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:
64,333 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

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

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 012008

Explorer EB 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


The driver's side heated seat works intermittently. No one has been able to determine cause. FORD recommends having the switch replaced. Just haven't bothered. Think we're going for new non ford, based on tranny issues.

- , Norwich, CT, USA

problem #2

Nov 192008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

One day the switch was working fine and then the next day when i went to use it, the indicator light for the seat heaters turned on when the button was pressed down but when i released the button the light turned off. I figure it must just be a faulty switch

- , Norman, OK, USA

problem #1

Dec 012007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

The driver's heated seat doesn't work anymore. The switch does not light the seat icon on the control panel (the passenger's side does work.) Last winter it worked intermittently, this winter it is dead.

- , Hanover, MA, USA

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