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.

2.0

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,538 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 Mercury Sable drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Mercury Sable Owner Comments

problem #17

Mar 162016

Sable

  • miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that the gear shifter was stuck and could not move out of the park position. In addition, the brake lights failed to illuminate when the brake pedal was depressed. The contact mentioned that the brake wiring had to be pushed down to override the failure. The failure occurred constantly. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the brake light switch failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V106000 (exterior lighting). The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN and failure mileage were unknown.

- Marion, NC, USA

problem #16

Jul 152014

Sable

  • 44,000 miles
In 2014, . my power train (transmission) stopped propelling my car. Several years earlier, my friend who owned a Mercury Sable (the same type car as I am writing to you about), had the same transmission failure while on an interstate highway. He had approximately the same mileage on his car that I had when our transmissions failed. This type of failure is dangerous yet the Ford Motor Co. Advised me there had not been a recall. Please advise.

- Roslyn, NY, USA

problem #15

Aug 282014

Sable

  • 118,478 miles
Throttle cable stuck, engine at 1800 tpm, engine revved to 2600 RPM, inability to slow vehicle, surging. Required hard breaking. Once car stopped, idle dropped to 900 RPM after 15-30 seconds. Happens with increasing frequency. Engine surges at start, revs to 2100 then to 2600. Inspected cable, throttle and cruise control cable point of entry to supporting bracket plastic shattered. Cable emits sound from binding. Took to Ford dealer, they indicated my vehicle was not part of the recall although the problem has been clearly documented with the same make, model, year and engine.

- Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #14

Aug 162014

Sable

  • 70,000 miles

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

Vehicle accelerates on it's own. Have had multiple problems where I go to stop and car accelerates at a stop sign or light. I have almost rear ended multiple cars because of this. While going from a red to green light on a hill my Sable stalled and began to roll backwards, almost crashing into the car behind me, if it hadn't been for my quick reaction. Vehicle will idle very high, 2.5rpms at the lowest, while sitting in park after startup. After a 5 minutes it will sometimes drop down to 750-1000rpms, other times it will continue to idle high. During drive it will continually accelerate to around 40 mph on it's own. When I brake it will idle high and lurch forward, until I'm forced to push the brake all the way to the floor. Then car will either continue to idle high or drop so low that it stalls. Usually I drive with two feet at lights or signs to be able to rev engine from stalking. Engine light came on, code read idle air control valve, so it was replaced. Problem continued. Took to garage and it looks like the intake manifold gasket. All vacuum lines were replaced as well. Am going to fix the gasket and sell. Car scares me too much to drive. Multiple panic and anxiety attacks. Please recall this, extremely unsafe.

- Jamesville, NY, USA

problem #13

Mar 312014

Sable 6-cyl

  • 58,111 miles
I left home for work. All parts of vehicle working fine. I put my blinkers on to make a left turn, which I executed. Half-way down the street, the car began to lose power, but was still running. I tried shifting to another gear - nothing. There was no warning, no sound, just nothing. I attempted to get the car to the side of the one way street with parking on both sides. I could not move the car. Thankfully this did not occur on an interstate, or I would have been killed. Had to call aaa, get the vehicle towed. My garage said it was catastrophic torque converter loss. He has done 5 2003 vehicles just this year. My husband just had major heart surgery; is not working, and now I have to come up with over $2,000 to get a rebuilt transmission. Ford/Mercury has known about these catastrophic failures for years now -- and nothing is done. Does it take someone being killed before there is action? this is not fair the american consumers who try to buy american products and get screwed in the end! my next car...just may be from another country.

- Plymouth, PA, USA

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problem #12

Dec 202013

Sable 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I started my car to take it for an oil change. With the engine warmed up I shifted into gear to go. Without any warning symptoms (no clunking, no grinding gears, no loss of fluids, ...) the transmission decided to completely fail. The car would not go forward nor backwards as no gears were working. As this is now the third complete failure of the transmission on this car, I am trying to decide if I should try to get it repaired again. In all my years of driving, this is the only car that I have owned that has had transmission problems. There are known design flaws - the torque converter splines are not beefy enough and the vent fitting with a check valve on the trans housing malfunctions closed and causes the trans fluid to shoot back out of the dipstick tube, and there are other issues with this transmission as well... the same Ford/Mercury transmission model was recalled in another Ford vehicle. I repeat, the same failure prone part in another vehicle was recalled. There are thousands of complaints online about this particular transmission in Sable and Taurus vehicles it is a serious problem as the instantaneous complete transmission failure can easily occur in dangerous traffic situations. It previously failed with my car in motion on a highway! it's not clear as to why there is no recall nor warning. An investigation on the internet will clearly reveal thousands of failures and data is available at transmission and garage shops. Do something please.

- Ocean, NJ, USA

problem #11

Jun 102009

Sable 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles

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

After refueling at busy gas station, started the car and the car would not go forward or backwards as no gears were working. The car engine was working fine but the transmission died without any warning symptoms - no clunking, no grinding gears, no loss of fluids, ... it just completely failed. The car was repaired with a used transmission. The same Ford/Mercury transmission model was recalled in another Ford vehicle. There are thousands of complaints online about this particular transmission in Sable and Taurus vehicles it is a serious problem as the instantaneous complete transmission failure can easily occur in dangerous traffic situations. It previously failed with the car in motion on a highway! it's not clear as to why there is no recall nor warning. An investigation on the internet will clearly reveal thousands of failures and data is available at transmission and garage shops. Do something please.

- Ocean, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jan 192009

Sable 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Wife was driving vehicle on highway. The car engine kept running but the transmission died without any warning symptoms - no clunking, no grinding gears, no loss of fluids, ... it just completely failed while in motion. Thank god she was able to coast towards the shoulder and avoid being hit. The car was repaired with a used transmission. The same transmission was recalled in another Ford vehicle. There are thousands of complaints online about this particular transmission in Sable and Taurus vehicles it is a serious problem as the instantaneous complete transmission failure can easily occur in dangerous traffic situations. It's not clear as to why there is no recall nor warning. An investigation on the internet will clearly reveal thousands of failures and data is available at transmission and garage shops. Do something.

- Ocean, NJ, USA

problem #9

May 012012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
Third time here we go!!! the torque converter has been replaced twice on this Mercury Sable piece of junk! please see NHTSA report id # 10333941 this was the first time the torque converter failed. I had it repaired at a Ford / Mercury dealership. Received a 12/12 warranty (12K miles or 12 months) it failed again at eleven months and 12100 miles 100 miles over the warranty so they told me tough luck buddy.. I had it repaired again same dealership. I did not even bother to file a report I figured its a waste of time any how. And now here we go again 3rd time. That Ford can manufacture and sell junk and get away with it is criminal. I guess buyer beware don't by Ford and especially do not buy Ford front wheel drive. When it comes to Ford... I would never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence when it comes to class action lawsuits... does it matter what the judge drives ? have you been driven by Ford lately.

- Lantana, FL, USA

problem #8

Jul 032013

Sable 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
My wife was accelerating at about 10 mph when the vehicle completely went out of gear. The engine was running but the car failed to move quickly coming to a dead stop. It turns out it is the torque converter. I understand that Mercury Sable have this problem. It is the same transmission as is in a Ford Windstar that did have a recall to replace these defective transmissions. If this had occurred on the interstate during rush hour in our area she could have been hurt and in an accident. Why no recall??

- New Gloucester, ME, USA

problem #7

Jan 072013

Sable 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles

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

While driving at 40 mph transmission suddenly failed, no ability to move car out of traffic. Driver and passengers almost were rear ended by following traffic. Unable to move car off of roadway. Engine ran but car would not move.

- Newton, NJ, USA

problem #6

Dec 022012

Sable

  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that he attempted to accelerate from a complete stop however, the vehicle would not respond. The vehicle was later towed to an independent mechanic where the contact was advised that the torque converter failed and deposited metal shavings into the transmission. The vehicle was repaired by rebuilding the transmission. The torque converter was also replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 70,000.

- Livermore, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 132012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 85,262 miles
I pulled up to a stoplight. When it turned green, I depressed the accelerator and the vehicle's engine revved as though it were in neutral. When shifted into any forward gear or reverse gear, it would not move. It was as though it were stuck in neutral. The transmission specialist said it was a common problem, knew exactly what it was, and quipped that he was surprised mine had lasted this long. Upon researching online, it appears that this is an incredibly widespread problem. In fact, Ford knows it is a problem as it has recalled two of their minivans that contain the very same transmission. It is the same part failing. Why does it warrant a recall in one vehicle but not another??

- Streator, IL, USA

problem #4

Oct 152012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 157,300 miles
I was driving North on US31 just North of muskegon, Michigan. I was going 70 mph when with no warning the car (2003 Mercury Sable) lost drive train power and was suddenly only coasting. I had to pull of onto the shoulder of the highway in heavy traffic. Also I had my three adult autistic children with me, and they all got extremely nervous sitting at the side of the highway as the passing cars were making our vehicle move from the air currents. I was very concerned one of them might try and jump from the car from panic. As for the car itself, I thought maybe the serpentine belt has broke but when I checked it was okay. I restarted the car and put the transmission in gear and nothing... no forward or reverse, no movement at all. So I called my father who was fortunately there within half an hour (or with my kids it could have been a really bad situation) and he rescued us and I had a wrecker tow the car home. I called several transmission shops who all told me it is a very common transmission problem with this vehicle as well as the Ford Taurus. They pretty much all told me it should be rebuilt as the new parts are better than the original because the new parts are replacing parts Ford knows they have a problem with. Even a mechanic at the Ford dealership told me these vehicles have tranny troubles. My car has 157,000 miles so I guess I should feel lucky after reading internet posts of many of these cars doing to same thing with under 50,000 miles. I think it is a problem that should be recalled before someone gets killed with the tranny just quitting like that if someone hasn't already. Cant imagine being on a road with no shoulder in extreme heavy traffic and I sure don't have the $1200 to $3200 to get it repaired.. Ford should be required to fix this obvious bad transmission.

- Montague, MI, USA

problem #3

Mar 202011

Sable 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
I was driving the car. Came to a stop and pressed the gas pedal to accelerate. The car started out ok and the mph reached 15mph and then there was nothing. It was like the car was in neutral. I had to coast off the side of the road. Had T have the car towed home. Spoke with several Ford dealerships service mechanics and everyone of them said that they were almost 100% that it was the torque converter (inside the transmission). And could also be the whole transmission. The car wont go into gear. You can move the gearshift flawlessly thru the gears and nothing the car wont move. I was also told by every Ford mechanic that this is a huge problem with that year of car and that transmission (ax4N). Then to find out that Ford knows of the problem and no recall! then I find out today that Ford issued a recall on the Ford Windstar for the transmissions (which are the same transmissions that are in the Sable and in the Ford Taurus, the model # tranny ax4N). If Ford can issue a recall on the Windstar for the same problem as the Sable and Taurus why cant they issue a recall on all of them? the cost to fix my Sable is anywhere from $1300 to $1800 and that's if its only the torque converter and not the whole tranny which would cost in the $3500 to $4500 range. And both quotes are coming from Ford mechanics who have done numerous Sable etc with this same problem. I am a single mother and definitely do not have the money to have my car fixed!!!! apparently this is a huge problem and I feel along with so many others that Ford should do a recall and fix it for free!!!! especially when they recall the Windstar for the same tranny and same problem! this is an ongoing problem and Ford should address it and take care of it. Because as of right now I sit without a car. I have had other Ford cars and never a problem that's the only reason I purchased this one. If I would only knew.....

- Clarks Mills, PA, USA

problem #2

Feb 032012

Sable

  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that the vehicle began to loose power while attempting to enter the highway. The contact was able to exit the highway without incident and while stopped at a traffic light, the rpms began to increase tremendously. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 101,000.

- Marrero, LA, USA

problem #1

Jul 062008

Sable

  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stopped into a service station and turned off the vehicle. He restarted the vehicle and attempted to shift into gear; however, it would not shift until approximately 20 minutes later. The contact drove home and noticed that the rear brake lights were not illuminating. Through online research, the contact discovered NHTSA campaign id number 04V106000 (exterior lighting:brake lights:switch); however, his VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 101,000.

- Quincy, IN, USA

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