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:
41,000 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

May 022011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


It seems to me many people who own Ford Explorers have this same problem and eventually the shift lever breaks. I have less than 30,000 miles on my Explorer and I should not be having this problem. I drive it very little. Please let me know what I can do to get Ford Motor Co. to recall the Explorers so this defect can be fixed.

- , Pisgah Forest, NC, USA

problem #1

May 092007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

The lever to change gears sometimes acts up as I put it from park to reverse and vice versa. I took it to the dealer and they kept the car overnight. When they returned it, the car didn't jam up at their lot but as soon as I got home it did it again. I took it back and told them it was doing it again. They said show us, and wouldn't do it there(it was like being punked on their site). They refused to take it in unless it would get jammed on their premises. The car still does it but I haven't taken it back because it will probably not do it while they are there(right?)

- , Montebello, CA, USA

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