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:
97,566 miles
Total Complaints:
151 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should recall these enclosed transmissions (40 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 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles


Not even make it to 50k and the f*ckin piece of sh*t transmission slips and would take 5 seconds to go into reverse

Ford = Found On Road Dead

- , Trooper, P. A. 1, USA

problem #10

Mar 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

Same story. Junk Transmission. Wheel Bearings go bad constantly, Differential crapped out once. And, to top it all off, I'm upside down on the loan. This will definately be my last Ford unless they decide to step up and offer some kind of assistance for this piece of crap that they dumped on the public. At the very least, they could make a vehicle that will outlast the loan that is paying for it.

- , Leavittsburg, OH, USA

problem #9

Oct 092006

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • 96,000 miles

I feel like an idiot!! My friends all told me not to buy a Ford. I bought a 2002 Ford Explorer in great shape from a dealership. Everything was fine until it turned 96000 miles. Then.... like all the other suckers.... the O/D light came on and it wont shift properly and hangs between gears. As i was reading I was shocked at all the stories exactly like mine!!! Screw Ford and their football team! I'm going Foreign!!!!

- , Webberville, MI, USA

problem #8

Feb 232007

(reported on)

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


I have a 2002 expolorer and I would never ever buy a ford car .. can't wait to get rid of this truck ... hate it!!!Ford should just go out of business for good!!!

- , Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #7

Nov 022006

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

I have had this car 1 month. The O/D Light Blinks. It "CLUNKS" into and out of 1st gear. A trusted mechanic has it in his garage tonight. I have had ford all my life with some kind of screwed up problems. FORD product-EVER. We need a lawsuit or a recall for this problem. Someone's going to get hurt or stranded. My advice is to not buy a Ford explorer or any Ford-ever. I've lost all faith in American craftsmanship.

- , Newport, NC, USA

problem #6

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

This is the first time I visited this website. I can't believe how many issues there are with the sealed tranny. AND... it looks like they (FORD) didn't fix the problem on later models. (look at '05 and '06 complaints). I have always bought FORDS but I have lost faith in their quality and support of our $31K SUV.

I see many stated that FORD tried to put another fluid in the tranny but it did not help!!! Our Tranny is starting to slip a lot.. we are the original owners and take very good care of the truck but I guess it did not matter.

I'm going to sell it quick and get a Pilot. It has the seating room we need for our family..... and very few complaints!!!!!

- , Natic, NC, USA

problem #5

Feb 162007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


After reading the other complaints I think this is going to be a real pain, the OD light started flashing yesterday so I stopped and had the fluid and filter changed. It is still flashing and slipping. Not looking forward to what it sounds like I am about too deal with.

- , Omaha, NE, USA

problem #4

Dec 292006

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Some time it takes about 3-5 seconds for the car to go into gear

- , Lithonia, GA, US

problem #3

Dec 112006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Seems like every 5R55W tranny gets this problem with 60-90,000 miles. I think that it's kinda funny that the local ford dealership would have 5 solenoid bodies in stock for such a new vehicle... They Know it's a problem, Ford should do a recall!

- , Kamloops, BC, Canada

problem #2

Nov 222006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Many of the same problems as the other complaints. I should have researched more prior to purchasing this vehicle. First indication was the O/D light flashing. I drained the tranny fluid and dropped the pan. The oil was burnt and full of metal filings. The magnet on the inside of the pan was also 3 times it's size with metal filings. I changed the filter and replaced as much oil as I could. I was hoping that things would improve after all that. Things were okay for a month, but now the tranny is suddenly whining loudly, has trouble going in and out of gear, and slips between 2-3 gears. My next plan is to drop the tranny out myself and bring it to a shop. I may choose to completely replace it, or have it rebuilt. Whichever is the most cost effective. I'm only 1.5 years into a 5 year loan on this junker and can't stand the thought of trading it in already, but I'm very tempted. It was also in the shop 5 different times for other major stuff within the 60 day used car warranty. Like many people, I think a recall is in order. I religiously service my vehicles and never abuse them. Sure, "built Ford tough"... sounds like false advertising to me. I can't wait to buy foreign again. Another trusty Jeep Wrangler is also an option since my 2000 has never let me down. My wife and 3 year old daughter are too precious to be riding in an unreliable Explorer.

- , Fairhaven, MA, USA

problem #1

Sep 282006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • 53,000 miles

What i beleive is my transmission failing is really start to get annoying! between gears it slips and takes almost 5 secs sometimes to engage into the next gear! I dont think in my lifetime i will ever buy another FORD!

- , Erie, PA, USA

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