Print this page 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:
35,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. change door hinge design (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

May 312007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


lost hinge screws on one side of the hatch door. Stuck inside door panel.

- Christine B., Muskegon, MI, US

problem #1

Mar 132003

(reported on)

Explorer Sport

  • 1,000 miles

My new 2003 Explorer Sport which cost alot of money has faulty door hinges. When you open the door it won't catch & hold. If on the very slightest incline the door will slam on you. This is a very important safety issue for me as I have small grandchildren that ride in my vehicle & I find this dangerous not to mention inconvenient. When I drive my daughter & grandchildren anywhere I have to hold the door open while she puts one child in the back & she holds the door while I put the other child in the back in their carseats. The car dealership service dept stated all the other 2 door Explorers have the same hinge & they can do nothing to fix it. I'm sure mini-van manufacturers said the same thing when sliding doors slammed on people. Does anyone else have this problem or care about it?

- granmaducky, Pittsburgh, PA, US

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