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:
61,000 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

May 122010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


Power steering fluid leaked an ocean of blood red fluid all over my garage floor. Dealership supposedly fixed it and after that it dripped again - several times. I brought it to a local repair shop and they said that the rack and pinon steering was in trouble and that I would have a big repair coming up soon.

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

We kept leaking p/s fluid so we took it in and were told our rack was leaking - $750! This was the same time we got the estimate for the ring and pinion rear axle grinding problem. This car is just falling apart. Did I mention that two of the windows don't work. The motors need replaced. This will be the last Ford I buy - what a piece of crap.

- , Austin, TX, USA

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