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:
No data
Average Mileage:
59,500 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Feb 212010

Explorer ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,500 miles


This is the second Ford Explorer that this has happened. When you have passengers in the back seat and they try to get out when car stops, if the doors are locked they pull on the handle and apparently because the doors automatically lock it caused something in the handle to break. Now the passenger side of the door cannot be opened from the inside even if the door is unlocked. When I took it to be repaired, they said they would have to take the door apart. On my second Ford Explorer this same action happened a week ago, passenger tried to open door when it was locked and now it won't open even if the door is unlocked. A safety issue.

- , San Mateo, CA, USA

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