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 9 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #81

Apr 022010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

Bottom line I'm done with American cars and I was thinking about getting a new ford. I have a four letter word for Ford, care to guess?

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #80

Jun 282010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

JUST WANT TO ASK FORD TO RECALL THIS PROBLEM (OD LIGHT FLASHING ALONG WITH CHECK ENGINE LIGHTS ON). THIS HAS BEEN AN INCONVENIENCE FOR MY FAMILY AND TO OTHERS WHO HAS THE SAME PROBLEM. WE ALL ARE GOOD PEOPLE SO WE DO NOT EXPECT THAT FORD WILL TURN THERE BACKS ON US. I HOPE THAT FORD WILL DO SOME RESEARCH AND DO THE RIGHT THING.

- , Vandalia, OH, USA

problem #79

Jun 092010

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

FIX OR REPAIR DAILY that's what Ford stands for!!!!!!!

- , National Park, NJ, USA

problem #78

Jun 232010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

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

I first got the flashing o/d light back in 2008 at 84,000 miles ,now at 128,000 and two years later im back in the same boat.This is obviously a dealer issue and should be resolved through ford.

- , Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #77

May 152010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Sounds like I'm not alone in this complaint about my 2003 Ford Explorer. I was driving and my O/D light started flashing. The next day my Service Engine Soon light came on. Took it to the Ford dealership and they wanted $90.00 to put it on a machine to tell me what was wrong with it. I wasn't paying that for them to tell me what was wrong. I took it to a local transmission shop and they told me 2nd and 5th gear were out of my transmission. They want $1800.00 to rebuild the one I have. They said this was a common problem in the 2002 and 2003 Explorers. I have a friend who is a mechanic and we started shopping around for a used transmission to put in it. Guess What???? There are none to be found. Imagine that. I have called the ford company and asked if there are 70 complaints about the same thing why hasn't there been a recall on this problem. They informed me that they did not know of such a problem so I told them what web site to check out. I am in the process of speaking with a lawyer about a Class Action Law Suit over this matter. I will keep you informed...

- , Decatur, IL, USA

problem #76

Feb 012010

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

84000 miles on a Ford Truck and the transmission is ready to go. Great work Ford, $3000 for a new tranny. Maybe if I had 184,000 but my wife drove this car until recently, so I did not tow anything, just regular city driving. This is no coincidence that most people are having this problem, can you say recall!!!???

- , Greenfield, WI, USA

problem #75

Jun 162010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

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

On vacation and the flashing OD Off light started flashing and "check Transmission" message appeared. Hope to get it home. The SUV has been a pain in the AS_! Three wheel bearings replaced, Hood had to be repainted because of paint pop on the front edges.

- , Lagrange, KY, USA

problem #74

May 242010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,500 miles

We bought this vehicle in 2006 and it had 54,000 miles...we drove it a couple months and it started acting up...the longer time went the worse it got so at about 90,000 miles we took it to a shop and had the transmission fluid and filter changed...the man at the shop said the transmission would last a little while longer and by the time it had 100,000 miles it was acting horrible...then a couple of weeks ago we left and needless to say we almost didn't make it home the way it acted...when it would try to change gears it couldn't and the o/d light would start flashing and the service engine light came on...so to sum it all up it was junk from the beginning and we got totally ripped off on this deal...we still owe on the vehicle and the payment is right at 600.00 dollars a month.

- , Middlesboro, KY, USA

problem #73

Jun 022010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

My o/d light started flashing, next thing you know could not exceed 40 km. I tried to accelerate and truck would jerk. I switched to 3rd gear, and fortunate enough to make it to my mechanic. Thank god the truck didn't choke, and I did not stall and cause major traffic - especially during the rush hour.

Mechanic says worst case scenario, the job will cost $3,000.. I have 3,000 other ways to spend this money. What's worse, I follow the ford maintenance schedule to the "t" and for this to happen is really hard to swallow especially at 115,000 km.

Ford I am not impressed!

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #72

Apr 142010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles

I have a 2003 Ford Exploder, Passenger window doesn't work anymore. Managed to fix hot/cold vent flap myself for $150. not the $1200.00 dealer wanted. Have this O/D flashing light with service engine light on. Scared? can't afford a $3-4000 bill. I have always driven a Ford but I am done with Ford. Now I know why they didn't need a loan. How can Ford get away not fixing their problems - this was a big problem with the 2002 Exploder?

- , Calgary, Alberta, Canada

problem #71

Apr 232010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

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

Well, I'm having the same problem as everyone else. My O/D light and service engine light came on Friday around 6pm and Monday i'm being told I need a new tranny. UNBELIEVEABLE!! My car is 7 years old and I need a new transmission? No wonder the American car companies are going under, I will never buy another Ford again. If they can't back up their product then I can't back their business with my money. I really wish there was a class action suit in process for this problem the American people need to be informed about this problem & Ford not helping. I think I will be shopping for a Honda this weekend.

- , Indpls, IN, USA

problem #70

Feb 152005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Well I guess I will add myself to this list! I have the exact same problem as everyone else that I have read about!! The o/d light flashing, the service engine soon light on and the transmission not changing gears correctly!! I was also told that there was something in the transmission that needed to be replaced and then was told that the whole transmission would have to be replaced!! I refuse to pay for it! I will drive it until the transmission falls out of it! I'm really considering filing a class action lawsuit against Ford! It seems as if the BBB isn't concerned with the problem either so maybe an attorney can get some attention!

- , Black Rock, AR, USA

problem #69

Mar 252010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

same problem as everyone else: o/d off light flashes and check engine light stays on. i had to rent a car for 5 days. i don't think that 70,000 mi is enough to blow a transmission

- , Asbury Park, NJ, USA

problem #68

Apr 062010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

well i guess i've joined the club.just like every one else said i drove off from a light and the truck shifted hard into second and the o/d light started flashing. I instantly called the ford dealer ship and he said bring it in and we will do a 100 diagnostic on it. i googled while i continued driving and this site came up. you guys saved me the monet of the diagnostic and false repairs. im gonna get the tranmission rebuilt. and here i was defending ford. oh by the way i still owe on the truck. bought it with 89000 to rebuild my credit. did that but this sucks. would be super pissed if it happened when it did to most of you guys!

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #67

Feb 052010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Last Friday, the "O/D Off" light began flashing on my 2003 Explorer. When I got home, I called the service center at my Ford dealer to ask what it meant; the person with whom I spoke claimed to never have heard of such a problem (i think he needs to check this site!!). The next day the "O/D Off" light began to flash again and the gears seemed to be slipping. From what I have read online from other owners, it sounds like the transmission is shot - at 67,000 miles!?! Will take it to the dealer at the end of the week and post an update.

- , shaker heights, oh, USA

problem #66

Mar 102010

Explorer EXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,900 miles

I had the OD light flashing and the service engine soon light on. Brought into shop and had test done on problem to find out the transmission was bad. Trouble shifting into 2nd and 5th gear.. Never had any other problems with car. Wife driven like a baby.... Heard from many transmission places that Ford has a problem with trans. where the case has to be repaired with a sleeve. Ford has hidden this problem as many companies know of this problem.... Now I have to pay for this.

- , Tinley Park, IL, USA

problem #65

Jan 202010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 215,000 miles

Well I have had really good luck with this SUV, the only thing wrong before this is the rear differential had a bad gasket, that was an easy fix.

But now @ 215,000 miles should I get the new transmission or just get something new?

- , Princeton, MN, USA

problem #64

Feb 192010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I have a 2003 Explorer XLT in PERFECT condition, like I mean I have done everything for it. Keep it in remarkable condition, fix something when it needs to be fixed. (all bearings, brakes, rotors, tires, ball joints, differentials, axle arms, and now this.) Never done anything to my car and this is what happens. I can safely say that Ford is the worst company out there and they cant back any of their cars up. I'll be sticking with GM vehicles from now on!

- , Plainville, MA, USA

problem #63

Feb 062010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

So, It seems that there are quite a few issues with the transmission. Ford does not want to help out. I am done with Ford too. Ive had Fords my whole life. Dad was a ford guy. 500 Galaxy- 2003 Explorer....I'm Done. I will Buy A Jeep, Chevy or even a F!@#$#@! Toyota, at least they are fixing their problem. F*#@! Ford !!!!!!!

Update from Feb 9, 2010: So Ive taken it to a transmission shop, 2nd and OD "band broken" $2500.00 to fix. I have also E-mailed Ford Customer Service. I'm waiting for a response from them to see if they can help. I will update you.

Update from Feb 9, 2010: So, Ford E-mailed me back and stated that there is no warranty on the truck. No kidding? I knew that. So I have E-mailed them again. I will be a pain in thier butt.

Update from Feb 10, 2010: They E-mailed me back, they "of coarse' needed all of my info again and are asking me what it is I would like help with? Hmmm. I mailed them back with all info again and told them, I want them to overhall the tranny with a 3year 36,000 mile warrany. We will see how they handle this.

Update from Feb 13, 2010: I see how this is going to end, I will have to fix this myself. I will never buy another Ford. The have E-mailed me telling me that I can take it to a Ford dealer to get it looked at, I will have to pay a diagnostic fee, and that it will not be covered under warranty. I had a diagnostic done already "at no charge" from a Transmission shop here in town. I told them I want it fixed. In the grand scene of things is Ford fixing my truck going to help them or hurt them? I can only believe that it would help. But like most car sales people, they can not think outside the box.

- , Spokane, WA, USA

problem #62

Dec 302009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

MY O/D LIGHT IS FLASHING, AND SERVICE ENGINE SOON LIGHT IS ON IN MY 2003 EXPLORER.

- , Southgate, MI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?