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2003 Ford Explorer Problems That Are Way Too Common

2003 Ford Explorer Problems

2003 Ford Explorer Problems That Are Way Too Common

The 2003 Ford Explorer is one of the best midsize drive systems on the market today. The Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer is even made better by adding a quality CD player, improved sound system, and perfect off-road package. Standard in almost all Explorers is a SOHC V6 engine making 254 pound-feet torque and 210 horsepower. Optional in all Ford models except XLS is a 4.6l V8 engine that is good for 239 horsepower.

The model is outfitted with a safety canopy system of airbags, rollover sensors, power-adjustable, and pressure front and rear wheel peddle sensors. Advance Trac stability control, reverse sensing systems, and quality car seats are the other advancements. Though the Ford Explorer XLS and XLT is a joy to drive, there are multiple problems associated with this model.

Most Common 2003 Ford Explorer Problems

The main issues raised by the Ford Tahoe users include cracked panels, body paint scratches, a cracked panel below the rear window, and default timing chains. However, these issues have no permanent damage to wheel drive performance. Therefore, the best option to take is to wait for Ford recalling and take your Explorer for panel replacement and other essential servicing.

Other problems in 2003 Ford Explorer 

Despite the exterior body part faults being the main concern with Ford Explorer XLT, other defects cited by Ford Explorer owners could affect the performance of your vehicle negatively if correct actions are not taken at the right time. Some of these concerns are highlighted below.

  • OD light defects

This is a common issue among all Ford models. It is a transmission issue that causes a sensory speeding warning light to appear on its engine modulation place. OD light flashing is the best remedy to check the engine light coming and change the vehicle transmission system.

  • Transmission issues

Transmission failures can be noticed when the Explorer Sport starts having transmission slips or when gears jump without warning. Another indicator of transmission issues is a challenge when shifting gears. A visit to you reputable Ford dealership can be your only solution. The dealerships will replace transmission fluid and rebuilt transmission for you.

  • Heater stuck on hottest settings

When your explorer starts becoming too high even when the air conditioner system is on, know that the thermostat housing is broken. The NHTSA report reveals that Ford SUVs get stuck in most tropical settings. The heater blend fails to maintain standard temperatures on heater stuck, causing the breaking of the heater blend door. Replacing the heater core is the best solution.

  • Plastic intake manifold cracks

The 2003 Ford Explorer tends to overheat, causing plastic intake manifold cracks. The crack causes coolant leaks increasing engine heats as well. Check engine light regularly to be alert of any issue that requires expert examination. Also, a service aimed at fixing every engine coolant problem could help.

  • Rough idle and stalling

If your family car is experiencing rough idle and stalling, then it’s misfiring and losing power. When the ring gasket cracks, a vacuum leak will be created. When the vacuum leaks, the air gets into both the fuel system and engine. Gasket replacement and a thorough engine control module examination can avert this issue.

  • 2003 Ford Explorer ProblemsWorn timing chain cassettes

The rattling noise is a clear indicator of default timing chain cassettes. You have to install up-to-date timing cassettes to rectify this concern effectively.

  • Brake failures

Some Ford Sports experience unplanned deceleration and acceleration. The brakes may also fail to function at times. The issue could be due to design flaws in the valve body or both forward and reverse gears defaults. A professional mechanic can help solve this issue by modifying the valve body separator and other defects.

  • Solenoid problems

Failed Solenoid is a common issue among Ford escapes. The model has a plunger design used by the vehicle’s computer to route shift gears and pressurize transmissions fluid. The computer releases electrical current via the coil pack wire for solenoid activation. Vibrations and heat can increase the shock-circuiting of these wires, leading to transmission failure. 


The 2003 Ford Explorer is a vast advancement over its predecessor. It competes on the market with many model choices. It’s a versatile and steady ride, with well-designed interior with a well-rounded package with quality leather seats and seat belts. However, its key drawbacks include unimpressive off-road performance and an unrefined V6 engine.

As well, like other models, this vehicle is vulnerable to problems. Such issues are wind noise, front-wheel bearings issues, and traction control problems. You need to carry out common car research problems and check the engine regularly to be aware of any issue that requires professional attention. However, some of these problems can be solved by installing a genuine 2003 ford explorer Engine Control Module (ECM)

Mintt LogoFAQs

  1. Is a 2003 Ford Explorer a good car?

Yes. Ford Explorer is among the best midsize wagon on the market that offers comfort and reliability. Ford Explorer car value is increased by the addition of a DVD-based entertainment system and is known for providing a comfortable and safe ride.

  1. What year Ford Explorers have transmission problems?

Among all model years, the worst issue category has been the transmission failures. Vehicle complaints chose the 2006 Ford Explorer model as the worst vehicles because of its high repair costs or issues that appear with lower gas mileage. However, the 2002 Ford Explorer most complaints were submitted.

  1. Do 2003 Ford Explorers have a lot of problems?

The Ford Explorer has multiple issues in different models. The common problems are transmission issues and exterior body problems. The Ford Explorers users report the transmission to be jolting, lunging, and not engaging.

  1. Are 2003 Ford Explorers reliable cars?  

Ford Explorer Limited is a reputable company that is known for reproducing reliable drive systems. The Ford Escape overall reliability rating is 3.5 over 5, ranking it 19th out of 26 for midsize SUVs. The median annual repair cost is about $732, meaning it has average ownership costs.

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