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
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Ford Explorer brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Feb 122007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Brake & accelerator pedals too close together. Many times applying brakes will hit accelerator at the same time and the accelerator wins. Primarily going from reverse to drive or drive to reverse, but has also happened in traffic. (V8 2003 Ford Explorer).

- Staunton, VA, USA

problem #2

Jun 012004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
2003 Ford Explorer recall regarding the travel on the brake pedal. On a number of occasions when it was necessary to brake hard to avoid an accident, the consumer had simultaneously engage the accelerator and brake pedals. This resulted in the consumer hitting a vehicle that had suddenly stopped in traffic in front of him. The brake pedal never passed the accelerator pedal, including panic stops. The problem could not be fixed. The consumer requested that the dealer adjust the brake pedal to stop higher than the accelerator pedal. The dealer stated it was impossible as in older models due to ABS.

- Laurel, NY, USA

problem #1

Mar 212003

(reported on)


  • miles
The brake pedal bracket interfered and restricted the proper application of the brakes.

- Little Neck, NY, USA

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