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 1 of 2)

problem #28

Feb 182016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,500 miles


transmission totally failing. research shows this is a common issue that needs adressed

- , Columbia, PA, USA

problem #27

Nov 072014

Explorer Limited 3.2L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Just starting to slip and I have heard of a lot of complaints about Ford Explorers having this problem .I was really hoping I would not have this problem as no other mechanics want to do it so only Ford can do it at a higher prices.

- , Winston, Georgia/south, USA

problem #26

Jan 172011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,468 miles

When car was in park would not move until car warms up.

- , Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #25

Mar 022012

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles


My transmission began to slip around 54,000! I took it in as soon as the Over Drive light started to flash. The repair man was shocked, but aware of the utter failure of these Ford transmissions. There is absolutely no reason for a vehicle's transmission to fail at 54,000 miles! I have been driving it gingerly & do not drive it in overdrive. Repairs may be around $1,500 to $2,500. I do NOT have that kind of money!

I called Ford & they could give two sh*ts! I called the National Highway Transportation Safety Admin.

1-800-424-9393 and made a formal complaint, but haven't heard anything so far. If enough complaints are filed, a Safety Recall may be put into place. Why hasn't a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT been filed by now? Anybody have any advice? We can't just get mad & vow to never buy FORD again (because they ovbiously don't care about their product or the people that work hard to buy them). We need to ban together & hit them where it hurts...THEIR WALLET!!!

- , Wyandotte, MI, USA

problem #24

Jan 282013

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,140 miles

Ford Motor Company should be held accountable for the most reported transmission problems

in the 2002 Ford Explorer. I won one. I bought a 2004 for my daughter. And I drive one for work.

How much rick must I assume to be a Ford owner?

It's unfortunate that Ford will not be reading or responding to this message.

- , Alta, IA, USA

problem #23

Apr 012012

Explorer LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

transmission is feeling a bit funny at times. sometimes when trying to back out of driveway, the transmission slips badly. Rectified by putting in park then Reverse again. also bogs or slips after a semi-fast 90 deg turn.

- , Williamsport, PA, US

problem #22

Jan 012013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 217,000 miles


I bought this truck for a really good deal. Clean and engine strong. Only issue really is the trans hesitates from 2nd to 3rd gear. If im driving down a slight slope and let off the gas it changes smoothly. If I am on any kind of incline at all i have to rev it up to get it to about 30 mph and let off the gas and then it will shift, usually hard. Other than this and learning how to drive it this way, its been a great truck. I am with all the people on Ford Motor fixing or replacing what ever this problem is. I'm sure they wont though.

- , Ashland City, TN, USA

problem #21

Mar 152013

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,780 miles

When I see that over 1300 people have transmission problems and almost 400 have reported this problem I feel Ford needs to offer financial reimbursement. I took it to a private shop and they said it needs a new or rebuilt transmission. I called Ford to ask for a "good faith" repair. I was told by" Kiosha" first I must take it to a Ford dealer to get it diagnosed so I did. It was around $90.00 for Ford to say yes you need a new transmission. I called Ford back and the woman immediately said it it out of warranty we can do nothing. I said then why was I told to take it to a dealer I want my $90.00 back. She said I should not have been told to take it to the dealer. I said you listen to your recorded call where I was told to do that. After getting no where I asked to speak to a supervisor. She would call back they told me but they gave her the incorrect number to call. I finally got her(Millie I think) on the line-same story from her I was not getting my $90.00 back. I asked to speak to her supervisor and she said there is no one else to talk to. I said unless you own the company there is always someone above you. She refused to transfer me to anyone else. She said no one could help me but that I could write Ford. I told her this is why people buy foreign cars and she told me she is very happy with her Ford. I should have said I bet you don't own a 2002 Explorer.

- , Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #20

Oct 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

We have replaced all the bearings repeatedly in this explorer. Now the transmission is hesitating, i have no power going up hill, it slams into into gear its a bitch to get from park into gear...Ford really needs to recall the transmissions and fix them FREE OF CHARGE since this is there mistake not the drivers. I have 3 young boys that i have to drive daily and this just is not acceptable!!!

- , Barre, VT, USA

problem #19

Nov 142012

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,789 miles

Seems that there are plenty of issues with this make and model, I would like to know the cheapest repair and how many recalls for this problem were resolved.

- , Calgary, Alberta, canada

problem #18

Mar 022012

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


When shifted from park to reverse the tranny has a delay before the gears engage. Vehicle does the same thing from park to drive so you have to be very careful about pulling out into traffic

- , Lexington, NC, USA

problem #17

Dec 112011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,632 miles

Transmission Failure

- , Tallahassee, FL, US

problem #16

Jul 262011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,469 miles

this is crazy one min it is working fine and the next it not wanting to go into second. The shop says the band is broke and the only way to fix it is to take transmission apart which will cost as a rebuilt. i have 3 kids with medical conditions which i have to drive 2 hours away to get to there specialist i need transportation. i have low income, on hud and food stamps i can not afford this at all sop i have to take a loan out to fix it which in the long run will end up costing me more than 2300.

- , Cape Girardeau, MO, USA

problem #15

Jan 122011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,783 miles

We recently had the transmission repaired. However, we have always had problems from the beginning. It whines when you've been driving long distances, has problems shifting from gears. Tends to jerk when changing gears. Also has problems when you sit at a stop light,

- , North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #14

May 012010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

I had my transmission rebuilt once and then replaced and my truck still jerked horribly im not sure if thats something that normal or not but i have had the money to go and have anpther transmission put in it again since i have already done this twice in a years time and its still messed up so i havent fixed it but when your accelerating it kinda just takes a second longer than normal and then it kicks you forward

- , Newark, OH, US

problem #13

Sep 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

When you put the car in gear, there is a pause before it will move. If you are on a hill, it will roll back and then drop into gear. If you are going forward, stop put it in reverse, sometimes it will pause before going into gear.

- , Maryland Heights, MO, USA

problem #12

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,000 miles

This is the second transmission for this vehicle. First one changed at 37,000 miles (just out of warranty). Called Ford in Dearborn, MI and had to haggle with for a break on the price for the new transmission. Now, the current transmission slips and hesitates in the low gears.

- , Nazareth, PA, USA

problem #11

Jul 032002

Explorer XLT Gray 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

We have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. about 8 months ago we started having Trans. trouble, the car will go in reverse but hesitate in forward. This will cost us $2200.00 for one that is rebuilt.

Our problem is we are retired and the we don't have alot of money. we have other things that have gone wrong. We have spent money after money on this car.

I have read about a hundred complaints and if there all trans. trouble you are talking at least $2500.00 for each and the way I figure Ford has made $250,000 thousand dollars on each and that is what I call legalize STEALING.

I hope Ford Motor Company goes bankrupt with-in the year.

I will never own another Ford ever ever again. I want in the law sute don't forget me .We are both 70 and we don't need this. We don't have that kind of money sence the fuzzy haired guy in Washington D.C. cut our cost of liveing off.

- , Gallipolis, OH, USA

problem #10

Mar 022009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

I own a 2002 Ford Explorer and it's a piece of crap and that's me being nice. I actually call it a death trap. I will never buy a ford again. The transmission slips constantly it jerks when shifting. when you are going from park reverse or reverse into drive it shifts. I'm really not trying to put a new transmission in it since the value of the car is less than the cost of the replacement. By all of the complaints I'm surprised it hasn't been recalled. My dome lights also don't turn off and my door ajar is always lit when all doors are shut. I hate this truck with a passion

- , Savannah, GA, USA

problem #9

Jun 142010

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

ford is sooo full f sh*t who n da hell cum up wit da idea to make a sealed transmission dats more many n u cnt even check da fuilds on your on claps to ford yall kno how to get the customers money.... y da f*ck b soo cheap f da company knew abt 90% of their transmissons was f*ck up they shulda did a damn RECALL n fixed all da damn messed up 1s gud way to satisfiy da customer !!! I WILL NEVA BUY A FORD R RECOMMAND N E 1 TO WASTE THEIR TIME R LIFE PURCHASING DIS CRAPPY VEHICLE (excuse me for writing like im txtn =))

- , Winston Salem, NC, USA

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