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 1 of 2)

problem #29

Jan 212015

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles


Hope you don't use toll roads in the winter, because you'll have to open the door and get out of the car to get a ticket or pay the toll. This is only one of MANY issues with this vehicle.

- , Abington, PA, USA

problem #28

Mar 042014

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

Driver side power window quit working. Took door panel off, put screw through track to hold window up until able to fix problem.

- , Belleville, MI, USA

problem #27

May 012014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,600 miles

Power window worked temporarily while door was opened and then they completely quit working. Upon watching a Youtube video found out the culprit of the windows not working. Again another common issue with the Ford Explorers, which should be alleviated by the company making more quality parts to protect the wiring within the door jams.

- , Columbus, GA, US

problem #26

Oct 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


I don't know the exact date, but this problem was intermittent at first. It certainly is annoying. There is no way the motors all died unless there was some sort of electrical short. I don't expect these things to last forever, but when you only use the windows once in a great while and typically only the front driver side window, it was very strange that it was the last to stop working. I asked my mechanic if it could possibly be a short and they said no. I say otherwise. No way do all the windows fail. No way.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 042012

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Rear driver side window stopped working. Dealer told me I would have to pay to fix.

- , St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #24

Jul 012012

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Driver's side window switch constantly goes in and out. Somedays it works, other days it doesn't. Try picking your car up from a garage after they roll it down on a rainy day and deal with it on your drive home! SERIOUS PAIN IN THE A$$!

Never fixed, cannot afford all of the repairs with this car!

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #23

Aug 012012

Explorer EX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


both passenger side widow regulators went out, it is a pain in the butt to replace so I haven't bothered yet.

- , Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #22

Apr 082013

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Okay, now I have paint peeling from the hood, had to rebuild the transmission, had to replace engine, had to replace brake sensor, now none of the windows (just in time for spring) will work - all stopped working at the same time!!! What a piece of crap. So what incentive does ford have to rectify this crappy workmanship - they make a ton of money off the customers who bought these junks on the side of the road with all the replacement parts and labor costs!!!!! I bought a 1995 explorer used and loved it, did have the O/D off light blinking all the time, but at least the transmission still worked. Had 145,000 miles on it before I got rid of it. Tried GMC Jimmy and it was a piece of crap - heater never worked right and engine blew before 100,000 miles were on it. Most uncomfortable SUV I ever sat in. Went back to ford and while it is the most comfortable SUV I have ever owned, I am being bled dry by the repair costs. I will never buy a ford ever again.

- , Freeland, PA, USA

problem #21

Mar 022012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,154 miles

Apparently there is wiring issues with these explorers....

my mechanic (a real doll with the patience of a saint when it comes to my 03 explorer) did a quick look and easily figured out it was wiring...these explorers are known for having wiring that cracks and splits. Got the drivers door panel off and pulled out the wiring...sure as heck. the window wires along with a few others were broken. Got all 4 windows (which worked with the drivers door open but not closed) working again for me.

Sadly enough....the rear drivers side fell off the track LOL

- , Edmonton, Alberta, canada

problem #20

Jun 122012

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

First issue - Drivers rear window stopped working in the up position. Three days or so later, the passenger window switch stopped working (drivers switch still operated the passenger window). Approx three days later, the passenger rear window shuddered on the way up, was assisted by hand to close, and never worked again from any switch.

I found the solution today- After testing the passenger switch and finding it good, I opened the drivers master switch panel and found the window lockout switch connection fell out of place. Evidently as it dropped out of position, the windows were disconnected in sequence.

All working as original now. (lucky me huh?)

- , Aloha, OR, USA

problem #19

Sep 302011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,455 miles


03 Ford Explorer XLT windows will not go down. I'm afraid to take it to the dealership or a electro mechanic they will charge me a leg and arm to get it fix. If anyone had a similar problem like I'm going through please help. I'm hoping its an easy fix if not I'll bust all the windows out and drive like that.

- , Reno, NV, USA

problem #18

Mar 012011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

03 explorer front passenger window rolls down but not up. replaced master switch, not the problem. tested all of the wires at the harness on the passenger switch, they all show power.

- , Cimarron, NM, USA

problem #17

Oct 212010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,421 miles

Shortly after purchasing out used 2003 Explorer the back passenger window (electric) went down and would not go all the way back up. We are having problems with 2 other windows as well that eventually will also need to be fixed.

It seems the strip gear that the window uses to go up and down lost teeth and became tangled so the window would not go all the way back up. These parts are only available thru the dealer so that's were we had to go to have it fixed. It cost $215.00 to replace everything but the motor in the window.

This must be a common issue with Ford as our 19997 Ford F150 also had window problems.

- , Liberty Center, OH, USA

problem #16

Feb 192010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

The window motor in my 2003 Explorer went out. Truly annoying but highly expected.

- , Sayre, OK, USA

problem #15

Jun 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

During the summer my passenger front automatic window has stopped coming up automatically. It still goes down fine, but won't come up from the driver side manual. You have to reach across and it'll only go up from that passenger "up" button. My mechanic said it's probably old and needs to be changed soon. I can do it, but it'll cost. If you don't mind reaching across the seat to roll it up, leave it alone for now. So I have. Is that the problem ? the motor or something in the window command on this side of the vehicle ?

- , Chesapeake, VA, US

problem #14

Sep 082010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

window fell off track? husband checked it out took off door panel,a PLASTIC piece that holds the window broke! 30 grand, wow, what a deal. couldnt have made it better!

- , Plymouth, IN, USA

problem #13

Apr 052008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

My 2003 Ford Explorer seems to have many little things going wrong with it. Maybe it is just a lemon! Besides rear hatch cracks, my rear passenger (behind the driver) electric window no longer works. Well, it works sometimes. I asked the dealership and they said they have had problems with other Explorers. Their answer was that I should probably do work on both windows because the other one will go out too! I am not going to have them work on the other when it is still working. Again, if other Explorers are having the same problem, why are they not doing any recalls?

- , Bismarck, ND, USA

problem #12

Jul 242008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I had the same window repaired under warranty and 2 months later, after the warranty was up, it stopped working again. I'm told its very expensive to fix, so I don't know what to do now.

- , West Bountiful, UT, USA

problem #11

Sep 152003

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles

The rear power window behind the drivers seat sometimes works, and sometimes don't work. This has been an issue ever since I bought the vehicle brand new back in 2003. I had it checked out several times while it was still under warranty, but it worked every time they checked it. Five years later I still have the same problem; sometimes it works, sometimes it don't.

- , Lawton, OK, USA

problem #10

Jun 192008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 43,000 miles

Haven't taken it to get fixed yet, maybe it's a short or something. It's really irritating when you're dying of heat inside the car and the windows won't open. Then finally you get them open, get to your destination and can't close them. All you hear is this weird buzzer noise. This is my third fix on this car that I bought used only a year ago :o(

- , San Diego, CA, USA

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