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:
83,780 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

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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