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.

7.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$671.00
Average Mileage:
89,578 miles
Total Complaints:
130 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace wheel bearing (43 reports)
  2. replace complete hub assembly (26 reports)
  3. replaced wheel bearings (23 reports)
  4. 3rd party repair, no way i'm giving dealer more money (14 reports)
  5. not sure (11 reports)
  6. dealer replaced all the bearings (6 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 4 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #70

Aug 252009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

Had to replace two front wheel bearings at 65,000 miles in my 2003 Explorer.

- , shaker heights, oh, USA

problem #69

Feb 052010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I purchased my 2003 Ford Explorer in 2006 with 53,000 miles on it. When I took it for the original test drive I told the dealer it had a loud sound coming out of the rear end of the car so he told me he replaced the rear wheel bearings. It was quieter....for a while. After two years the front wheel bearings went out and I had to replace them at a cost of about $500. Then 1 year later the rear bearings went out at a cost of another $500. I drove the car on the highway out a town recently and noticed swaying in the rear end when I went around turns. I took the car in to have it looked at and low and behold the rear wheel bearings need to be replaced again ($600 this time) and if I would have made the wrong turn at the right speed, the mechanic said the wheels might have come off because the only thing that was holding the tire on was the calipers. Needless to say I'm a little upset that I have had to replace the bearing 3 times in the back and once in the front on a vehicle I have put less then 50,000 miles on. You gotta love Ford!!!

- , Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #68

Jan 062010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Well, I was driving to Indiana one day and noticed a significant amount of noise coming from the front of my vehicle. I inspected it on the side of the road and did not see any obvious signs of wear so I kept driving with the loud humm coming from the front right side.

After speaking with a few guys I work with and doing some research I found it was the front wheel hub was making the noise. I thought it may have been the tires as well so I purchased a new set of Michelin's MTX tires and figured a check of the hub while they put the tires on. After the new tires went on I ordered a hub assembly from A1Auction4U for $99.00 and installed it myself. This cut the noise in half so I determined the left hub was defective as well,, so I ordered another one and will install once it arrives. I find the hub assemblies although they are state of the art, they are not cheap.

I remember back in teh day you could go to an autoparts store and get both left and right front wheel bearing for less that $20.00. Nowadays you spend upwards of $100+ to get ONE!!!!!! The New tires set me back $750.00, so now totally $948.00 for two wheel hubs and new tires. I really will not purchase another Ford product as this was my third Ford vehicle. I have a 1994 Lexus ES300 which I have owned longer than my Brand New ford and HAVE NEVER replaced a bearing !!!!! Don't ya think that says something about FORD?? After I replace my wheel hub I'm trading my Ford in for a Nissan Pathfinder.

- , Radcliff, KY, USA

problem #67

Jan 012010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

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

2003 Explorer sounds so loud when driving you can't hear the person next to you or the radio. Sounds like it is coming from the front left tire. At first, we thought is was the new tires. Then the ABS light came on. Now its making a grinding sound every time we turn. Out of work and out of money can't wait to see how much this will cost. Maybe we'll try to fix it ourselves.

- , Apple Valley, MN, USA

problem #66

Nov 012009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,000 miles

I lost the bearing on the front left wheel. I could feel it going and it was making a roaring sound when driving and shifting the steering. My dad and I replaced this full hub assembly for about $200 (parts). Now (01-13-10) the rear left wheel bearing blew out, completely. Tore the axle up too. With this bearing I didn't get the warning I had before. Driving in a full on Michigan winter I heard a grinding noise, like a warped rotor I thought. I washed the grit, grim and salt off the truck and the rotor looked fine. Set out for work the next week and the bearing blew on the freeway. Ford needs to pay attention to this. Cars with 150,000 miles should not be losing bearings. Something is very wrong to have a part fail that severely with that little warning.

- , Owosso, MI, USA

problem #65

Dec 102009

Explorer EB 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I have replace all of the front and rear bearing hubs on this explorer..very expensive event...

- , Cumberland, ME, USA

problem #64

Aug 202009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

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

Yeah along with the tranny my wheel bearings are bad 3 or four so they tell me at 47K miles on my beautiful 2003 Ford Explorer! :-( This thing is a POS!

- , Northville, MI, USA

problem #63

Oct 202008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

Heard a roaring sound. Others did not seem to hear it though I would ask them to listen with radio and all other accessories turned off. After a few months, had front end specialist check drivers side front bearing. Took vehicle to dealer where they replaced it because of an extended warranty that had been purchased.

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #62

May 102009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Roaring, squeaking sound detected while vehicle is moving. Wheel bearing replaced in rear hub on drivers side. 6000 miles later wheel bearing appears to have failed again. Did not know that this was a recurrent problem on the 2003 Explorer until I visited the internet and was directed to your website.

I thought this might be a recurrent problem and after a quick failure of a replaced wheel bearing, I went looking for supporting information. Interested in whether Ford is paying to replace these bearings without cost to the customer. I will be calling customer relations on the national level to see just what they have to say.

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #61

Sep 092009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,500 miles

As with several others on here, I have an issue with my 2003 Explorer. The front left wheel bearing is going out. It is going to cost me almost $700.00 to get this fixed. I am really unhappy and think it is up to Ford to send out a recall and pay for this to be fixed. I am going to pursue this and see what I can get them to do. If I cannot find satisfaction, I will take legal action. There are enough complaints about this same issue on here for them to do something about it. I also have 3 of my friends that have the same crack on the back of the rear window trim in the middle where the ford symbol is. I think this needs to be covered as well.

- , Piedmont, MO, USA

problem #60

Apr 052009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

My boyfriend and I purchased a explorer in October of last year its not even a year old.A few months ago i noticed a thumping in the front end then it started squeaking,the squeaking stopped but the thumping got louder and louder.then today my abs light comes on and wont go off.we are really tight with money right now and i cant afford to go out and buy a new wheel bearing.i just had new tires put on it and that was expensive enough so at this time i cant afford to fix the wheel bearing but im afraid if i dont i will end up hurt or dead from wrecking.

- , Terra Alta, WV, USA

problem #59

Aug 272009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

First my front bearing went, then i'm driving down the road and th erear bearing went. Ridiculous. So many people are having problems and ford is allowed to just keep collecting money from people who can't afford to keep replacing these piece of crap parts.

- , North East, PA, USA

problem #58

Aug 122009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 5.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

03' Ford Explorer of my Son's.. It cost us $80 for a new rear/right wheel bearing and $50 for new e-brake shoes - this was a good three day's of work in just getting them off and pressed out.. I made my own billet aluminum spacer to press out the "race" because it sticks inside the hub while the remainder falls out.. it takes a little heat around the cast-iron hub to get the thing to move after you get the snap-ring out.. but it did come out and the new one went back in easily.. three bolts, some lug-nuts and it was rolling again... My complaint would be why there is so much weight on one little double-bearing assembly.. Terrible would be a good word here! -Rob in NH

- , Manchester, NH, USA

problem #57

Mar 032009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,429 miles

Tireshave always made a roar oh so I thought within 3 miles it went from roar to sounding like wire had wraped around my tire when I got it to the shop the tire fell off!!!sure enough barrens were bad had to have everything replaced!!700 bucks Thanks Ford!!

- , Clinton, NC, USA

problem #56

Aug 052009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,008 miles

had drivers side wheelbearings and hub replaced in March now the passenger side is shot!!how can they not recall these bearings!!!I thought about driving the damn thing until the wheel feel off then sue their asses for not fixing something everyone is having trouble with!Couldn't do that due to the fact that I care about others safety!!Unlike Ford!!!!

- , Clinton, NC, USA

problem #55

Jun 082009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6 Flex Fuel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,883 miles

Left front wheel bearing developed an intensifying loud hum over several thousand mile duration before failing. Turning from side to side intensified, eliminated the sound temporarily as load transferred to opposite wheel. Bearing is integrated requiring full hub replacement. No grease fittings on the entire vehicle. No way to maintain bearings, ball joints, etc. This is a bad decision by Ford and anyone who is mechanically adept will be angry about this situation as it is the obvious cause of the premature failure of the corresponding unprotected parts. Many will choose foreign made cars as a result.

- , Yarmouth Port, MA, USA

problem #54

Feb 202007

Explorer XLT 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

OH MY GOODNESS!! THIS NOISE IS ABOUT TO DRIVE ME INSANE. I GET OFF THE GAS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO STOP THE HUMMING NOISE COMING FROM MY REAR END. THIS IS THE SECOND EXPLORER I'VE OWNED AND I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER ONE BECAUSE THEY BOTH HAVE THIS SAME PROBLEM WITH THE REAR ENDS. THE NOISE WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY! WE REPLACED FRONT WHEEL BEARINGS AND ONE ON THE REAR BUT THE PROBLEM STILL PERSISTS. FORD YOU'RE JUST NOT DOING A GOOD JOB!!!! I USE TO LOVE U, BUT NOT ANYMORE.

- , Greensburg, LA, USA

problem #53

Jun 102009

Explorer LTD V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,876 miles

While fixing a slow leak due to peeling chrome off the inside of the original 17" rims, which I have to replace since they are becoming a hazard, my mechanic found that the bearings on the front passenger side were shot and, wait for it, the other three were on their way out... so instead of new rims it cost me $600 C$ [500 $US] to replace the bearing. So, now I have to pay out, eventually, $1800+ for the others AND buy new rims and tires, gee, this on top of replacing the engine 2 years ago for $5000+[$US], what next... oh ya, the paint is bubbling in spots now on the hood...great. Since I'm between a rock & a hard place, I can't afFORD to get a new vehicle and this is my 3rd and last Explorer/Ford I will ever buy. I do still have a '95 Taurus "winter beater", never a problem except for some rust, peeling paint, and saggy bench seats and the usual stuff that needs to be replaced, then again it only has 78,000 km on it. It ain't pretty but it gets you from A to B.

- , Hamilton, ON, Canada

problem #52

Oct 212008

Explorer XLS 4.0L L6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Just another in my ongoing series of horror stories with this miserable vehicle. Ford sucks... and they know it.

- , Honesdale, PA, USA

problem #51

Jul 132008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I guess I got luckier than most with this problem. I bought the Explorer with 81,000 miles on it, and not long after I noticed that if I turned the wheel even slightly either side the left front wheel whistled or hummed. Also if I turned it all the way to the left to make a very tight turn, the wheel would stick and thump as it tried to make the turn. Finally driving on the highway back from vacation I couldn't keep the vehicle straight and had to be towed to get it fixed. Guess mine lasted longer than most.

Now all of a sudden pulling out of a parking lot, I heard a metal on metal noise as I started out and the whole ride home the vehicle would groan and shake a little. Cant wait to find out what it is.

- , Greene, NY, USA

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