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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
122,591 miles
Total Complaints:
28 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. rebuild or new transmission (14 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Apr 192010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


i bought my Explorer when it had approx. 35,000 miles--it now has approx. 70,000 miles. First of all, when I shift into drive or reverse, it acts like it does not want to go. It will soon jump into gear and does fine, but makes a buzzing sound while driving down the road. It has also turned off at stop lights, and behind stopped cars. This is driving me crazy---not to mention the piece on the trunk has cracked, along every other explorer that is this model that I have seen on the road. What is the deal with Ford? And I was raised up in Ford vehicles.

- , Chadbourn, NC, USA

problem #7

Aug 182009

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

click to see larger images

transmission hesitates

I have had this explorer for 2 months now and did not find a problem with it. That was until the trans started to hesitate & make a whining noise. I have already replaced the torque converter as FORD says. Now the damn thing needs another transmission or rebuild. Would anybody have any recommendation please. I am very strapped for cash and need something that will fix it permanently, not just like those other that last 50,000miles or so. Is there another brand or specific part that needs to be rebuilt? Any info would be great. Thank you, Bradley.

- , Lugoff, SC, USA

problem #6

Jul 242009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

I had bought my Explorer used with 35,000 miles, @ 58,000 miles the transmission went need a new transmission. Fought the extended warranty company to fix the transmission. Then @ 76,000 mile the transmission went again. I was charged for the full repair. Now @ 109,000 the transmission is bucking going up a hill. Like an old clunker. No one will stand by the repair or invesigate this problem, I have been inconvenienced for almost 3 months due to all these transmission problems. They need to recall all these transmissions and replace all transmissions and warranty them for 100,000 miles for everyone who have been experiencing all these difficulties. I will never buy another ford again even with the cash for clunkers will never go back to a ford dealership. We as consumers need to stand up and have our voices heard on this serious problem on this transmission issue. Recall original and aftermarket replacement transmissions, From 2002 to 2006. WE NEED TO BE HEARD!!!!

- , Seymour, CT, USA

problem #5

Nov 032008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


I bought this POS truck (worst thing ever) in 2001-2002. I bought it brand new, however within the first couple of months it was being towed to the dealer because the ignition key had locked on me. This not only happened once but twice. Now when I'm on the road and I have to apply the brakes heavily to stop (because someone cuts me off or for what ever reason), when I press the gas the truck SOUNDS like the gas pedal is being pressed but no response from this POS truck. After about 3-6 seconds after keeping my foot on the gas it clumps and it finally reacts to move forward or back.

I went to have a transmission flush, and transmission filter changed at four well known places and I was told it could not be done. I finally went to the dealer and they charged me three times what the other places were going to cost. I also learned that I have no dipstick in my transmission and that Ford is about the only place that can do this job........ way to go FORD (POS).

I've been in the service as an active duty member for 12 years and I used to be a big American made supporter but thanks to Ford I now stay away from American made. My 1999 Honda accord LX runs like a champ with about 150,000 miles no worries. I will never again spend one dime buying a Ford. The only way I will own another Ford is if it's given to me free and I guarantee I will sell it the next day!!!! Ford you suck ...go to hell, I hope your company goes bankrupt and you're forced to do right by your ex-customers.

- , Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 232009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

My wife called me today and said that the OD light started blinking and the car won't shift the gears properly. She couldn't drive over 30mph. I googled '2002 ford explorer transmission' and this site came up. My what I've been reading in this forum.. I don't think I will get the transmission fixed and will try and trade it in. It's just not worth spending $2000-$3000 for it to happen again... car is only worth about $3500-$4000 trade-in.

- , Cranford, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jan 202009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I am having all the same issues with my Explorer as the others. I know the vehicle is 7 years old. With proper servicing this SUV should run much longer without having to repair or replace a transmission. I want to support American made products but it has to be a two way street. Ford should back up autos they manufacture. Repair or replace these transmissions and restore loyalty and confidence in the American consumer or lose us to more reliable and better backed products. Ford will probably not do this , so Sayonara



- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #2

Mar 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and the transmission is failing. I appreciate all the other complaint entries, as I know what to expect with the transmission. Apparently, I am lucky because I have 143, 000 miles on my Explorer and the transmission has not failed yet, but is showing signs of problems. The only reason I bought this Ford is because my brother in law works for Ford and got the A plan, but it has had many problems besides the transmission. I agree with other contributors, if you are considering buying a Ford, reconsider any other brand. Ford claims their quality is better now, but they still do not stand behind their products. I have contacted Ford about the repair of this vehicle and another previous Ford purchase (a Winstar) and they claim "we have no control over our dealers and if they cannot repair your vehicle or help you, then there is nothing we can do." I will never purchase another Ford product. No wonder they are having such severe financial problems.

- , Commerce, MI, USA

problem #1

Oct 122008

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Had a rebuilt transmission put in the explorer at 30,000 miles. Haven't had a diagnosis yet, but looks like I will be replacing it again!

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

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