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:
58,588 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replaced with new battery (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Jul 172010

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,177 miles


Drove to the supermarket and went in shopping for about an hour. Came out and unlocked the car using the electronic lock unlock. Went to start the car and nothing but a buzz sound. No advanced warning; nor the battery indicator light come on warning me. No low headlights the previous night. The charge indicator on the instrument registered normal.

Knew exactly what to do; took battery out and replaced it with a new one. My gripe on this one is there was no advance warning at all; usually the voltage indicator in the instrument panel shows low/ or no charge. This was not the case.

- , Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #1

Aug 022010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Sometimes it will start with no problem. Other times I have to jump start it. Replaced it with a new battery. It didn't fix the problem. Took it to the dealer and they told me it was the alternator and it would cost me over $400.00 to buy and replace it. I bought the alternator at Advance Auto for $170.00 and replaced it myself. It was easy and only took 15 minutes. Went through checking all my fuses throughout the vehicle and yet the problem is still ongoing. So far about $280.00 and over about 4 hours worth of time into solving the problem and nothing yet. Any input couldn't hurt.

- , Coatesville, PA, USA

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