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:
81,957 miles
Total Complaints:
21 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced wheel studs (15 reports)
  2. not sure (5 reports)
  3. traded the truck in (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #1

Oct 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,100 miles


Bought vehicle in January 2007. The only work done was oil changes & complete brake job. About 1 week ago while on a major interstate, traveling 65-70mph, the right front wheel and tire came off, all 5 studs had snapped off, by the grace of God nobody was hurt. Had the Explorer towed to a ford dealership. They told me they had no clue as to the cause & my extended warranty did not cover this. My main concern is that this doesn't happen to someone else. The dealership appeared to not be too concerned about the whole incident. Towed the vehicle back to where I work and my mechanic found even more damage that the dealership never saw. Since I did not feel safe in the truck anymore I traded for a Chevy Trailblazer and I'm much happier. NO more Fords!!!

- , Poolesville, MD, USA

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