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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
81,604 miles
Total Complaints:
23 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. broken blend door motor needs replacement (7 reports)
  3. replace the blend door actuator (6 reports)
  4. smash it into a tree (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Dec 152007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


Everytime I turn the rear AC or heater on I hear a loud clicking noise coming from the rear blower. I assume that it will be a matter of time until it will go out completely. With all the different problems that I've been running into with the Explorer, I'm planning on driving it until it falls apart, and then buy a different brand (after owning a Ranger, two Mustangs, an F-150 Super Crew, and this Explorer, one might think that I'm a Die-Hard Ford guy. Well, I was until I bought this Explorer).

- , Lawton, OK, USA

problem #2

Sep 252008

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Well this is one of about 5 or 6 problems I had with the truck with in the first thirty days of purchase. The others were vibration when turning left or right, the rear end is making a loud clicking noise, the power steering is leaking, the back hatch is leaking when it rains, the back trim peace cracked, the abs light came on 33 days after I bought it. Yeah so biggest piece ive ever bought and i have owned a lot of vehicles. this one lines up with the peice of crap 01 grand am i bought before it. I took that one back in 30 days and they gave me full refund, I think im going todo the same with this.

- , Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #1

May 312007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

When turning on the blower for heat or air the blower makes an awful clicking noise.

- , Muskegon, MI, USA

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