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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:
$1,933.00
Average Mileage:
93,352 miles
Total Complaints:
323 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (149 reports)
  2. not sure (79 reports)
  3. replace torque converter (36 reports)
  4. sitting in drive way trying to figure something out (31 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 17)

problem #323

Jan 032014

Taurus SES 3L V6-182 Ohv

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,129 miles

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

For about a month, the transmission acted strange in that at highway speed, it would act as if it were in neutral for a little bit, then resume behaving normally. Of course, when we would take it to a mechanic, it would behave, so problems weren't easily found.

Eventually, we went to put the car back in the garage. Upon engaging drive, the transmission made a horrible grinding noise (much like shoving a manual into gear without bothering with the clutch), and left a large puddle of ATF in the driveway.

It moved far enough to get back into the garage and went into park.

At this point, it refused to disengage from park at all, and had to be dragged out on sleds to get it onto the back of a tow truck and head off for repair.

Here it is, ~2 years and ~15k miles later, and the reman is starting to act a bit funny again. Here's to hoping it either lives, or dies while still inside of the warranty...

- , West Allis, WI, USA

problem #322

Nov 122015

Taurus

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Transmission failed when my daughter was driving the car, and had to be replaced at a cost of $2000.

- , Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #321

Dec 012015

Taurus LS 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Like a lot of you, I was driving along in my Taurus and there was a pop and dead transmission. I have seen transmissions have problems before, but was honestly surprised when it just died out of the blue. I found out later that it is a defect in the transmission at the point of the drive shaft. Ford decided to go with an inexpensive part that, over time, will wear down and eventually break so that it effectively cuts the transmission from the engine. This was a design flaw that has caused a lot of people serious trouble with their cars down the road. If you are thinking about buying one of these cars be careful. These seem like nice cars, but the problems with the transmission gives zero warning leading up to the failure. Once it fails its either replace the transmission or replace the car - no third choice. And these days a new transmission is worth more than the car will be.

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #320

Oct 102015

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

This issue is totally uncalled for! This is most definitely an issue that Ford could have prevented! This car was purchased for my grandmother to have something reliable and it is anything but reliable. She is an older woman and only drove it to get groceries in the small town we live in and the car has been very well cared for and kept in a garage. It has never even been driven over 55mph and the transmission failed at only 80,000 miles!!!! This is heartbreaking because she is on a fixed income and Ford builds crap like this when there customers trust them!!!!! SHAME ON YOU FORD!!!!!! Your junk your selling to your customers could have left an old woman stranded!! All because of your greed!! Now she's stuck with a pile of worthless junk because you don't fix a problem you are well aware of!! I mean seriously you have over 10,000 complaints on this exact transmission and you've done nothing to make it right!!! Your customers will eventually figure you out and then what?? Do you really think your company is above this! You are only as big as your customers you idiots are going to take the whole company down with you and your greedy little selves!!!

- , Cordova, AL, USA

problem #319

Sep 132015

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,990 miles

Wife was supposed to leave in a couple of hours to help with sick grandson in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Trans just quit ... no prior symptoms or warning ... no gears forward or reverse ... like a lot of others have reported. Towed home for $125 and now sitting in the driveway. I'm reading internet posts trying to figure it out. Could be this problem - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIQt4w70hYU - seems to explain it pretty well.

I had thought Ford resolved these Taurus trans problems from the earlier models ... guess I thought wrong ... seems they just kicked it down the road and then stopped producing the car 3 years later hoping they'd all crash or die and all go away. I had been thinking positive thoughts about Ford since they didn't take government money to bail them out of their financial difficulties like GM did. Or did they get some special "under the table deal" and kept their mouth shut in exchange for the gov't hammering GM and selling Chrysler to Fiat.

Might be time to re-teach the wife to drive a stick again like we used to when we were young ... never had a manual fail other than normal clutch replacements. Working a clutch is just a bit more difficult now that I'm partly disabled. Well, I'm just glad it happened a few miles from home rather than some obscure part of the PA Turnpike.

Update from Oct 25, 2015: Just as suspected it was the torque converter. The splines in the disc welded to the back of the case were stripped. This stops the pump shaft from turning. No pump = no fluid pressure = no gears. Replaced the torque converter and the car runs like new again. Only thing done to the transmission was fluid and filter change. It's just a lot of labor getting it out and back in. As one trans parts supplier told me, the AX4N trans is pretty bullet proof up about 200,000 miles. The torque converters are junk. Rebuilt converters by DAACO have splines twice as thick as original and so do TRANS STAR which now owns DAACO. So if you plan on keeping the car for awhile, insist on one of those or risk the same problem again. Make sure you change your fluid and filter regularly to protect the trans from unnecessary wear. Ford Engineers should be called to task for this stupid design decision.

- , Milford, MI, USA

problem #318

Aug 052015

Taurus ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

One evening after work I went out to get in my car and drive home. I started my car which was fine and shifted it into reverse. It never moved. I could not get it to go forward or backward. A friend pushed it hoping that it would catch but it did not. I ended up calling my partner to come and get me. I work an hour from home and this occurred at work so I later had to have it towed to a mechanic who could not look at for weeks. In the interim I had to use my partners car leaving her without transportation. She finally went out and bought another vehicle. I was told it will cost $2400 to fix because it needs a new transmission. I had no warning whatsoever that I had any problems with this transmission until it just quit. To say I am mad is an understatement. Who has $2400 laying around that would want to put it in a 13 year old car?

- , Oskaloosa, IA, USA

problem #317

Sep 242015

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

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

Driving along, everything fine. Then like a Bolt from the Blue, Transmission stopped working. Engine runs fine. All I have is PARK!

- , N, NC, USA

problem #316

Jul 252015

Taurus SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I was driving up the hill late at night as I was on a narrow road, and the car suddenly stopped. I had to let the car slide backwards on its own to a flatter spot. The car starts and runs, but it won't move on any gear. I spent over $2,000 fixing everything else in the car. Now I don't know what to do. The towing service told me it looks like I need a new transmission.

Ford did not make this car well. They did not warn people of sudden transmission failure.

- , Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #315

Oct 102014

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Simply driving along the highway, and accelerated slightly when the car acted as if it was in neutral. I coasted off of the road, thankfully I was able to do that safely. I heard many diagnoses for the problem, including the torque converter or transmission fluid being bad, but of course it was the most expensive issue: the transmission was shot. If the car wasn't worth as much as it is, I would've just bought another car. Maybe a '92 Toyota that seems to have a fraction of the problems of this 12 year old crap car.

- , Huntington, IN, USA

problem #314

Jul 182015

Taurus LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,000 miles

I was not certain that it was the transmission until I read all of the complaints on this website. Every example of what happened to others was what I experienced. I was going down the interstate at 70 mph, had just passed a car and all of a sudden I started loosing speed as if the car slipped in neutral. When I tried pressing the gas the RPMs just revved up. The car I passed, passed me and I managed to coast over the right lane off the side of the road. It was in the middle of the afternoon, 100 degrees out, and I was pissed. I put the car park, went back to drive and pressed the gas and again nothing just RPMs.

I popped the hood, and looked to see if I saw anything that looked weird (belt broke etc). Nothing, it sounded normal. Called boyfriend he came and got me 30mins later, called roadside assistance and they had it towed to a friend's shop. He's not a transmission guy so he called around to other mechanics and lo and behold the diagnoses was the transmission. He checked the fluid and it had that overflow in it, and that pretty much was the tale tell. I bought this car brand new in 2003, have almost 150,000 miles on it. I really cannot complain as besides normal wear & tear I have only had to replace the starter and now the transmission. BUT from what I hear it's going to be expensive!

- , Valley, AL, USA

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

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

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

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