Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Ford Explorer 2002 Fix It or Let Go?

I have had my car for 9 years and it runs great, I take good care of it, that says it does not require a lot, one bolt changed and the usual, filters, oil… Has 154,000 and no major repairs…until now. I was told by two mechanics that I need a new transmission, a belt joint, and a set of tires. is it worth spending big bucks on it?

If that is all it needs and the body is in MINT condition, it might be worthwhile. Transmissions are the most common large items to go. If you have taken good care of the vehicle, the engine will be good for another 150,000 miles, but you will need a new radiator, alternator, starter, battery, new plugs and some other items in the next 2 years or so. These are normal wear items that every car encounters at that mileage.

If you do go ahead and install a new transmission (assuming you actually need one), and a new BALL joint, make sure you change the transmission fluid and filter every 30,000 miles. Transmissions easily last 300,000 miles with such care.

What are the symptoms of the transmission?

As implied above get a second opinion. If you still need a new transmission, you can look into one from salvage yard, but they have unknown history and no warranty, so it is a gamble. Otherwise, you have to look at the rest of the car, or have a shop do it and see where things are; like engine, leaks etc. Also factor in your needs, is this car still what you need or you were thinking about getting something different anyway. For example, if you can work with a smaller car, the gas savings itself might warrant an upgrade, but then if you need a similar SUV, you might as well fix yours.

Thank you for the help. As far as transmission, as you can guess I don’t know anything about cars, BUT when I start in the morning my car as a hard time to go from 1 gear to second. This is an automatic but it feels like it spins hard but does not move to the next gear. And I would love to keep this car, I love it. I will go to a second mechanic with your list. Again, big help!

Dump it!! If you google 2002 ford explorer transmission trouble you’ll find that was a bad year. I had a 2002 and dumped it at 75k. They eat them.

It does sound like a transmission is failing. That may be due to lack of fluid changes if that particular service has never been done.

I have to respectfully disagree that these vehicles eat transmissions based on several things.
Internet complaints should always be taken with a grain of salt as the full story is seldom told.
A thousand complaints on the internet weighed against millions of vehicles produced…

This particular vehicle is 13 years old and has 154,000 miles on it. Assuming the transmission has failed it seems to me it’s had a good long life and especially so considering the vehicle was purchased used and not knowing if a regular trans service was performed.

The maintenance schedule for this vehicle calls for a trans fluid change at 30k miles. This always begs the question of whether or not that was done…

Around here these are going for between $3500 and $5500. If the car is otherwise in good shape it would probably be worth fixing it. It’s only worth about $7 per hundred weight at a junkyard. It’s a crapshoot but I would lean towards fixing it.