really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,020 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 Lincoln Aviator transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Lincoln Aviator Owner Comments

problem #16

Jun 262011

Aviator 8-cyl

  • 119,298 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Lincoln Aviator. The contact was attempting to park the vehicle when the gear shifter became stuck in drive. The contact stated that a cable had become dislodged from the shift cable bracket. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 02V313000 (power train: Automatic transmission) and took the vehicle to the dealer where the contact was advised that the VIN was not included in the recall. The dealer added a strap to the shift cable adjuster to prevent the shift cable from becoming dislodged. The failure mileage was 115,000. Updated 08/15/11 updated 3/05/2012

- Clinton, MD, USA

problem #15

Mar 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Lincoln Aviator. Attorney writes on behalf of client in regards to problems with his vehicle such as gear shift, cruise control and rearview mirror functions the gear shift would not move out of park at times. The entire shifter mechanism, stop/brake light switch, interlock solenoid mechanism, and electronic circuitry were all replaced, but the consumer continued to experience problems.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #14

Sep 062010

Aviator 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Lincoln Aviator. The transmission shift cable continuously becomes dislodged from the shift cable brackets. While driving the shifter would not go into gear. He would have to go under the vehicle and snap the cables back together. There was a recall NHTSA#02V313000; component: Power train:automatic transmission. After contacting the dealer in regards to the failure he was told his VIN was not included in the recall. The manufacturer was contacted and also informed him his VIN was not included in the recall and he would have to pay for the repairs. The failure mileage was 52,000. Updated 12/30/10 the ABS light illuminated. The dealer replaced the brake activation switch. The power window motor was replaced. Updated 01/07/11 updated 04/07/11

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #13

Jul 072010


  • 56,783 miles


Shift cable becomes dislodged on my 2003 Lincoln Aviator which only has 56,783 miles as of 07.09.2010.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #12

Jan 162010

Aviator 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,150 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Lincoln Aviator. While driving at any speed, the vehicle suddenly lost power. The contact called the manufacturer and was informed about recall 02V313000 (powertrain: Automatic transmission) which cited the same failure as the one the contact experienced. However, the contact was informed that her vehicle was not included in the recall. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was approximately 73,250. The failure mileage was approximately 73,150. Updated 06/21/10 updated 06/24/10.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #11

Apr 032010


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Lincoln Aviator. The contact stated that while attempting to park in the drive position, the vehicle began to abnormally accelerate in the reverse position without warning. The contact was able to stop the vehicle without incident. Upon further inspection, he found that the shifter cable was disconnected. He was able to connect the cable and park the vehicle; however; the cable disconnected a second time while parking. The dealer advised the contact that the failure was directly related to NHTSA campaign id number 02V313000: Power train: Automatic transmission. The failure and current mileages were 62,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #10

Aug 262009

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2003 Lincoln Aviator has a problem with the transmission shift cable. The transmission shift cable dislodged from the shift cable bracket which caused the vehicle not to shift properly or at all. The consumer found a recall for the problem, however she was informed her vehicle identification number was not included in the recall. Recall 02V313000.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #9

Mar 222009


  • 68,000 miles
2003 Lincoln Aviator transmission failure.

- Chalfont, PA, USA

problem #8

Jul 172006

Aviator 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Transmission either shifts real slow or violently jerks from one gear to another. Dealer has had in shop many times without any resolution available. This causes huge loss in fuel mileage not to mention the harshness of the driving experience.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #7

Jan 262007

Aviator 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
2003 Lincoln Aviator warning light "emission". found out it is a design flaw with the automatic transmission. We contacted NHTSA and found out there is a recall. Our VIN # is not in this recall. Ford/Lincoln will only give us $850 off on a $3000. This car has 72,000 miles on it. Found out this is when these transmissions go. When we took it to the dealer there was another there with 45,000 miles same problem. The warranty on the 2003 is 4 years 50,000 miles. The diagnose is gear 2 ratio, gear 5 ratio and solenoid B.

- Milford, NJ, USA

problem #6

May 272004

Aviator 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,864 miles


: the contact stated a whining noise was heard coming from the rear of the vehicle while driving 55 mph. The vehicle was taken to the sales/service dealer for repairs. The right rear axle and pinion were replaced as well as the C B shaft assembly and gear and pinion locking pin. This was the third time the rear end was replaced in a two year period. The manufacturer was notified and a technician was sent to inspect the vehicle. The vehicle pulled to the left, the door lock switch was inoperative, the rear shock was leaking oil, the E power steering hose was replaced, there was a ticking sound coming from the engine compartment. The timing chain and gasket were replaced. The door ajar light came on after all the doors were closed. The consumer stated the shifting of the gears were harsh, the dealer replaced various componets in the transmission. The right rear brake light bulb was replaced, the master cylinder was replaced. The front seat climate control was not cooling. The battery was replaced, the accelerator cable was sticking. Updated 12/05/06.

- Hampton, GA, USA

problem #5

May 082006

Aviator 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,033 miles
'03 Aviator, since purchase felt something wasn't right with the car's transmission. Car seemed to hesitate shifting into next gear I.e. staying in gear too long. Also at times during startup car can be extremely loud, making transmission issue more pronounced. Concerns mentioned during routine maintenance appointments but was always told the car was functioning normal. Winter '06 car began to idle very rough during stops and in neutral/park. 3/3/06 car serviced for rough idle -garage found ssm 17478 which said the PCM needed to be reprogrammed. Car still wasn't running smoothly. 4/3/06 car back in garage for major engine problem. #8 cylinder head was replaced. I expressed my concerns and was told that this could have been causing some of the issues I was complaining about. Was also told they had multiple '03 Aviators come in with the same major engine problem. Of course car still did not feel right. 5/8/06 and only 2,000 miles to go on my warranty the transmission finally went. Pulled out from a red light when car wouldn't shift and bucked into next gear. Engine light and transmission light went on and overdrive off light was flashing. Transmission solenoid replaced along with many other parts. Needless to say the car's been driven 2 or 3 times since we've picked it up from the garage and it is still not right. Car is going back into the garage for shifting problem and excessive loud engine noise during startup that doesn't dissipate. Transmission problem is huge safety concern. Had cars behind me beeping and flashing their lights at me because I couldn't accelerate the car fast enough. With computers in cars makes me wonder where the voice of the consumer has gone. Felt as though my concerns didn't matter because the computer didn't register anything wrong. Now with only miles from my warranty ending I'm faced with all these major problems occurring with my car.

- Schuylkill Haven, PA, USA

problem #4

Jan 072006

Aviator 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 60 mph the transmission suddenly lost power. The engine revved, but the transmission did not engage. The contact moved into the slow lane until the vehicle returned to normal operation, which took only a minute or two. The vehicle was taken to the local dealer for inspection several times, but the dealer was unable to duplicate the problem. Updated 1/25/2006. The consumer returned the vehicle to the dealer and traded it for a 2005 model.

- Waipahu, HI, USA

problem #3

Nov 012004

Aviator 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
I own a 2003 Lincoln Aviator, still under warranty. Since around November of 2004 I have been having transmission problems. The problem is the transmission will slip out of gear while driving at a steady speed, accelerating from a stop or slowing down and then accelerating. This is very hazardous when trying to merge onto a highway or turn into traffic and the vehicle will not accelerate. The problem exists in all gears, however, it does not do it all the time. It has continued to get worse. Each time the dealership has told me that they could not duplicate the problem. On April 15th 2005 as I was leaving my office parking lot the transmission started acting up. It was slipping out of gear in all gears. I immediately drove the vehicle to the Ford dealer. On the 21st of April almost a week after I dropped it off I was told again they could not duplicate the problem. On the same day, 21 April 05 I went to pick up my vehicle and the head mechanic had it out for a test drive. He stated upon return that the vehicle acted up. My vehicle stayed with the dealer for the next 15 days while they took apart the transmission, ordered parts, etc. A few days after I received the vehicle back the dealership called to see how the vehicle was running. I explained that it still didn't feel right but I would continue driving it and note any problems I encounter. As of today, 23 May 05, the transmission does not always shift smoothly and I have had three occasions were the transmission took a very long time to shift from one gear to another. This to me is just a sign and the beginning of more problems. During the course of my many visits to the dealer I was informed that problems exist with my make of transmission, not only in the Aviator but with the Explorer and the Mercury SUV's. what I don't understand, if there is a problem with the transmission why hasn't Ford/Lincoln acted on it and put out a bulletin or recall. Sincerely lori bell

- St Leonard, MD, USA

problem #2

Apr 132005

Aviator 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,450 miles
The consumer complained about a sudden acceleration problem. While backing out of the driveway the vehicle began to surge forward. The consumer slammed on the brakes and the vehicle eventually stopped. Recall campaign# 02V313000.

- Durango, CO, USA

problem #1

Feb 222005

Aviator 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,737 miles
My 2003 Lincoln Aviator lost power steering causing me to loose control of the car on a county road and missing death by god's love last Tuesday,2/22/05. I struggled and managed to drag the car off the road onto the bush and avoided heating an oncoming car and being crushed by a semi-trailer that was behind me. The car was towed(flat-bedded) to the local Lincoln-Mercury dealership. The head mechanic told me later that my car had suffered a catastrophic birth defect from the factory because the power steering hose was improperly mounted at the time manufactured, as a consequence the hose fell off the mounting/attachment and was cut by the air condition fan. He told me new hose has been installed and mounted properly under the factory warranty. I have taken possession of the car, but I am afraid to drive it for any distance. First, I would like your office to force Ford Lincoln, the manufacturer of the Lincoln Aviator SUV, to send an immediate alert to the public that this potentially fatal problem is possible in the Aviator brand of their SUV. If I died in the accident, my family would never know what caused the accident. We do not want any body to be hurt or killed in the Lincoln Aviator. Second, I would like to know what my course of action should be: Get a brand new replacement car or feel unsafe in a Lincoln Aviator for a ever" third does your office have a record of this type of problem with this line of vehicle" thank you for your quick response and assistance. Unyime O. nseyo.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

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