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.

8.3

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,333.00
Average Mileage:
104,973 miles
Total Complaints:
241 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (95 reports)
  2. replace with rebuilt transmission (51 reports)
  3. replace the transmission (39 reports)
  4. complete overhaul recommended (18 reports)
  5. rebuild transmission (16 reports)
  6. rebuilt transmission installed (8 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission 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 6 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #141

Mar 052011

Explorer Eddy Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

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

I can not understand why you should have to replace a transmission at 76000 miles on a explorer. I have never towed anything with it. I am the second owner and when I bought it the hitch had never been used. This is my 2nd explorer and my last. My 94 went to 145000 before I had to get the transmission rebuilt, so I did not have a problem with that. I will not buy American car or truck again! Ford need to learn how to built a transmission.

- , Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #140

Oct 012010

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I cannot believe what I am reading. I have a 2003 Explorer with the same problem. O/D light flashes and the check engine soon light is now lit. I am getting a hundred different answers on how to get this fixed, non of which are cheap or have any kind of guarantee to them. I cannot afford such an expensive repair and I only have highway miles on my vehicle. What do I do?? I have children and a job that relies on me every day. I called Ford and they wouldn't help me at all and had the nerve to e-mail me a questionnaire form after that to see how my experience was. You know what I wanted to tell them. My family owns two Fords at this time and it will be the last.

- , Fall River, MA, USA

problem #139

Mar 072011

Explorer XLT/XL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,188 miles

I HATE THIS TRUCK! loved it at first...door sensors went bad, battery dead after like a week of having it, by reverse sensor doesn't work...all which worked when i purchased it. now the transmission is out and get this i have had it for 6 months and 3 weeks and the powertrain warranty expired 3 weeks ago!!!! This is truly BS. i would love to sue the pants off the people for continuing the sale of this model knowing that it is a problem. When i went to the dealership they never even mentioned that this was a possibility of problem that would occur. needless to say i will never buy another one!

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #138

Feb 232011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,650 miles

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

One day on my way to work in my very nice 2003 Ford Explorer the O/D light started to flash. The next day I took it to a transmission expert and found out that the transmission had to be repaired at the cost of $2000.00+. I went on the internet and found that this has been a know problem with this type of vehicle. I spoke to a representative from Ford Motor Company and found that they will not stand behind this problem. I know of two other people with this type of vehicle who are also experiencing the same problem. I think that as long as Ford has said that they are aware of the problem they should stand behind there product and pay at least half of the cost. This vehicle has always been taken care of with regular maintenance and has only 98600 miles. This is the second Explorer I have owned and I will never buy another Ford now that I know they are just in it to make money and won't stand behind there product.

- , Thompson, PA, USA

problem #137

Jan 272011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Recall and reimburse customer for their out of pocket expenses to fix the transmission problem

- , Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #136

Jan 202011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,560 miles

Ours is a one driver explorer, & although it's a 2003, it has only 55,560 miles on it. There is absolutely no reason for the transmission to go out on the vehicle. Ford is apparently aware of the problem, but won't fix it. The vehicle owner has to foot the bill!! We have driven explorers since 1996, and we're about to leave the Ford "family" for good. It's really bad when a company knows about the problem & refuses to help the owner. I wish they'd gone bankrupt and stayed there. Unfortunately, they have come out on top, and have, in the process, become totally unconcerned about the "lowly customers" who put them there.

- , Kingstowne, VA, USA

problem #135

Feb 022011

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

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

Like every other day, I started the SUV a few minutes before I had to leave to let it warm up because NY is cold, and then left to run some errands. I realized right away that the truck sounded a little funny when accelerating, so the radio went off so I could listen. I found that when shifting from first to second, in this automatic vehicle, the overdrive was kicking on prematurely. Then the O/D light started flashing. I came home and started researching it and found hundreds of complaints, so here I am, in the same boat as everyone else, about to look up numbers to transmission specialists because the dealer is definitely not going to make any money off of my with this one.

Please everyone, go to the following sites and register your complaints.

http://www.autosafety.org

- , Hilton, NY, USA

problem #134

Feb 142011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

yea on 2/13/11 my o/d light starts flashing tranny is now slipping i took it to ford they said it was tranny failure and it had to be replaced for 3,860 i ask to get it rebuilt they said no so why doesn't ford know if tranny falling apart help the owners on repairs but they don't care they said they would have to put it on dig to find out why its doing it they knew why it was flashing when i came in ford needs to do a recall on them big time for real a class actin suit big time

Update from Feb 18, 2011: yay ford after i spent 2,012 bucks my tranny wont fail now thanks ford for ur ford tough built tranny yay

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #133

Feb 132011

Explorer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

Well another that is probably going to join the club my o/d light started flashing this morning. I called ford but since its sunday i have to wait till tomorrow to take it. but after reading all this complains im not going to give them my 90 dollars. In the mean time im not going to drive it. My explorer is in good condition never had a problem with it till now. ive always took good care of it, gave it good maintenance im really disappointed in ford after reading all these complaints .I'll have to wait till tomorrow. im going to take it to a different shop to see what they tell me. I'll post again tomorrow what they told me.

- , Montgomery, IL, USA

problem #132

Oct 012010

Explorer EddieBauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

The first problem I notice with my 2003 Ford Explorer was paint peeling on front bumper Talked to a dealer they could not help, they have seen a few of those was the answer. I am still stuck with, don't know what to do besides paying paying to get it fixed. The molding under the back windshield wiper blade was split even before I bought the dam Vehicle.

- , Dayton, OH, USA

problem #131

Feb 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,548 miles

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

MY LIGHT IS FLASHING NOW AND I'M LOOKING TO SEE WHAT IT IS.. i SEE IT IS SIGNIFICANT IN THAT I WILL HAVE TO REPLACE A TRANSMISSION SOON!!! I DON'T NEED THIS BILL RIGHT NOW

- , mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #130

Jan 082011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,300 miles

well this started about two weeks ago. No one can tell me what it is. They said it was the speed sensor and that it would be $636 to replace it. I called a parts store and they said that the part was only $47.00. So why so much then? So i called another transmission place and he said it sounds like the transmission and that they could rebuild the transmission for me. But with only 6 month guarantee. He suggested that i just put a new transmission in it. Well who has that kind of money? I think Ford should be responsible for it and fix their mistakes. And it's like you just can't afford to go buy a new Ford every time one tears up on you... But if some one knows how to fix the problem please let us know.We are having the same problems every one else is with the o/d off blinking on and of and the trans slipping and no way to check trans fluid which did not know that at the time i bought it please please let us know thank you

- , Helenwood, TN, USA

problem #129

Mar 262010

Explorer LX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,997 miles

Transmission fluid and filter were replaced at 25,000 and 50,000 miles.I always maintained my vehicles to avoid problems. Not the case with this garbage! I will never get screwed by Ford again. Last Ford I will ever buy! I traded my 96 Windstar in because it had problems prematurely. I thought the Explorer would be a more durable vehicle. Never again! Ford will continue to lose market share with this obvious disregard for long term brand loyalty. Repeat customers used to be the foundation for a strong company. I guess they don't care. Plenty of suckers out there, eh?

- , Drexel Hill, PA, USA

problem #128

Sep 222010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

My 2003 Explorer has the same issues as the ones listed. Passenger window quit working then the service engine & ABS lights came on. Now the OD off light flashes and the transmission is slipping between 2nd & 3rd gear. Mine also as the crack under the back window. The only other car that I've had this much trouble with was a 1994 Ford Taurus. Ford is definitely loosing my confidence!!

- , Sayre, OK, USA

problem #127

Jan 152011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,449 miles

mY O/D OFF LIGHT IS FLASHING TOOK IT TO MY MECHANIC HE SAID IT WAS A TRANSMISSION PROBLEM. TOOK IT TO A TRANSMISSION CENTER THEY SAID THE TRANSMISSION HAS TO BE REBUILT AT THE COST OF $1,500.00. I DO OT KNOW IF THERE HAS BEEN A RECALL OF THESE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRUCKS IF SO WOULD SOME ONE TELL ME.

- , Lic, NY, USA

problem #126

Nov 012010

Explorer XLT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,500 miles

Well just like every other owner of this car, my transmission is having honorable shifting problems and ford doesn't care. With all the problems with this car I don't know what to do with it!!

- , Pueblo West, CO, USA

problem #125

Jan 142011

Explorer XLT Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. O/d light started flashing, followed by the transmission light. Will be looking into a class action lawsuit. If anyone knows of one already established for this issue, please let me know.

First paint peeling on hood, then the passenger side window quit working, now this....o/d light and transmission problems. Ford needs to recall the transmission....it is obvious that it is junk. With no way to check your tranny fluid you are bound to have nothing but problems. Screw you FORD!! My heart goes out to all of you with this same problem. We shouldn't have to deal with this!!!

- , Aberdeen, MD, USA

problem #124

Jan 142011

Explorer XLT Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

Same complaint as everyone else. My 2003 ford explorer o/d light started flashing followed by a check transmission light. This is B.S,!!! Ford needs to step up to the plate and issue a recall. I will be doing my own research about finding/starting a class action lawsuit.

First the paint on my hood started peeling, then the passenger side window quit working and now this. Will NEVER buy a ford again...nothing but problems!! If anyone hears of a lawsuit that has already been established, please let me know. Thanks! Good luck to everyone who is going through this same problem. It's not fair! screw you ford!!!!!!!!

- , Aberdeen, MD, USA

problem #123

Jan 082011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

OD (overdrive) light blinking in dash, od button not working. Then "Service Engine Soon"

light turned on. Higher RPM's in engine than usual. Revs higher when accelerating from 0 to 30mph. I took to Ford Dealer, where the vehicle was purchased and exclusively serviced since July 2003 when i purchased it new for $36,000.

Now, I am told by Ford that I need a new transmission because I have no 2nd or 5th gear! and the Int servo failed and case bore damaged. They will repair this for the discounted fee of $3,600! A local repair shop will do it for $2,700.

This should not be for car that is only 7 years old!

This is my 2nd Ford Explorer and I was planning on buying a 3rd next year. Now, I will not consider it unless Ford Motor Company recalls this transmission.

- , Hackettstown, NJ, USA

problem #122

Nov 012010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

I have a 2003 explorer that began with the od light flashing, then the car started slipping and kicking after shifting gears. this car just reached 70k and i don't have a warranty. this should definitely be recalled and fixed by ford. they know we are not at fault and they should be held criminally liable for putting us in dangerous vehicles that consistently drain our wallets. everyone should contact local news and complain. lets set a date to do just that. when enough people make the effort, they will see how serious we are.

- , Fresh Meadows, NY, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?