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:
No data
Average Mileage:
15,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace / repair rubber seal around window (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #1

May 012004

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles


The wind noise was quite loud from the front passenger window. At times I would look over expecting the window to be part way down. Took to dealer and when I got the car back (after paying $78 "repair" charge) the wind noise was still there. I complained to the dealer service department and was told that since their first try did not work (surprise!) they could replace the window seal at about $200. I said the work should be done under warranty or (dreamer) "good will." ("Good will? We don't need no stinkin' good will.") I finally decided to give it a go. I forced the seal into place and used black silicone sealant. Taped the seal in place while the sealant dried overnight. Problem fixed! Stopped going to the dealer for service.

- , Warren, OH, USA

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