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:
70,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Aug 282009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


I blew a hole the size of an orange right through the housing. Came to an abrupt stop. The only indication it was going was a whine in the front end like a bad fan belt. I live in a rural area and where I travel, the speed limit is 55 miles an hour. When I started to hear the whine I went to a gas station. No sound at the gas station could be detected but, when I took off about 5 feet I came to the abrupt stop. Like I ran into a brick wall. Now the mechanic after fixing it indicated that it sounds like the rear end is going also. There is a whine in it. Does it ever stop?

- , Mio, MI, USA

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