pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
89,700 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Lincoln needs to recall & replace w/metal not plastic (13 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Lincoln Aviator body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Lincoln Aviator Owner Comments

problem #16

Dec 112017

Aviator 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


You pay $45,000 for what's supposed to be a Premium type vehicle and at about 90,000 miles the the coils go out, car won't even pull a hill. Ford did recall but would only replace two. It ran better for about 2 months but then started acting up again. So I ordered 8 acceĺ coils and my son in law put them in . Ford wanted like $150 a piece to replace.

Now this present problem, I had been reading about the problems others were having and now it's happened to me. Went to store, came back, opened trunk to unload and what do I see but the big ole Ford Button Crack. While very thankful it lasted this long, retired now and can't afford $400 payment now.

Ford should do the right thing and fix these stress cracks without charge.

Time for class action law suit!!

- Tommy D., Hampton, GA, US

problem #15

Jul 032003

Aviator ES 8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Should not happen. Ford should take care of problem since it is a manufacture defect.

- Sparky B., Tomball, TX, US

problem #14

May 022005

Aviator V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,295 miles

click to see larger images

crack in rear panel below window

This is obviously what is known as a inherent defect in the production world. Rarely does a day go by that I don't see this exact same crack on other vehicles. I am also sure that this crack has caused a recurring read door ajar warning light since the time it was discovered....I just can't prove it!

Ford needs to admit they were wrong and pay to have this fixed!!

- laudet, Navarre, FL, US

problem #13

Apr 302013

Aviator Limited 5.8L

  • CVT transmission
  • 140,000 miles


Looks bad and leaks, which costs more and without fixing it will cause more expensive repairs down the road.

- Bill H., Saint Louis, MO, US

problem #12

Feb 052015

Aviator 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

Lincoln used to stand behind their products but not any more. They should charge $100 to fix it and absorb the rest.

I am told that if they fix it and it does it again the next day, you have to pay the full amount again. They will not warranty it at all because it is a panel.

Shame on you.

I cancelled a car I had on order because of this.

- hahnwi, Oak Creek, WI, US

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problem #11

Dec 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Large crack on the rear hatch under the window. We now don't use the window hatch. Really sucks and ugly!

- ktpdonahuema, Medford, MA, US

problem #10

Jul 152008

Aviator Premium 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


click to see larger images

crack in rear panel below window

Like so many others my Aviator has the famous ford butt crack. Thanks ford, even the luxury "Lincoln" version of the ford explorer cannot escape the indignity.

- Todd S., Edmond, OK, US

problem #9

Nov 212013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Every single Aviator I have seen in town has this exact same problem...

- jthomas90210, Dallas, TX, US

problem #8

Jan 172014

Aviator Premium 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

I have owned my 2003 Lincoln Aviator since 2004 and it has been the best vehicle I have ever owned.

I fell in love with the body style and 4.6L V8 engine when it came out in 2003. I got a great price on it

I love it to this day. The vehicle is in great shape even with it having 156,000 miles on it.

Then in January of 2014 I was opening the tailgate and noticed a crack in the plastic trim just below the tailgate window, around the Lincoln emblem. I tried to figure out how this happened since there was no damage anywhere else. I went online to find out how to replace the trim piece and found this site to add my complaint with the many others having the same problem.

With nearly all owners of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury having this problem, I believe this part should be replaced at no charge to the consumer. This is not a safety issue, but if Ford Co. knew of the problem since 2002 and didn't correct it even in the later model years then they should be responsible for getting it fixed. This could be quite expensive for the average consumer to pay to have fixed, where the Ford Co. can have it done for about $100.00.

- Lawrence S., West Chester, OH, US

problem #7

Jan 072013

Aviator LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

There are five other complaints on your site for the crack in the rear trim panel. the crack runs along the emblem and thru the bottom of the lift gate door/window. The dealer said most models of the Aviator or Mercury have the same stress crack. The crack allows water in and the subsequent repair is the replacement of the entire rear door because the latch bolts rust out and the only replace is the entire rear door and lift glass. This is and engineering proplem and should be covered by Ford. Poor quality will not result in a return customer. Also the Varsity Lincoln Dealer in Novi MI Service Dept. needs a course in Customer Satisfaction. It use to be a good dealership, but its gotten to big for it britches and has lost focus on what got them where they are today, and that was takng care of the customers..

- Mike C., Novi, MI, US

problem #6

Dec 242011

Aviator V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles


click to see larger images

crack in rear panel below window

I have seen this on about 6 cars in my area. What do we do next?

- tlawrence, Va Beach, VA, US

problem #5

Jul 102011

Aviator AWD 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,671 miles

its such a shame for ford/lincoln to be making vehicles that people pay so much money for and there built like sh*t and when problems occur they say its not our problem u wanna fix it u have to pay ...... that's bull ..... ii have a crack from the top left corner of the lincoln emblem straight down to where u put your hands to open the liftgate and i went to the dealer here in toronto canada and they told me just for the plastic filler panel was gonna run me $400 then i would have to take it to a body shop remove the cracked one paint the new one and install it would run me about $800 in total for everything .... that's crazy ..plus i also have a few more problems with my truck that the dealer needs to fix because at there expense cause they messed up with these nice trucks

- Danny D., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #4

Sep 162010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

a few months back i was putting some things in the back of our 2003 Aviator when i noticed this long vertical crack in the panel below the rear hatch glass window. our vehicle is in perfect condition and has never been in an accident. Its such a shame to have this problem when we spent so much money on this vehicle, it was not cheap and Lincoln needs to own up to its mistake and make this problem right for all its loyal consumers.

- James C., Wilmington, NC, US

problem #3

Nov 182008

Aviator V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Every single Aviator i see driving on the road has this same problem or will! A co-worker also has an Aviator and her hinges that hold the window-gate in place are also beginning to fail...I exposed the flaw to her and told her not to use that hatch anymore or else she will soon have the awful crack on her Aviator too.

I took this to the Lincoln dealership and they said it would cost at least $1500 to fix. Why has Lincoln not fixed this problem? These are wonderful vehicles that were not inexpensive! EVERY AVIATOR I SEE HAS THE SAME PROBLEM WITH THIS!!! It appears that the hinges begin to fail causing th window hatch to lower and when the hatch is closed it hits the metal lock aparatus and cracks the body just below the window.

Please let me know if anyone has had luck with Lincoln replacing this. Please tell all of the Lincoln Aviators owners that you see with this problem to log their complaint on here! And with Lincoln too!!!

- Chad H., Plainfield, IL, US

problem #2

Mar 032006

Aviator V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

With soooo many others with this same problem, why isn't there a recall????

- victoriava, Lanexa, VA, US

problem #1

May 022009

Aviator 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

click to see larger images

crack in rear panel below window crack in rear panel below window

This just "appeared" one day. No accident, not trauma..just a crack. Several estimates were taken, and the best price I could get on the repair was $650. I asked the Lincoln dealer if he had ever seen anything like this. He said, " All the time" My step-mom also has a Ford Explorer and the crack looks identical, an upside down "Y". We were driving back from vacation and pulled into a rest area, and low and behold, another Ford Explorer had an identical crack in the same place. This is a design issue that Ford/Lincoln needs to address. It will take a metal panel to keep this from continuing. They need to stop repairing them with the plastic panel and replace them with the light weight metal panel!

- jpigottnc, Rolesville, NC, US

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