really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,455 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Ford Ranger brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Ford Ranger Owner Comments

problem #17

Dec 212011

Ranger 6-cyl

  • 58,600 miles


The right rear brake drum had a 2" piece rusted out, the left rear brake had rusted so bad it had broken loose in the drum and the shackles had rusted completely off. The vehicle has never been left outside always garaged, never been in high water or exposed to a high level off salt. The under carriage is always washed after road salt has been applied. The under carriage has more rust than normal for a vehicle taken care of as this one. The mechanic even commented on it. In 2010 the rear shocks had to be replaced because they had been rusted through.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #16

Dec 182011

Ranger 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Brake rotors sold by advance auto parts as an "exact fit" for this vehicle were installed without any problems and all associated components for a brake repair (pads, calipers, bearings, seals, ABS rings) were also installed and seemed to fit perfectly. After assembly I noticed that the brake pads were only partially bearing on the brake rotor, with the pads overlapping the edge of the rotors. I did not notice this condition until both new front rotors had been replaced and all components except the tires/wheels had been replaced. Upon further research, the rotors sold as an "exact fit" (selected for me by the counter man at my local advance auto parts store) were approximately 1 inch smaller in diameter as the original equipment rotors. I contacted advance customer service to inform them of this problem and they denied any responsibility for installation of improper parts. Several reviews posted on the store's website indicate that other people have installed these rotors and are driving around with them despite the fact they are not the proper rotors for this 4 wheel antilock brake vehicle (they do fit Ranger with rear wheel antilock brakes). This is a murphy's law situation in which a consumer can install these parts and drive around with them, unaware of the potential for brake failure. The final installation looks normal and I would not have noticed unless I had made a close inspection and found that the brake pads were not in full contact with the rotor surface because of the smaller than specification diameter. This is a serious safety hazard because the advance auto parts website and store computer system list them as an exact fit for the vehicle when, in fact, they are not. They can be installed and driven without the installer realizing that they are the wrong size. This requires an immediate notice and recall and advance should be sanctioned.

- Poulan, GA, USA

problem #15

May 122011


  • 26,000 miles
2003 Ford Ranger steel brake line rotted and failed. 26,000 miles well maintained vehicle. Cause brake failure. Fortunately no accident incident. Steel line rotted at fitting over rear axle where it attaches to flex line to the axle housing. Other rust and corrosion issues plague this vehicle.

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #14

Mar 262011

Ranger 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles


This problem has appeared all of a sudden without warning. Brakes fade at low speeds. The pedal sinks to the floorboard. This condition occurs randomly. I have topped off the brake fluid reservoir. This has not changed the situation. I've reviewed the internet for potential remedies and have discovered many others with the same or similar problem.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #13

Nov 262010


  • 232,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Ranger I bought new. On November 26 2010 I pulled into the parking lot @ work and my clutch and brake pedals fell to the floor causing a minor crash. The pivot bracket that holds the steel pedals is made from cast aluminum. I have been a aluminum welder for over 10 years and in my opinion this bracket is very substandard. I searched the web and found that other people had the same thing happen on Ranger and other trucks and Ford cars. If I was on the road this could have been much worse. I sent pictures and a piece of the bracket to a recall investigator. He said its not a common failure since he cant find any complaints.

- Victoria, 00, USA

problem #12

Oct 112010


  • 96,500 miles
As I slowly pulled my 2003 Ford Ranger into a parking space at work this morning with my foot on the brake the truck suddenly accelerated. I applied the brake harder and the truck stopped. I verified that I did not have my foot on both the brake and accelerator, only on the brake.

- Wellington, FL, USA

problem #11

Mar 012003

Ranger 6-cyl

  • 250 miles


Brake pedal and accelerator pedal toooo close together! distance of 2 & 1/4 " causes contact with accelerator when brake is being applied numerous incidents since purchased vehicle in 03.. I wear a size 9 &1/2 to a 10 & 1/2 size shoe. Even though I am aware of the problem, I find that it keeps happening repeatedly; but I only bumped a curb once with my tires.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 012006


  • 60,200 miles
During wet weather, rear brake locks up when brakes are applied. Causing skidding and lose of control. First time this happen my local Ford dealership referred to this as a rear brake lock problem, and replaced rear brake components, after that when it happened again I was told that the problem was due to moisture getting into the brake parts and that if I wanted this fixed I would have to pay for the fix it. The first time I was told that there was a service bulletin out on this and that's why it got fixed, now I'm told no such thing exist.first time with problem truck had about 26,000 to 30,000 miles on it seems funny that at 60,000 I would have the same problem.

- Golden Valley, MN, USA

problem #9

May 122009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Ranger. While driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, the contact heard a loud grinding noise when the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection. The failure was contributed to the manufacturer installing incorrect hubs on the vehicle. The service repair cost was estimated at $800. The front brake pads were replaced and the contact was advised to not drive the vehicle due to the potential safety hazard. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified, but there were no resolutions. The failure and current mileages were 60,000.

- Auburn Hills, MI, USA

problem #8

Mar 202009


  • 64,580 miles
The first time the brakes locked up and didn't release I was coming down the street where I live going less than 15 mph and when we hit the brakes my truck didn't stop and we went sideways trying to stay out on-coming traffic. This last time it locked up I was already on the brakes going less than 15 mph and I came within an inch of hitting the car in front of me. I have brand new tires and brakes all the way around. This should not be happening. There is something messed up in the computer my ABS light never even came on while I was sliding.

- Dade City, FL, USA

problem #7

Sep 112008


  • 100 miles


When releasing the parking brake during wet conditions the linings stick to the drums, this is especially a problem in the winter months as they will freeze. This also causes the brakes to be extremely sensitive during the first 5 miles (approx) of braking. When the vehicle service brakes are applied the rear wheel grab hard and the ABS tries to release them and can't. I have had two faults on the ABS due to this. This is not a one time thing this happens so frequently that during wet/freezing conditions I actually use a 4X4 wood block to hold the vehicle in place..

- Parkville, MO, USA

problem #6

Sep 092006


  • 55,000 miles
Brake and gas pedals are too close, and hit both at same time. Unable to make emergency stop and went through red light. Suspect this to be cause of several accidents recently--some fatal !

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #5

May 012007

Ranger 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2004 Ford Ranger- tsb 4-17-9 * grabbing condition from rear drum brakes customer states that the problem is more pronounced in the rain* the consumer provided invoice for repair and documentation pertaining to defect of vehicle.

- Florence, KY, USA

problem #4

Jan 032005


  • miles
The vehicle has been taken to the dealer on three separate occasions for brake failure and accelerator problems.

- Morganton, NC, USA

problem #3

Mar 032004


  • miles
Consumer stated while driving brake pedal became hard, and it could not be pushed. Consumer took vehicle to two different dealers, and both were unable to resolve the problem.

- Ellettsville, IN, USA

problem #2

Dec 062003

Ranger 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,500 miles
While coming to a stop consumer noticed brakes became spongy. On December 6, 2003 when the owner applied the brakes to make a stop, the brakes performed erratically. Extended stopping distance was necessary for the brakes to perform efficiently. Vehicle was stopped at a stop sign with the driver's foot depressing the pedal. The brake pedalwent all the way to the floor board and the vehicle rolled into the intersection. Vehicle collided with another vehicle. 2003 Ford Ranger is in the shop and the mechanics are aware that the brakes need to be checked out.

- Alden, KS, USA

problem #1

Sep 032003

(reported on)

Ranger 6-cyl

  • miles
Brake and engine problems. The rotors were turned on the front brakes and a idler was installed because the engine stalled out. (twice after that the vehicle was returned the vehicle for the same problem)

- Huntington, WV, USA

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