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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,697 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Ford Explorer suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 012012

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 10,585 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that both rear coil springs fractured. The rear passenger side coil spring failed first and was repaired. The rear driver's side coil spring was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 10,585 and the current mileage was 129,000. Updated 02/27/12 updated 02/28/12

- Midland , MI, USA

problem #2

Jul 012010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact noticed that the passenger side rear coil spring was abnormally covered by an unknown plastic sheet. The dealer was notified and informed the contact that there were no recalls for the vehicle. The contact did not inform the manufacturer of the failure. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic who advised the contact that the rear coil spring would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was approximately 80,000 and the failure mileage was 78,000. Updated 02/03/11 updated 02/04/11

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #1

Jun 272007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,506 miles
Reference my 2003 Ford Explorer 4X4. Right rear spring is broken. Vehicle only has 45,506 miles.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

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