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:
89,578 miles
Total Complaints:
130 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace wheel bearing (43 reports)
  2. replace complete hub assembly (26 reports)
  3. replaced wheel bearings (23 reports)
  4. 3rd party repair, no way i'm giving dealer more money (14 reports)
  5. not sure (11 reports)
  6. dealer replaced all the bearings (6 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 7 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Sep 042007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles


I've only had this vehicle 4 years, only 33,000 miles on it, still making payments, and of course the warranty ran out last year. I'm the only one that drives it, and I baby it, I do not handle it rough at all. I don't feel that the wheel bearing should go bad at this point. I believe it's faulty parts or workmanship involved.

- , Burton, MI, USA

problem #9

Aug 192007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Front wheel bearings failed and needed to be replaced. With 100,000 miles I guess I can't complain, but $6000.00 in repairs for two Explorers in five years. I'd rather suck lead paint than buy another FORD!

- , Longmeadow, MA, USA

problem #8

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

Front wheel bearings failed at 59.5K miles. Extended warranty cover repairs. Ford does not acknowledge that this is an abnormal failure or that it is not an isolated case.

The rear bearings failed at the same time. I'll fill out another complaint to keep the numbers straight.

- , Gulfport, MS, US

problem #7

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,500 miles


Both rear wheel bearings developed loud roaring noise and required replacement. Failure at 59K miles is not acceptable. Ford does not acknowledge that this failure is abnormal or that it is not an isolated case. The front bearings also failed at the same mileage.

- , Gulfport, MS, US

problem #6

Mar 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Another low mileage bearing failure, only 55k. Thank goodness for the extended warranty or it would have cost me $700 to replace both front wheel bearings. This is my last Ford.

- , Dauphin, MB, Canada

problem #5

Mar 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I bought my explorer with about 75000miles on it and it had a slight noise in the front end that sounded like tire noise. It got much worse with milage and at 91000 the backing plate on the passenger side hub assembly came off forcing replacement. I now have 101000 and have changed both. Not a tough job but difinitely dont think that catastrophic failure at 90000 miles on a sealed hub assembly is acceptable.

- , Apopka, FL, US

problem #4

Mar 052007

(reported on)

Explorer 6cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I am writing about my 03 ford explorer, I have had not 1, but 2 wheel bearings replaced, and now another one is going, the first one started out w/ slight noise on my way from buffalo to NC on a family trip, by the time we reached Virginia it sounded like I was driving an airplane, I had to have my truck fixed out of town, whopping $400, and then about 3 months later another one went, local dealer only charged $350 for that one, now I believe another bearing is going in the back, I though my truck was having problems because I bought it in Buffalo, snow ruins a vehicle, now I live in NC and everyone that works on my truck calls it a rust bucket! I think I will start driving chevys!

- , Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #3

Feb 222007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My driver's side wheel bearing hub was roaring to the point I was told that it was unsafe to drive. I had it repaired about the middle of January. Now the same roaring is happening again and I was told that it probably was coming from the opposite side. Since this is happening to a late model vehicle I decided to go on-line to see if their was a recall. I can't afford this type problem to keep happening over and over again.

- , Star, MS, USA

problem #2

Oct 242006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,500 miles

Front wheel bearings making terrible noise. Guess what? This will cost me from 400.00 to 500.00 dollars and I brought this new, 0 mileage. Because new cars don' t have problems. Help, right!!!!

- , Clevaland, OH, USA

problem #1

Feb 152005

(reported on)


  • 65,000 miles

I am a single mother of 2 and commute to work daily about 200 miles. I purchased this vehicle with 25000 miles on it less than a year ago thinking that I needed to have dependable transportation to work daily. Recently both wheel bearings go out at the same time costing over 400.00 each. From what I have been told by several mechanics this a part that normally does not need replacing this quickly and definately not both at the same time. Calling Ford Customer relations has been no help at all. When speaking to a repersentative they tell you if there is a recall and if not you are completely out of luck!!!! I also ask if a regional rep could speak with me or look at the part or the vehicle to see if there is some type of defect in the car or the parts. I guess it takes lives being lost or injuries before anyone within Ford will even consider that there is some type of problem wtih these vehicles. This is the first and DEFINITELY the last time I will ever purchase a Ford vehicle again!!!!

- , Rome, GA, USA

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