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.


definitely annoying
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
75,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace pinion seal (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Apr 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


No major problems with my Explorer until now. The ride is noticeably rougher, so I took into to an independent garage to get the wheels aligned and hoped for the best. I was told that there were several problems that needed attention, including a broken pinnon drive seal. Associated problems included the left rear wheel bearing, left front wheel bearing, rear brakes and rotors, and a new transmission solenoid. All together $1,800 worth of repairs. I need the vehicle and am getting everything fixed, but I am not a happy camper with Ford. These seem like a lot of problems to have to take care of...

- mrbill, Munster, IN, US

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