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.

8.0

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,008.00
Average Mileage:
103,844 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 062016

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 184,100 miles

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

The spark plugs have been exploding since I purchased the vehicle in February 2016. I have had to use AAA for six different tows (used up all my free ones) and luckily have not had any injuries. I am a disabled single Mom with no assets but my vehicle. I am in dire straights to get this fixed without losing my vehicle. I need this vehicle to get to my daughter's and my doctor's appointments. Ford needs to help us.

- , Lincoln, ME, USA

problem #4

Mar 152010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

It is bullshit with these spark plugs popping out, i have replace 5 so far. The engine gets hot and spits out a spark plug and I get stuck where ever it happens at. I had to tow my truck 5 different times. Get it towed to a shop 5 different times. Paid over 800 to replace this because they get stripped when they pop out and then they have to do some extra sh*t to make sure none of the metal goes in my engine. I parked my Truck and got a chevy but i spent so much money on a piece of sh*t FORD... don't ever by a ford especially when they do not want to take responsibility for their own crap they make........

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #3

Jun 162014

Explorer XLT 3,2,V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,120 miles

I really took good care of my 2003 Explorer driving it only on weekends since I bought it in 2007. With only 110k miles I started to detect a tic-tic- noise and found the spark plug blew out of the engine. I now have to manage alternate transportation while I have the truck repaired. Luckily no one was hurt while driving the vehicle. My local dealer stated this is a common problem that happens more and more and Ford is aware of this issue. How can this not be a safety issue?

- , Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 252013

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

spark plugs keep ejecting. happened to multiple cylinders.

- , Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #1

Feb 032012

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

this is the second time a spark plug has blown right out of the top of the engine

- , Indianola, IA, USA

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