really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
122,000 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (8 reports)
  2. i just wanted to let the owners of ford explorer sports 2003 (2 reports)
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Explorer:

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

problem #10

Nov 222017

Explorer Sport XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

Problem started with the car stalling while I was in a parking lot, but after a few cranks it restarted. It would happen about once a week (I do a ton of local driving) initially when I was slow at a low idle, but always restart. Then it happened at speed, which was terrifying as I had almost no control of steering (difficult to turn the wheel) and I'm not sure if the brakes are even responding. I'm pretty strong and it was a real challenge to turn the wheel to get to the side of the road and I put all of my weight into the brakes. Fortunately it's never happened while going downhill, and I think that it may be inertial that's stopping me.

No check engine light, no codes coming up. We're going through testing one thing at a time, cleaned throttle body, replace PCV valve, IAC, ran vacuum leak check (not very well though, could still be something there. It could be the fuel pump, but that's a last resort replacement if we're fairly certain that's it.

I won't drive it regularly now, the only driving is test driving as we're working through the systems. My biggest concern is the almost complete lack of control when it fails. I've driven plenty of heavy cars in the past without power assist. It's a great arm workout, but totally doable. This is almost impossible and terrifying.

Completely disgusted that Ford has been getting away with serious safety issues (Hello 2001 F-150 and spark plugs that eject and can hit fuel lines, starting a fire!) without the government responding.

- Courtney L., Seattle, WA, US

problem #9

Mar 012017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

as much as I love my car, its going to cost a lot to completely fix it. the back window panel is cracked the bumper is messed up which is my fault and I know. recently though, its kinda freaked me out driving down the road and my car dying. I don't know if anyone realizes how dangerous that is but explorers are heavy and when the car dies the power steering turns off. I'm a small person so turning it involved putting all my weight onto the steering wheel to get the car off of the road.

- Constance S., Iowa Park, TX, US

problem #8

Jan 202017

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles


- miller41076, Denver, CO, US

problem #7

Feb 122016

Explorer Sport XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

While driving on Friday my engine cut off while I was making a turn. Steering wheel and brakes locked up, thank God there was a driveway to pull in to. It started up soon after. When I got back in my car after shopping a few hours later my car would not turn over almost like it was not getting any gas.

AAA came and pushed a button he called a kill switch under the passenger side wall just to the right of the glove box. My car started right up. He said it might be the fuel filter or catalytic converter. I made it home which was 53 miles away and had my mechanic stop by and look at it. I also purchased a new fuel filter. Well, after the new filter was put in my car started and my mechanic drove for a while. It did not stall at all. An hour after that I took it to the store and never made it there because my car stalled again.

I live 6 miles in the mountains, so I need my car. Anyone have any ideas or remedies please send my way.

Thanks Debbieanna

Update from Jul 23, 2016: I just wanted to let the owners of Ford Explorer Sports 2003 that I finally got my car running after 2 months of my mechanic working on it. Turns out there was a wire that had burned up in or going from the fuel pump to the engine. (can't remember exactly). I was without my car for a long while (almost 2 months) while Jim ( a mechanic I had heard was amazing) worked and worked until he found the problem. He was simply awesome to say the least. I wish I could be more specific on what exactly he did, but if anyone is having the problems I was having, please check the wires that go to the fuel pump

- debbieanna, Angwin, CA, US

problem #6

Jan 012015

Explorer Limited 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

This is total bullshit and I want the rest of the "Exploder" owners, as I now call it, to understand that this is unacceptable!! The vehicle shuts down entirely at random when making a turn. No explanation, rhyme, reason, or warning!! Please, if you are experiencing this issue report to US DOT NHTSA!! I have twice now and will continue to do so until something is resolved!!

- Ryan B., Winneconne, WI, US

problem #5

Nov 152014

Explorer Limited 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,126 miles

I own a 2003 Ford Exploder as I like to call it! I have read other complaints that explain the exact problem I have had as far as the engine stalling out while braking, turning etc. No one seems to know the cause or resolution to the issue at hand!! How can this not be viewed as a extreme safety issue??!! Today, my wife was nearly broadsided turning into a parking lot when the vehicle died!! Obviously she lost engine power, power steering, and was left defenseless in oncoming traffic!! This has happened multiple times at random.

We live in an area with multiple round-abouts, and we all know how dangerous they can be even with a vehicle operating properly! Does someone really have to die before Ford takes a serious look into this? How many complaints are needed to start a recall process, or where do I go from here? I'm so pissed, it's not like they just give these vehicles away!!

- Ryan B., Winneconne, WI, US

problem #4

Aug 302010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,474 miles

It's just scary driving around in a vehicle that just randomly dies and locks up the steering wheel If any one can help i would appreciate it!

- tabepa, Worcester, MA, US

problem #3

May 222004

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

when coming to a stop it will die.There is no pattern to this.Sometimes it happens.No warning,then it will start right back up.

- seangalla, St.Charles, IL, US

problem #2

Jan 312009

Explorer 3,2lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

the vehicle loses power while driving and will not start for some time. stalls during acceleration and deceleration.

- bryantfl, Hollywood, FL, US

problem #1

Jul 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles

We have a dangerous issue that the local dealer, Dick Masheter, cannot duplicate. The vehicle cuts off when in a situation of braking such as yielding in an intersection or taking a turn. For obvious reasons, this is extremely dangerous as the steering column locks up upon occurrence. This happens sometimes as often as twice per day and as infrequent as once every other week. It seems to be happening more frequently lately as it happened twice yesterday. We will be reporting later this week. Will update if the dealer is able to duplicate or repair.

- Shelley A., Columbus, OH, US