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:
110,000 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Aug 152008

Explorer XLZ V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles


why would a car maker design a gear shift with pot metal when it is used so much? And why would they make it so you have to replace the complete steering column instead of just the gear shift. What stupid designers and engineers. Must have gotten their engineering degrees online for a few bucks.

Detroit is wondering why they can't compete with Japanese carmakers and this is a fine example. I have switched to another maker, and I'm not sure I'd ever go back to Ford.

- , Lawrenceburg, KY, USA

problem #1

Dec 082007

Explorer LTD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

Three o'clock in the morning coming home from work, I stopped at a 7-11. When I got into the vehicle and tried to put the gear selector into reverse, the gear shift lever broke off in my hand. I have owned a lot of vehicles in my life, and have driven 20 year old vehicles and never once experienced this problem. The metal part that broke inside the steering wheel looks to be made of pot metal. I called Ford and they said they could not help me. I hope to help instgate a recall for this problem. If Ford would manufacture a quality product then maybe people like me who had bought Fords before, would not be looking at Toyotas.

Steve L.

- , Redstone, CO, USA

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