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.

8.0

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,667.00
Average Mileage:
155,049 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. transmission rebuilt (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #6

Feb 132016

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,129 miles

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

I was driving in the afternoon in minus 20 degree celsius to take the entrance on highway 15 north just after the panama bus station. i couldn't speed up my car and it was driving in 5 KMPH. all the cars behind me were on hazard lights and they were very mad at me. i was driving alone and i wish somebody could take a video to give to the ford company of my situation at that time. then i took next exit to come back home very slowly. i try to do my research on Sunday and i found this website now it's Monday morning at 2:34 AM EST. I think everybody should complaint if they have that much bad experiences like me.

- , Saint-Lambert, QC, Canada

problem #5

Nov 012014

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I took my vehicle in to the Ford Quick Service department to have them troubleshoot grinding and clunking in what I suspect to be the Transfer Case. They said noise could be from Left Front Wheel bearing. , or possibly tie rod ends, also suggested changing Transfer case fluid.. . So I had them do ALL that work.. (about $1400 worth). , and the clunking grinding sound is still there. Drove it on Interstate with some light snow on the road.. and it clunked as if to engage 4wd, and it immediately lunged to the left, and took a 360 spin and accident on interstate with me ending up in the ditch unhurt luckily. Took it back , and then they said, maybe the right wheel bearing is loose enough to cause sound.. I told them I smell burning fluid which I suspect is from transfer case also, but they said, I need to replace the right wheel bearing. I said.. ok.. I tried another garage.. and they suggest same, so am having that done, and they recommend new tires and balancing, so this will be another $2000. ugh.. I don't think it will fix it but will see. Grinds terrible only when in 4wd mode, so I don't know what the front wheel bearing has to do with that. The vehicle is a death trap as it lunges from right to left as it seems to engage into 4wd mode at will but its like it is only engaging on one side.. and not all four wheels

It's unsafe and have no help, but I see others have had similar issues, so I'm reporting this here.

- , Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #4

Nov 012013

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 320,000 miles

Just all of a sudden there is this awful grinding while I am driving on the highway. I could not even get home. I had to stop at a garage. They are of course happy to fix it for 3,500.00, or more. Think about that: the car is 10 years old. It has 320,000 miles but it was all miles on the highway not the start and stop. The other complaint is the electric windows. One day they work and then for the next six months they don't. Then there is that one day that they work and you have hope . . . then another six months. Then there is the crack in the back which suddenly appeared one morning. Had not been hit or anything else. It's kind of like you take excellent care of your vehicle and at 10 years, it is designed to fall apart. I have had mechanics tell me that they have never seen a 10 year old car with an engine like ours. Cleanest, smoothest running engine but the rest of the car was designed to fall apart at 10.

- , Hurst, TX, USA

problem #3

Oct 252012

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

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

I dont appreciated buying a vehicle with such a bad history of problems. I could have checked off everything that was listed in the drop down menu as it relates to a transmission. I can't believe I recently was taken for $ 3000 and I continue to have the same exact ass problems. After reading about the lawsuit that was filed on March 30, 2013 against the Ford Motor Company, and being able to identify with unexplained acceleration as I drive my vehicle, I knew immediately " I was a victim of buying a piece of Fords bullshit.....

I am f*ckin devasted. I literally choose to pay for my car repair before paying my rent and I ended up getting evicted from my home based on me making that dumm ass decision to have my car repaired. Hell, I thought after paying $ 7.000 cash for it nine months prior it was worth investing to get repaired...WRONG. I have been through hell with this vehicle... The outside is in excellent condition, however, the car needs to go back from where the hell it came from... Ford Motor Company

Can someone help me ? Can I become a part of the lawsuit is the QUESTION..

Feed Up,

Tammy Watkins

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #2

Oct 202011

Explorer LX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,793 miles

This is my 3rd and final Explorer I will EVER own!! These vehicles are the biggest pieces of sh*t ever built!!! Ford Motor Company should pay for every repair done on these transmissions. I really hope there is a lawsuit against Ford to resolve this issue because they just lost another loyal customer.

- , Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #1

Mar 142011

Explorer LX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,370 miles

Took my vehicle in to purchase new tires. Upon leaving garage, noises began. Brought it back, they said it was the breaks...just paid $170 for tires, then $135 for brakes (both in the rear). Left with new break pads, noise is the same but louder. Brought it back, they say it's the wheel bearings. $686 for bearings and the noise is the same but louder still. The last advise they gave me was to bring it to a good transmission guy. I went in with bals tires, here I am $1,000 later, and I have a problem that wasn't there before! After a little research, I realize I've had symptoms...popping after putting it in gear, hi rpm's betweem 1rst and 2nd, and clunking during turning while in 4x4 high.

- , Lunenburg, MA, USA

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