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 7 of 27)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #420

Jan 092012

Explorer Centennial Pkg 4.6L Romeo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,000 miles

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

I HATE THIS STUPID TRUCK! The back cracks, and all those "Sick Awesome" guys at Ford don't got your back. Sealed trannies that last less than 100,000 miles and you cant check the fluid on? Come on. This truck was 45 g's new! Im sure these "Exploders" are a contributing factor to what kept Ford in the game when GM and Chrysler and other major car companies were going bankrupt! People droppin' their hard earned cash for stupid s**t that shouldn't happen. Im never buying a ford again, the only car they make that's any good is a Crown Vic PI. Other than that i'm going foregin!

- , Rochester, MN, USA

problem #419

Jan 192012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,500 miles

Somebody congratulate me quick! I just joined the crack in the rear panel club on my 2003 Ford Explorer XLT! I was working on the explorer for my daughter last week(replacing hubs, shocks, ball joints and cv shafts) when she came home from school and said "dad!-what did you do to the explorer?" I said, "what are you talking about?-I'm fixing it for you!" She showed me the crack that extends just to the left side of the emblem all the way down from the glass to the bottom of the panel. Apparently, while I had the explorer jacked up on one side, it was tweaked enough to cause stress on the rear panel and cracked it! After finding this web site though, I am not taking all the blame! I never had a problem before doing repairs to it in the past and never noticed a hairline crack before now.

We just gave the explorer to our daughter for her 16th birthday and she is livid to say the least! We bought this explorer brand new in 03 and don't have any complaints until now. We had the rear seal replaced before it became a problem and the temperature control door flap replaced when it started to stick and wouldn't switch over to defrost, but that's it! It has been a super good vehicle for us. We just went out and leased a new Ford Edge, but had this problem arose sooner on the explorer, I would of gave Ford a second glance. There are too many quality automobiles to choose from now a days and my Ford blue runs deep, but I agree with all of the previous people that have posted on this problem-this was a definite manufacturers flaw and Ford should stand behind the Ford tough name! Fix it!!!! Stop pretending like it is no big deal!

I talked to a body shop and the cost to repair the crack is around $300-400 dollars! I found a silver replacement panel with glass for $268.00. I don't want to have two different colors on the back of my explorer!! This is ridiculous that after all this time a crack would now appear. P.S. Just saw a Mercury Moutaineer with same crack.

- , Ankeny, IA, USA

problem #418

Oct 282011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,931 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

This panel is obviously defective.......Please Ford, make this right!! Ive seen ton of these on the road with cracks in the same place.

- , Chestertown, MD, USA

problem #417

Dec 172011

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,963 miles

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

I AM LOOKING INTO DESIGNING AND FABRICATING A STAINLESS STEEL PIECE TO REPLACE THE CHEAPLY MADE PLASTIC PIECE . I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED .

I MAY MARKET THIS PIECE ONCE I HAVE ONE MADE AND WILL OFFER IT TO ANYONE FOR A REASONABLE PRICE .

- , Kelowna, British Columbia, canada

problem #416

Nov 152011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,200 miles

A couple of years ago, Ford recalled this vehicle because the rear window was shattering and blowing out in the direction of the person closing the hatch. Now there is a vertical crack from the base of the window.....down past the logo to the end of the window hatch. It just showed up one day......it's bad.....it's not covered by a recall or fix by Ford and I'm totally pissed. My Explorer has low mileage and is well taken care of and now, devalued............FORD - unless you guys are going to fix this crap you delivered, I will NEVER buy or recommend anyone to buy a FORD again.....All Electrical systems in this car are effed up! Windshield wipers non functioning, windows don't go up and down, the paint is faded on the side panels between the doors and now this huge crack. FORD doesn't care - they've already been paid and on to ....Next....

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #415

Dec 152011

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My wife told me she discovered the same exact problem WHY DOESN'T FORD RECALL THIS VEHICLE BECAUSE OF THIS ISSUE? The crack is getting bigger when the temperature drops. As far as the hinges go, I'm afraid they are going to fall off because they seem to work slowly, then the tailgate slams hard. The more we complain, the sooner they will fix the problem.

- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #414

Feb 102011

Explorer LX 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

I think that ford should have to pay for this ,just about every ford I see like mine is cracked. it does not matter if it is an older model it is a defect in the panel, and I have taken good care of my ford , and this has really made it look bad. I do not have many miles on it,and I keep the oil changed every 3,000 miles.if every body would complain about thi problem ,maybe we could get ford co. to pay

- , Poplarville, MS, USA

problem #413

Aug 032005

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

It is an inconvenience because I always must use the tailgate. The hinges are also broken so if anyone opens the window on the tailgate it falls apart. I had to disengage the window strut because it was worsening the problem. I must admit that other than that I have not had much trouble with the SUV. Just the same thing every ford owner has to deal with... like the plastic water outlet/inlet housing, air conditioning issues, etc. I actually like the thing; I have taken good care of it and it still looks and runs good.

- , Caguas, PR, Puerto Rico

problem #412

Aug 012011

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

This is the SECOND time this rear panel under the back window has cracked. Yes, the first time it was STILL covered under warranty and they repaired it at no charge. This time they WILL NOT REPAIR IT AT NO CHARGE. I was told that it would be approximately $300.00 TO repair and that it would happen again. They also added that FORD "is not doing anything" with it. They need to recall it. So, since they are not recalling it why get it repaired if it will just happen again in a year or so?

I cannot tell you how many Ford Explorers I see on the road that have the same crack, I am so aggravated and disgusted with the whole problem that I WILL NOT buy another FORD.

- , Harahan, LA, USA

problem #411

Dec 202010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

I have called the Ford Co. they say it is not covered. They use to help with repair & now stopped that. It is a problem I have seen 10 Fords in 1 weeks time. Come on Ford fix this problem. It is happening on the newer models also. Ford built like a truck stand behind your name. We really like the vehicle or we wouldn't still have it.

- , Macungie, PA, USA

problem #410

Jan 032011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

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

Does Ford not care?! So many complaints, same problem, CMON FORD FIX IT!

- , Harlingen, TX, USA

problem #409

Dec 192011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I'm really upset. I take pride in the appearance of my Explorer, washing & waxing regularly and having it serviced at the dealer from whom I purchased it. The panel was fine on Sunday and Monday when I went to the car, the panel was cracked. There was no indication of how it happened, it just appeared.

- , Berlin, CT, USA

problem #408

Jan 022010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

2003 FORD EXPLORER XLT V6 CRACKED PANEL BELOW THE REAR WINDOW. THIS PROBLEM, DEVALUED MY CAR AND ALSO ANOTHER PROBLEM IN GLASS DOOR REAR, AND ALMOST ALL OF THIS MODEL EXPLORER TO BE THE SAME CRACK, CAUSING DISSATISFACTION THAT. THE FORD SHOULD BECOME AWARE OF THIS AND APPROPRIATE ACTION.

What would be the appropriate action? Replace the panel? Ford paid for repair? Repair or replace tailgate? Need a redesigned tailgate?

WE NEED A SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM URGENT THANKS.

- , Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #407

Dec 042011

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

I am still paying for this car. I never new how much problems I would have when I purchased this car it is costing me $15,000. And every month I have to have some thing done to it I paid about $100.- $300. out of my pocket every time for issues that this car has. I have a crack in the middle of the Ford sign in the back panel I feel that the dealers should pay for this problem not me I have this car for 1 year and I have a great deal of problems ever since I made this purchase. Everyone I know said don't buy from Ray Price Ford every car I purchase from them is issues after issues. My crappie Ford came from them. And I was given an extended warranty that I paid for that I was told started 2 years before I even had a license there excuse is we were trying to save you money. Now I pay out my pocket.

- , Long Pond, PA, USA

problem #406

Nov 252011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 164,656 miles

Ford has Known of this problem, If they want to remain #1 They should take care of their customer's complaints Better!!! It's our choice what vehicle we buy, they should remember that...Without us, they have nothing...

- , Seymour, TN, USA

problem #405

Nov 162011

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,520 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

so, to add to the transmission problem I just b*tched about, a week prior, I went leave for work one morning & I noticed the rear panel was cracked. It wasn't like that the night before, so it literally happened overnight. My mechanic said it was cosmetic, the window would be fine, but it bothers me nonetheless. Not a fan of Ford anymore...

- , Kings Park, NY, USA

problem #404

Sep 232011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

It just really angers me that this is the second 03 Explorer I have owned that has had the same problem!! And I drive alot and within the past few months I have seen at least 15+ other Explorers with the same problem! If there are so many vehicles that this is happening to why can't Ford just fix this!! It is obviously a manufacturer DEFECT!!!! But because it is not a safety thing it's not a big deal to them! Well, IT LOOKS TACKY!!!!! And it is nothing that I have done wrong! The blame is 100% FORD MOTOR!!

- , Joshua, TX, USA

problem #403

Feb 192010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

I'm the first owner of this 2003 Ford Explorer (third explorer I have owned) and didn't notice crack until my son asked what happened to the rear panel of my car. I was sick to say the least. Mentioned to my friend and she has same problem with her 2003 Explorer too. (my mechanic calls it my exploder) Checked internet to see if I missed a recall only to find hundreds with same issue. Window hinge is also malfunctioning. Hope I can get Ford to fix otherwise this will be my 3rd and final Explorer even though I love the look of the new 2011 if they don't stand behind their design I will go with something different next time.

- , Kent, WA, USA

problem #402

Jul 212011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,634 miles

Just another of many ignored problems with FORD Explorers,this crack problem seems to be related with the door ajar light constantly on as well as remote lock not responding; especially after rain.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #401

Apr 042011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

Went to close rear batch on rear tail lift door and noticed a crack running down the plastic on the panel where the Ford logo is affixed. Other owners have seen my crack and said they have the same problem. Appears to be the result of repeated closings of of the panel. The panel simply does not hold up. Have not taken it to dealer because of past lack of help.

- , Warren, OH, USA

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