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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
89,667 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. 2000.00 repair - they took out the gas tank (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Oct 012010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


Gas gauge stopped working and when I would fill the tank it would stay on empty for a day or so then it would show full. Also, the gas warning light and audible warning didn't work. This was the lucky thing. I brought it to the dealership on the exactly last day of my extended warranty. The repair was over $2000. They had to remove the entire gas tank from the vehicle and reinstall whatever it is that shows the gas level. It does work now but I ran out of gas about a dozen times before it was fixed because I couldn't tell how much gas I'd used.

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 052010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

It first started I filled the tank,the gauge stopped at a half. the next day it said full so I thought because it was extremely cold it froze.moved closer to work shortly after.Maybe about 12 miles one way, It would say I used a quarter tank of gas. checked with the mechanic after a couple of times of the gauge going down faster than it ever has. Ran a test with filling it clocking the miles and doing the math. He figured out it is a bad reading from the sensor and the pump, or could be the sensor module or a bad ground wire. Either way it would cost over $500. dollars to fix any one of the maybes and not guaranteed we would be fixing the correct one. The part isn't overly expensive,its because the parts are in the gas tank and you'll have to drop the damn thing cut it open to change 3 out of the 4 possibilities. ridiculous.

- , Methuen, MA, USA

problem #1

Jun 162008

Explorer Limited 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Gas gage just started to read wrong. When tank is full it reads only 1/2 full. After driving it the gage went to 3/4. The car computer also reads 175 tell empty. So the computer is reading the gas gage. Can anyone help?

- , Mary Esther, FL, USA

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