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:
136,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 192012

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles


My 2003 Ford Explorer Limited has been making a thumping or rubbing noises when I take my foot off the accelerator. I really hear it when slowing down. I just had all new brakes (for the 2nd time) and wheel bearings replaced last week and thought that may be why if was hearing a thumping (like you feel when driving over cracks in the road). However, it is still making those noises and yesterday I made a sharp U turn turning to my left and later made a sharp right turn into a driveway and it sounded and felt like my wheel, tie rod or something to do with the wheel was going to fall off when making the turn. It only does this occasionally. Has ony one else experienced this? I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle since I've owned it (Replaced Transmission, brakes (twice) and wheel bearings. I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER FORD EXPLORER OR FORD!!!!

- , Harrington, DE, USA

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