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CarComplaints.com 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...

9.1

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,938.00
Average Mileage:
92,909 miles
Total Complaints:
313 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (142 reports)
  2. not sure (78 reports)
  3. replace torque converter (36 reports)
  4. sitting in drive way trying to figure something out (30 reports)
  5. rebuilt the transmission replacing only failed parts (17 reports)
  6. scrap it! (5 reports)
2003 Ford Taurus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 16)

problem #313

Jul 192015

Taurus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Certainly never expected such a major problem with my Ford Taurus. There are so many similar cars on the road but have been told that this is a common problem with these cars. Unbelievable. I am single and living on very limited income. At this point I do not have the money to invest in a new or rebuilt transmission so am dependent on others to get me to appointments, etc. Doesn't seem fair that a major company like Ford can manufacture a car that has such a defect and not do anything about it.

- , Morenci, MI, USA

problem #312

Aug 092015

Taurus SE 3.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,069 miles

While driving down I-95 to have a Brown University visit my son was turning off the Expressway and transmission failed leaving him stranded nearly a hundred miles away from my house this car has been running great ever since we got it a year ago Ford refuses to do anything about these transmissions they are a bunch of idiots with a $0.02 washer in the torque converter that could easily have been beefed up and this problem would never a car needless to say I'm going to have to spend between $1800 and $2000 to have it fixed please be aware of this transmission issue as I see there are a ton of complaints about it I am calling Ford tomorrow to complain don't buy a 2003 Ford Taurus

- , Tewksbury, Mass , USA

problem #311

May 072015

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I was departing from parking lot and the car suddenly had some noise in the hood then lost all the power. After starting engine again, I can shift the gear into D or R, engine works OK but the car won't move at all. Before it happened, the transmission works fine, no delayed engagement, no slips or jolts...the transmission just stopped without any warning signs at all.

The car is regularly and well maintained. No check engine light on when it happened.

Later it turned out to be the stripped torque converter splines. The splines are only 0.16" thick by Ford's obvious defective designs, which can be easily stripped.

TAURUS 2003 SHOULD REALLY BE RECALLED BY FORD.

- , Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #310

May 302015

Taurus S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Car has been well taken care and low mileage. Transmission went out with no warning. Very stressful. Lucky was not far from home still had to be towed.

- , Welch, USA

problem #309

May 052015

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I HAVE A 2003 FORD TAURUS THAT HAS BEEN KEPT IN VERY GOOD CONDITION. THE OTHER DAY I WAS BACKING OUT OF THE GARAGE AND LIKE MANY COMPLAIN, THE CAR SEEMED TO GO OUT OF GEAR. I TRIED TO PUT IT IN OTHER GEAR TO NO AVAIL. I CALL MY LOCAL MECHANIC AND ASKED HIM WHAT THE PROBLEM MAY BE. I WAS TOLD THAT THIS YEAR CAR IS NOTED FOR TRANSMISSION FAILURE. MECHANIC ASKED ME TO CHECK TO SEE IF FLUID WAS HIGH ON THE DIP STICK, WHICH IT WAS. MECHANIC TOLD ME THAT THERE IS A PUMP IN THE TRANSMISSION THAT PUMPS FLUID TO THE TORK CONVERTER WHICH BREAKS PUMPING THE FLUID BACK INTO THE TRANSMISSION.

THIS PUMP IS THE WEAK LINK THAT FORD HAS NOT AND WILL NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR, PUTTING THE COST BACK ON THE CUSTOMER, IN MY CASE $2000. IF FORD WILL NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCTS THEN THERE ARE A LOT OF CAR MANUFACTURES THAT WILL. I WOULD BE HAPPY IF FORD WOULD PICK UP SOME OF THE COST. HOPE THIS HAS HELP SOMEONE.

- , Sugar Grove, OH, USA

problem #308

Apr 032015

Taurus SEL Wagon 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Well kept. Beautiful condition Taurus Wagon Deluxe edition. Every available option and only 85,000 miles. Driving down the road and come to a incline up the bridge. Car starts to accelerate then revs up like it is in neutral. Drop it down into a lower gear and am able to make it up the bridge barely. Take it to the shop and low and behold Tranny is shot.

Hard to believe all of the problems with these cars and many many with low miles. Should be covered from Ford. Especially if under 100,000 miles. Terrible service.

- , Bay City, Mi, USA

problem #307

Mar 292015

Taurus SES 3.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Ford is the worst. No warning, car drove fine, then suddenly it won't drive. There are so many documented problems with this models transmission that Ford should certainly be held liable. I will never buy a Ford again.

- , Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #306

Jan 282015

Taurus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I wish I had seen this site 4 years ago! Well, I was driving on the thruway on the on ramp when it sounded and felt like I was in "Neutral". I couldn't get past 35 MPH, so I hopped right off and the tranny died while I was moving into the shoulder. I turned off the car and it restarted, but would not shift into any gear.

My mechanic said that there were no fluids leaking. And, I checked the levels last week and they were in normal range. The engine light was on for a few weeks, but he said previously that it was another problem - not to worry. I did, however, notice a puff of black smoke coming out of the left front wheel well a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was the engine oil burning (had a leak in gasket) or the air from the icy cold. Not sure if it is related, but that is what prompted me to check the fluids.

$1500 minimum to fix - when the car is in need of more than the transmission. Scrapping it. Live and learn. I am just glad it did not die while I was up to speed and in full on traffic.

- , Niagara Falls, NY, USA

problem #305

Nov 262014

Taurus SE 3.0l2V6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

parked car, next morning would not move. no warnings, no noises, no nothing. Fluid is fine as are the fuses.After reading these stories the problem must be the converter being stripped out. My daughters drive this car a lot, on bad mountain roads. blind corners etc. could have been a nightmare. This is Bull.... since it looks like there is a big problem with this part. Ford will never get my bus again.

- , Wolcott, VT, USA

problem #304

Aug 242012

Taurus SES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,500 miles

August 24th 2012, my wife and I started out on our 4 day mini-vacation. I was driving 65 mph with the cruise control on in the carpool lane when all of a sudden my engine raced for about 3 seconds. I hit the brake to release the cruise control and then stepped down on the gas pedal and the car felt like it was in neutral. I pulled over to the side of the road. We had to be towed to the nearest Ford dealer. With only 61500 miles on the car and we have never towed anything with the car, the transmission had failed. They charged us $3700.00 to replace the transmission.

After looking up all the Taurus transmission problems from 2001 to 2008, I was really disgusted that Ford never did anything to correct this problem, they continued to sell these vehicles without changing any of the parts that were failing in the transmission knowing all along that their customers were going to have trouble with their transmissions and will be coming back for service work to repair these defective transmissions. Ford should have corrected this problem !! I will never buy another FORD !

- , Seattle, WA, USA

problem #303

Oct 292014

Taurus TSE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I was getting off of work and stopped at the bank to get some spending Money, got in the car and made left hand turn to get on the highway, then it was like I was in neutral, no gear at all, nothing. Well, there goes Christmas..

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #302

Sep 192014

Taurus SES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I work until midnight, left work with no problem. Got on the highway and driving along doing the speed limit (70mph) and all of the sudden my car felt like it was in neutral! As I was losing speed in the center lane semi(s) and cars passing me I had to try to get over to get on the side of the highway. Scared sh*t-less due to not having the speed to get over before getting hit!!!

It was a well maintained car!! Had it towed to the shop and I was told it was my transmission!! No RECALLS!!!!! I called and they told me there were none...... I hope and pray no one is hurt or killed due to this problem!!! Just happens ought of the blue. Yes, there are good people who will stop and help and then you have some people who look for a woman on the side of the road who needs help in the middle of the nite, and thank god I didn't have children in the car when this happened..... !!!!! Not a happy person!!!!

Update from Oct 23, 2014: Had the problem fixed, it was my only car and the cost was 948.68

- , grand rapids, MI, USA

problem #301

Sep 142014

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Sounds just like all the rest of the complaints here. Slowed down for a stopped vehicle in my lane, hit the gas to change in other lane and the engine roared but the car would not move. Had just enough forward momentum to pull off to side of road. At 56,000 miles this is unacceptable! Saw a YouTube video where Ford uses a cheap thin piece of metal in the torque converter that has a known record of failure. I was hoping for at least another 50,000 miles out of this thing. Not paying to fix and now car is virtually worthless!

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #300

May 292014

Taurus 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Like main other complaints I have just read there was no way to know that "BAMM!! " all the sudden the transmission in my car went out! There was no problems occurring before hand, no weird noises and it was running normal. I am a single mother of 2 young boys, I drive over 430 miles every other Friday to pick my boys up for the weekend and then another 250 miles on Sunday to meet there father. Now that my car is not running because of a "faulty transmission" I have no way to pick my kids up and spend time with them. Ford needs to recall the 2003 ford Taurus, and do what is right. I am one pissed off Momma.

- , Porterville, CA, USA

problem #299

May 092013

Taurus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

Well maintained 2003 Taurus with 54,000 miles and the transmission quit! No forewarning, no slipping, no fluid leaking; start up from a red light and engine just revs as if car was in neutral. Call AAA for a tow after the police department pushed the car to a safe spot. Estimated $2000. to fix a car that has a book value of $2500 to $3000. Plus just put over $600 in to replace springs and struts 3 weeks ago. AND had just stopped at the gas station and put $30.00 in!!!

Ford doesn't want to know anything about it so we now are stuck with a car payment and have a Chevy. I just cannot express how angry I am that not only did this happen on a car of which we took such care to maintain, but that Ford doesn't want to know anything about it. Grrr!

- , Rochester, NY, USA

problem #298

Feb 142014

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

While driving to work husband stopped at a stop sign and car would not move when he tried to proceed through

intersection. After getting a hold of mechanic I was informed that Ford's id my year and model as known for transmission going out. It's going to cost me $2800.00 total to fix this. There was NO warning signs at all, it just happened. 2003 Ford Taurus.

- , Pana, IL, USA

problem #297

Feb 062014

Taurus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

Thursday, February 6, 2014, I was driving during morning rush hour traffic traveling westbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the right lane just passing mile marker 347 from Bensalem to Willow Grove at a speed of 60 to 65 miles per hour staying with the pace of traffic. I was not trying to pass anyone, just keeping pace with the vehicles in my lane. I wasn't pushing the car to speed up. I had just come out of a left super-elevated curve in the road where I had lifted my foot off the gas pedal to coast through the curve and then pushed the gas pedal to maintain speed.

Without any warning, or any previous indication of any problem, when I pushed the gas pedal the only response was the engine rpm's rising and appropriate motor revving sound. There wasn't any acceleration. I pushed the gas pedal again and received the same response. I was now coasting and beginning to slow down. I was lucky to be at an area where the shoulder was cleared well from the previous weeks of snow accumulation, and had a safe shoulder strip to slow down and pull over. When I stopped, I put the car in park, then back into Drive, pushed the gas pedal and received the same response. I tried all of the gears, Reverse, 2nd and 1st, and received the same response ... the transmission was gone! There was no indication of any transmission problems when driving before this, no slipping gears, no jolts or bucking, no grinding gears, no slow acceleration then quick burst, nothing.

As many drivers also can relate, I can "feel" the car. I guess I learned how to "feel" the car from my years of driving manual transmission when you learned to feel and hear the car. After years of driving the same vehicle, you know when something is odd. Nothing odd before this transmission problem.

- , Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #296

May 252014

Taurus LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I was driving to the airport and about to enter the freeway when all of a sudden the transmission blew. The engine still worked, but when I hit the pedal the car wouldn't go anywhere. I almost got hit by a car heading on the freeway, and someone helped me push the car to the side. Needless to say, I am thankful I didn't actually get on the freeway or I could have got into a major accident.

There was no indication that the transmission had anything wrong with the car at all. No warning lights, sounds, or jerky feelings. One minute the car worked, the next it didn't. I think this is absolutely ridiculous! Ford needs to start warning people this will happen. With as many complaints about transmission failure out there, you would think they would warn us. This is irresponsible on their part. The car was in great condition, but the cost to get a new transmission is not even worth putting into the car. I might as well get a new one.

- , Elmwood Park, IL, USA

problem #295

May 122014

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

It's crazy that so many people have had this same exact problem and nothing has been done about it.. I bought my car used 1 year ago. I've had several problems since, some normal (flat tires, engine oil leak, check engine light for leaking fuel injector) and some notorious for Ford Taurus' (broken coil spring on front passenger tire and most recently transmission failure).

I had no warnings of a transmission problem( slipping, rough shifting, etc..), but as I was driving down a busy street with my 3 small children in the back seat at about 40 mph, my car suddenly was idling, speedometer decreasing, like in neutral. I coasted into an abandoned parking lot barely having enough juice to make it. At this point I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get the money to fix this insanely expensive problem but also I thank my lucky stars this didn't happen on a highway as we travel frequently to visit family all around.

I find it outrageous that multiple people would have to die for this even to be considered a safety hazard! Ford needs to step up and take responsibility for this problem!!

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #294

Dec 042013

Taurus 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,000 miles

Dropped my daughter off at school, turned the corner and it was just like someone slipped the tranny into neutral. The common problem of the torque convertor splines shearing off. The crappy thing about this is Ford recalled the identical trans for this on the Freestar, but not the Taurus. Of course, there's a whole lot more Taurus' than Freestars on the road. I was a Lincoln Mercury technician for 20 years and if anyone has a lawsuit and needs expert testimony that this is a defect that has the potential of a safety concern, I'm your guy.

- , Lakewood, OH, USA

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