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.

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.

6.1

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$300.00
Average Mileage:
63,304 miles
Total Complaints:
32 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (19 reports)
  2. take to a body shop and paint (7 reports)
  3. Ford should recall it (6 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Jan 012013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

Ford SUV has held up well. Then one day the plastic around the driver's door decided to lose its sheen. Then the plastic began to peel and crack. Annoying to look at when vehicle was in pretty good shape.

- , Sanatoga, PA, USA

problem #31

Aug 182006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,431 miles

The side window A pillars and rear hatch pillar moldings start to peel (clear coat) eventually. I covered my side window pillars with a carbon fiber looking kit that sticks on over the existing pillars. For the rear hatch pillars I just painted them black. Quick easy fixes but should not have to spend money fixing all of these defects on this vehicle. There are too many for a Truck that was over 30K dollars new.

- , Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #30

Oct 032012

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

I wish Ford would admit it is a defect and replace it.

- , New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #29

Jul 012012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

Purchased vehicle used. Black panel area on door clearly began to get worse with use, and it appears to have a bad skin rash of flaking and peeling the clear coat.

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #28

Dec 072011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

There's a crack that is growing in the back panel of the rear window of our 2003 Ford Explorer. We've seen others with the same condition. Seems like Ford should be responsible for this Imperfection and recall the vehicles./

- , Front Royal, VA, USA

problem #27

Jun 012010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,305 miles

I guess I am joining the cracked rear club as well. I have just spoken with Ford and there is no recall on this matter. I'm embarrassed to drive my vehicle and disappointed in Ford for not taking care of this matter and standing behind the Ford name. It is obviously a problem if everyone I see on the road has the same problem. When I see others, I'm like, "Oh look. They have the cracked rear too." Come on Ford back your product!!!!

- , Westfield, NC, USA

problem #26

Aug 122009

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

The crack was just there, I thought some kids did it, but the crack is so even.

- , Oakland, CA, USA

problem #25

Mar 112008

Explorer Eddie BauerXLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,923 miles

Ford never wanted to admit that this is a manufacturing defect.

- , Hamilton, Ontario, canada

problem #24

Aug 012006

Explorer LTD

  • 50,000 miles

Black panels between the windows has been peeling for years and just looks trashy. Bad for a $45k vehicle when new.

- , West Chester, OH, USA

problem #23

Jul 102005

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

.I have very low miles on this car and should be able to get a really good price except that the body has all these flaws. It's clean and well maintained except for the tailgate and trim.

- , Cottage Grove, OR, USA

problem #22

Nov 012007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

Ford needs to change the black trim between the front and back windows. Every Ford Explorer I see has the same problem with the Clearcoat over the black paint-it flakes off and looks terrible! YOu don't see this happening with any other manufacturer!

- , Merced, CA, USA

problem #21

Apr 012010

Explorer XLT 4,0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

More cheap work by Ford. An eyesore that could have been prevented by using better materials

- , Eufaula, AL, USA

problem #20

Dec 082010

Explorer XLT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Back panel cracked right down the middle. Fourth thing to go wrong with this car in a few months. Can't sell it for anything because of all the problems!!!

- , Pueblo West, CO, USA

problem #19

Sep 082010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

Well since their is a lean on this vehicle i am very upset that their was no recall on this situation this is ridiculous I caught my finger in this crack I just want Ford to pay for this damage woke up one morning and their was born a damn crack

- , Winterhaven, CA, USA

problem #18

Jan 022010

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

well, i own 3 ford explorers in the pass 15 years, this is the last one i'll ever own. 1. HEATER /AC MAKE BANGING SOUNDS, 2.ALTERNATOR WENT BAD TWICE, WHICH CAUSED THE BATTERT TO GO DEAD. 3.BACK PANEL UNDER THE BACK WINDOW CRACKED .4. THE SIDE BLACK PANELS BETWEEN THE DOORS FADED INTO WHITE 5. DOOR AJAR LIGHT KEEPS COMING ON AND ALARM KEEP COMING ON [GOT THIS ONE FIXED 109.00 INSIDE THE DRIVERS DOOR THERE IS A SENSOR THAT SHOULD BE REPLACE] 6.GAS GAGE DOES NOT GIVE YOU A THE PROPER GAS AMOUNT. 7. INSIDE DOOR PANEL FADED TO WHITE [IT WAS GRAY WHEN I BOUGHT CAR] 8. OTHER THAN THAT ITS A WONDERFUL CAR ...LOL

Ford should be in front of congress answering questions about their cars also.

- , Scranton, PA, USA

problem #17

Mar 062008

Explorer AU Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,059 miles

All the other Explorers that were sold at the same time have the exact same problem. This problem is the plastic fading and cracking between the windows.

- , Wanganui, Aramoho, New Zealand

problem #16

Feb 042008

Explorer NSX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Ford Dealerships sucks..... They need to take care of there customers that they have or they might switch to Chevy and I think they really wouldnt care

- , Calhoun, GA, USA

problem #15

May 012008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I think its not fair! i see lots of Fords with the rear panel below the window cracked/ broken i see more cracked than ones that are still in good shape. Ford should recall since the problem is nation-wide

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #14

Feb 012006

Explorer XLT-LTD 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

Well like many other complaints, the back panel under the rear window is cracked. At first the single crack was annoying at best. Now another crack has formed along with a horizontal split and it looks like *%+^. I wonder how many Ford exec's would ride around with this unpleasant display? I don't think I will stop buying Fords but I may take a little longer before I do, (research, complaints etc) I want to support our USA products so much, but my gosh Honda's, Toy's, Hundais sure seem to back their product a little better.

- , Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #13

Feb 262006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Just like all the rest. Came back from skiing and there it was...the crack of death over the Ford logo. Maybe it was a message from ? Couple hundred bucks later and a week or two the replacement piece fell off. Poor body work at the dealership. This vehicle has had problems since day one from computer module, ($800) faulty engine light sensor, ($100) gears in the differential ($1200), cruise control ($400) and most recently, the entire transmission, ($3300) and not yet 80,000 miles. Ford is staying in business with all the repairs as these all seem to be pretty common issues. Edsel was just the beginning.

- , Roseburg, OR, USA

Read the next 12 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?