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:
No data
Average Mileage:
92,876 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replace entire hatchback (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Oct 062015

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


click to see larger images

rear hatchback window hinges broke rear hatchback window hinges broke rear hatchback window hinges broke rear hatchback window hinges broke rear hatchback window hinges broke rear hatchback window hinges broke

On Tuesday 10/6 my windows exploded. If I were driving at the time it could have been catastrophic. This was not the first time this has happened to an Explorer that I had. It happened in 2005. People have their children and babies in the back of those cars. I on occasion have children in the back seat. I have seen so many complaints, but nothing is being done to remedy this issue. Ford Motors wants to push it under the rug: They want no responsibility. I contacted them and all they have to say it is out of warranty. I was not part of the recall because I got the car used in 2006.

I have health issues, and I am on a fixed income; I do not have the resources to repair it, and I need my vehicle to get back and forth to my doctors’ appointments. All I want is for Ford to repair my car, my car is sitting outside on the streets in front of my house without windows on the driver side rear and the lift gate. I have notified the media, have not gotten a response yet. The word needs to get out there and force Ford to do something about this. They don’t seem to give a damn, no compassion. They should not get away with this.

- , Inglewood, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 122010

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,751 miles

On April 12 I opened my hatchback window to place a few items inside and the hinges broke causing the window to come crashing down on my head. It nearly drove me into the ground. A friend happened to be with me and was able to lift it from my head, and then we had to work very hard to get it to close and held there with bungy cords. I drove right over to a Ford dealership to report it.There has been a crack in the panel that Ford has ignored under extended warranty. I have had a headache for 3 days now and they want to replace the hinges not fix the entire problem. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!. Replacing the hinges will not solve the problem as the crack has shifted the entire hatchback to the left weakening the hinges. If the big door is weakened from this the next time I could possibly be killed if this would happen again. As of now, until this is fixed I cannot use the hatchback at all as it is totally unsafe.The last Explorer I owned had 268,000 miles on it and not one body problem!! This 2003 Explorer has never been in an accident. I am retired and not able to purchase another vehicle. WAKE UP FORD,if this was your family member I am sure it would have been totally replaced for their safety ( maybe you need to adopt me)

Update from Apr 25, 2010: I called my insurance carrier as I comprehensive insurance on my vehicle. I was told to take it a Ford garage in Edinboro PA as they have an adjuster that works for then there. A friend and I took it over, the adjuster seemed to think this was an amusing tale. He stated taht ther were no recalls on the higes for the year my Explorer was manufactured after July of 2003. He also stated that the panel below the hatchback window was basically a piece of plastic that was just window dressing. If I wanted it fixed along with the hinges the cost to me would be $ 459.69. My deductible is $500.00. Guess what I decided to forget it.

I then called the original local Ford garage that had looked at the problem the day it happened and told them that I would agree to have the hinges replaced by my extended warranty company (who is not from Ford).

My hinges were replaced on April 20. At that time I asked them how much they would charge to replace that plastic panel for me. They looked at me real funny and said that they were sure it is not just window dressing as I had been told by the other Ford garage appraiser. Well guess what that panel is connected to the ENTIRE upper window hatchback (all one piece) Cost $919.00 plus labor!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up call to all who have insurance they want your money and do not want to fix anything they can get away with!! INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND!!!

I have photos of this whole thing but do not know how to download them.

- , Union City, PA, USA

Not what you are looking for?