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:
Average Mileage:
54,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace pads and rotors (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Jun 092008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


This is the second time I had to replace the front pads and rotors since owning this stupid vehicle. I replaced ALL pads and rotors about 14 months ago, along with the parking brake! This year I only needed to replace the fronts...I guess it's a lucky year. About 42k miles the first time I replaced them now 53k this time. I'm the second owner, so who knows how many times they were replaced before. I bought the vehicle with 27k on it.

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #1

Jul 232007

(reported on)

Explorer ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Everytime you hit the brakes, the ENTIRE truck shakes!!! Sometimes, you almost can't even stop! It's a very serious problem! The ABS light will come on and it's even worse! I have tried changing the brakes and... nothing!! It still shakes... horribly!! I love my truck, I just hate the shaking! There are times when my cruise control will even stop working!

- , Wyatt, IN, USA

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