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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
61,836 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. ford should repair it (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Mar 012006

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,345 miles


Today (12/21/2014) I knew the WEB site, and FINALLY!!! I understood that the crack in the rear window panel of my Explorer is a very common problem that was not caused by someone who crashed my vehicle. I'd never understand how it produced that crack. Several car "laminadores" tried to fix it with no success, the crack appears again. Now my 2003 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4x4 is beginning to have some noises that (I hope) are not related to the huge number of "pins in the ass" which the Ford's vehicles have.


Up to date I WAS a Ford Company vehicles passionate, but after read the Ford complaints in this wonderful WEB site:, I know how big are the complaints about FORD vehicles



- , Mexico, D.F, Mexico

problem #3

Jun 122010

Explorer 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I am so sick of all the problems I have had with FORD - who do NOTHING. They say they are protected by the government.

One man wrote to the TRAVELLER MAGAZINE about complaining to ford about his rear cracked panel. They said they will never repair any of them. So he tried to put it on the internet under one of the public viewing systems and Ford blocked it somehow, saying the government protects them.

When I have complained to FORD CO customer service they say they have not had ANY COMPLAINTS regarding this issues. Or any issue I complain about. They are very adept AT LYING TO CONSUMERS.

This is a DEFECT in the body of ford SUV's I have the license plate numbers of a lot of people in my city driving around with cracked panels. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm do we think no one has complained. They did cover them under warranty for the peoples whos cracked just before warranty was up. Poor timing on their part I guess didn't quite get past warranty like all the other problems I have had with my FORD SUV........

I complained in writing to FORD upper echelon myself and what did they say about all the problems that I listed. They replied in writing "we are so sorry to hear about your troubles" thanks for writing...

That is all we ever get from Ford - haven't heard about it - won't do anything about it - so sorry for your troubles. One thing is for sure I will NEVER purchase another ford.

I see by their ratings they are not as popular as they once were. Oh and point of notice is that all those big black SUV's (like mine) are not in the movies any longer. Wonder why.......

They are the worst company ! have ever dealt with. This is not the first of my problems. See future posts on the rest of my problems with MY FORD SUV.

Please all of you file complaints about Ford to stop who we can from buying another one of their lousy vehicles. Keep filing problems about Ford until they either build a better vehicle or fix the problems they have made happen to milk us all in their dealer controlled outlets - who as you know all up charge us while walking from one end of the garage to the other to pick out "one" tool that when they get back to your vehicle happens to be the wrong one. When all their toolboxes are on wheel. At over $100.00/per hour to walk around and talk to their fellow crooks while we are paying the bill.

The government needs to step in and take care of all the defects with ford products and we consumers.

Contact me and I will start a form letter that each one of us can sign and then forward them all on to Ford itself. It would be worth all of our time to start letting them know we are now mad/angry/fed up/pissed off........too long to continue. When they start getting a few thousand e mails maybe they will take notice.

Do not purchase another Ford. They have not fixed the problems that occurred in my 1997 Ford as they are still happening in the 2000 Fords. Same problems.

- , Barrie, Ontario, Canada

problem #2

Oct 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Shortly after the infamous crack on the rear hatch of my Explorer appeared, the rear window actually imploded. It sounded like a gun shot. I was just idling at a stop light when I hear a loud 'BANG'. I have no idea what happened. No one hit me, so I start to look around and notice some cracks on my rear window. I go to investigate and find that the cracks I see are just the remnants of my rear window. Most of it has imploded into the trunk and third seat area.

I called Ford and explain what happened. Their only response is that my model year (2003) does not have that issue under it's recall list. They said it was the 2002 model that had the issue with the pressure from the hydraulics causing the rear window to shatter and there was nothing they would do about it.

- , Foothill Ranch, C, USA

problem #1

Dec 282011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

if ford does not issue a recall for this problem, it will seem that they are engineering a product with the intent of forcing owners to purchase a new vehicle... which probably not be a ford.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

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