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:
81,968 miles
Total Complaints:
42 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (18 reports)
  2. not sure (17 reports)
  3. possible replace fluid body valve (3 reports)
  4. replace transmission solenoid body (2 reports)
  5. had inspected - suspect air in line (1 reports)
  6. replace servo motors (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #2

Mar 092007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


I have had my explorer for about a year. I took a trip in it and the overdrive light came on and the car didn't want to shift into overdrive and from 1st to 2nd gear. Ford is one of the biggest companies in the USA and cannot take care of a problem their vehicles are having and they expect to keep selling their product. I think that that is sorry. So if Ford was good as chevy they would take care of the problems they put in their product. I also have the problem the back panel.

- , Whitmire, SC, USA

problem #1

Jan 112006

(reported on)

Explorer AWD

  • 41,000 miles

this problem i believe should be a possible electronic valve replacement that ford has had problems with in the 2004 models so same trans ? but replace if same damn issue!!!!!!!!

- , Hillsboro, OR, USA

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