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:
92,722 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford Taurus:

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

2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Sep 112011


  • 55,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was driving approximately 15 mph in a parking lot and upon depressing the accelerator pedal, the transmission unexpectedly failed to respond. The vehicle was being towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The contact stated the failure was related to the torque converter which was a common issue. The manufacturer was not made aware of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 55,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Mulberry , AR, USA

problem #18

Sep 042011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 74,367 miles
Was driving down highway with my 2 children in the car, going speed limit 65, when car failed to engage, engine revved but car would not go forwards or backwards, almost hit by on coming traffic while stuck in road. Rest of car is like new......... wtf?

- Guilford, NY, USA

problem #17

Sep 052011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was driving 60 mph when the vehicle would not accelerate. The contact merged the vehicle to the shoulder. The engine was still running but the vehicle would not shift into gear. The vehicle was towed and a mechanic informed the contact that the torque converter would need replacing. The dealer was not contacted and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Guilford, NY, USA

problem #16

Sep 052011


  • 108,000 miles


It should be a transmission problem. When I was driving at 65mph the car lost dragging force suddenly and I had to push the car to the emergency zone. Then I cannot move the car anymore with any shift (R, D, od, 1). I found many 03 Taurus had the same problems from some other websites. The model should be recalled because it has nothing warning sound or damage clue.

- Worcester, MA, USA

problem #15

Jul 262011


  • 98,891 miles
My wife was driving our car, when the engine revved up and the would not move in drive gear. At the time she was crossing a four lane highway. The car will start and run, but will not move. I have even replaced the neutral safety switch, and that did not solve the problem.

- Little Hocking, OH, USA

problem #14

Jul 172011


  • 125,000 miles
I was driving eastbound on I-90 (mass. Pike) in Massachusetts, about 60 miles outside of boston, with my fiancee in the passenger seat. Road conditions were ideal. Temperature was in the high 80S. Sun was out, about 4 P.M. in the afternoon. Suddenly, the rpms went through the roof, but the car did not slow or speed. I tested again and same thing happened. I signaled right and was able to move over one lane and again onto the shoulder. Once parked, the car would not go into gear. I just got revving in park, drive, reverse, lower gears, etc. Transmission failure. No power to the ground. Repair costs came to $2,000. I would consider this a safety problem since I was not able to control the speed of my car on a busy highway. I was lucky enough to have space to my rear and right when the incident occured, but had I been boxed in, there certainly would have been an accident. It appears this is a common problem with the '03 Taurus.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #13

Mar 282008


  • 71,000 miles


I was looking on the NHTSA website with regard to another issue that I had heard about with the 2003 Taurus (front end collapse) when I came across this transmission issue. Driving in highway passing lane, the car suddenly began to lose momentum. Speedometer rapidly began to drop while RPM's went ballistic, then dropped. I was fortunate that I quickly realized the car was coming to a stop that I could not control regardless of how hard I pressed the accelerator. I was barely able to pull over 3 lanes of traffic to make it into the breakdown lane, where it came to a complete halt and could not be moved. Not only did I have an issue with my 2003 Taurus at 71K miles, we also had to replace the transmission on our 2001 Ford F-150 at 110K miles & 2005 Ford Focus at 80K miles, at a cost of $8300. All of these vehicles were purchased new and driven by the same driver. Given the number of complaints posted on the NHTSA website, I would think either Ford or the national highway transportation safety administration would take responsibility and perform an in depth investigation why so many Ford transmissions are failing and issue a notification of these serious issues with this car and the steps to remediate those issues before the issue causes serious injury or death.

- Marshfield, MA, USA

problem #12

May 092011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 72,525 miles
The torque converter on my 2003 Taurus ses completely and immediately stopped working - the engine would rev but I was unable to engage any of the gears.

- Northampton, MA, USA

problem #11

Feb 232011


  • 78,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus driving along and engine runs but it feel like I am in neutral transmission gone. 2 time in 2 1/2 years and Ford fixed it the first time.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #10

Feb 072011


  • 132,000 miles
I was driving I-75N, got off at my exit and switched lanes as the light was turning from red to green. Just as I got under the light, my car would not accelerate. It was in gear, but the engine would only rev (as if it were in neutral). I put on my hazards, restarted the car to no avail. Called 911 and reported what had happened. A kind (and brave) stranger was able to push my car safely through the intersection and to the shoulder where I parked and waited for a tow-truck and friend to pick me up. Had it towed to pepboys (they don't work on transmissions) had it towed to aamco and subsequently cottman transmissions where it sits now. Parts and labor are estimated at $2331. Many, many other similar accounts from other 2003 Ford Taurus owners. Should be a recall on the failing torque converters. And the stickler is, I just had an oil change at my local Ford dealership and they told me my car was in great condition. There was nothing to worry about. You can only imagine how relieved I was hearing that from the manufacturer.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #9

Feb 012011


  • 74,000 miles


I was returning home from a gas station and came down the steep hill to my house and when I went to back into my parking space the transmission completely failed. I thought my tires were just spinning due to some ice. When I put the car in drive to try to find another space I discovered the only gears I had were park and neutral. The car then coasted to the middle of the intersection and stopped, I then had to get my neighbor to help push the car around the corner and into a parking spot. There was no warning at all the transmission never slipped and there were no indicator lights. Nothing at all just total failure. I'm just glad it didn't happen with my family in the car along the highway on our way to cub scouts.

- Lansford, PA, USA

problem #8

Dec 082010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Without any warning my gas pedal of my vehicle stopped working. I was driving down the road - the car jerked and then nothing. The car would not go into gear. I had to roll and then push my vehicle to the side of the road. Thank god there was no one behind me or I would of been hit - it was very scary. Turns out it was the torque converter. Had to wait for aaa and then get my car towed to transmission place. They replaced and it cost me $1,133.58.

- Leesburg, FL, USA

problem #7

Nov 112010


  • 198,000 miles
The 2003 Ford Taurus while stopped at a light or applying brakes will surge and lunge forward. Very dangerous, because it surges with people walking in front of it and cars in front of the car. The car then feels like it is hit from the rear end and smells like it is about to catch on fire. Very scary situation, my children are very scared and we already have an evacuation plan if the car catches on fire. It is defintely not safe. A similar problem has been addressed with the 2006 Ford freestyle. It also goes dead while backing up. Even when brakes are applied to the floor, it surges and moves forward. The enginge jerking is a very hard jolt. We hope this will be addressed.

- Satsuma, AL, USA

problem #6

Dec 122008


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the check engine light illuminated on the dashboard.the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the cam sensor was replaced. Approximately 5 months later the failure recurred and the vehicle was taken back to an independent mechanic where the cam sensor was again replaced. The failure recurred again and the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the cam sensor was reset. The failure has not recurred. Approximately 1 year later while driving at approximately 20 mph the front passenger side tire blew out. Upon examining the vehicle the contact noticed the coil spring was broken and pierced the tire. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the front passenger side coil spring was replaced. The contact also stated that approximately 2 months later while attempting to operate the vehicle it would not shift into gear and would not move. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where it was in the process of being diagnosed. The failure mileage was 77,000 and the current mileage was 90,600.

- Quinnesec, MI, USA

problem #5

Mar 312010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 58,671 miles
On 3/31/10 I was driving my 2003 Ford Taurus southbound on I-5 in the sacramento, ca area at about 7:20 pm. Just North of richards boulevard my auto began slowing down for no apparent reason. No dashboard emergency lights came on and there was no unusual sounds. As I depressed my accelerator my RPM indicator would increase but my car continued to lose speed. I was able to safely exit the freeway and my auto coasted to a stop on a side street. I then placed my car in reverse, drive, 1 and 2 and depressed the accelerator and the car did not advance forward or backward. Car was towed to a Ford dealership on 4/1/10. On 4/3/10 a customer service manager called to tell me that they need to remove the transmission in order to diagnose problem further. The car has less than 59,000 miles on it and I had purchased it used in 2007 with approximately 23,000 miles on it. I have searched the internet for similar complaints and have come to the conclusion that it is a possible transmission failure which could cost me approximately $2500 to fix. I bought the car for $8,900! I've owned a 1989 Mazda 323 and a 1998 Toyota corolla which each had over 110,000 miles on them and I never encountered a transmission problem.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 102008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving 55 mph, the anti-theft warning light illuminated and the vehicle lost all power and shut off. The dealer replaced a sensor at the cost of $400, but the failure continued. The vehicle was taken to the dealer three times and they replaced the sensor again. The automatic control and powertrain control modules were replaced and a new computer was installed; however, the failure continued. During the final time the vehicle was taken to the dealer, they stated that an engineer would be flown in to determine the cause of the failure. The engineer concluded that the vehicle was losing 2.4 volts while driving, which caused it to shut off. Bypass wires were installed on the vehicle in an attempt to get it to operate correctly. The vehicle was in the shop for over 30 days and is currently awaiting repairs. The failure mileage was 65,000 and failure mileage was 66,693. Updated 09/25/08 updated 09/26/08.

- Bluffton, SC, USA

problem #3

Aug 032007

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,159 miles
2003 Ford Taurus, transmission fails. It dies on the highway with no warning and Ford says there is nothing wrong with it. Of course now that it is out of warranty they are more than happy to repair my car. Started in Sept of 07 with 73,000 miles. I have been told by an independent mechanic that it is an electrical problem with the transmission. Interesting that he can get the car to show symptoms, but the dealership could never find anything wrong with it, after they had it off and on for 2 months. Ford replaced fuel pump and filter and I have been told that is the only thing that is under warranty with Ford now. This is strictly negligence on the part of Ford. They put a car out there that they know has transmission issues. There should be a recall on these cars. Shame on Ford.

- Crestwood, KY, USA

problem #2

Apr 152004

Taurus 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Ford Taurus has problems with transmission, engine backfiring, hood latch is broken, and seat bracket fell off. The tires were continuously going flat. Six flats occurred while the consumer was on a trip, the transmission was slipping and would jerk in traffic, the engine would back fire intermittently and stalled on one occasion, the seat bracket was replaced by the dealer but failed again (the seat bracket was incorrectly installed from the start), the engine also displayed knocking and had taken about 9 visits before the problem was corrected, it was discovered that a valve was sticking out. The A/C did not cool, the consumer smelled coolant which leaked inside the vehicle. The tires and rims were a problem and the vehicle had been in for repairs about 18 visits/two rear tires remained a problem due to severe inflation problems and the tires would need to be inflated several times daily. The consumer requested another vehicle. The gas mileage was poor. Tire loosing air pressure from the time of purchase. The consumer was involved in an accident on 2-25-06 and the air bags failed to deploy. Updated 03/29/06.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 152003

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
While driving the vehicle in overdrive the vehicle would slow down. The dealer was notified. While driving the vehicle in overdrive the vehicle slows down. The dealer has been notified.

- Coulee Dam, WA, USA

Not what you are looking for?