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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
70,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace compressor (2 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater 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

problem #2

Jun 052015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles


The compressor was shot and shavings were everywhere on the system. Had to service the whole thing and it was a double A/C. Had to change the compressor, filters, condenser and gaskets. for a car that has a double A/C it should come with a more potent compressor. Summer here spikes to 130s IN THE SHADE, engineers should consider rough weather conditions for this type of car.

- , Calexico, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 072011

Explorer V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Ford wanted over $2000.00 for a new compressor & all the parts including labor. I had to resort to another shop!

- , Lancaster, TX, USA

Not what you are looking for?