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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
73,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. every year have A/C serviced (1 reports)
  2. replace intake manifold (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Aug 072015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Engine started to leak coolant from intake manifold into spark plugs. The check engine would blink and run roughly. It seems there is a design flaw on the thermostat housing that will damage the intake manifold. This has affected the whole coolant system and also had to include a tuneup.

- , Calexico, CA, USA

problem #1

Jan 012006

Explorer XLT Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

The air conditioning has had to be serviced every year since we have had the car. It constantly leaks, the repairs are so significant that we just pay to have it serviced so we can make it through the summer, usually costing close to $500.00 by the time we pick it up. It is a major repair.

- , Belfair, WA, USA

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