Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
82,250 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replacement of 4x4 modular (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Oct 012009

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


I began to notice that the "4x4 High" light would flash from 10-15 seconds every couple of minutes. I went online to try and determine what was causing this. I learned that the 4x4 modular that converts the truck from 2-wheel drive to four-wheel drive sits behind the glove compartment and that was probably shot. Your 4-wheel drive will not work at all until this is replaced, it will not manually or automatically go into 4-wheel drive. I took it to a transmission shop and sure enough the modular was bad. I was quoted a price of about $600. The part alone was going to be $400 and the labor about $200. I have yet to get it fixed, luckily this winter has not been to bad and I will just have to wait till I have the extra money to get it fixed.

- , Honesdale, PA, USA

problem #1

Oct 242008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

Very similar to the O/D light situation, the 4X4 High light will come on, flash 10 times then stop for about 5 minutes then repeat. Based on reports from the O/D issue and other sources it appears that the 4X4 module has failed. The problem originally started while I was responding to an emergency call, you can just guess how angry I was. So far it is still running, and the 4X4 is still working. I will be getting a diagnostic performed ASAP to find the actual full cause.

- , State College, PA, USA

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