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. 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
95,060 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. rebuilt transmission twice!!!! (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Jul 032014

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,232 miles


If it isn't one thing it's another with this Ford... This is my 2nd Ford product, 1st Ford was a 2002 Mercury Sable, now this problem child called the Explorer. I've replaced bearings, axles, differential, alternator, wiper motors etc etc. all within a year of owning the car. Now I'm facing a Transmission issue. I first heard this new issue while in reverse, it was making a knocking noise whenever the accelerator is pressed the car jerks and makes loud noise. I just might be done with Ford if this issue's price tag has too many numbers....

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #4

Jul 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

I put in gear and have to rev the engine up until it kicks in.

when going up a long hill it grabs and lets go.

I stop at light and have to rev to get it in gear- scraping noise going on when it does this

- , Rumford, ME, USA

problem #3

Jun 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Found out this is a model wide problem. No recall at present. I feel cheated that I now have a vehicle that will surely fail and the company will not stand behind their product. I feel that this is political as the explorer is the number one selling SUV and a recall would be too expensive to the company so they had it squashed. The transmission is crap and should be replaced with another model not repaired.

- , Massapequa, NY, USA

problem #2

Nov 112010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,070 miles

While parked, as a result of the "engine surge", the car surged forward into the convenience store! This caused extensive damage to the front of the car and store!

- , Calgary, Alberta, canada

problem #1

May 122006

(reported on)

Explorer Limited

  • 36,000 miles

Vehicle was in 7 times for the same issue in 5 months. They finally rebuilt the transmission when I threatened toi insert the car sideways. Then it still wasn't right so they did it again. Still not perfect as the transmission has a rushing noise coming from it. BUT they all do it

- , Auckland, Akld, New Zealand

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