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:
89,925 miles
Total Complaints:
26 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace temperature blend door (21 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
  3. found an aftermarket kit for $120.00 (2 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 #6

Jan 102007

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


Late one evening my car began to make this loud ticking noise. It was constant and I could not tell where it was coming from initially. I took the truck in to the dealership and it cost approximately $600 to repair

- , Americus, GA, USA

problem #5

Feb 062008

Explorer Truck 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Learn that this problem happens often, ford has no recall.The Pathfinder that i have had for 17 years i never had any heating problems. I telling everyone Ford cars sucks, things break without being touch. Never another Ford. T

- , Westbury, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 072007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

What a rip off, get ready for A RANT!!! I am ANGRY!!!

After checking the Internet (look for Ford heater or blend door: check ask ford), MAN there are heater issues, the same kind of fault across the Ford product line for at least the last 12 years.. Seems Ford has had this problem with blend doors and actuators since at least '95.

Ford is aware of the problem. If they really have their head stuck someplace... They have not and apparently will not take any positive action to correct issue. Except to stick it to the consumer!!!

ANOTHER OF FORDS BETTER IDEAS, Reminds me of late 70s ford product: The FAMOUS Exploding Ford pinto, that came from the factory with self destructing firestone tires..... Ford design engineers must have a cranial rectal inversion to put such a weak, poorly designed part in such a inaccessible area of the vehicle, requires taking out the dash board assembly to repair, they probably have a clause in their contract with Ford that states they will never have to work an anything they design. I suppose Great product management however as the fault does not seem to show up until just after the warranty expires. AGAIN STICK IT TO THE CONSUMER.

Maybe if enough folks raise enough objections Ford will do something, I doubt it, hoping for something like Ford to correct an obvious defect without being forced to is not realistic. I suppose somebody will have to get hurt due to this problem (possible safety issue due to iced up windshields blocking view etc) before they will do anything about it.

I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER FORD PRODUCT.. I hope Ford goes broke due to this kind of BS.

- , Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #3

Mar 082007

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


the part mysteriously stopped working 20 minutes after I picked it up from the dealership from having an $800 solenoid replaced in the transmission

living in TX I need A/C one day and heat the next so with the blower off I switch it to the temp I want then turn the blower on and it eventually switches!

- , Ftw, TX, USA

problem #2

Oct 012006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Little piece of plastic fell out of my dash in the Fall of 2006. I heard a bit of a whoosh from the ventilation system when it happened. Kept the little piece of plastic in my console for quite a while since I didn't know what it was. Didn't notice that it was a problem until summer came along and the A/C just couldn't get the car cool. Took it to my mechanic and showed him the piece of plastic. He knew immediately what it was and estimated $800 to fix it because of the cost of removing the dash and because he couldn't just replace the door arm. Took it to the dealership to see what they could do and they were at least nice enough to give me a free rental car and managed to fix it for around $500.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #1

Oct 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,923 miles

The temperature blend door is a small $20.00 part, but because of it's location it's a $600.00 to $800.00 fix. To get to it you need to pull apart the complete front dash, airbags and everything else. This is obviously a manufacturing fault by ford like the 1999 models. Why do I have to pay $800.00 for a mistake by Ford?

- , Wpg, MAN, Canada

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