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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.

8.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$238.00
Average Mileage:
64,873 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. replace heater switch piece (4 reports)
  3. replace heater core (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #10

Nov 012012

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,008 miles

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

They want over $1100 to fix a problem they are VERY aware of, with this piece of Sh-t car...I have had this car for around two years and it has been one problem after another...I have always been a Ford man for over 50 years and this is the worst Ford I have ever had!!! The parts come to under $400.00 labor is around $110/hour and of cause it is an 6 hour job....WHO ARE YOU KIDDING??? This is a major safety problem in the North East during winter time as there is no heat for the defroster...So I am going to buy a Chevy...Good bye Ford motors!

- , Haverhill, Mass, USA

problem #9

Jan 032011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,518 miles

Was driving down the road in the winter in the northeast and suddenly no heat. Took it the next day to a friend (mechanic) and he replaced the heater door/temperature activator.

To do so he had to take the complete dash board apart and the center console. Labor was 300 the part was only 80 bucks. Good thing I wasn't driving long distance; the defroster and heat did not work. I was lucky. Ford said it was not covered under any type of warranty.

- , Poughkeepsie, New York, USA

problem #8

Dec 012011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,200 miles

Nice that every electrical system in this car SUCKS.

Heater broke during the coldest weather. Windshield wipers don't work regularly....(thank goodness I live in southern California).

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #7

Apr 062010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

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

dealer say i need a new heater box control motor, comes as one piece! $470.00 plus another $800.00 to install it! have to remove the whole dash board, stupid designers and engineers!

- , Cresson, PA, USA

problem #6

Jan 012004

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles

heater works but drivers footwell never gets much if any heat, frozen feet every cold winter day

- , Oregon, WI, USA

problem #5

Mar 242010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

HEAT,A/C UNIT MADE A BANGING SOUND FIRST TIME LAST SUMMER. THEN NO AIR TO THE FOOTWELLS. IN MARCH HEATER QUIT COMPLETELY. STILL HAVE SOME A/C. VEHICLE HAS REAR A/C SO WE HAVE BEEN USING IT AS A HEATER, ALTHOUOGH IT IS NOT VERY EFFTIVE ON SHORT TRIPS. LOCAL DEALER IS WORTHLESS, QUIT TAKING VEHICLE TO THEM AFTER THEY OVERTIGHTENED LUG NUTS ON A ROUTINE TIRE ROTATION AND CAUSED BRAKE ROTORS TO WARP. THEY ALSO BOTCHED THE BRACKET RECALL FOR THE REAR HATCH AND HAD TO HAVE IT REDONE. I UNDERSTAND THE HEATER REPAIR REQUIIRES REMOVEAL OF DASH AND COST ANYWHERE FROM 700.00TO 1300.00 DOLLARS. LONGTIME FORD OWNER, THIS WILL BE THE LAST.

- , Sonora, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 302009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

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

It was 38 degrees outside when my heater suddenly stop working. It started making this loud ticking noise and blowing out cold air. Initially, I thought I needed to replace the thermostat. I replaced the thermostat and that didn't help or eliminate the noise. I took my vehicle to a Ford dealership and was advised by the service manager that one of the two things are wrong: Vent door broken and the replacement cost will be $1200 or Heater switch is broken and that will cost $650.00. Needless to say, I thanked him for his time and left. As a result, I'm speechless regarding a situation like this since I have never owned a vehicle with such a major ordeal or cost associated with the heating system.

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #3

Aug 302009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

My 2003 Ford Explorer starting clicking in the dash. I did not know what this was until I started looking into everyone else who had the same problem. Two days ago, it was a bit chilly in the morning so turned on the heater and all it did was blow cold air. I live in a state where the high during the day is 0 so this problem is unacceptable. From everything I see, it will cost me a fortune to fix. I am the only one working currently, so this is a huge hardship to have to fork out $800 to repair. Why doesn't Ford fix this problem that it has had for years?

- , Mounds View, MN, USA

problem #2

Jan 162008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

it was 22 degrees outside and my heater quit working and started making a ticking noise! i took it in to be checked out and the guy said that the flap part on the heater switch was broke and it will be 20$ for the part and then 75$ for the LABOR! after i watched him put it in, i was like"what the hell, i could have done that sh*t for free!" but at least it is done now and its like 80 degrees outside, figures!

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #1

Aug 302007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

The heater began making clicking noises and no hot air would flow through the vents.

After a time, the clicking noise stopped and only cold air comes through even though

the dial is turned toward heat. I have gone to local Ford dealerships only for the service people to say that they couldn't find any problem and weren't sure what could be making

the clicking noises in the first place. One local repair shop worker commented that

Fords were always having problems with their heating systems. I strongly feel that it is up to the Ford company to fix this problem for free instead of throwing that cost to me.

- , West Covina, CA, USA

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