really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,800 miles
Total Complaints:
441 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (115 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)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.

problem #441

Dec 172015

Explorer Not Sure 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

Do not buy a Ford Exploder!!!(all years & models) There are plenty of other options out there. Do yourself a favor and use this post as your savior

- mwc1988, Hudson, US

problem #440

Aug 182017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,935 miles

Had to pay for it out of packet. Ford transmission should have least lasted for over 200,000 miles.

- Daniel C., Redwood City, CA, US

problem #439

Sep 012017

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,485 miles

Explorer transmission failed at 161K miles. Went on a 25 mile trip, and on the way back the transmission was acting up and 10 miles later just gave up. Ford needs to fix these things!

- dave34, Bondurant, US

problem #438

Jul 172017

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Transmission just blew. I don't have money to fix this! My wife and I are older. We can't get to the Doctor or groceries or anything!

- Elise S., Palm Harbor, FL, US

problem #437

May 042017

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

This is the third time we have had transmission issues. We have spent well over $4500 to dealer and independent mechanics over the years and the last major work was done less than 1 year ago and cost close to $2000 at a dealership and I just passed along this car yesterday to my 18 year old son who was over the moon excited to finally get his first car and it didn't last 24 hours!!!!!!!!! I assure you, he did nothing, he drove it to and from school and is a cautious driver. I just bought a new Ford Escape yesterday, now definitely second guessing that decision! May use the 3 day rule regarding contracts and see if I can return the escape and get my money back. Paid in cash!! So devastated, I can't afford to fix this car again, I'm totally disappointed and at a total loss for words. Sooooooooooo upset. Yesterday we were on top of the world and today we are worse off than before!!! I have no money left for repairs or replacement cars and we both need reliable transportation. Now today has become my worst nightmare. This is the car I got out of the divorce that was final one week ago and I thought how amazing to be able to get myself a new car and give this one to my son......now what?! Truly don't know what I'm going to do now.

- Kristin W., McCordsville, US

problem #436

May 052014

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

I'm on a limited income and to have this fixed I had to take a loan with the title ! When you make less than $500 a month on SS# its a pain in the arsh to have to try to pay for this kind of a repair when FORD should have covered it in the first place.

- Ruth M., Pocahontas, IL, US

problem #435

Nov 192016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

reverse doesn't work

I just bought this car for my daughters and it test drove fine. Went to back it into the driveway and major FAIL! Of course it isn't covered under a warranty and now trying to figure out how to fix it without spending a fortune.

- mfreske, Thornton, CO, US

problem #434

Oct 102016

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

My wife wanted to buy 2002 ford explorer. she took it for a test drive, then my mechanic looked the vehicle over from top to bottom and took it for a test ride (I rode with him), and all agreed that the vehicle was sound and worth the purchase price ($3000.00). So, she bought it, as is, without any warranty, from an individual owner. We then had a friend put a dealer plate on it to drive it home from Oswego to Hannibal, NY. Two weeks later we had this friend drive the ford explorer to dmv to register and plate the vehicle, I rode with him and my wife followed. On the way the od light came on, transmission was not shifting into gears properly then a lot of rattling loud grinding noise came from under the ford, all of a sudden as he was going around a bend on co.rt. 45 the ford pulled to the right off to the shoulder of the road and nearly flipped. Quick thinking, I took my seat belt off and threw all my body weigh toward the driver, which perhaps saved us and kept the vehicle from flipping over several times. We were shaken up. But, my wife was in tears, shaking and crying out, "OH MY GOD, I SAW SMOKE COMING OUT FROM UNDER THE VEHICLE THEN STARTED TO FLIP, BOTH LEFT TIRES CAME OFF THE GROUND," CRYING IN TEARS AND TREMBLING AS SHE RAN TO ME THROWING HER ARMS AROUND ME, "I THOUGHT U TWO WERE GOING TO DIE!!!!!!. R U ALL RIGHT?" I hugged and held her tight for what seemed like an infinity, assuring her I was ok, so is Norm (the driver). She was shaking and crying terribly. The ford was still running but wouldn't move in reverse nor drive. Called my mechanic, he came and towed it; a week or so later he called me to inform that the transmission ripped itself apart and was junk, that he would charge $2500.00 to fix it, which included cost of labor and a rebuilt transmission. My wife has had a couple of nightmares since, of the incident, but I (we) weren't so lucky: the ford flipped, rolled over several times and went up in flames, she woke up screaming, crying and shaking, waking me up: I didn't tell her that I have had similar nightmares, only difference is, Norm was unconscious , I was pinned and couldn't get out, we were burnt alive. My wife and I can't afford to sink another $2500.00 into this ford. Other mechanics want over $3000.00 to fix it. I was shocked to read all the similar complaints on 2002 ford explorer transmissions. Obviously, the transmission was poorly designed with many defects. Moreover, I am surprised to find out that ford has not made any recalls and no 1983 class action law suit has been filed against the ford company. Why is that? Were all the Complaintiffs, here, compensated for the repairs? Interested to hear from all. Especially from those who would join me in such a class action law suit.

- David C., Fulton, NY, US

problem #433

Nov 032015

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

This is an obvious manufacturer error. This is happening to every Ford Explorer in the early 2000's...Especially the 2002s. I will be jumping on board the class action lawsuit if they will not repair this obvious defect.

- Joshua C., Stuart, FL, US

problem #432

Apr 112016

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Bad transmission failed transmission suddenly z!!!!!!!!$$$!$$$$$

- Sandra L., Rockland, NY, US

problem #431

Aug 012013

Explorer 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 260,000 miles

Again, my transmission failed me and again I got it fixed,

- Kira C., Toltec, US

problem #430

Oct 092015

Explorer V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Had the vehicle a week (back in 2002) when I had the first problem with it not shifting into 4-wheel drive; then the gear shift would constantly pop out of gear, then there was slippage in the transmission, and now the transfer case destroyed itself -- the vehicle only has 55,000 miles! I use it on bad weather days, and for trips -- that's it.

- nelsonco, Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #429

Nov 042015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 188,000 miles

So i got this 02 explorer form auto nation ford Scottsdale AZ, I put 1900 down in January 2015, starting in late october it started slipping gears and jerking forward. Once i took it to the transmission shop they said it was slipping in all gears and that i need to rebuild and or replace the transmission. anywhere from $950 to $1200.

What really grips me is that i'm still making payments on this vehicle and its my main means for transportation to and from work. How can people simply get a head and provide for there family's when we are hit int the face with repairs for this king of money. i simply don't have it. Thank You ford

- Eric H., Phoenix, AZ, US

problem #428

Apr 102011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

Failure in automatic transmission was no 2nd gear. Got rebuilt transmission installed with extra transmission filter in cooling hose and it's working fine now for 3 years

- Bruce V., Loretto, MN, US

problem #427

Aug 152015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Bought a used 2002 Ford Explorer FROM the Ford Dealership in Olympia (Mullinax) and they had all the info from previous repairs and oil changes so thought we were getting a great vehicle. It started pulling and jerking between lower gears and then it completely stopped shifting gears and the O/D light started flashing. We barely got it to a transmission place and were told it needed to be completely replaced so we towed it to the Ford Dealership in Pullman, WA hoping they would at least do it right and would be under warranty. It will cost us $3400 to repair a vehicle we bought for $4500 9 months ago!!!! I am sooooo beyond angry!!! I have read (of course I didn't see all these complaints before I purchased!) all of these complaints saying this is a common issue and I am disgusted that Ford won't own up to the fact that #1 = they make crappy vehicles and #2 = transmission in these early 00's years should be recalled!!! OWN UP TO YOUR FAILURES FORD!!!!! I will NEVER EVER buy a Ford or trust one of their dealers again.

- Tanya J., Pullman, US

problem #426

Jan 152013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The transmission really needs to be recalled $2500 repair is uncalled for, when the mileage is so low.

- Marcey S., CLEVELAND, OH, US

problem #425

Jun 012014

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I bought mine for $6k out the door in 2013. It lasted me 8 lonnngggg nasty months of doom and gloom and about 4 or 5 long periods of being without it for repairs. I seriously thought this truck was possessed. The transmission had just been rebuilt before I bought it. I had all the paperwork. The night I brought it home I was stranded out of town. Transmission again.

The dealership towed it, and fixed it under warranty in a couple days. Ok, cool, I thought. Let me tell you...The lights would randomly go on and off while I was driving. Constantly. Doors ajar constantly for no reason. The power windows would just stop working, then work again. Weird noises coming from absolutely everywhere. I had to fix something about "coil packs?" (I know nothing about vehicles...) Bangs, dings, grinding...The 4x4 didn't work which I found out in a blizzard.... The doors were grinding and dropping chunks of rust. The running boards were falling off.

So one night it started making the dreaded ticking/banging from the timing chain. The oil pressure was dipping. I didn't have enough time to repair it. BANG.....BANG......BAAAANG....and dead on the highway. I guess the plastic tensioners broke? I ended up selling her to a friend's uncle with a blown motor. I even had a bunch of people look to buy her, as well as my family look at it, and the engine was toast. I sell it.....It started right up for him. They're possessed. Period. Apparently the oil dipstick harness had completely ripped off. Lord knows if it had any oil in it.

Owning one of these is like being that little kid trying to run from hole to hole at a dam sticking his fingers in to save to town from flooding....except it's not fingers, it's money.

- artalli, Triangle, VA, US

problem #424

Sep 132015

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

I will never drive a Ford again.This truck has been nothing but problems and my father paid a lot for it in 2004.It also has had power window issues, the crack on rear panel under window and transmission problems. It is a nightmare but a car payment isn't in the budget at this time or this headache would be gone.

- Melessa W., Columbus, OH, US

problem #423

Jun 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Ford should be terminated and never be able to make vehicles anymore. They made and sold defective vehicles and won't do anything about it.Put the owner, President of Ford and anyone else responsible for selling defective vehicles in jail! They are crooks. This has cost me more than money, it cost my job, home.. I will never have anything to do with or good to say about Ford unless they recall 2002 thru 2005 Exploders for their junk transmissions and timing chains for the engine...

Update from Aug 11, 2015: ford will not make good on their junk transmissions..i will never have anything to do with ford again! they are thieves.i recomend nobody ever buy anything from ford.

- daveyjoe8265, Silver Lake Wisconsin, US

problem #422

Jun 062015

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,274 miles

Our 30 year old daughter is dead because of Ford's faulty transmission. Her 2002 Ford Explorer surged into reverse in her garage on April 1st, 2012 and she was pinned with the driver side door against the wall of her garage and she died while her 2 year old baby was strapped in her car seat. She lay there pinned for quite sometime before she was found.

Ford should take responsibility for our daughter's death. I have emailed Ford many times all I get is a sorry for your loss. Ford needs to step forward and be accountable for our Daughter's death and recall every Ford explorer on the road with this faulty transmission before it happens to someone else. Ford not only took daughter's life, but ruined our family, we have been torn to pieces and will never be put back together.

Be careful everyone with older Ford Explorers, please don't take any chances! Those transmissions are a time bomb waiting to explode. In a split second you life can change forever as we found out the hard way.

- Millie D., Fort Sask, AB, Canada

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