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.

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 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Mar 012008

Explorer

  • 68,000 miles

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

The rear hatch has cracked from the back glass down on both sides of the emblem. I called Ford and they stated that they have had a lot of complaints about this same issue but it was not a recall and they would not fix it.

- Springfield, TN, USA

problem #28

Jan 132009

Explorer

  • 50,850 miles
Plastic body panel below rear window on the lift gate has cracked.

- Churchville, PA, USA

problem #27

Jan 172009

Explorer

  • 49,790 miles
Rear tailgate/liftgate door panel cracked in two places vertically while in garage parked.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #26

Jan 182009

Explorer

  • 77,000 miles

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

We had cold weather the last few days (-11 below) and now there is a crack in body, just below the window on the rear hatch. It extends from the bottom of the window to the end of the hatch.

- Broadview Heights, OH, USA

problem #25

Feb 162008

Explorer

  • 95,000 miles
Cracked rear panel below the windshield. I have seen several Ford Explorer with the same problem as mine. I have also noticed several complaints on line at carcomplaints.com for the same problem. I reported the problem to Ford customer relations, but they are not doing anything to fix the problem. This is the second one for my Explorer and will not be replaced by me.

- Sherwood Park, 00, USA

problem #24

Jan 072009

Explorer

  • 98,773 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer eddie bauer edition. While attempting to close the lift gate glass, the hinge on the passenger side failed. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle was not included in a recall; therefore, they were not liable for the repairs. The dealer has not been notified. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 98,773.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #23

Jan 042009

Explorer

  • 43,000 miles

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

Applique underneath the rear window cracked next to emblem with no impact.

- Napa, CA, USA

problem #22

Apr 212008

Explorer

  • 83,000 miles
Cracked rear panel below the windshield. I have seen several Ford Explorer with the same problem as mine. I have also noticed several complaints on line at carcomplaints.com for the same problem. I reported the problem to Ford customer relations, but they are not doing anything to fix the problem.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #21

Dec 232008

Explorer

  • 63,000 miles
I was driving on the highway before dawn and heard a very loud noise (it was the sound of an explosion). I thought that a tire may have blowout, which was strange since the car has a set of new tires and I did not notice any changes in the driving of the vehicle. I stopped on the side of the highway and checked the car using a flash light. I saw nothing. Later that day when I went to get gasoline, I saw a crack in the panel that contained the Ford logo, about 2 inches to the right of the logo that extended from the top of the panel to the bottom. It was just a clean crack on the panel below the rear window. This happened on a cold night (19 deg. F). from what I have seen and read it sounds like a design flaw with the fact that a plastic part is glue to a metal part with a different coefficient of expansion. The car is a Ford Explorer XLT 2003. Although the cracked panel does not seem to be a safety defect, the distraction caused by the loud bang noise while driving the car in heavy traffic and stopping in the highway at night to determine the cause of the noise clearly put me and my family at risk. Moreover, there is a good chance the rear window panel may separate from the vehicle at speed, being a safety issue for other motorists.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #20

Dec 162008

Explorer

  • 23,413 miles
Ford Explorer rear hatch defect, crack in hatch, Ford has released a technical bulletin but says it is an owner responsibility to have it repaired. As a disabled veteran on a fixed income I cannot afford to have it repaired. There are hundreds of complaints on the internet regarding this issue with basically the same answer from Ford.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #19

Dec 102008

Explorer

  • 65,000 miles

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

2003 for Explorer eddie bauer - the rear liftgate panel under the rear glass has a crack all the way through it. No known cause. There appear to be a large number of vehicles with this problem.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #18

Dec 042008

Explorer

  • 62,900 miles
The rear panel below the window on the hatch just suddenly cracked... it wasn't hit or anything, it just cracked.

- Danbury, IA, USA

problem #17

Feb 152008

Explorer

  • miles
Trim panel on the bottom of rear hatch window developed a large crack unexpectedly. Crack is vertical from window to bottom of liftgate glass.

- Evanston, WY, USA

problem #16

Sep 052008

Explorer

  • 95,000 miles
Plastic body part below rear window glass cracked.

- Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #15

Jun 182001

Explorer

  • 60,000 miles
2003 Ford Explorer paint peeling.

- Johnsonville, NY, USA

problem #14

Jul 012006

Explorer

  • miles
The back liftgate panel is cracked on my 2003 Ford Explorer. I live in Colorado and the local Ford service department said it was likely due to our dry weather, they haven't heard of it occurring in other states. I travel beyond Colorado frequently and have seen several other vehicles with the same problem. This sounds like a manufacturer/Ford defect that should be considered under a recall.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #13

Nov 092007

Explorer

  • miles
There is a crack on my 2003 Ford Explorer eddie bauer edition lift gate. I have seen other cars of the same make and model with the same crack in the same spot.

- Fort Meade, MD, USA

problem #12

Aug 142008

Explorer

  • 61,000 miles
Paint peeling off my car.

- Old Bethpage, NY, USA

problem #11

Aug 062008

Explorer

  • 38,000 miles
Vertical crack in the back hatch of my Ford Explorer 2003 just below the glass and going down.

- Kenner, LA, USA

problem #10

Jun 012007

Explorer

  • miles
The back lift gate panel is cracked on my 2003 Explorer. I have had the crack for approx. 2 years. The crack has progressively worsened. I took it to the dealer and they said " there has been several cases such as this, but Ford has not issued a recall" I have seen several Explorer with this problem. I do not think it should be my responsibility to cover this when it is obviously a Ford defect.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

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