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 6 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #440

Jul 022010

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

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

I am ashamed to be driving a ford vehicle with cracked panel and if I was ford motors I would be ashamed for anyone to see something I have made that looks like this. The first crack wasn't noticeable until the weather got hot then it started to gap really bad, complained to ford, they said not enough complaints for recall, now I have a second crack about 6 inches across from the first crack. Whats next? Maybe if the whole thing cracks I will send them the pieces one by one. This is a shame and disgrace to pay money out the ying yang and it look like this. I am even ashamed to trade it off, but they will not allow you anything for it because it cost so much to get it fixed. Everyone needs to boycott FORD MOTOR COMPANYuntil they can man up and fix their mistake.

- , Lawrenceburg, TN, USA

problem #439

Jan 102005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

The problem has been there for 10 years,with Ford still not taking ownership of the problem.They are doing nothing to resolve this issue.Of course magically they did redesign the tailgate to alleviate that problem on later vehicles.Last Ford I'm buying.....

- , MORENO VALLEY, CA - California, USA

problem #438

Jun 012012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I am worried as I have heard that this can cause the rear glass to shatter in many small pieces.

- , Cheraw, SC, USA

problem #437

Nov 022011

Explorer Limited 4 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

Have the same issue, cracked rear hatch panel by logo.

- , Ro, IL, USA

problem #436

Nov 232011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Rear panel beneath hatch window cracked on cold day. Looks terrible, Ford refuses to fix it though it's a known issue. I also have the side window black trim panel fade issue, and the rear window motor (LR). Add this to the IAC valve (Idle air control) which caused the explorer to try and push me in to an intersection with the brakes applied (multiple times), and now the transmission is acting up at speed (feels like it's jumping gin and out of a gear), I've about had it with this truck. I'm poor at the moment and these repairs are getting to be too much for my limited budget. As many others have stated, I think this is my last American car. It will definitely be my last Explorer.

Update from Jun 22, 2012: I combined a lot of issues in this one message so I'll update here. Windows: I mentioned my right rear window stopped working completely (up position lucky for me). Within a two week period, the passenger front window now only works from the drivers master control switch (no response from the local switch at all), and the passenger rear window staggers and stutters on the way up - so I stopped using it. The odds against this type of cascade of window failures in such a short period of time are pretty high. I also have an odd and progressively worse stutter in the engine when driving between about 40 - 50 mph. I'm wondering if I have an electrical issue causing all symptoms. Maybe a low voltage or current issue making one window freeze, another barely move due to lack of energy, and the other only working from the driver switch. I'm really disappointed with all of these recent issues.

Update from Jun 24, 2012: Window update - Fixed them all. After testing the passenger switch and finding it good, I opened the drivers master panel and found the master window lock out switch connection nearly falling out of the connector. Makes sense, as it came apart, each window lost connection in sequence. Re-connected, all windows are fine. Odd symptoms, (see above), but all from the connection issue.

- , Aloha, OR, USA

problem #435

Jan 202008

Explorer UT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Have been waiting for a recall for several years. Tons of complaints

with the same problem found on the internet. Cracked hatch panel

below rear door window. ... no recall ... will NEVER buy another ford

product.

- , Estill Springs, TN, USA

problem #434

Apr 022012

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

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

another 2003 ford explorer with a cracked lift gate panel. I wish Ford would step up and fix all these broken panels or else this might be the last Ford I would ever buy. It seems that Ford knew about the problem, but chooses to ignore it. When I call my Ford dealer for a replacement panel, they quoted $169 for an unpainted panel, not including the installation charge and the paint. This would add up close to $1000 to get it fix. At this cost to fix the panel, I might just trade in my Ford and say goodbye to the Ford Company forever.

- , Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #433

May 042012

Explorer

  • Manual transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Wow found out this month that my vehicle has a known design defect which results in year 2002 to 2003 through the lift gate hatch cracks by the logo and is was advised this is a problem that because its not deemed a safety issue that there is no recall for this design defect and customers of Ford will have to repair this problem.

Its been established by dealerships and they're aware of this defect. why hasn't Ford made the effort to offer resolve by repairing this???? Its unfortunate that when I contacted Ford the resolve I was given was to replacing my vehicle?? And of course profuse apologies and I would have to repair myself and then save the receipts and possibly they may have a recall on this issue and I would be reimbursed. Hmmmm interesting!!!

- , Miami Gardens, FL, USA

problem #432

Apr 092012

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,800 miles

Ford knew about the defect in 2002 but never corrected the problem with this type of vehicle. Ford should repair/replace the cracked tailgate with no charge to the customer. This brings the value of the vehicle down and is cosmetically ugly to look at. To continue working with defected parts and technique should not be the consumers money being used to repair a broken situation.

- , Golden, CO, USA

problem #431

May 122009

Explorer XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,763 miles

I HAVE SEEN SEVERAL FORD EXPLOERS WITH THIS PANEL BROKEN . RANGING FROM 2002 TO 2006 . I THINK FORD SHOULD HAVE A RECALL AND FIX THEM . THIS IS A FACTORY DEFECT ,

- , graham, NC, USA

problem #430

Nov 302011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

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

With all the vehicle owners reporting this problem, how can Ford just sit there and do nothing...but replace the clips and anchors that hold the glass above this area and ignore the other issue, a huge crack in the exterior panel below it. You know why they're ignoring it.... because they know eventually the tranny or exhaust manifold, 2 of Ford's most idiotic engineered parts on their crap vehicles will go out. This typically will result in the vehicle being sold, traded in or salvaged and then SHAZAMMM...problem resets right FORD! I hope your new TAURUS takes a crap like every other model of vehicle you have come out with. DEATH TO FORD!

- , Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #429

Dec 242011

Explorer XLT V6 4.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Well yet another new member to the cracked crew, Just bought the Explorer and it was a hair line crack then and now a week later the crack is 1/8-1/4 inch wide.. the dealership I bought it from told me that they see alot of these that way. Ford should with out a doubt do a recall on this problem...

- , Ponsford, MN, USA

problem #428

Jul 012005

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I have seen many Ford Explorer on the road with the same crack on the panel under the rear window. Ford should be accountable to fix this problem. There has to be a reason for so many to have the same problem and it had to happen during production. Ford wake up and do what is right, I'm sure you would like folks to keep buying your product!!!

- , East Palatka, FL, USA

problem #427

Nov 302011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

Cracked panel under the rear view window due to a defect and safety issue by Ford Motor Company. I've noticed it on Many Ford Explorers, Eddie Bauer SUV's etc. The rear view window could fall out, or fly out when driving. This is a safety issue and defect issue that FORD MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR. PLEASE REPORT THIS TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY & SAFETY ADMINISTRATION AT 1888-327-4236 AND FILE A COMPLAINT NOW. ALSO AFTER YOU GET YOUR ODI NUMBER FROM THEM FOLLOW UP WITH A LETTER AND EVIDENCE TO:

OFFICE OF DEFECT INVESTIGATION, ATTN: NVS210

1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE

WASHINGTON DC 20590

MAKE SURE YOU PUT YOUR ODI NUMBER, MAKE, MODEL, YEAR OF YOUR SUV.

SPREAD THE WORD WITH OTHER SUV OWNERS WHO HAVE THIS SAME PROBLEM. I LEFT TWO NOTES ON 2 PEOPLE'S SUV WITH THE SAME PROBLEM. RAN INTO SOMEBODY AT THE GYM LAST NIGHT WITH THE SAME ISSUE AND DEFECT.

- , La, CA, USA

problem #426

Jan 152012

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

This is the second time this same panel split down the middle. First instance denied by Ford as their responsibility. Initial estimate was $400, negotiated down to #75 with Ford in Detroit. Have seen lots of Explorers with the same damaged applique. Ford does not accept responsibility for this obviously poor design or materials. This is my second Ford Explorer, shame on me.

- , Middletown, NJ, USA

problem #425

Jul 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I'm joining the club with gripes...cracked panel below rear window at 65k...cracked rear coils springs on struts 80k...faded front door panels inside at top completely faded (not because of sun I'm in Northeast)...paint bubbling up all around perimeter of front hood...front wheel bearings at 60k then passenger front again 10k later (got fixed under warranty)...all for a vehicle maintained and spotless...engine runs great...afraid to touch sealed tranny, don't want to open a can of worms

- , Fishkill, NY, USA

problem #424

Feb 132012

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Just a SUDDEN Crack in the rear back hatch plastic to the left of the Ford or better known as FixOrRepairDaily ! And there is NO recall or reinburstment for the fix to this.

My family have ALWAYS owned Fords but my next purchease WILL NOT be a Ford for Sure! Nothing but problems outta muy 2003 explorer. Ranging from transmission, drive tram, windows. Everything!

- , Brunswick, GA, USA

problem #423

Feb 062012

Explorer SE

  • 82,000 miles

The crack appeared on my 2003 Ford Explorer that ran from the glass to the bottom and was about a quarter of a inch wide. I called Ford and was told to take it to ford dealer to look at it.I think the only thing that will happen is that they will try to get me to trade,not fix it. I had a engine lock up at 72000 that was replaced so I think I will look at another company

- , Providence, NC, USA

problem #422

May 202006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

Hello, I currently own a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT. I'm reaching out to you regarding the cracked rear trunk hatch on my vehicle. I have reported this issue to FORD years ago but again recently last week 1/24/12. I spoke with FORD'S relationship dept they are aware of the issue but currently theres NO RECALL. There are over a 100 complaints online. What you need to know and report. Not sure if you remember but FORD did issue a recall in 2005 when they fixed the rear trunk latch as customers rear windows were shattering when the rear hatch was closing. I believe this is affecting model years of 2002 thru 2005. After my vehicle was returned to me I then noticed the rear panel cracked months later. Per my conversation with FORD this time I was given a CASE #.

I would suggest that everyone call FORD at 800-392-3673 and report your issue. I hope that if all Ford Owners call to report and complain they will issue another RECALL. We need to put pressure on FORD. Make sure you ask for a case # for your records.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #421

Dec 132011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

I don't know how many Ford Explorer that have the Crack down the Middle of the Back Door Panel But Somethings Not right with It Ford Should Recall That BUll Crap!!!!

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

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