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.

6.6

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$411.00
Average Mileage:
75,989 miles
Total Complaints:
540 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Ford should recall (222 reports)
  2. repair or replace tailgate (143 reports)
  3. not sure (101 reports)
  4. replace the panel (28 reports)
  5. need a redesigned tailgate (22 reports)
  6. ford needs to pay for being fixed (13 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 12 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #320

Sep 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

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

My first vehicle was a 79 Ford LTD, I loved it. I then moved on to a Taurus which I liked. I know own a 03 Explorer which WAS in great shape until that damn crack on the rear panel showed up. This PROBLEM is not just with my vehicle, i've seen plenty of explorer's with the same crack. It is a MANUFACTURER DEFECT, because of the crap Ford used to make it. They know their in the WRONG, just look at the models today. It's all one damn lift gate. FORD YOU NEED TO FIX THE PROBLEM, NOT IGNORE IT.

YOU WILL LOSE LONG TIME FORD CUSTOMERS FOREVER!!!

- , Fort Hood, TX, USA

problem #319

Feb 022010

Explorer

  • 78,000 miles

Everyday I see at least one other Ford Explorer with the same crack in the tail gate as I have on mine. Ford needs to issue a recall on this if they want to keep customers!

- , Trenton, FL, USA

problem #318

Jan 022010

Explorer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,541 miles

I Think Ford Needs To Replace this part because it is not our fault and I have seen others like this and Ford should stand up for their reputation in making good vehicles.

- , Shelyville, TN, USA

problem #317

Aug 012010

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

This is crap !!! I can't believe Ford hasn't recalled this problem. I see Ford explorers on the road now and I look for this, and I see a lot of them with this crack, like my own.

- , Clayton, MI, USA

problem #316

Aug 252010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

This is the second time this problem occurred.I originally thought the hinges were the culprit since they weren't aligned properly on the car. It was repaired under warranty the first time in 2005 including new hinges and after that I stopped using the lift-gate glass. Since that repair I've been opening and closing the whole door very carefully and it still cracked. I notice the new Explorer's no longer have this piece of cheap plastic under the glass so Ford definitely knows about it. How many people have to complain before they recall?

- , Pompton Plains, NJ, USA

problem #315

Apr 232008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

back panel under glass cracked ,think ford replace it free of charge.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #314

Apr 112010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,382 miles

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

I think ford need to fix this problem. I have seen a lot of fords with the cracked panel belowthe rear window cracked. I also think ford should do a recall

- , Oakdale, LA, USA

problem #313

Sep 152009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

It is apparent that this is not an isolated few cases. Ford needs to step in and make this RIGHT! Ford Engineering Geniuses did not get this design correct - what else is out there? The crack certainly brings attention to the poor plastic design centered around the Ford Logo on the lift gate.

JUST WALK THROUGH A PARKING LOT - I counted fifteen at WalMart. What does that say about the design?

- , BelAir, MD, USA

problem #312

Jan 012010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Hi, I have the same issue with my 03 Ford Explorer & have noticed everyone on the street has the same cracks. Please call BOTH numbers & report this. Hopefully they will recall it soon. FORD: 800-392-3673 then call National Hwy Traffic & Safety, they will make a report and mail it to you for confirmation: 800 424 9393 .

- , St Rose, LA, USA

problem #311

Nov 152008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

At first the crack was very snall, but with time the crack has turned into one very large crack and 3 smaller cracks. At first I thought that it was just my car that somehow someone had hit the car, but as time past I noticed that there are a lot of Explorer's that have the same problem as me.

I think that since it is a faulty part that obiously Ford knows about that they should fix it or at least give some credit to those who choose to have it fixed.

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #310

Feb 092010

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,643 miles

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

My daughter drove the vehicle to the Northwest to go to school and she noticed the cracked lift gate one day this past winter. She hadn't been using the lift gate for some time so there's no reason that this crack should occur other than the material couldn't handle the temperature cycling of summers and winters. Definitely a manufacturer's latent defect.

- , Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #309

Jun 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Did not know at the time this would end up being a chronic problem for many 2003 Explorer owners. This rear panel cracked just under the rear wiper assembly.

- , Troy, IL, USA

problem #308

Jun 102008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

This common problem began about 16 mos ago as a small crack left of the "Ford" emblem on the rear hatch. It has grown to about 5" in length and a new, smaller crack has developed over the emblem. Vehicle has been garaged since new, is driven only 2 miles to work by my wife and parked in the shade while there. We live in a mild climate. We go to Sacramento often, and have been observing a large number of Ford Explorers, which have the same rear hatch, whith the same problem. Is ford deaf and totally ignorant to the customer base, and the problems this creates for their "Quality is Job 1" reputation. After owning 6 fords in the last 15 yrs., this will be the last.

- , Sonora, CA, USA

problem #307

Jul 162010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,800 miles

One day I checked the car for dings and drove to check tire pressure. Just five minutes from when I checked the exterior of the car thoroughly for deffects. I walk to the rear and see the hatch has split from the bottom of the glass all the way to the bottom of the hatch seperation(about 10 inches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I am VERY upset and it sounds like am not alone.

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #306

Feb 092010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

I too have a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT with a cracked plastic panel below the glass lift gate. It has happened twice now, once in 2005 which I had repaired ($650) and again earlier this year (2010). I called the local dealer who had "never heard of this condition before" and stated that they had no recall on the part and therefore wouldn't fix it. I then contacted Ford directly who brushed me aside after saying that they too were unaware of a problem and have no intentions of fixing it. In the past 10 years, I've purchased two Explorers for work and two for personal use. I'll not purchase another.

- , Goodyear, AZ, USA

problem #305

Jun 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

This will be the very last Explorer I will ever purchase. I will ensure that every person I meet knows how bad the Ford Explorer is. I am in the Military and I meet thousands of people every year..."One person at a time".

- , Cottage Grove, WI, USA

problem #304

May 152009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Im really getting tired of dealing with ford cars. I go on the internet and see so many unsatisfied ford owners out there. When I get done paying this sh*t off Im never buying a Ford again. I will go foreign. The cars produced by american companies can't compare to the quality of foreign auto makers and they wonder why our auto companies are failing. They produce pieces of sh*t cars and sell them at ridiculous prices and when a defect occurs they leave you high and dry.

I have a 2003 ford explorer xls and out of no where the rear panel cracks. I didnt even know it had cracked until I went to open the trunk area and saw a huge gaping crack in it. I have had so many problems with this car that ford will never get a dime of my money again after this one. They should be ashamed at the quality of cars they produce. America use to be the king of the world auto industry but these companies got greedy and began selling less reliable cars and cutting corners and now their products are worthless. This rear panel issue isnt the only problem I have with my car but that is for another complaint file. FORD NEEDS TO FIX THESE ISSUES OR FADE INTO AUTO INDUSTRY HELL.

- , Byron, GA, USA

problem #303

Nov 292008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I always look at the back panel of the Explorers I see on the road and I see the same cracks as on my vehicle. Def..a defect and FORD should fix this for us.

- , Blue River, WI53581, USA

problem #302

Oct 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I have see numerous Ford Explorers with the same defect and I think vehicle owners do not realize it is a common defect throughout this model and is visible on newer models.

- , Islamorada, FL, USA

problem #301

Nov 102009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I own a 2003 XLT.I woke one winter morning and noticed a crack on the back panel lift gate. The crack is vertical , about 6" long . The crack is now cracking to the left.I first thought that someone came along and cut the plastic panel as it was so perfect.

I have seen only 1 other Explorer on the road in my area with this problem .I thought to myself that this must be an isolated incident until I found this site and read on . With all the complaints listed here, why does Ford not wake up, take action and recall this faulty design ?

- , BayShore, NY, USA

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