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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.

7.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$310.00
Average Mileage:
69,526 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (15 reports)
  2. replace window motor assembly (6 reports)
  3. master window lock out switch connection loose (2 reports)
  4. replaced everything but the motor (plastic parts) (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Jul 012012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

Driver's side window switch constantly goes in and out. Somedays it works, other days it doesn't. Try picking your car up from a garage after they roll it down on a rainy day and deal with it on your drive home! SERIOUS PAIN IN THE A$$!

Never fixed, cannot afford all of the repairs with this car!

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #23

Aug 012012

Explorer EX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

both passenger side widow regulators went out, it is a pain in the butt to replace so I haven't bothered yet.

- , Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #22

Apr 082013

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Okay, now I have paint peeling from the hood, had to rebuild the transmission, had to replace engine, had to replace brake sensor, now none of the windows (just in time for spring) will work - all stopped working at the same time!!! What a piece of crap. So what incentive does ford have to rectify this crappy workmanship - they make a ton of money off the customers who bought these junks on the side of the road with all the replacement parts and labor costs!!!!! I bought a 1995 explorer used and loved it, did have the O/D off light blinking all the time, but at least the transmission still worked. Had 145,000 miles on it before I got rid of it. Tried GMC Jimmy and it was a piece of crap - heater never worked right and engine blew before 100,000 miles were on it. Most uncomfortable SUV I ever sat in. Went back to ford and while it is the most comfortable SUV I have ever owned, I am being bled dry by the repair costs. I will never buy a ford ever again.

- , Freeland, PA, USA

problem #21

Mar 022012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,154 miles

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

Apparently there is wiring issues with these explorers....

my mechanic (a real doll with the patience of a saint when it comes to my 03 explorer) did a quick look and easily figured out it was wiring...these explorers are known for having wiring that cracks and splits. Got the drivers door panel off and pulled out the wiring...sure as heck. the window wires along with a few others were broken. Got all 4 windows (which worked with the drivers door open but not closed) working again for me.

Sadly enough....the rear drivers side fell off the track LOL

- , Edmonton, Alberta, canada

problem #20

Jun 122012

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

First issue - Drivers rear window stopped working in the up position. Three days or so later, the passenger window switch stopped working (drivers switch still operated the passenger window). Approx three days later, the passenger rear window shuddered on the way up, was assisted by hand to close, and never worked again from any switch.

I found the solution today- After testing the passenger switch and finding it good, I opened the drivers master switch panel and found the window lockout switch connection fell out of place. Evidently as it dropped out of position, the windows were disconnected in sequence.

All working as original now. (lucky me huh?)

- , Aloha, OR, USA

problem #19

Sep 302011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,455 miles

03 Ford Explorer XLT windows will not go down. I'm afraid to take it to the dealership or a electro mechanic they will charge me a leg and arm to get it fix. If anyone had a similar problem like I'm going through please help. I'm hoping its an easy fix if not I'll bust all the windows out and drive like that.

- , Reno, Nevada, USA

problem #18

Mar 012011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

03 explorer front passenger window rolls down but not up. replaced master switch, not the problem. tested all of the wires at the harness on the passenger switch, they all show power.

- , Cimarron, NM, USA

problem #17

Oct 212010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,421 miles

Shortly after purchasing out used 2003 Explorer the back passenger window (electric) went down and would not go all the way back up. We are having problems with 2 other windows as well that eventually will also need to be fixed.

It seems the strip gear that the window uses to go up and down lost teeth and became tangled so the window would not go all the way back up. These parts are only available thru the dealer so that's were we had to go to have it fixed. It cost $215.00 to replace everything but the motor in the window.

This must be a common issue with Ford as our 19997 Ford F150 also had window problems.

- , Liberty Center, OH, USA

problem #16

Feb 192010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

The window motor in my 2003 Explorer went out. Truly annoying but highly expected.

- , Sayre, OK, USA

problem #15

Jun 012010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

During the summer my passenger front automatic window has stopped coming up automatically. It still goes down fine, but won't come up from the driver side manual. You have to reach across and it'll only go up from that passenger "up" button. My mechanic said it's probably old and needs to be changed soon. I can do it, but it'll cost. If you don't mind reaching across the seat to roll it up, leave it alone for now. So I have. Is that the problem ? the motor or something in the window command on this side of the vehicle ?

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #14

Sep 082010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

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

window fell off track? husband checked it out took off door panel,a PLASTIC piece that holds the window broke! 30 grand, wow, what a deal. couldnt have made it better!

- , Plymouth, IN, USA

problem #13

Apr 052008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

My 2003 Ford Explorer seems to have many little things going wrong with it. Maybe it is just a lemon! Besides rear hatch cracks, my rear passenger (behind the driver) electric window no longer works. Well, it works sometimes. I asked the dealership and they said they have had problems with other Explorers. Their answer was that I should probably do work on both windows because the other one will go out too! I am not going to have them work on the other when it is still working. Again, if other Explorers are having the same problem, why are they not doing any recalls?

- , Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #12

Jul 242008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I had the same window repaired under warranty and 2 months later, after the warranty was up, it stopped working again. I'm told its very expensive to fix, so I don't know what to do now.

- , West Bountiful, UT, USA

problem #11

Sep 152003

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles

The rear power window behind the drivers seat sometimes works, and sometimes don't work. This has been an issue ever since I bought the vehicle brand new back in 2003. I had it checked out several times while it was still under warranty, but it worked every time they checked it. Five years later I still have the same problem; sometimes it works, sometimes it don't.

- , Lawton, OK, USA

problem #10

Jun 192008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 43,000 miles

Haven't taken it to get fixed yet, maybe it's a short or something. It's really irritating when you're dying of heat inside the car and the windows won't open. Then finally you get them open, get to your destination and can't close them. All you hear is this weird buzzer noise. This is my third fix on this car that I bought used only a year ago :o(

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 132006

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The rear window is just refuses to roll down......period.

- , Trafford, AL, USA

problem #8

Apr 252006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

Periodic appearance of problem where the left rear electric window will not operate. I have another company issued explorer that has same problem. I have also talked to other Explorer owners that have same problem. Can not believe that FORD does not offer to recall and fix whatever causes this.

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #7

Apr 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

I have a Ford Explorer XLS, 4X2. I got it when it was new. At 5,000 miles, the left rear window had started to work intermittent when I pushed the button up or down. Sometimes it got stuck in the middle. No matter that I tried to push the front (my driver control switches) or the rear, it had just worked intermittently. Therefore, it rolled up or down very well when the weather was hot. Until the weather changed, it stopped working again.

I had to bring the vehicle in a dealer near by for a check up. When I got it back for a month later, it started to stop working again. Then I brought it in for a repair again, they replaced the rear window switch. When I got it back for three months later, the rear right window started to work intermittently. Then I felt so frustrated because I had to bring it in so many times for the same repair. The last time they told me that they had to replace switches and lubricated the window regulators.

A couples months ago, the vehicle is out of guarantee. I brought to Ford dealer for an estimate and they told me that there will be 200 dollars to repair the problems. Then I was trying to call Ford Customer Relation to explain the problems keep coming back, but unfortunately they told me that it is out of guarantee.

Now I am trying to fix them myself. When I opened the panel and checked carefully the motor and the window regulators (the rear left and the rear right of the windows), I found there was no grease to lubricate on the regulators and the inside of the tubes which drive the cables. Therefore, there was a very little grease inside the gear that drives the cable. This problem seems to be a recall, but Ford seems to hide it.

Finally, I was calling the 800 Ford Customer Relation again. No mater how I was trying to explain, they was so careless. I was so frustrated to tell them that I would sue them for those problems and one of them told me that, "Do what you need to do".

- , Stockton, CA, USA

problem #6

May 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Rear windows will not roll down. I've seen this complaint over and over. FORD NEEDS TO RECALL!!!

- , Northport, AL, USA

problem #5

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer EB V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The rear windows started sticking weeks after I bought car. Every time I took the car for a service, I told the service people the windows were sticking. They would fix it and with in a week it would start again. Now that the car is out of warranty they say I need to replace all four motors ($1200.00). BS........Why did not replace the motors Ford. I have a 23 year old BMW the original working motors.

- , Miami, FL, USA

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