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Should I replace the Explorer


p38fln

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City, State
Wisconsin
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer XLT 4x4
It's got 183K miles on it, and the engine and transmission seem strong.
I had it appraised at a car dealer and they offered $1k for it which seems like a really low price for a running 4x4 with little rust.

Here's the problems its got -
Front HVAC mode selector broke off so you have to open the glove box if you want to change it
Rear HVAC mode selector motor is dead, it only blows from the overhead vents
Rear pads/rotors need replaced (Calipers are fine)
Rear springs need replaced because the passenger side spring broke, but it broke in a manner where it's still drivable (Pressure on the spring pushes the two halves together instead of pulling them apart).

The guy who did the appraising also swore the transmission is going, but I think he confused "Downshifting" with "Slipping" - He kept saying watch this, and he would gun the gas, the tach would shoot up 1K RPMs, and the car would take off. I tried to explain to him what a torque converter was, and he started going on about how he used to live on a farm and knew how these things worked.
 


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Joe in NY

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2002 Eddie Bauer V8 4X4
trans sounds normal to me. With my V8 any time I think about touching the gas the tans unlocks and down shifts. :p Annoying but that is normal
 




Number4

"I'm counting to 3, then I'm getting your dad."
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NADA for an '03 is around $2,700. Then deduct your mentioned issues.

We invest in cars to get us from A-B. Having older cars means putting more money in them than their value, usually. New cars simply shouldn't need expensive repairs.
A dealer is only going to send it to auction. If you were buying a new car from them and an expensive one with dealer financing, they'd offer you more.
 








p38fln

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City, State
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer XLT 4x4
The Dealer pulled this trick, which I've seen before.
"We use KBB for our pricing", then they give you a number which they say they got from KBB.
In this case, they said they always select the "Good" price and deduct the price of the repairs from it. The "Good" price they had was $1200.

I was able to reproduce this price by going to KBB, and selecting an XLT with no options.

If I select the options mine has, which is rear AC, ABS, Rear AC, Power Windows, Power Door locks, Cruise Control, Navigation, Dual Power Seats, Leather, 3rd Row Seat, Moon Roof, Privacy Glass, Towing package, and tilt wheel, the answer is $2551 trade in value.
 




apenland01

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Tucson AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Eddie Bauer V8 4.6L
NADA for an '03 is around $2,700. Then deduct your mentioned issues.

We invest in cars to get us from A-B. Having older cars means putting more money in them than their value, usually. New cars simply shouldn't need expensive repairs.
A dealer is only going to send it to auction. If you were buying a new car from them and an expensive one with dealer financing, they'd offer you more.
This is spot on. The real question is how much do you like your Explorer? If you really like it, then fix it or have it fixed. If not, then trade it or sell it to get something you like.

EDIT: The way I look at it is this. If I spend $2000 per year on repairs, that is $166 per month. I can't buy a very good vehicle that I know as well as my Explorer for $166 per month. Some years, I haven't spent anything, so it was basically a free ride in a vehicle I REALLY like, as far as comfort stuff and the way it handles, etc. You can't count brakes, tires, batteries and stuff that is designed to wear out because you'll pay for those no matter what you drive. I made the last payment for my Explorer in 2010, and I've spent about $4,800 on repairs in the last 6 years, so that's about $67 per month. I know I can't get a better vehicle for $67 per month.
 




champco

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2013 Explorer XLT
Drive it to Phoenix. I got $3500 for my 2000 Durango with 162000 and no rocker panels.
 




p38fln

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City, State
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer XLT 4x4
I like the Explorer, pretty awesome vehicle, and it really is in good shape for 180K miles and 13 years old.

Wife hates it though, she says it's ugly and wants to replace it with an F-150.

In her opinion SUV's should look like cars (Like the new Explorer and Escape), and pickup trucks shouldn't have toppers because then they look like the "ugly" truck based SUV's.
 




TechGuru

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 XLS 4X4 4.0L FLEX
I like the Explorer, pretty awesome vehicle, and it really is in good shape for 180K miles and 13 years old.

Wife hates it though, she says it's ugly and wants to replace it with an F-150.

In her opinion SUV's should look like cars (Like the new Explorer and Escape), and pickup trucks shouldn't have toppers because then they look like the "ugly" truck based SUV's.
With all the crazy weather in Texas I don't like pick up trucks. Too much chance of cargo getting rained on not to mention stolen. If I need to haul something that won't fit inside a SUV I'll use a trailer, much lower and easier to load than a pickup bed.

Ya the new Exp is a freaking front wheel drive car. Stick with truck based SUV's. I have no need for a full size and mid-size is better for off road too not to mention a little better on fuel.
 
Last edited:




LMHmedchem

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer XLT v8
The repairs for the rear struts and rear brakes should cost you around $400 if you use really good parts. I don't know as much about the HVAC stuff but it sounds like you could live with the issues if you had to. I would put the $400 into is and keep driving it until the trans starts getting bad. You might post here to see if you can find a reputable trans shop in your area to see if there are any real issues brewing there.

You can barely buy a good bicycle for $400, so that's pretty cheap to keep a good vehicle on the road. I'm sure the 4x4 comes in handy in the winter up there.

LMHmedchem
 




Number4

"I'm counting to 3, then I'm getting your dad."
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Only if you're replacing it with a Toyota 4Runner.
My neighbors 4Runner has had back to back problems. $800 for AC system, then the U-Joints and other stuff. The plague is everywhere. The difference, after spending a ton on repairs, her Yoda is valued higher.
 




p38fln

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City, State
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2003 Explorer XLT 4x4
Yes, I agree on the Toyotas. I had a Rav4 before, the only reason it was reliable was everything on it was made in the simplest way possible. A steel rod ran the HVAC mode door, there wee no vacuum lines on it other than for emissions.

The WEIRDEST crap managed to break on it - U-joints went out in the steering column, just about $500 to repair. The part alone was like $300. Then the dealership screwed it up and put the steering wheel back on sideways, and made me pay for the labor to fix it. They said it was an alignment issue... '

When it blew a spark plug out in front of the local Ford dealer, I left it sitting in right there and bought a Ranger right on the spot.

And the maintenance was insane! Every 90K miles it needed the timing belt replaced for like $900, I replaced the spark plugs on my own but they were still $100 just for a pack of 4.
 




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