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.

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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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,160 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #109

Feb 152013

Explorer

  • 120,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while turning at various speeds, the body of the vehicle began to bounce abnormally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was stated that the body mount needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Ellenton, FL, USA

problem #108

Aug 092013

Explorer

  • 99,600 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, she heard a loud, abnormal noise. After inspecting the vehicle, she noticed that the rear door hinge was fractured and causing the door to hang. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V442000 (structure). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 99,600.

- Ticonderoga, NY, USA

problem #107

Jul 272013

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 for Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked when he engaged the liftgate and the hinges fractured. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 105,000. *updated 09-18-13 updated 09/24/2013

- Frackville, PA, USA

problem #106

Jul 092013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the rear lift gate glass hinge corroded and fractured from the vehicle. The vehicle was previously included and repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 04V442000 (structure). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that both of the hinges were corroded and would have to be replaced. The vehicle was being repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 121,000.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #105

Nov 112011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
There has been no accident. Under normal wear and tear of car went to open hatchback glass one day to load groceries and dropped low on my head because hinge holding the glass door came loose. Had to ease it back up in place, have not been able to open glass door since for fear of it falling and breaking to pieces. The second complaint is the hatchback door is cracked under the Ford emblem and to the side. I have seen many many Explorer with this same exact crack as mine. They have also complained!!!! Ford only recalled Explorer up to I believe that were made up to February 2003. My car and others I have spoke with their and mine was made in 8/2003 so we were not covered!!! that is bull!! Ford should stand by their products.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #104

Nov 122012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the tailgate was cracked. The contact spoke with the manufacturer and was told the lift gate was not under warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 110,000.

- St. Albans, WV, USA

problem #103

Apr 112012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while parked, he noticed a fracture on the rear lift gate panel. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000. Updated 5/24/13 updated 06/12/2013

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #102

Mar 032013

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that he noticed that the lift gate was fractured near the manufacturing emblem. The failure caused the interior lights and the anti-theft alarm to activate. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer or an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised him that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V442000 (structure). The failure mileage was approximately 120,000. The current mileage was approximately 140,000.

- Ellerslie, GA, USA

problem #101

Nov 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
A crack on the rear hatch next to Ford emblem.

- Mishawaka, IN, USA

problem #100

Mar 042013

Explorer

  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed a large fracture under the rear liftgate glass near the manufacturing emblem. The fracture was approximately six inches long. The vehicle was not inspected. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 83,000.

- Thillicothe, OH, USA

problem #99

Nov 252012

Explorer

  • 110,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear lift gate was fractured near the window. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and advised the contact that they would look further into the failure. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Fleming Island, FL, USA

problem #98

Nov 142007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a fracture in the trim that held the rear window in place. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for inspection where they advised that the part was defective and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 20,000....updated 12/17/12

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #97

Oct 192011

Explorer

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the vehicle had developed a crack on the tailgate of the vehicle under the rear window. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who stated there had not been enough complaints to issue a recall and referred her to NHTSA. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 80,000.

- Lawrenceburg, TN, USA

problem #96

Oct 012012

Explorer

  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the lift gate window detached from the hinges and crack the door. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the hinges needed to be replaced. The dealer also stated that the vehicle was under recall NHTSA campaign id number: 04V442000 (structure:body:hatchback/liftgate:hinge and attachments). The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred and the door was still cracked. The manufacturer was notified and advised the contact to keep the receipts in case of another recall. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Oswego, IL, USA

problem #95

Oct 072012

Explorer

  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the lift gate was cracked. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and stated that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The failure mileage was 96,000.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #94

Sep 242012

Explorer

  • 110,308 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while inspecting the vehicle it was found that the hinge for the liftgate was broken. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic and was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted who informed him that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V442000 (structure: Body: Hatchback/liftgate: Hinge and attachments). The failure and current mileage was 110,308.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #93

Aug 222012

Explorer

  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the hinges on the back lift gate fractured and allowed the glass to become disengaged. The vehicle could not be driven. The dealer was notified and informed the contact that there were no recalls on his vehicle. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who stated that the vehicle had been repaired under the recall NHTSA campaign id number: 04V442000 (structure:body:hatchback/liftgate:hinge and attachments) 8 years prior and provided no other assistance. The failure and current mileage was 130,000.

- Grand Lake , MI, USA

problem #92

Aug 032010

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the lift gate hinges were fractured. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V442000 (structure:body:hatchback/liftgate:hinge and attachments). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 82,000.....updated 10/11/12 updated 10/16/2012

- Lebanon, KY, USA

problem #91

Aug 032012

Explorer

  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the hinges for the rear lift gate fractured. The contact mentioned that the glass fell down into the door. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and had the hinges were replaced. The manufacturer was contacted who stated that there was a recall for the failure under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V442000 (structure: Body: Hatchback/liftgate: Hinge and attachments) but the vehicle was not included since the recall was only issued for the 2002 model year Explorer. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- Bowmansville, NY, USA

problem #90

Jul 052012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Rear window hinges broke for the second time. They were fixed once with recall and are now broke again. Also the back lift gate panel has cracked.

- Winona, MN, USA

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