Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: Most people need a car that shifts gears & coil springs that don't shred tires. The Taurus fails in that respect.

The 2003 Ford Taurus has major issues with the transmission failing. Typically the 2003 Taurus transmission failure costs $2,000 to fix by about 90k-100k miles. Not good.

Adding insult to injury, the 1999-2003 Taurus also has a huge problem with coil springs breaking which can puncture or even shred tires while driving.

The US government spent THREE YEARS (2008-2011) investigating the 2002-2003 Taurus coil springs. Although Taurus/Sable from earlier years were recalled, ultimately the NHTSA did not force a recall. They determined that because there had been no deaths & very few bad crashes & injuries, the broken coil springs defect was no big deal & not a safety defect. Tell that to all the owners who had close calls...


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
99,688 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 Ford Taurus drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 6 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #61

Apr 012012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles


As I accelerated after stopping at a stop sign, there was a noise, the car coasted a short distance and stopped. I could not put the car in drive or reverse. I had no warning of this failure, no slippage or noises, and had I been in traffic, I would surely have been hit in the rear by any car behind me. I understand this is a common problem with the Taurus and shudder to think how many accidents may have been caused by similar failures. I am the original owner of this vehicle and have religiously followed Ford's recommendations for service. I realize this is a 2003 vehicle, but with only 52,000 miles I did not expect this failure. I received estimates up to $2600 to repair, but was told by one knowledgeable and honest mechanic, that the torque converter is usually the cause of transmission failure in a car with low mileage, dismantling proved the converter to be the problem. By rebuilding my transmission I saved a substantial sum, but this information is not easily available to consumers; leading many to spend more money than necessary to repair. Although well past any warranty, I do feel the transmission was inferior. This repair might have been covered if I were a high mileage driver.

- Croydon, PA, USA

problem #60

Apr 192012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
I was driving down a side street when the car quit moving forward. I coasted to a stop and tried reverse, and it would not go in that direction either. The engine was running when this occurred. I had a baby in the car and a trunk full of groceries. I got out and checked all the fluids. They were full. The transmission fluid was clear. The maintenance book said not to change the transmission fluid until 100,000. My car has only 73,000 miles. This car is well maintained. I paid to have it towed to the nearest car repair shop. They determined it was a transmission problem and could not fix it. I then had to pay to tow it to another shop that informed me that this was a characteristic problem of a 2003 Ford Taurus. If this defect is known by Ford's and they chose to ignore it and not fix our cars, I hope you will do the right thing and make Ford's fix it without me having to pay a huge bill which is hard on a limited income. I saw this address on a facebook page. The address is: please check out this page. You will see the many people are having this happen. I just stumbled upon the page by accident. I wonder how many more there are out there not knowing that there are a lot of us driving Ford's defective cars. Please make them accountable. They did not hesitate to take car payments for years. They should not hesitate to fix a car that they built. I was from detroit and always believed in buying american, but my opinion has changed. That is a shame. Thank you very much. I hope you can do something to help me.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #59

Apr 122012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
The car was being driven on a major highway between 40-50 mph and the transmission just dropped. Had to coast to the side of the road to avoid an accident. No warnings, lights, winding, etc. The car was just in for a tune up and oil change the weekend prior and there was nothing detected. There are hundreds of complaints regarding the same issue with an average mileage under 100,000 miles. We called Ford to explain that there was a systemic problem, they offered no assistance.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #58

Apr 112012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 179,000 miles


Transmission failed unexpectedly while driving and without any warning whatsoever.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #57

Apr 092012


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. A local mechanic diagnosed that the vehicle would need a new transmission. The manufacturer was notified, but denied any assistance with repairs to the failure. The dealer was not notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 77,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #56

Apr 102012


  • 172,000 miles
I was driving down the road doing 45 mph and without warning I lost all power. No gears will work. It seems as if all gears are like neutral. Engine starts and runs fine but no gears will work. Transmission wont work.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #55

Apr 032012


  • 24,928 miles


Car was slowly approaching red signal at major busy traffic intersection. While car was still moving, signal turned green. But, with neither unusual sounds nor other advance warnings, the engine lost all ability to transmit power to the transmission, creating an urgent emergency situation for safely transiting the intersection as well as bringing the car to a full controlled stop out of way of considerable fast moving traffic. Then had to deal with my visually-handicapped wife and significant foodstuffs just purchased, plus tow arrangements to our Ford dealer. Ford service determined cause clearly resulted from catastrophic failure of faulty torque converter because of stripped splines. Repairs cost over $1,300 just for torque converter replacement. However, transmission could still fail suddenly from undiscovered internal damage caused by broken torque converter, requiring significant additional cost for rebuilt transmission. Now, it's like a "russian roulette" experience each time we get in the car, something two elderly seniors really are not well-equipped to deal with!

- New City, NY, USA

problem #54

Apr 022012


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving 15 mph the transmission failed and he was unable to shift into any gear. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 95,000.

- Gadsden, AL, USA

problem #53

Apr 022012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 102,462 miles
Automatic transmission quit working with no warning. Could have caused serious damage. Luckly car was already parked. Ford Motor Company should have a recall on all 2003 Ford Taurus transmissions, someone is seriously going to be hurt by this problem.

- Blountstown , FL, USA

problem #52

Mar 192012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I turned my car on and reversed out of my driveway. When I hit the street my car would not budge. The car turned on but would not move leaving me stranded in the middle of the street with my two small children in the car. I believe these cars are dangerous and have found a large community online that has had the same problem or worse with these cars. I contacted Ford and they told me that they don't care and will not recall these cars. Someone with a similar experience on a forum directed me here to file a complaint. My car had less than 65,000 miles on it and was well maintained. This should not have happened.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #51

Feb 122012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 66,700 miles


On this Sunday, I had made three previous stops, without incident. I was turning into an intersection, when, without warning, I had no power. The transmission had failed! I coasted to the side of the street and called aaa. I had the car towed to a Firestone dealer. The verdict on Monday was an internal transmission failure. I then had the vehicle towed to a local Ford dealer. I was subsequently informed that I would need a new transmission. The new transmission cost $3287.51; towing costs were $122! I am the original owner of this vehicle, and the transmission was always maintained properly. There should be no reason for this transmission failure. There is a website that lists several hundred complaints about the 2003 Ford Taurus automatic transmission. I have also registered this complaint with the Ford Motor Company. Ford should recall this vehicle, considering the hundreds of transmission failures reported for the 2003 Taurus, and fully compensate owners, who, in cases like mine, have spent thousands of dollars.

- North Haledon, NJ, USA

problem #50

Mar 082012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was driving 40 mph and merging into traffic, but when the accelerator pedal was engaged the vehicle did not respond. There was and increase in the engine rpms, but the vehicle then stalled instead of accelerate. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 50,000. The VIN was not available.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #49

Feb 012012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Car starts to accelerate by itself without pushing on the gas pedal and doesn't stop till it is shut off.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #48

Mar 102012


  • 179,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle began to decelerate independently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostics where the mechanic advised that the transmission would have to be rebuilt. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 179,000.

- Remsenburg, NY, USA

problem #47

Mar 092012


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving approximately 10 mph, the transmission failed without warning. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence and had not been diagnosed or repaired. The contact planned to notify the manufacturer of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 107,000.

- Johnsburg, IL, USA

problem #46

Feb 222012


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle began to decelerate abnormally. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnostics where the mechanic stated that the transmission would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 53,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #45

Feb 282012


  • 69,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the vehicle would lose power without warning. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic and a diagnostic was performed. The failure was located as the transmission torque converted having failed due to defective material. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure and current mileage was 69,000.

- Glens Falls , NY, USA

problem #44

Feb 012012


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving 15 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle would not respond to the contact's attempts to accelerate or reverse. The vehicle was then taken to a private mechanic where the vehicle was diagnosed and the failure was located in the transmission pump.the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 87,000.

- Latonya, KY, USA

problem #43

Feb 212012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Sudden transmission failure. Car went from drive to neutral without warning, and then won't enter any gear. Fortunately we weren't on a busy freeway at the time.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #42

Feb 022012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 52,520 miles
Pulling out of driveway at work onto delhi pike a 4 lane highway to make a left turn (rush hours traffic) got out to lane started down road, engine just revved car quite running, rush hour traffic 35 mile hr zone. Called Ford, no recalls (was told not enough complaints filed). Ford really did not even seem concerned or act like they cared about it. I guess since the vehicle is 2003 and it is now 2011. Sorry about my luck, was how Ford approached it. It cost $2231 to repair. Thank god I am alive if this would have quit in middle of the left turn I could have been killed. Is it going to take deaths to make this a recall, it is quite obvious there is a problem. My car had 52520 miles on it, most vehicles this is just broke in. Car there are over 200 complaints about the same thing. Imagine going 70 on highway semi behind you all of a sudden you slow up have no way to get off highway, I guess the semi runs over top of you killing you and how many other people, either in your car or chain reaction. Ford and the NHTSA need to step up, and help out. How many people out there did not file a complaint, or know this is a known problem with the Ford Taurus.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

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