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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,569 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments

problem #16

Jan 082016


  • 77,000 miles


We had several close calls where the car would not stop, and slide on dry pavement, and wet conditions. The car had new brakes, rotors, tires, but still would have trouble stopping, unfortunately my daughter was driving the car today, and hit another car. I just replaced the tires again a few months go, thinking the tires were the problem. I had several close calls myself, and I think there is a big problem with this car stopping. Thank god nobody was hurt, but this could have been much worse. My daughter was going approximately 30 miles an hour, and she was on a city street, conditions were wet, but she had plenty of time to stop.

- Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #15

Apr 222015


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving at 30 mph, the vehicle failed to remain in position. The contact had to continuously maneuver the steering wheel in order to keep the vehicle in position. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the front cradle was corroded and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Braintree, MA, USA

problem #14

Jan 042015

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Today a cold front moved in. I received the vehicle from my grandparents and it has spent its whole life in the it is always outside. Multiple times this year the door latches have gotten stuck in the open position. This causes the doors not to shut, and me having to hold them closed as I drive. They eventually start working ( usually after 20-30 mins of driving). I have tried de-icer and grease but nothing works. My moms 2005 Ford freestyle has the same issue, except it was recalled because of it. I find it extremely dangerous that I have to hold my doors closed or they fly open when I drive.

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #13

Mar 242014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


Had car in shop for A/C problems. Mechanic (whitehill auto and body) they had another 2003 Ford Taurus with a frame (part of frame) that was being replaced because of rusting through. He said that our frame was also starting to rust. He said they had contacted Ford and it was not listed on any recall.

- Littleton, WV, USA

problem #12

Mar 062014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
An on coming car lost control and swerved into my daughters lane of traffic. My daughter was unable to stop in time and T-boned the other car. Upon impact, the other car was split in 2. my daughters airbags never deployed. All I want to know is why her airbags never deployed. When I call the Ford Motor Company they told me because "no one was seriously injured or killed they would not look into the matter." Thankfully everyone walked away. My daughter has a concussion and bruised ribs from the accident. Ford Motor Company told me the only way they would consider looking at the vehicle is if I bought the vehicle from our insurance company (our insurance totaled the vehicle because of the excessive damage) and then had the vehicle towed to an authorized Ford dealer.

- Eagle Lake, MN, USA

problem #11

Nov 092013


  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while having the tire changed at a local mechanic, she noticed that the sub-frame had become corroded. The contact called the manufacturer and was advised that there were no recalls for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 117,000.

- Tremont, PA, USA

problem #10

Sep 252013

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the rear floorboards were rusted. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where the failure was confirmed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 139,000. Updated 11/19/13

- Strongsville, OH, USA

problem #9

Mar 282013


  • miles
My husband picked me up from school and he went in the store and the car while me and my 1 year old were in the car started smoking like from the air conditioner part the whole front part of the car, my husband ran out of store stating car was on fire he pulled car way from gas station, I got out of car and got my daughter out, fire was coming out of hood and bottom of car high we called fire department everything is on camera, than a police officer came out. The fire department put out the fire.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #8

Oct 032006

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Premature rusting of wheel wells.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #7

Nov 232011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Water leak on passenger floor, shorted blower motor.

- Goldendale, WA, USA

problem #6

Sep 072011


  • 98,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that there was a water leak on the front passenger side floorboard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised him that they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 98,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #5

May 102009


  • 65,000 miles
I own a 03 Ford Taurus SE, and on my car, and every other Taurus I have seen on the roads around here, all have the same body defect leading to rust on both rear quarter-panels.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #4

Mar 202003


  • 0 miles
The front driver-side door does not shut correctly, never has. It leaks rain water, and is loud do to air whisping through the weak seal while driving. I investigated the situation and found this to be a common defect in this make, year and model. I would have submitted this complaint in previous years but I was not aware of this website.

- Bedford, OH, USA

problem #3

Jun 092008


  • 48,102 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. Whenever it rains on the vehicle, the passenger side floorboard becomes wet. As a result, the engine shorts out. The contact did not notice any differences in the vehicle prior to the failure. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 48,102.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #2

Oct 182006

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Rain water is seeping onto the front passenger floor. Apparently this water is rain water that somehow leaks from the front into the blower motor & then makes it way into the passenger floor. There is no prior accidental damage to the car causing this. This is a manufacturing defect that Ford has published into in its technical bulletins. This is the second time it is happening to my 2003 Ford Taurus. The first time it happened, the blower motor & resistor had to be replaced. This also can cause short circuit & potentially electric fire in the car. Ford should fix this manufacturing defect! other folks have reported the same problem also.

- Old Bridge, NJ, USA

problem #1

Mar 122006


  • miles
In 2004 I had the Ford dealer repair a water leak that caused the passenger floor to fill with water in rain and car washes. I still have this problem today. My family also had this very same problem in 1995 on a Ford Contour.

- Richfield, WI, USA

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