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2003 Ford Explorer
Problems & Complaints
CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2003 Ford Explorer one of our worst vehicles 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.
Worst 2003 Explorer Problems by Category
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- body / paint problems616NHTSA complaints: 351
- transmission problems453NHTSA complaints: 161
- wheels / hubs problems174NHTSA complaints: 69
- interior accessories problems110NHTSA complaints: 19
- drivetrain problems92NHTSA complaints: 178
- AC / heater problems89NHTSA complaints: 5
- engine problems77NHTSA complaints: 111
- windows / windshield problems63NHTSA complaints: 40
- brakes problems26NHTSA complaints: 45
- suspension problems18NHTSA complaints: 66
- electrical problems13NHTSA complaints: 46
- seat belts / air bags problems11NHTSA complaints: 53
- lights problems5NHTSA complaints: 6
- steering problems5NHTSA complaints: 25
- cooling system problems4NHTSA complaints: 5
- exterior accessories problems3NHTSA complaints: 36
- clutch problems1NHTSA complaints: 3
- fuel system problems1NHTSA complaints: 13
- miscellaneous problemsNHTSA: 29
- exhaust system problemsNHTSA: 4
A D V E R T I S E M E N T S
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Compare Ford Explorer Model Years
Curious how the 2003 Explorer compares to other years?
Check out our Ford Explorer overview to see the most problematic years, worst problems and most recently reported complaints with the Explorer.