am a Chevy guy

- , Omak, WA, USA

problem #302

Sep 012010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,000 miles

Now that I read about all these transmission failures I'm not surprised that mine crapped also. O/D light started flashing, then the trans started slipping. I've been told that the trans without the dip-stick (mine) have an awfully bad design. This could be my second trans, the first one was at about 65000 miles. Ford tough is only if you don't drive it... I'm not going to fix the problem, just try to sell the SUV as one part, get what I can an buy a GMC.

- , Mountain Home, AR, USA

problem #301

Jul 242009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I purchased my 2002 Ford Explorer new. When I purchased the vehicle I also purchased an extended warranty to cover the car to 100,000 miles. When the transmission went out, I discovered that the company I purchased the extended warranty with went Bankrupt. This repair cost me $3,300 dollars! I think the transmission problem should be address by Ford and they should have a recall on this vehicle, This vehicle should not have a transmission failure at 90,000 miles!

- , Sherwood, OR, USA

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