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.

7.0

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$800.00
Average Mileage:
95,583 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. pay $800 to have the dashboard taken apart, and a new heater (3 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Jan 122009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,333 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

It would be nice to have heat when it is cold.

Should be an easier way to get this taken care of then to take the whole dash board apart.

- , Columbia, SC, USA

problem #3

Oct 012013

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The heater doesn't work on this stupid vehicle. If the temperature knob is turned the least little bit toward the heating side- no hot air is blowing out and there's a truly annoying, thumping sound. My husband and I have gone online and have found that this is actually a VERY common problem with the Ford Explorer and the only options are to get it fixed at a cost of $800.00 or perform the work around by going through the glove box to manually get the stupid thing to blow heat. I will never buy another Ford again because it's stupid stuff like this that always tick me off with Fords. I refuse now to buy Chevys and Dodge products because of the government bailout so I guess I am stuck buying foreign cars that are more reliable and are a lot less annoying... like my 98 Honda Accord.

- , Quinton, VA, USA

problem #2

Apr 042010

Explorer LXT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I HAVE 2003. I LOVE MY CAR .I WISH FORD WILL HEAR US ALL.FIX THE PROBLEMS.FORD CARS NEED TO LOOK GOOD ON THE ROAD..MY PROBLEMS ARE THE SAME AS OTHERS.HEATER/AC MAKING BANGING SOUNDS.BACK PANELS UNDER BACK WINDOW CRACKED 2 TIMES.SIDE BLACK PANELS BETWEEN THE DOOR FADED.TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS .I CALLED ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS.THERE ARE NO RECALLS .NO.ANSWER.FORD I HOPE YOU READ THIS .HELP US ALL.

- , Downey, CA, US

problem #1

Mar 032008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

When you turn the heater on, there was a loud banging sound. We took it to our local Ford dealer, and they said this was a common problem. They wanted in excess of $900 to fix the problem. They said it's a 8 hour job, as they have to take the whole dash apart. Seems like this was engineered to screw the consumer ! Well, we took the Explorer to our local repair shop (Not Ford dealer), and he fixed it for $800. Our mechanic said that it was the worst design he ever saw. This is another Ford attempt to screw the public, and up revenue for Ford dealer service!

- , Minden, NV, USA

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