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 1 of 27)

problem #540

May 182016

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 205,000 miles

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

Second time this panel has cracked.. Will have to replace again..

- , Troy, IL, USA

problem #539

Sep 072010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

i NOW HAVE THREE CRACKS IN MY BACK PANEL AND FORD STILL REFUSES TO RECALL OR FIX

- , Chino, CA, USA

problem #538

Feb 022008

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

ONE CRACK HAS NOW TURNED INTO TWO CRACKS. FORD STILL REFUSES TO RECALL AND FIX

Update from May 12, 2016: ERROR IN MILEAGE. APPROXIMATELY 60000

- , Chino, CA, USA

problem #537

May 182005

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

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

THE CRACKS IN THE REAR PANEL OCCURRED TO NO FAULT OF MY OWN; HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF THIS CRACK, THE VALUE OF MY CAR FOR FUTURE RESALES IS GREATLY DECREASED. THE CRACKS BEING LOCATED NEAR THE BACK GLASS WINDOW, ALSO BRINGS INTO QUESTIONS THE STABILITY OF THE GLASS PANEL. VERY UNSIGHTLY.

- , Chino, CA, USA

problem #536

Apr 082007

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 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 purchased this 2003 Ford Explorer new and in 2006 I noticed the crack in the tailgate. Two Ford dealerships told me it was my fault for closing the glass too hard and not covered and of course no one else had this problem. Over the past 13 years I've noticed this crack in the same place on almost every Ford Explorer made in the early to mid 2000s. Today I was behind three different Ford Explorers all with the same crack in the same location. I didn't uses the glass often and knew I'd never slammed it.

Yes, I'm glad the vehicle is still running well after almost 13 years, but it only has 70,000 miles, has been kept in a garage and considering all of the complaints about this issue and the same defect on every one you see on the street this is definitely a Ford design defect and they should own it and fix it. I purchased a new car a little over a year ago and never once considered Ford because they lied about this and didn't fix it.

- , Brunswick, GA, USA

problem #535

Jan 012006

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

I am disgusted that the crack in the rear panel under the rear glass is not covered under a recall. You take it in and they just look at you like you are crazy. Well now, my whole back panel (glass and all) is about to fall off the back of my truck. HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO FIX THAT???????

- , Pineville, LA, USA

problem #534

Oct 152015

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

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

THIS IS A KNOWN ISSUE WITH FORD AND NUMEROUS TSB'S. THE REAR PANEL LIFT GATES ARE CRACKED FROM 02-05. I WANT MINE FIXED BY FORD AT THEIR COST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #533

Dec 042004

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,850 miles

This was the second car that I ever bought,My first car was in 1979 so when I now buying my second brand new car and having it a little over a year and the back panel crack just because its winter just broke my heart. I call Ford Motor Co and they told me that I would be responsible to have it fixed at my own expensive. which I was going thru a divorce and couldn't afford the 600 to 800 dollars to fix it. then driving around town I starting noticing all the Ford cars that had cracks just like mine...Explorers and Mountaineers i mean thousands and thousands of cars all cracked in the same place and Fords is sayings its not there fault and its not a defect come on this should of been taking care of years ago I want to sell this car and I have nothing but I have to cut the price down because of Fords not fixing the problem that they should of back in 2004.

- , South Rockwood, MI, USA

problem #532

Nov 242015

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I keep reading this is a problem on here by so many people why isn't Ford doing a recall? Come on Ford Motor Company this is dangerous not only to the people driving the vehicle, but the potential hazard this can cause to someone driving behind this vehicle or other vehicles with this issue. I am on a fixed income as a disabled person I don't have 600 bucks to fix and then hear it will keep happening.

- , VA Beach, VA, USA

problem #531

Nov 182015

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

The panel just belw back windshield cracked right down the middle, other people have had this same problem, needs to be fixed, it has to be a defect in the panel

- , Clover, SC, USA

problem #530

May 232011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,305 miles

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

Just want Ford to repair this. Tailgate problem takes away from the value and appearance of the vehicle.

- , Thomasville, GA, USA

problem #529

Sep 252015

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,769 miles

This vehicle is garage kept and pampered. I could not believe it when my wife said the lift gate had a crack in it. Sure enough a crack had appeared 1/16 which will allow water and the elements to enter this area and eventually cause major rust problems in the gate itself. After checking with loc. dealer and observing other Explorer owners, I find Ford Co. has been aware of this problem since 2002 without making any effort to fix the problem and make their Ford families happy. So being one of victims of Ford's neglect to fix this, I would like to be

added to the class action suit forthwith.

PS i have a photo of this but it is not posted on url.

- , Harrington, DE, USA

problem #528

Oct 252006

Explorer XLT 4.0L Ltr. V-Six

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,500 miles

The rear tailgate panel below the window glass continually cracks open across the whole width of the panel. It looks horribly ugly on an otherwise perfectly nice looking vehicle. It's due to the manufacturer "gluing" the panel in place instead of using other means of affixing the panel to the door itself, thus allowing movement due to expansion and contraction of the panel. It has happened and been replaced three times over the last years. Ford Co. replaced it originally while the vehicle was under extended warranty and I've replaced it twice, costing $500 each time.

It's now cracked in five places across the whole panel and I'm not going to put any more money into it to replace it. I believe Ford should repair it free of charge due to their manufacturing a defective engineering problem, ie, not allowing this panel to expand or contract due to outside temperatures of hot and cold when glued to it's inner steel framework. This damaged ugly panel makes the whole vehicle look terrible across the whole back-end while the whole remainder of the vehicle looks beautiful and is in perfect condition .

Update from Dec 3, 2015: You can have the new panel installed by a windshield/glass installer using their own type rubberized flexible glue that they install large windshields with. ( Do not use the type of inflexible Ford Co. glue which does not allow expansion and contraction due to heat/cold otherwise the panel will break again.) Naturally this will all be done at your own expense since Ford is just another major corporation in this United States that's protected by the Republican party's policy's to always protect big business at the expense of the little consumer. Just keep in mind a well known quote, United we stand, divided we fall. The big business and wealthy have been dividing this country for many decades now . Would you like to guess where we're headed for within the upcoming future ?

- , Hardy, VA, USA

problem #527

Oct 152014

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

On its own, I wouldn't bother to mention it, but it's the first in a long line of problems with this vehicle, so I'm putting it on record to let everyone know what kind of vehicle Ford sells.

- , Abington, PA, USA

problem #526

Dec 172008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Crack just showed up one day and now I see Explorers all over with the same crack right above the Ford center logo below back windshield. I should not have to fork out the cash to fix this, Ford should!

- , Oviedo, FL, USA

problem #525

Jun 052012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

First I called the Ford Dealership to question them about any recalls on the crack in the back, they heard of the problem and then I called the Ford Main Office and made a complaint. Gave them all my information, they made a report of it by phone. I asked if there had been any other complaints of this happening to other Ford owners and was told No. I said I had seen 3 or 4 around my area. Now I read the Ford Corp. paid for some in 2007? So they lied to me. I brought it in to a repair shop and was told $500. Have not had it fixed.

This is not right. It is a defect and they should repair it.

- , Orange, TX, USA

problem #524

Jan 012015

Explorer Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 183,000 miles

I have a 97 year old grandmother who is in a wheelchair and I can't open the trunk because of the cracked rear panel, so I have to try and figure how to put into back seat. I took it to Ford and they said; oh well, even though if you go on line you see countless complaints of the same thing.

- , Hayward, CA, USA

problem #523

Oct 012014

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Apparently Ford's design was flawed, since most have this crack that only gets worse. Not only is it ugly, water and dirt get inside and rust starts. Ford should recall this and fix.

- , hurricane, UT, USA

problem #522

May 092008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,120 miles

It's damned ugly and it is it's own eyesore and a great representation of Ford fit and finish. The Ford Logo is right there on the crappy panel for all to see and judge for themselves......

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #521

Jun 042014

Explorer XLT 3.2lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

It's unbelievable that every Explorer I see on the road has this problem and Ford hasn't taken responsibility for shoddy workmanship.

- , Riverview, FL, USA

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