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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
72,000 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Aug 172011

Explorer LTX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


I expected to be warned before I was to close to my trailer, at least it was a child.

- , Swanton, OH, USA

problem #2

May 132009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Back up sensor works when it wants to. I turn it on and when I put it in reverse it will shut off automatically. Other times it will work with no problem.

- , Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #1

Feb 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

My back up sensor start to go off every time I backed up. I cleaned off the sensors but it made no difference. It continued to get worse going off every time I put it in reverse. Now it just beeps once and the switch automatically turns itself off and will not turn back on.

This is the 5th major problem I've had with this truck. Its no longer under warranty, but I keep getting sales calls for me to extend my warranty. I may take them up on the offer just to get everything fixed. I will NOT buy another Ford though.

- , West Bountiful, UT, USA

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