really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,861 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 F-150 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Ford F-150:

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

2003 Ford F-150 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

May 052016


  • 143,000 miles


Pulling into a parking space in front of a medical clinic, going maybe 5 -8 mph and I had the brake depressed and suddenly the vehicle lunged forward at full throttle and hit a building--you can see the skid mark in the first picture. I ended up hitting a building and when it got stopped the tires just kept spinning until I shut it off. The air bags did not deploy, myself and my grandchildren were hurt. Major building damage as well. Mileage at time this happened 140,000

- Red Bluff, CA, USA

problem #23

Feb 172015


  • 195,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle suddenly accelerated at 50 mph and caused the contact to lose control. As a result, the contact crashed the vehicle into a median wall and the air bags did not deploy. The contact sustained head and eye injuries that required medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure mileage was 195,000.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #22

Sep 012014


  • 26,381 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. While attempting to slow the vehicle down, it suddenly accelerated without warning. The contact depressed the brake pedal and was able to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was pending diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 26,381.

- Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #21

May 062014


  • 143,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford F150. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph with the cruise control activated, the vehicle accelerated without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be diagnosed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 143,000.

- New Castle, IN, USA

problem #20

Nov 022012


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. The contact stated that while traveling 70 mph, the accelerator pedal seized causing the vehicle to erroneously accelerate. The contact was able to slow the vehicle down and continued to his destination. The vehicle was not taken for inspection or repairs. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the issue. The failure and current mileages were 125,000.

- Cookeville, TN, USA

problem #19

Oct 162012


  • 270,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. The contact stated that according to the fire department the cruise control malfunctioned causing a short and the vehicle was completely burned. No injuries were reported. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who filed a complaint and stated that they would contact him at a later date. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileage was 270,000.

- Rodgers, AR, USA

problem #18

Nov 182011

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2003 Ford F-150. Claims adjuster sent correspondence on behalf of consumer who lost his vehicle due to a fire in which an investigation revealed was a direct result of what was believed to be the cruise deactivation switch

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #17

Feb 182011


  • 82,400 miles
The vehicle began accelerating on its own (> 75 mph). Cruise control was not on. The break was effective at mitigating increasing speed until the vehicle could be stopped safely on the side of hwy 85S. Distance traveled with uncontrollable acceleration was approximately 2.5 miles. Prior to stopping and turning the engine off, an attempt to put the engine in neutral while speeding was fruitless -- the engine raced to maximum RPM when put in neutral. For fear I would blow the engine, I put the transmission back into "drive" and continued tamping on my breaks to control my speed. Heavy breaking was utilized once I was in safe place to pull off the road and turn off the engine. I attempted to re-start the engine multiple times, each time with the same result - - the engine red-lined at maximum rpms. I contacted aaa for roadside service. The truck was towed to a raleigh Ford dealer. The Ford dealer started the vehicle and the engine red-lined at maximum rpms. They turned the engine off and inspected the engine. They found a plastic cover for the throttle assembly had come loose and lodged itself in such a way as to put tension on the throttle cable/lever. A safety clip that holds the cover in place was missing. They re-secured the cover with a different type of safety connector, and then re-started the vehicle. The vehicle's engine was normal. The Ford dealer representative indicated he had seen this before on a mustang, but not of F-150. The Ford dealer representative tried to down-play the significance of the incident -- as if it was "no big deal". they did not open a service work order to document the issue or repair. The told me there was "no charge" for the service.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #16

Mar 072010


  • 152,400 miles
Vehicle was parked and not in use. Owner returned home while away with his son to find that vehicle fire was extinguished by local fire department. The extent of fire was the front engine area. Vehicle was used night before without any incident.

- Hagatna, GU, USA

problem #15

May 262010

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F150 pickup. The contact stated the vehicle was parked with the engine off when it caught on fire. The contact had parked the vehicle five minutes prior to the failure. The fire department was called to assist and advised that the fire originated from the cruise control mechanism. A fire department report was available. The contact stated that part of the utility building, the carport that the vehicle was parked in, all of its contents and the vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileages were 88,000. Updated 11/15/10. Updated 11/19/10. Updated 11/26/10

- Hawthorne, FL, USA

problem #14

Apr 222010


  • miles


My son was driving home and the throttle stuck, the brakes did nothing. He had to throw the vehicle in park.

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #13

Jul 142008


  • miles
1.cruise control use. 2.occurs intermittantly while driving. 3. Ford refused. My symptom, model, and year of vehicle is included on Ford recall update of 6/26/08 as fire hazard but because my VIN is not listed Ford refuses even to examine my vehicle under the recall. www.Ford.com/dynamic/metatags/article-detail/223_important_notice_voluntary_recall_update.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #12

Oct 302007

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I received a notice in the mail that my vehicle has a recall on part of the cruise control mechanism. This can cause an under the hood fire and needs a replacement part/fuse installed. The part will not be in until March 2008!

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #11

Jun 102005

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire while parked in his garage. The vehicle had been driven approximately 10 hours earlier. The insurance investigator was unable to determine where the fire originated or locate any defective parts that may have caused the failure. The engine compartment was damaged, however, the most extensive damage was on the driver side of the vehicle. Ford was notified and refused to take responsibility for the fire. The powertrain was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 12,000. Updated 3/5/08 the consumer stated all 3 investigators stated the fire was a defect in the truck. Fire dept and insurance report. Updated 03/04/08

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #10

Aug 052007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,600 miles
Faulty cruise control on 2003 Ford F150. Situation: Driving at steady state; press cruise-control 'on' switch; horn chirps; cruise control engages with-out pressing the 'set' button and begins to accelerate vehicle. Brake pedal de-activation switch dis-engages cruise control only temporarily. Cruise control re-activates on it's own when foot is removed from brake pedal, and begins to accelerate again. The 'off' switch on the steering wheel successfully disengages the cruise control. This problem first occurred ~March 2007, but was unable to duplicate at the dealer. Problem re-surfaced on 8/5/07, and seems to be consistent now. No accident occurred, but the potential is there. No parts have been replaced at this point; no repair has been done.

- Menasha, WI, USA

problem #9

May 302007

F-150 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,980 miles
On occasions when pressing brake petal, the engine will speed up wide open causing the back wheel to actually to spin the back tires while holding the break petal down hard! very dangerous!! first time this happen the truck was only a couple months old. I took the truck back to dealer, and they reprogrammed the computer. I have had several occasion of it happening again but not as serious until only recently! last time I took the truck back to the dealer, May 14, 2007, I left it with them for a week. I went back and picked up the truck, and the dealer said they could not find any the wrong. I took the truck and in one and one half week later the fast acceleration happen again!!! see also ODI 10205846.

- Thomaston, GA, USA

problem #8

Jan 242007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
- the contact stated that while backing out of the driveway the 2003 Ford F150 with 15000 failure mileage with his foot on the brake he put the vehicle into drive and it accelerated to 35 mph and struck a tree. The driver then shut the vehicle off and put it into park. The vehicle was towed to a body shop with extensive damage. The cause of the acceleration has not been determined. Updated 03/30/07.

- Montezuma, IA, USA

problem #7

Nov 212006


  • miles
On 11-21-06, one of our employees, was accelerating onto the freeway and realized that the throttle linkage on his 2003 Ford F150 was stuck. He had to put the F150 in neutral and pull over to safely stop (the engine was racing until he turned it off). He found that there is a plastic, two-piece cover around the throttle linkage that had come unsnapped on its underside and had apparently caused the problem. He replaced the cover. This problem has the potential to be a severe, perhaps fatal, defect.

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #6

Oct 102006


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
10/10/06 7:20 pm I was sitting at a red light with my daughter in my Ford F150 2003 truck, when it began sudden acceleration. I placed both feet on the brake, and pushed the brake down as far as it would go to try and hold the truck in place. I could feel the brake pedal jumping under my feet as the truck was trying to move forward. I didn't think the brakes were going to hold the truck in place. I could hear the trucks motor racing louder and louder from inside the cab with all the windows up. The trucks RPM registered a 5. keeping both feet on the brake I put the truck in park and turned the engine off. I feel very lucky no one was injured. I called the Ford house in the nearest town and reported the incident to see if they could fix the problem. They advised me they have never had a report of this nature regarding Ford vehicles. I have since done research regarding this matter and their vehicles appear to be in litigation in which Ford has been required to disclose documents that reveal the breadth of the problem. (defects in the design of the electronic speed control ("cruise control"). "the report I read states almost no Ford vehicle is exempt!" in addition there are prior consumer complaints with the 2003 Ford F150 in regards to the same experience that I had. I do not know if this is the problem with my truck, but the experiences appear to be the same. I plan to follow up by taking my truck to the Ford house I called with my complaint along with copies of the report I found, "Ford: Sudden unintended acceleration & stuck throttles, and recent filed consumer complaints. Hopeful someone will listen.

- Sachse, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 192003

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,893 miles
While driving F-150 4X4, accelerator/throttle stuck and caused me to crash into an embankment and even after crash, was still stuck and kept trying to go wide open.

- Glen Jean, WV, USA

Read the next 4 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?