10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,822 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #39

Apr 022009

Explorer

  • 165,000 miles
We have owned the subject 2003 Ford Explorer XLT since it was new. The rear liftgate hinge holding the rear glass failed. I understand that this failure is the subject of NHTSA recall #04V442000. Ford informs me that they will not fix this continuing safety defect because they replaced the hinge once before in 2006. I have no record of such a repair, not do I agree that Ford's policy of only performing one replacement is valid. Even if they did replace it once, the design is clearly defective and the safety issue still remains. I would expect NHTSA to direct Ford to properly fix the problem, rather cause me to pay Ford for yet another replacement for the ineffective one they previously performed.

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #38

Feb 262009

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,555 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the liftgate hinge broke on the right side and the left side of the glass was wedged inside the roof. If the hatch had not been wedged, the glass would have shattered onto her feet or caused injuries. The dealer stated that the VIN was excluded from NHTSA campaign id number 04V442000 (structure:body:hatchback/liftgate:hinge and attachments), although the failures were identical. The vehicle was repaired at the contact's expense. The failure mileage was 74,555 and current mileage is 74,575. 4/01/09 updated 04/07/09.

- Westfield, IN, USA

problem #37

May 072008

Explorer

  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. When the contact opened the liftgate, the right hinge swung out and became detached. The hinge nearly struck his child. He called the dealer and was notified of a recall on his year, make, and model vehicle for this identical failure. He called the manufacturer and was informed that his VIN was not included in the recall. The contact believes that if the failures are the same, his VIN should be included. The recall number was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 70,000.

- Islip, NY, USA

problem #36

May 142008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,330 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. While driving 55 mph with the cruise control activated, the cruise control failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and they stated that the cruise control wiring failed. There is a recall for the vehicle speed control, but his VIN was not included. The recall number was unknown. The current mileage was 11,550 and failure mileage was 11,330. Updated 06/25/08. The consumer stated after the dealer fixed the recalled rear hatch probelm, the cargo hatch flew open while driving down the highway. A

- Bremen, IN, USA

problem #35

Mar 072004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the rear window hatch has a piece of plastic under the glass, which holds the window in place. The plastic has cracked all the way through the window. The current mileage was 75,000 and failure mileage was 8,000. Updated 04/02/08.

- Indiananoa, IA, USA

problem #34

Feb 262008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Explorer. The rear liftgate window suddenly blew out while the vehicle was parked. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that it was a common failure, but they could not explain the cause. The vehicle is currently at the shop being repaired. The contact has pictures of the failure. The current and failure mileages were 72,000. Updated 03-31-08 after doing some research, the consumer discovered the gas in the struts that hold the top portion of the rear hatch can explode when cold weather is a factor. Updated

- New Albany, IN, USA

problem #33

Jan 142008

(reported on)

Explorer 8-cyl

  • miles
2003 Ford Explorer with bad recall repair work. Consumer stated that the dealer repaired the vehicle wrong. He states that the hinges were supposed to be replaced. Dealer replaced the struts and hinges. When the consumer tried to get the problem fixed the first time he was told the struts looked fine. However, the driver's side hinge began to separate and the whole liftgate subsequently shifted; the gap between the liftgate and the body was no longer symmetrical but was significantly increased on the driver's side while decreased on the passenger side. As a result, the liftgate no longer latched or would only latch with a great deal of pressure applied when closing it. The consumer stated it was the two hinges at the top of the real hatch glass section that attached to the roof or body of the vehicle that were broken. The consumer stated the liftgate latch, trim panel and the rear taillight were damaged as a result of the defective hinge and should be fixed without charge. Recall# 04V442000

- Pollock Pines, CA, USA

problem #32

Feb 152007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
We purchased a certified used 2003 Ford Explorer eddie bauer 4X4 in June 2006. One morning in mid-Feb 2007, we discovered a crack in the lifegate glass applique that started from the top down, approximately 8" left from the center of the gate. There was no evidence of impact to the plastic, but rather a stress crack. Since that time, the crack has grown wider and all the way through the plastic applique. Now, another crack has started on the right hand side approximate 6" from the center of the liftgate. We contacted the local dealership in mid-Feb 2007 and they stated we would have to pay for the cracked liftgate and it would cost approximately $800. We continue to observe other Ford Explorer's in the local area with similar cracks in their liftgate plastic applique.

- Minden, NV, USA

problem #31

Sep 142003

Explorer

  • miles
2003 Ford Explorer. Consumer states that the vehicle bottom rear liftgate is cracked. Consumer believes concern is related to recall on the hinges for the liftgate. The consumer believed the cracks on the liftgate were due to weakness. Updated 07/08/07.

- Westbury, NY, USA

problem #30

May 102007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
2003 Ford Explorer has structure: Body: Hatchback 6" vertical crack in plastic below hatchback window. Recall 04V442000 does not apply to my VIN number however is same problem. Spent 40 minutes on phone with Ford and they stated that I must complete a complaint form.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #29

Dec 192006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
Rear hatchback was taken to Ford for a recall regarding the hatchback hinges. The stress of the failed hinges has caused cracks to develop below the rear window in the facia, it is cracking.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #28

Dec 032005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,600 miles
The lift gate trim piece needs to be repaired for the 4th time not including lift gate recall which would be the 5th repair. I have been informed by local dealer that this is "design flaw" and Ford has yet informed them how to correctly repair the problem.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #27

Aug 112006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
After opening the hatchback to put groceries inside, the window fell. After inspecting it, it turns out the hinge on hatchback broke causing the window to fall. It hit my left arm and forearm causing severe bruising, other than that nobody else was hurt and the window did not fall off completely. I called the dealer and was asked to drop it off for inspection. Was eventually fixed. But I can't help to wonder if it will happened again and if the consequences will be worse.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #26

Jun 092006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
: the contact stated while the vehicle was parked at home the rear lift gate window exploded. During the incident the temperature out doors was about 70F. Last year, the vehicle was taken to the dealership who replaced the gates defective hinges, according to recall # 04V442000 instructions. The contact expressed concern about the incident because it could have caused a serious accident. The consumer was told poor quality glass may have used to perform the recall work. The consumer had the window repaired at his expense, however days later he heard a noise and upon inspection, the consumer discovered the inside panel of the liftgate was very loose and it looked as though it was about to fall off. Updated 08/02/06.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #25

Dec 152005

Explorer

  • 49,000 miles
Panel under tailgate window cracked and split while vehicle parked in driveway on cold day. Vehicle had previously had tailgate hinges replaced under recall. Dealership advises that manufacturer denies any responsibility to repair/replace. Dealer estimate of $401 to repair.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #24

Dec 062005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact states while the vehicle was parked she heard the liftgate glass explode. Nothing hit the glass and the hydraulic shaft released. The vehicle is currently at a local mechanic, but they have not diagnosed what happened. The dealership and manufacturer were not willing to assist with repairs, therefore, the insurance company was repairing the vehicle.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #23

Apr 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
Complaint regarding recall 04S20 relating to the rear lift gate.*** no answer required***. the consumer still had not received a call or letter as to when to take the vehicle in to have the recall work performed.

- Gainesville, VA, USA

problem #22

Feb 222005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,500 miles
The plastic molding around the rear glass on the liftgate cracked. Consumer was concerned that the glass may fall out while opening the liftgate or while driving. The dealer was notified......the consumer was advised by dealership that this happened to a lot of people. If not under warranty the consumer must pay. The consumer's gas gauge failed with only 2500 milles over warranty.

- Columbus, GA, USA

problem #21

Oct 072004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
NHTSA recall campaign 04V442000, consumer received a recall for the hinges on the liftgate. Consumer has been unable to have the vehicle repaired since the dealer has made not contact with her for the service date.

- Mokena, IL, USA

problem #20

Jan 232005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,500 miles
Received recall notice for hinges on rear window of hatch and was advised not to open until hinges were replaced, which I did not. Noticed the fiberglass under the window cracked approximately 4 inches to the left of the latch. Took the vehicle to Ford dealer and the warranty administrator said the fiberglass was not covered under recall. The warranty administrator said he would send a request for Ford to repair the fiberglass under the glass but doesn't know if they will since they have denied paying for a few of these that he has already submitted. I am convinced this damage is a direct result of the defective hinge and feel that Ford should repair my vehicle.

- Tifton, GA, USA

Read the next 19 complaints »