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:
97,510 miles
Total Complaints:
150 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should recall these enclosed transmissions (39 reports)
  2. Replace transmission (37 reports)
  3. not sure (34 reports)
  4. repair transmisson (11 reports)
  5. drop the tranny and bring to a shop for a rebuild (8 reports)
  6. rebuild / replace transmission (8 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 6 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #50

Jun 112003

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


was jerking when shifting gears,was told by Akins ford that this was normal.3 months later it felt like someone hit me in rear going into last gear and shifting down to first.transmission solenoid package replaced,no more jerking then 62000 miles later started again but they said they only warranty there work for 36000 :( sad.

- , Hoschton, GA, USA

problem #49

May 152008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,600 miles

SO, I've had this SUV for 3 years now. Only two more years and its mine oh mine! Unfortunately its the biggest POS of life. I've had more problems with this car from day one than all the other vehicles I've ever owned(And that folks is right many).

I go to lunch today and when I put it in reverse and started to back up it jumped several times and made some God-aweful noises... ok I think... keep going... then I pull into the gas station and dear god in heaven what the heck is that noise coming from under my vehicle!??! sounded like a combo of a car wreck and train passing by... taking it to the shop tonight before I pick up my daughter. Im terrified to see what it is and how much its going to cost, especially after reading all these complaints!

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #48

May 182006

Explorer XLT V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles

This is obsurd!!!! A rebulit tranny was put into my car in 2006, I wish I had known about this site then!!!!!!! I had to go with out a car for a week!!!!!!!! while the dealer scratched there head. We we on a road trip with our kids when this happened.

- , Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #47

May 082008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,400 miles


Well I mean come on. I'm like the 300th person posting on this website about the same problem. Here's the story. I bought this Explorer used with 111,160 miles on it. I bought it off of my boss. He gave me a wicked awesome deal on it, so i couldn't pass it up. When I first picked it up, it had been sitting for 1 1/2 years.This was not due to the fact it didn't run, he (my boss) just had better cars that he enjoyed driving more. I didn't notice anything until about the third day. Pulling out of my driveway, it will start fine in first, slip, rev up to about 4 grands, then LURCH into second gear. It seems to only do it like once from the start of the trip to the end of the trip. Meaning it would do it coming out of the driveway, and not again till parked, and taken out again. I asked my boss about it, and he said that they bought three for their fleet at the other company he works at, (he owns the music shop that I work at, plus another contracting job). He said ALL THREE had the same problems. I'll list the problems. I mean there is really no need to, you can pretty much take every problem that is listed with the tranny, body, and rear-end, and thats what have having. God-awful whining while in overdrive, and while accelerating, clicking sound that sounds like aluminum cans clanking together when accelerating (this is more audible when close to something, like going through a drive through, or a bank drive through where you are close to a wall so the sound bounces back and is clearly audible). I have two cracks on the back of the body, right on either side of the ford logo on the back. It is lined up so well, it almost looks like it is supposed to be there. As far as the transmission OD light coming on, I haven't had that problem, but I mean I've had the vehicle for less that a week. I took it to a buddy mechanic of mine, just thinking that the transmission fluid needed changed along with a new filter. Keep in mind, this is before I found this website. He told me that there is no way to check it, and I have to take it to a Ford dealer to get the tranny serviced. After hearing all these things, I'm almost afraid to go and have it done. I mean I'm going to call them tomorrow and just be real with them and see if there is any reason why I should bring it in. Because I'm sure not putting a new tranny in it. I mean you guys are saying that it is taking 2k-3k+ to get the tranny rebuilt. I only paid 2k for the thing!! I mean like I said, my boss gave me a good deal. I just don't know what to do. I mean I'm just going to keep driving it, and see what happens. I mean I'm 17, and this is my first car. I worked hard for it, and I want it to last. Apparently Ford couldn't care less about what is going on, or maybe they do, and cant afford to fix it. Ha.

- , Poca, WV, USA

problem #46

Apr 232008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I have had my Explorer since 2005 and slowly the transmission has been giving me trouble. First the O/D light would blink when I hit a certain gear (yet not all the time) It went from shuttering between gears to clunking into gears, now It whines like a remote control car when shifting. I am pretty sure this means a new transmission is in my future. It sucks. Everything else on the car is fine!

- , Plant City, FL, USA

problem #45

Apr 042006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I will never own a car where I can not check the transmission. When you start the car it takes a few minutes to move like it is low on fluid But hey guess what I cant check it. I don't know how many ford explorer owners I know that have the same problem Ill stick to Chevy

- , Grove City, OH, USA

problem #44

Apr 052008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,711 miles


There are enough complaints here that I need say no more - except, as difficult as it is for me to say... don't buy American, and definitely DON'T BUY FORD, JAGUAR, or Range Rover. Jaguars are having just as bad problems with transmissions and window regulators, etc... You name it. What's sad is how much it takes before these American companies care enough to think about the buyer/customer. Then we'll be hearing them crying on the Stock market (and therefore, they screw the customer/investor AGAIN!) It's just plain pathetic!!!

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #43

Jun 292007

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Ive taken in my car in for a diagnostic after a week of flushing out my transmission fluid at its recommended transmission fluid maintenance. Suddenly the O/D light is blinking and I was informed that I needed a new transmission. I brought it in for service and after service they told me problem solved. That wasn't the case. I brought it in numerous times after that. All they seemed to do was turn off the sensor. After a few months I experienced it again so I took it back to the mechanic. Now they've informed me that one of the solenoids is frozen so I need that to be replaced. Told me that it would be done and ready for me by Friday! Well Friday came and still car's not done and no calls to inform me of anything. So I decided to call and now I'm informed that I need a new transmission computer since there is a shortage from there that will cause the transmission to go out again. Ford sucks ass FORD really does stand for Fix Or Repair Daily. Since I purchased this worthless car I spend more money fixing it when I had my honda. Does anyone know, on average, how much a transmission computer box costs?

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #42

Mar 032008

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

We baby the car and this should not happen with low millage

- , Covington, WA, USA

problem #41

Mar 072008

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Another FORD problem. My Auto Tranny OD light was the first sign, then the engine service light cam on. Now the tranny is slipping when pressed to go...As I see this is a problem for many...Would like to here what the solution is before I get ripped off by these dealer repairs...

- , Rutland, VT, USA

problem #40

May 132007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


Ford should eat these enclosed transmissions because they are junk.

- , North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #39

Sep 012005

Explorer XLS V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

This transmission should be recalled. We had problems with this transmission right a

after we purchased it. Just to find out that it is a enclosed transmission and there is n

nothing you can do on your own to service it. We took it in and had it serviced cost

a few hundred dollars. This seemed like it help. But within a month it was slipping

again and just has progressively gotten worse. It is a piece of sh*t product. And Ford

- , Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #38

Feb 232008

(reported on)

Explorer Xlkt V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

When my transmission started slipping when changing gears, my hubby took it to the dealership. They suggested we not replace the transmission, but have some part of it fixed. We did this for around $800.00 and it was better for about a month. It is now worse than ever. I hope the transmission lasts until I buy a new car. This is one of the many problems I have had with this Explorer. (I have owned 3 before this that were fine. My many problems: CD player, air blowing through all vents instead of the one I have 'dialed', heater, 4x4 not engaging, window fell down and won't go back up (though I can hear the motor still working), parking brake cable broke, air bag light on, check engine light, sun visor broke and wouldn't stay up, the lovely huge crack under the back window, and of course the transmission slipping. Ford, thanks for the lemon edition of the Explorer.

- , Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #37

Feb 182008

Explorer XLT 4,0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles


- , Colgate, WI, USA

problem #36

Feb 012008

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I've been a Ford owner for many years, owned 2 1956 f100's. We bought this vehicle with 19,000 miles and bought the 75,000 mile extended warranty and now the transmission is slipping and making a rough noise when it shifts. I had heard through a mechanic friend that that there were problems with the Explorer transmissions. I didn't realize how bad until I visited this site. I haven't had the transmission checked but I do intend to call Ford's Customer Service and see what kind of crap they will feed me. My wife loves her Explorer but I'm sure that will change when it fails completely as it seems to be inevitable.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #35

Dec 122007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

don't buy ford. i will never buy a ford again. after i had the rear end replaced after the total replacement of the transmission, i have now spent more fixing the car then i bought it for, in 2 years time.

- , Dayton, OH, USA

problem #34

Feb 042008

Explorer Eddy Bower V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Designed to fail?! This truck has had 99% highway/ city miles, no 4wd driving, no trailer, no extreme use, and full maintenance mostly at Ford dealership. Took it in because of wine at certain acceleration and starting, and a gap (rough shift) between 2->3 and 3->4. They said it failed diag and has worn parts and only way to fix is to rebuild for 2500+ or put in new for $3,500. It is only worth about 10K.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #33

Jun 012004

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I had to many American vehicles to mention and doing the research on

- , Gso, NC, USA

problem #32

Dec 202007

Explorer XLT 4.0L SOHC

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

FORD....F*CKING PIECE OF SH*T i have an 02 Ford Explorer XLT and when I shift to reverse I hear a clunk and it cost me about $2,300 to get it fix and I only had it for 10 months and it doesnt have any warranty now. I bought it from a used dealer. Ford is a piece of sh*t, they should make a recall about this.. i think everyone should file a complaint at.. they could make Ford do a recall for the transmission.

- , New York City, NY, US

problem #31

Feb 052008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

ford has had a lot of problems out of this sh*tty transmission, they need to recall and replace the piece of sh*t.

- , west van lear, ky, USA

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