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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
106,667 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. repair/replace transmission (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Nov 072014

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


Little by little when the car automatically shifted a jolt was felt, especially when braking and the car had to go down to 1st gear. Took it to a transmission repair shop and had to uninstall, repair the transmission and install again. Mechanic said it was due to normal tear and wear.

- , Calexico, CA, USA

problem #2

Oct 152012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Transmission seems to shift roughly. Sometimes it doesn't want to shift into another gear at all, just pauses. That has only happened a few times though. Overall the issue is just an annoyance. Nothing we have gotten fixed.

- , Mascoutah, IL, USA

problem #1

Apr 012013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

This piece of crap had all 4 wheel bearings go bad ,The ac compressor blew up, and now the trans is jerking and having a hard time shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear

- , Waynesboro, PA, USA

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