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:
77,214 miles
Total Complaints:
29 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (20 reports)
  2. replace window motor assembly (6 reports)
  3. master window lock out switch connection loose (2 reports)
  4. replaced everything but the motor (plastic parts) (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Mar 132006

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


The rear window is just refuses to roll down......period.

- , Trafford, AL, US

problem #8

Apr 252006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

Periodic appearance of problem where the left rear electric window will not operate. I have another company issued explorer that has same problem. I have also talked to other Explorer owners that have same problem. Can not believe that FORD does not offer to recall and fix whatever causes this.

- , Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #7

Apr 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

I have a Ford Explorer XLS, 4X2. I got it when it was new. At 5,000 miles, the left rear window had started to work intermittent when I pushed the button up or down. Sometimes it got stuck in the middle. No matter that I tried to push the front (my driver control switches) or the rear, it had just worked intermittently. Therefore, it rolled up or down very well when the weather was hot. Until the weather changed, it stopped working again.

I had to bring the vehicle in a dealer near by for a check up. When I got it back for a month later, it started to stop working again. Then I brought it in for a repair again, they replaced the rear window switch. When I got it back for three months later, the rear right window started to work intermittently. Then I felt so frustrated because I had to bring it in so many times for the same repair. The last time they told me that they had to replace switches and lubricated the window regulators.

A couples months ago, the vehicle is out of guarantee. I brought to Ford dealer for an estimate and they told me that there will be 200 dollars to repair the problems. Then I was trying to call Ford Customer Relation to explain the problems keep coming back, but unfortunately they told me that it is out of guarantee.

Now I am trying to fix them myself. When I opened the panel and checked carefully the motor and the window regulators (the rear left and the rear right of the windows), I found there was no grease to lubricate on the regulators and the inside of the tubes which drive the cables. Therefore, there was a very little grease inside the gear that drives the cable. This problem seems to be a recall, but Ford seems to hide it.

Finally, I was calling the 800 Ford Customer Relation again. No mater how I was trying to explain, they was so careless. I was so frustrated to tell them that I would sue them for those problems and one of them told me that, "Do what you need to do".

- , Stockton, CA, USA

problem #6

May 162007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


Rear windows will not roll down. I've seen this complaint over and over. FORD NEEDS TO RECALL!!!

- , Northport, AL, USA

problem #5

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer EB V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The rear windows started sticking weeks after I bought car. Every time I took the car for a service, I told the service people the windows were sticking. They would fix it and with in a week it would start again. Now that the car is out of warranty they say I need to replace all four motors ($1200.00). BS........Why did not replace the motors Ford. I have a 23 year old BMW the original working motors.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #4

Oct 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Both rear door window motors failed, first driver side, then passenger side. Fortunately both windows were in up position. I've RARELY ever opened the rear windows since I bought the Explorer new, as my wife likes the AC on instead of windows down. When AC failed (leaking compressor), I had to take it to the dealership. I asked them to look at the windows too, hoping since it was BOTH rear windows, that it might just be a problem with a switch. Nope. Both motors had failed; $583 (with tax) to replace them. I asked how they could've failed since they were hardly ever used. No explanation, but I was told they would be replaced with "updated" motors. I asked why something as mundane as a window motor needed to be updated unless there was a known design or manufacturing defect. Again, no answer. Also was told there was nothing they could do about the cost as I hadn't bought their extended warranty. (I thought "Quality was Job 1", and I've owned mostly Japanese cars, which've never required major repairs.) I came home and found many reports from this site and other internet postings about problems with Ford Explorer window motors, so I wrote to Ford and the dealership today asking reimbursement for the cost of replacing their DEFECTIVE window motors, but I won't be holding my breath on even getting a reply. I like the Explorer, but already this year I've had leaking axle seals, a leaking AC compressor and two window motors repaired/replaced. Guess there won't be another Ford in my future.

- , Avalon, NJ, USA

problem #3

Oct 202007

(reported on)

Explorer GLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


This problem describes below should consider to be a manufacture defect. Ford should pay for it. My car had the problem with the rear windows intermittently rolled up and down. I had it fix when it was out of guarantee, 40,000 miles. Therefore, the problem seemed to be started from the beginning because it stopped working if I did not use the rear windows for a week. There were two Ford dealers in California could not find any problem with it from the beginning. They removed the panel to lubricate the window regulators (left and right)but the problem kept come back and forth later time. Unfortunately, Ford dealers and the customer relation department are very hard to deal with when the vehicle is out of guarantee. They don't take any responsible if they found Ford's components are defective. The other word, they don't want to be claimed. To me, it is not so fair for the Ford consumers to accept Ford's defective design. Some Ford mechanics and to myself understand that Ford engineers failed to design the correct window regulators for some of the latest Explorer model. *Ford engineers designed the window regulators for rear windows with out a wheel on the top of the regulator frame. They replaced a wheel with a slide bar those got jammed because the tension cable got stuck on the slide bar. The problem was fixed with the new regulator replaced with a wheel on the top of the regulator bar. Ford don't want to pay for this mistaken design. Anyone has this problem, please write to the consumer report. Everyone will make the different. Tony Tran

- , Stockton, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 222007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

The window control button for one of the rear passenger windows has not worked for ages! At first it would work intermittently, but now, nothing.

- , Burlington, Ontario, Canada

problem #1

Dec 092006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

We have had every window control button go out at least once some three times under warranty. Now it is out of warranty and two have gone out again. My wife drives this car for work and the windows are rarely used.

- , Atascosa, TX, USA

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