- July 8: Ford Explorer Exhaust Smells Investigated investigations | 22 days ago
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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 problems629NHTSA complaints: 357
- transmission problems465NHTSA complaints: 161
- wheels / hubs problems178NHTSA complaints: 71
- interior accessories problems106NHTSA complaints: 19
- drivetrain problems93NHTSA complaints: 189
- AC / heater problems91NHTSA complaints: 5
- engine problems86NHTSA complaints: 113
- windows / windshield problems66NHTSA complaints: 41
- brakes problems26NHTSA complaints: 51
- suspension problems19NHTSA complaints: 67
- electrical problems13NHTSA complaints: 52
- seat belts / air bags problems11NHTSA complaints: 60
- exterior accessories problems9NHTSA complaints: 38
- cooling system problems6NHTSA complaints: 5
- lights problems5NHTSA complaints: 6
- steering problems5NHTSA complaints: 26
- fuel system problems2NHTSA complaints: 13
- clutch problems1NHTSA complaints: 3
- exhaust system problems1NHTSA complaints: 4
- miscellaneous problemsNHTSA: 33
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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.