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The 1 Complaint Everybody Has About Older Ford Explorers

The 2002 Ford Explorer may be one of the worst cars ever made. And despite Ford’s long history making durable and tough cars, the Explorer in general may not be one of them. Here’s the one complaint that everybody’s had about the old Ford Explorers, according to Car Complaints.

The 2002 Explorer’s transmission issue

By far one of the most common complaints about the 2002 Explorer had to do with its transmission. Thousands of owners took the time to talk about their experiences with the 2002 Explorer on Car Complaints. The 2002 Explorer’s transmission was not only a common problem, but it was also a dangerous issue to have and it was a costly thing to fix as well. 

Car Complaints says that 16 crashes and two fires were caused by the 2002 Explorer’s transmission. Some drivers, as a result, even nicknamed it the “Ford Exploder.” At least eight people were injured due to these transmission problems, according to Car Complaints. On top of that, in order to fix these issues, owners had to pay about $2,800. That said, the average mileage of these Explorers was about 75,000. Furthermore, no recalls were issued to deal with this problem.

The severity of this transmission issue wasn’t an isolated incident either. Other Explorers from other model years also had a similar issue with their transmission. As a result of this issue and others, Car Complaints gave the 2002 Explorer an “Avoid Like The Plague” award. 

2004 Ford Explorer problems

Unsurprisingly, the 2004 Explorer inherited a similar issue with its transmission. That said, it wasn’t the most common issue this time around, as the 2004 Explorer’s body was the most common issue. Regardless, this was still a very common and very severe issue that the 2004 Explorer faced. 

Hundreds of owners reported that the 2004 Explorer’s transmission either slipped or simply failed. This was a big issue that also caused several accidents and cost the owners thousands of dollars to fix. According to Car Complaints, 13 crashes and one fire were caused by the transmission problems of the 2004 Explorer. Three people were injured by them as well. 

The Explorers on average had about 38,000 miles on them when this transmission issue happened. It also cost the owners on average about $2,400 to fix these issues on their Explorers. Once again, no recalls were issued. Just like the 2002 Explorer, Car Complaints gave the 2004 Explorer the “Avoid Like The Plague” award, in part due to this transmission problem. 

The 2006 Ford Explorer’s transmission issue and how to avoid them

The 2006 Explorer had the same story as the 2002 and 2004 Explorers. Its transmission would sometimes fail and that could cause an accident. Car Complaints says that two crashes, two fires, and two injuries were all caused by the 2006 Explorer’s transmission problem. Furthermore, fixing these problems would cost about $1,800. Just like the other Explorer model years, no recalls were issued and Car Complaints gave the 2006 Explorer the “Avoid Like The Plague” award. 

All these transmission issues begs the question, how should someone avoid them? The obvious answer is to just don’t buy a used Ford Explorer, but there are options if you really want to buy a used Explorer anyways. If you can find a certified preowned Explorer, then that Explorer is, as far as Ford is concerned, almost as good as new. 

That’s not a guarantee that its transmission won’t have issues like Car Complaints says it might, but it’s your second best bet against it happening. Your best bet is to just avoid buying a used Explorer like the plague, of course.