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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,274 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Nov 122008

Explorer

  • miles

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

The back panel of my 2003 Ford Explorer cracked right down the middle. It is the panel just below the back windshield. It was fine one day, and split down the middle the next. I know it is nothing I did. I googled to see if anyone else had this problem and I was shocked to find hundreds and hundreds of complaints for the exact same thing! this needs to be recalled. Ford should be responsible for this defect, not the customer. Please, please, recall this for us. We put our trust in Ford by purchasing their vehicles and we would hope they would take care of their mistakes. Thank you very much.

- Saint Martinville, LA, USA

problem #7

Dec 272008

Explorer

  • 125,000 miles
I took my 2003 Ford Explorer to Ford dealership and was refuse recall repairs. Was told it would be at my own expense because he could not find recall notice in Ford system. Below is the details of recap. At this time the liftgate hinge is broken and window is about to fall off. Please help. Vehicle make / model: Model year(s): Ford / Explorer 2002-2003 Ford / Mountaineer 2002-2003 manufacturer: Ford Motor Company mfr's report date: Sep 09, 2004 NHTSA campaign id number: 04V442000 PE04045 NHTSA action number: PE04045.

- Weston, FL, USA

problem #6

May 072004

Explorer

  • 2,900 miles
I bought a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT right off the lot brand new. Within months I noticed a small wet spot in the rear of the vehicle. After my first oil change I mentioned it to where I bought the vehicle and the told me that my differently is low but not leaking. Then I asked what about the wet spot on the ground. With 7 months from that a huge puddle from the rear of my car on vacation with the vehicle and drop it at a Ford dealer it's my rear differently seals. Fixed that paid for it because they say where and tear. About 1 year later same thing get it fixed about 1 year and half same thing and continue to fix it. Talk to Ford Motor Company they say it is out of warranty but when I started calling them in 2004 it was only 5 months old and I paid for the piece to be repaired. Today my vehicle is back in the shop for a fourth time same exact problem although now the Ford dealership says the axle is frozen in there and they need to break it before fixing the rear differential. Why hasn't this been recalled. Seeking help for this lemon!!!!

- Saugus, MA, USA

problem #5

Apr 012008

Explorer

  • 65,558 miles

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

The heater no longer works and no matter where the heat dial is turned, it makes a constant ticking sound. I looked into getting it fixed at a local shop and was told it was going to be at least a $1,500 charge.

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #4

Jul 192005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
We own a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT. We were driving on I-79 and all of a sudden the car lost power so that we could not go above 25 mph on a very busy highway. We were towed over 100 miles back home to the dealership and were told that "for some reason the air mass system went bad and caused the catalytic converters to go bad." The mechanic stated that he would try to get the dealership to pay for the catalytic converters since they are so expensive, however, I believe this offer was made in order to cover up an issue with the manufacturing of the vehicle. The car is still in the shop 5 days later and we do not know anything more as to how this could have occured. We have been diligent at keepingup regular maintenance and the car only has 43,000 miles on it, so this is not something that should have occured with no warning whatsoever. We have two small children and are very greatful that no large trucks were right around us as the time of the incident or we could have been seriously hurt as they can not slow down from 75mph to 25mph in a quick manner.

- Gibsonia, PA, USA

problem #3

Oct 152003

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I have recently bought 2 brand new Ford from champion Ford in shreveport Louisiana. My brand new Ford XLT Explorer 2 door sport has been in the shop for various repairs longer than I have had the vehicle. The vehicle was purchased on 09/27/2003 since then the hood had to be re-painted, both side body molding has been replaced, the front turn signal light came loose, both bottom exterior body door trim had to be replaced, interior trim piece below the rear window broke and had to be re-placed, but the main problem is a vibration in the motor/transmission that vibrates the dash I have spent already over $60 in gas back and forth to dealership, me and my wife have taken off two days at work costing us over $500 in loss of pay, I have already paid the first truck note and insurance payment and now the truck is back at the dealership for repairs for approximately one more week of repairs. On 10/17/2003 the truck was brought back to the dealership and my wife drove another Explorer of the same make/model and had no problems I then was told by the service mgr. That this problem was inherent to this make/model. I then approached the sale mgr. With the hopes of either exchanging or trading up too the 4 door model to help defray the profit loss. It was explained to me that the vehicle had already depreciated some $4000 and that to swap vehicles it would cost me an additional $75 an up a month car note. I have contacted Ford Motor Company who basically told me I was stuck with the vehicle even though the dealership has had the vehicle longer than I have had it. I was sent from employee to employee mgr. Of this to mgr. Of that. I would appreciate any information or ideas you could provide me with this situation. This vehicle is to be my wife's truck and I would like her in a safe truck that is safe for her to travel in. The dealership has already replaced the cosmetic faults but has stated that this problem is of doubtful outcome.

- Pineville, LA, USA

problem #2

Oct 152003

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I have recently bought 2 brand new Ford from champion Ford in shreveport Louisiana. My brand new Ford XLT Explorer 2 door sport has been in the shop for various repairs longer than I have had the vehicle. The vehicle was purchased on 09/27/2003 since then the hood had to be re-painted, both side body molding has been replaced, the front turn signal light came loose, both bottom exterior body door trim had to be replaced, interior trim piece below the rear window broke and had to be re-placed, but the main problem is a vibration in the motor/transmission that vibrates the dash I have spent already over $60 in gas back and forth to dealership, me and my wife have taken off two days at work costing us over $500 in loss of pay, I have already paid the first truck note and insurance payment and now the truck is back at the dealership for repairs for approximately one more week of repairs. On 10/17/2003 the truck was brought back to the dealership and my wife drove another Explorer of the same make/model and had no problems I then was told by the service mgr. That this problem was inherent to this make/model. I then approached the sale mgr. With the hopes of either exchanging or trading up too the 4 door model to help defray the profit loss. It was explained to me that the vehicle had already depreciated some $4000 and that to swap vehicles it would cost me an additional $75 an up a month car note. I have contacted Ford Motor Company who basically told me I was stuck with the vehicle even though the dealership has had the vehicle longer than I have had it. I was sent from employee to employee mgr. Of this to mgr. Of that. I would appreciate any information or ideas you could provide me with this situation. This vehicle is to be my wife's truck and I would like her in a safe truck that is safe for her to travel in. The dealership has already replaced the cosmetic faults but has stated that this problem is of doubtful outcome.

- Pineville, LA, USA

problem #1

Aug 082003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
I was traveling in reverse (less than 1mph) when I struck a tree. The entire back window of my 2003 Ford Explorer shattered sending shards of glass into the rear third row seating area. The glass wasn't safety glass. The amount of damage (glass and body) is over $2,500. There are two areas of concern. First, if there were passengers in the 3rd row seat, they would have been covered in glass especially in the facial area" number two. Why shoul there be so much damage at less than 1 mph" if I was rear ended at let's say 40 mph, the car would be totalled. I find this incident points out a design flaw and a safety problem. James hutchison

- Chatsworth, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?