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 9 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #279

Dec 062009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles


Like so many others, my 2002 Ford explorer started experiencing the blinking O/D light..then it simple stalled and inched forward barely moving... I'd been told that ford was experiencing many issues with the failing transmissions in the 2002 model. I had this issue repaired for the hefty some...correction rebuilt for the hefty charge of $2868..My Repair shop extortionist told me that he'd received several other explorers with similar issues..however my vehicle had burnt out almost everything surrounding the tranny... This was all very foreign and frustating for me. He went on to inform me that out of the four explorers being rebuilt mine was the worst and most costly.. surprise surprise..

Ford should really step up the way Toyota is attempting to do and recall or assist in the high end robbery of repairing an issue that they knew about all along... I feel a little better knowing others out there are voicing their concerns maybe Ford will take notice... thought i'm not holding my breath....

- , Springfield, MA, US

problem #278

Jan 072010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

under 50,000 three wheel bearings, cost, $197.00 a piece for the bearing, 247.00 a piece to have them installed, (have to be pressed off and on) great Ideal from ford! Fourth wheel bearing at 62,000, around the same price. I have not ever had this suv off road the only thing I have pulled with this car is my 18 foot pontoon boat, only in the spring to put it in the lake and in the fall to pull it out, what i am getting at is both rear coil springs broken! Go figure! Four wheel drive module went out, cost, $489.00 at 85,000. and now the transmission went out at 89,000, $2700.00.

Called Ford on all the problems, guess what? Nothing covered under warranty by Ford, so much for the 100,000 drive train warranty HUH? I had a 1997 Explorer put over 135,000 on it and not one problem, this 2002 has some major problems, and ford will not stand behind any of them. My first Ford was a 1959 Fairlane, I think this 2002 Explorer will be my last.

- , Grandville, MI, USA

problem #277

Dec 212009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

Ford needs to recall this Transmisson. i have nothing else to say about it, I'm sick and heart broken over this :(

- , Londonderry, NH, USA

problem #276

Jan 122010

(reported on)

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles


Much the same as others. O/D light blinking, loss drive train power......Per Mr. Transmission:Overdrive ring failed resulting in the loose parts destroying the rest of the transmission....This has to be a design/ engineering fault by Ford. Who's handling the class action?

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #275

Dec 182009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

transmission failed at 57000 miles, never towed a thing! on the phone with ford right now listeIng to how they do not care. The delership is a complete rip off. they wanted $400 to fix brakes that had already been replaced 5000 miles before with new pads, they just "stumbled upon this brake wear issue" during one of their "inspections" the dealerships near military installtions try and rip off soldiers WAY TO GO FORD!

- , Phenix City, AL, USA

problem #274

Nov 272009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

I bough my 2002 Explorer a year ago.. never had a problem with it.. until black Friday.. yea that is right.. i have 2 kids i love dearly and on my way xmas shopping for them and my family.. what do u know. my o/d light started blinking a bout 5 mile after i left my house... then it stopped shifting and kept jumping into natural.. as we got further down the road it wouldn't go at all had to have my dad come tow me home.. now i am having to take xmas money and buy a new transmission and have it put in.. looks like xmas this year for a single hard working mom with 2 kids wont be as great as i thought.. Also the person that i am having change the transmission says it looks like this is not the 1st time that transmission has been changed in this car..

- , West Hamlin, WV, USA

problem #273

Aug 102007

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


the usual transmission failure starting with loss of third gear then the o/d light blinking

- , Poland, OH, USA

problem #272

Nov 112009

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

My Daughters dream car just had to be a 2002 FORD Exploder! I have been a FORD fan (owned a '68 Ford Van, '76 Mustang Cobra, '91 Explorer, '98 Expedition, '01 Excursion)...and now an '02 Explorer. Ford Company, this is the last time I will visit your car lot or service group. It's absolutely shameful that you know of big serious dangerous and expensive problems like the 2002 transmission on the FORD Explorer...and your dealership allowed my 18 year old daughter to drive it off the lot. My daughter (I co-signed the loan) saved for a down payment & insurance...had a picture out of a magazine on her desk. Eddie Bauer, loaded, sleek looking, comfortable, sounds good...but you knew that the transmission would probably break real soon (I see many complaints posted with similar issues). She's had it 4 months...only 4 months! Sure as heck, 2nd gear is gone and it shifts like a kick in the ass going into od. Catastrophic PO733 & PO745...and according to the hundreds of inquiries I have performed over the last week, the only real fix is a rebuilt transmission at over 4000 dollars. Any attempt to do the individual part replacement will only prolong the next portion of the degrading transmission's week or 3 months down the road. And, the new tranny probably won't make it past 80,000 miles...what kind of product is this? I can't let my daughter pull out into traffic with that uncertainty in the drive train. I'll pay the bill (at a local shop) because that's what dads do when needed. FORD has lost my future business...and I'm sure my kids won't step foot on your car lots either.

- , Port Orchard, WA, USA

problem #271

Apr 162006

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

when we first test drove the explorer we noticed the shifting was harsh and mentioned to the sales rep. that if we were to buy the truck the transmission needed to be fixed or replaced he told us he would get it in their shop and see about it. A couple of days later we were looking at a Durango and i received a call from the ford dealership they said that was normal for that transmission and there were no problems with so we went and with it and it was the worst choice of my damn life that truck has been nothing but a pile of sh*t since the first month we owned it. Now we are out of a vehicle and my wife is a rural mail carrier and is having to depend on my family or hers to supply a vehicle to us when she works until we can afford an expensive piece of sh*t transmission that ford apparently didn't pay attention as to what the hell they were doing. Bottom line I will never give ford another red penny from my damn pocket but of course they already have all of them.

- , Westpoint, IN, USA

problem #270

Dec 152008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This car should be called the Ford ExploDer! This car has horrible transmission problems. the car makes clanking noises when shifting gears. I am Never buying a ford ever again! I had to get the transmission fixed three times!! I have a car note on this truck.The first time I brought it to Ford's attention, my warranty had just expired the month before. They said they could not do anything to help me and that I should look at their inventory and buy another one of their cars!! Are they crazy!! why would I buy another Ford after what they did to me!!!

- , Jamaica, NY, USA

problem #269

Oct 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


Im another sad story of a 2002 Explorer.The transmission started slipping,clunking and the o/d light is flashing.Just paid this piece of junk off and now waiting to here from the dealer where we bought it for that oh familiar quote of 4000 to fix. Transfer case of me 58000 mile F250 puked along with my ford Taurus transmission that was replaced just 2 months ago.Why cant ford build a decent transmission! My Explorer is my last Ford i will buy

- , Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #268

Dec 012008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I have read thousands of complaints about this issue and did some investigation. I called Fords main office and gave the lady on the phone my information. I asked about issuing a recall and she told me that I needed to go through National Traffic and Safety Administration to file a complaint. If anyone wants this issue to become a recall, I urge you to call Fords head office (800-392-3673), and then go to and fill out the online form. it takes about 10 minutes.

- , Kenly, NC, USA

problem #267

May 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Can't believe that Ford has had thousands of complaints about this problem and hasn't taken an action to make owners whole

- , Middletown, NY, US

problem #266

May 082006

Explorer Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I don't think I can add much more to the words already posted about the 2002 Explorer. The transmission was replaced at 45,000 miles and had a 2 year warranty but of course it expired just before the transmission went out AGAIN! This time I have an estimate of approximately $2400.00, or $2650.00 will include a one year warranty, to get the transmission repaired. Overall I'm very disappointed in the quality of the Ford Motor Company. At 90,000 miles now, the truck should have a lot of life left and should be recalled. I am leary about purchasing another Ford at all at this point.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #265

Aug 292009

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

same as everybody else. I was driving down interstate and o/d light started to blink. I stopped cut ignition off and started again.Transmission started to slip until I would have to pull over several times and cut car off and restart. It was a terrible experiance being that I was alone and several miles from home. I managed to make it home but have not attempted to move it since.From the looks of this site I will not be able to financially be able to move it for a while.If anyone comes up with a way we can get ford to make this right count me in!

- , Staunton, VA, USA

problem #264

Jan 152009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Problems started right away. We've owned the truck for just about 3 years now. Bought it with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

1. Passenger Door completely off track - wouldn't close - covered under warranty. 2. 4X4 failed. Loud creaking noises when turned on 4X4 high - covered under warranty. 3. 1st Spark plug spit out of engine - not covered under warranty. Didn't have Ford replace due to high cost - found effective spark plug rethreader kit at auto part store that worked - total cost to fix $250. 4. Wouldn't stay on - problem with the accelerator - which caused us to drive the truck like a 5 speed, with a foot on the gas and the break at the same time. Found a simple solution - banging a wrench on it worked! Something was junking up in there and needed to be pushed along - however, the shop wanted to charge me about $500 to fix!

5. 2nd Spark plug spit out of engine - not covered under warranty. Didn't have Ford replace due to high cost - found effective spark plug rethreader kit at auto part store that worked - total cost to fix $250. 6. 3rd Spark plug spit out of engine - not covered under warranty. Didn't have Ford replace due to high cost - found effective spark plug rethreader kit at auto part store that worked - total cost to fix $250. 7. 4th Spark plug spit out of engine - not covered under warranty. Didn't have Ford replace due to high cost - found effective spark plug rethreader kit at auto part store that worked - total cost to fix $250. 8. O/D Light started blinking - then trouble switching gears - then trouble going in reverse - transmission failed - not covered by warranty - total cost for a Rebuilt transmission - $1300.00 9. 5th Spark plug spit out of engine - not covered under warranty. Didn't have Ford replace due to high cost - found effective spark plug rethreader kit at auto part store that worked - total cost to fix $250. 10. Rocking noise heard after correcting 5th sparkplug incident. (Currently at 118,000 miles) Found out that Piston Arm was bent and would cost thousands to replace - so, NEW ENGINE (one with 72,000 miles) was purchased. Total cost - $1750.00 (This is currently being worked on)

Lucky for us - a very good friend is our mechanic and does the majority of the work for us - with the exception of rebuilding the tranny. He warned us at the beginning to get rid of the truck - but owing so much on it, there was no way to do so. When the tranny was going, we looked into trading it in and the most we could get was about $3000 - considering we owed $7,500 at the time - it was impossible - now, we owe about $6,200 so, it's still not an option. Hopefully with the new engine - we'll be in the clear for a while.

- , Lawrence, MA, USA

problem #263

Apr 022008

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

What a crappy product. Absolutely hate this car and Ford altogether. Never will buy Ford!!! Tried to support the economy and bought American, WTF! I wish I've seen this page before I bought this crap. Like all the other hundreds and thousands of unlucky Explorer owners, my transmission has problems switching to 3rd gear. Will cost several thousand dollars. Have been delaying the work for a year. One day, I guess I might just die on the road. But what can i do until I have extra thousands to spare? Seeing this many number of complaints, Ford should really consider recalling/exchanging. Surprised that no one started a legal complaint. Wish I knew anything about law.

- , Durham, NC, USA

problem #262

Jun 142009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,116 miles

My brother in law has the same car and has had the same exact problem, now researching it there are hundreds of people with this problem. Obviously something is wrong with the the quality of workmanship, and Ford needs to step up and assume responsibility. I will never BUY FORD again!!!!! There is no reason a car with only 60K miles on it should need an entire transmission rebuilt or replaced!

- , Bethel Park, PA, USA

problem #261

Jun 012005

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

After replacing the transmission, luckily while under extended warranty, after 50,000 more miles the transmission has failed again. I am beyond pissed. when you pay for a vehicle you expect it to be worth the money. I can say when I trade this vehicle I will never own another Ford

- , Canton, NC, USA

problem #260

May 272009

Explorer LXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

This transmission should be recalled - this is the second time it has failed (first at 58,000 miles). Ford will never get any of our money ever again....FYI, my husband has owned Ford trucks since 1975. Ford's CEO was on NBC's Today show this morning praising the company and crediting Ford's success to the 'quality of the vehicles it builds'. As a long time customer this is my analysis of their 'success: Ford profits by putting cheap, poorly manufactured, outsourced parts in their vehicles, and then walking away from their product. Their dealerships profit from selling, repairing and replacing these less than industry standard parts. The hard working American customer is left footing the bill. FYI, in addition to the transmission we have replaced all 4 wheel bearings, CV joints, rear differential and oh yes.......the gearshift lever snapped off in my hand. this what you are calling a 'quality product'?

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

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