really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,189 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Ford Ranger Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 272015


  • 137,300 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Ranger. The contact stated the interior of the vehicle caught on fire surrounding the instrument panel. The fire went out by itself. The vehicle was not occupied at the time of the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 137,300. The VIN was not available.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #8

Feb 092014

Ranger 6-cyl

  • 185,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Ranger. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the headlights and the instrument panel lights suddenly began to flicker followed by the vehicle stalling. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The contact exited the vehicle and returned the next day to discover the vehicle had caught on fire and was completely destroyed. The vehicle was towed to a wrecking yard and was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the fire. The failure mileage was 185,000.

- Colfax, LA, USA

problem #7

Oct 172012


  • 50,000 miles
The truck stalled in traffic. Acted as if it was out of gas, but had half a tank of fuel. Called tow truck. Luckily the driver was able to show me the inertia switch, and how to reset it. Was charged 50 dollars for this, did not have to tow vehicle. Since then it has tripped many times when I have a passenger, it's placement is such that a passenger's feet will trip it very easily. It now also trips for no reason, no passenger, no bumping it etc. It has tripped while driving in the fast lane of freeway, no passenger in vehicle. This is very scary and dangerous. I had to pull to left side of freeway, with no power brakes, no power steering etc. Exit vehicle, go to passenger side open door and reset switch. Very dangerous. This "safety feature" can cause an accident, not to mention the multitude of reports I have read of people having vehicles towed and replacing fuel pumps when the issue was actually this switch. I was lucky to get a tow truck driver that was aware of the bad design, and it only cost me the 50 dollar minimum fee for him showing up. I called Ford, and they were no help at all. They denied even knowing that a problem exists with this part. I am very disappointed in Ford.

- El Cajon, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 092013


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Ranger. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked the horn activated on its own. When the contact proceed to inspect the vehicle she noticed the vehicle on fire and spreaded to the vehicle that was parked next to it. The fire department confirmed the vehicle was destroyed. The VIN was not available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 78,000.

- Norwood , CO, USA

problem #5

Aug 052010


  • 56,000 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Ranger, when I apply the brakes the vehicle surges. Forward; I put the truck in park & shut off the ignition. When I restart. It returns to normal. This happens on once in a while.

- Alamo, TX, USA

problem #4

May 012006


  • 45,000 miles
Inertia switch below passenger side dash board defective. Had to be reset frequently (no less than once weekly for 3 years), until it caused small electrical fire beneath passenger's feet. Engine stopped while driving 65mph on I-17 in central phoenix. Heavy traffic caused difficulty maneuvering across 3 lanes to the shoulder of the road. An Arizona department of public safety officer was near by, and assisted to prevent a collision. Passenger put out the fire with onboard fire extinguisher. After replacing the inertia switch (which was badly damaged by fire), there have been no further problems.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #3

Dec 232004

Ranger 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 23,400 miles


Consumer reports: His 2003 Ford Ranger caught on fire one night while the engine was running. There were electrical sparks coming from the front left tire well. He fought the fire with bare hands and snow. He attempted to drive the truck and lost control and it slid into a snow drift. He tried to drive the car out and he started to dig the car out of the snow when he noticed the sparks again and a glow coming from somewhere in the engine. He tried to put the fire out again with a snow shovel. By the time the time the fire department showed up, it was on fire again. After the fire dept. Hosed the fire down with a standard 2'' hose, it caught on fire again. The fire dept disconnected the battery, put the fire out again and the fire didn't start back again. The dealership said the fire was due to driver abuse of the transmission and clutch system. The damage consisted of the following: The complete destruction of the asbestos lining on the clutch plate, including the shearing of the retaining pins, the slave cylinder had a giant hole, ÿ of the main seal was missing with no hydraulic fluid remaining inside the cylinder and the internal parts scorched from fire. They said the fire was inside the bell housing. Scorched marks were all over the rear of the engine as well as the fire well itself, including the insulation that is mounted on the underside of the hood in the same area. The dealership did drive the truck after the fire. There was no damage done the fly wheel.

- Henderson, KY, USA

problem #2

Jan 042005

Ranger 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Ford Ranger experiencing problems with the door locks. Door locked spontaneously, was informed that Ford could not fix the problem. The consumer had to purchase a spare key to keep outside the truck.

- Wyoming, PA, USA

problem #1

Feb 102004


  • 12,000 miles
While driving at 55 mph vehicle lost power. This problem occurred six times. Electrical inertia switch was defective. Dealer replaced the switch once, and needs to be replaced again.

- Ravenna, OH, USA

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