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:
101,286 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (10 reports)
  2. replaced with new engine (8 reports)
  3. need to be rebuilt (6 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #4

Dec 182008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


Drove my explorer less than 10 miles parked it. Returned in the morning only to find the motor completely seized. No warning. Full of oil and coolant and the car operated normally.I have an extended warranty that in under on the miles but 4 months over time and ford would not give any help. Is any one else having a similar concern and what results did you have?

- , Glendale, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 012008

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

believe or not, 2003 ford explorer is now trash,computer failure and engine need to be taken off to be checked ,this will cost 5000.00 and may be more mentioned the dealership,best suggestion is to buy a used engine will cost 4500.

- , Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #2

Oct 032008

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I had no warning, no check engine light nothing. the engine is done, I either buy a new engine or I am just screwed. I am still paying payments on this vehicle.

- , Green RIver, WY, USA

problem #1

Nov 152007

Explorer LS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

spark plug in 1st cylinder completely sheared off. has this happen to anyone else? had oil changed all the time. engine is done. not sure what to do, I'm past the three year warranty

- , swarthmore, pa, USA

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