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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
99,851 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #142

Feb 062015


  • 86,000 miles


My wife was driving the car with one of our grandkids in the back seat. She pulled off a main road to a side street, she went about 50 yards and the car stopped going forward. The engine was running fine, but there was no drive from the transmission no mater which gear she put it into. Evidently the transmission failed without any prior indication such as leaked transmission fluid, a trouble light indication and no sound.this is indeed a safety issue because if it had failed in the intersection there was a possibility of an accident.I am extremely upset and disappointed with Ford's handling of this failure of there product.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #141

Feb 052015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving at 30 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle did not accelerate. In addition, the vehicle failed to move forward or in reverse but increased in RPM's. the vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The mechanic diagnosed that the torque converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was unavailable.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #140

Jan 232015

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 142,999 miles
On 1-23-2015 a friend was driving the car on a 4 land divided highway when the transmission quit pulling. He pulled over to the side of the road but could not get the car to move in any gear. He went on to a job interview and called me and I had the vehicle towed back to my residence. I checked and this is a common problem for this make, model and year car, as the torque converter goes out without any warning.

- Aberdeen, MS, USA

problem #139

Jul 042011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles


On the above date the transaxle in this car quit working. The torque converter broke a gear. It is my understanding this is prevalent in the 2003 Ford Taurus and the 2003 Windstar vans. Ford recalled the Windstar but not the Taurus'. I had it, the transaxle, rebuilt and put only 3000 to 3200 miles from the date of this repair. About 5 weeks ago the same thing happened. It is my understanding this is a prevalent problem with these vehicles. Now in regards to the lighting, the manufacturers should take the responsibility of replacing those damned "yellowed" out headlight lens on just about 99% of the cars that have them. This should be a major recall due to the hazard they can cause while driving at night. We the american people cannot afford the cost to replace this dangerous unsafe features on almost all vehicles produced by all auto manufacturers since the 90's.

- Bristol, VA, USA

problem #138

Oct 012012


  • 100,000 miles
Transmission stopped working, it was replaced at my expense.

- Selma, NC, USA

problem #137

Dec 032014


  • 77,215 miles
I was coming home the car just lost.power and thank goodness. There. Was no one behind me was able to.pull in middle lane and the car would.not.move it went into drive all gears but nothing I was terrified and once I gather myself I called for help.snd I had car towed to Ford & they are saying I need new transmissions. Are you.kidding me no warning no noise nothing just stopped.while driving I have read many complaints on the Ford 2003 Taurus and was in shock again how.many have same.problem this car.belongs to my dad who is 89 years.old.thank goodness he was.not driving. He or I could be many more have to die or get hurt by something Ford is awarw of. Please dp something. The Ford place wants over $2800 for S transmissions ! crazy I love Ford.but not when they put lives in danger thank you

- Bonneau, SC, USA

problem #136

Nov 282014


  • 140,000 miles


While driving back from shopping on a highway went to push the gas and my car had stopped and wouldn't accelerate after being stuck on the highway for an hour tow truck had to take my car to a garage they found out it was the transmission. Going back to almost a year having this car we have never had any other problems we didn't hear nothing like our transmission going. Just to get this fixed will be 2,000 or more. After a few mechanic we new looked they have said that alot of people have had this issue with this make and model or our car and that we should file a complaint.

- Cumberland, MD, USA

problem #135

Nov 232014


  • 109,000 miles
I was going approximately 50mph up a hill on a sharp turn. Completely lost power unable to go forward or in reverse. Luckily I was able to coast backward across the road into a driveway and almost caused a huge accident with a car coming around the corner. I had to go across so cars coming behind me wouldn't hit me. If I wasn't on a hill I would have caused a real accident for sure. The transmission was completely blown and I will now be using all of my christmas money to get another used transmission. After doing hours of research I have found hundreds and hundreds of other reports of owners of 2003 tauruses with the exact same descriptions. I am blown away with the large amount of complaints with this cars transmission yet nothing is being done by Ford to fix this problem. This almost cost me my life and I will do everything in my power to get Ford to help other owners and myself find a solution to this problem.

- St. Albans , VT, USA

problem #134

Nov 052014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 115,858 miles
The shifter changes to reverse, drive, neutral, but the car does not recognize the gears. The vehicle remains stationary.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #133

Mar 072008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 47,682 miles
Failed torque converter, the shifter changes, but the vehicle does not recognize the reverse or drive option. It remains stationary.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #132

Oct 292014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles


While driving on the expressway, pressed the gas pedal and the RPM's increased dramatically while the speed decreased. The engine power was not being transmitted to the wheels. I needed to cross traffic and get off of the road. Luckily, the traffic was light and my cross was uneventful. Had this happened earlier, I would have most likely been involved in a serious accident. The incident happened with no warning. The vehicle operated absolutely normally, up to that last second.

- Burlington, KY, USA

problem #131

Oct 022014


  • 90,002 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 5 mph after making a U-turn, the vehicle suddenly failed to accelerate. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission fluid bump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 90,002.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #130

Jul 042014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Sitting at a stop light. Car would rev when light turned green but no acceleration. Pushed it to the side of the road. No warning lights, no slipping of gears, no fluid leaking no sounds or jerky feelings. Called Ford and got a case number, but they are no help. Contacted [xxx], consumer advocate and he advised me to contact Ford. Found 299 complaints of the same problem on and same problems on I was told by Ford that the transmission is out of warranty. I said I would help with cost but feel Ford should take responsibility. Are they waiting for a fatality? information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #129

Feb 122010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 44,441 miles
I was driving and all of a sudden my car would not go anywhere even though the engine was running. I took it to my mechanic who had the car towed to a reputable transmission shop in town. When I went to talk to the mechanic he said he already knew what it was. He said that he had a multitude of this make and model that had the same exact problem. He said it was a design flaw in the transmission that allows the torque convertor to "strip" without any warning. After taking the transmission apart he called and told me that it was the torque convertor and what it would cost to replace it including labor so I had the torque convertor replaced. All was going well with the transmission/torque convertor until August 30, 2014 when out of no where it happened again. So once again I will have it repaired. The car doesn't even have 80,000 miles on it. I am extremely grateful that I was not in an accident because of it. What is it going to take for someone to seriously address this issue so no one is killed? this is a dangerous car and many complaints have been made in regards to this issue as early as approximately 2007 so it is not the age of the vehicle but the design flaw. No telling how many people had this happen without reporting it. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed for all who have owned or still own the 2003 Ford Taurus.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #128

Aug 222014


  • 98,322 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed up an incline, the accelerator pedal was depressed and failed to respond. The contact was able to restart vehicle but the failure persisted. The vehicle was towed but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer had been notified. The approximate failure mileage was 98,322.

- Branchland , WV, USA

problem #127

Jul 072014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 161,328 miles
The 2003 Taurus was being driven on a secondary road on 7/7/14 when it quite moving forward as it was in drive, upon acceleration and the car was steered to the right of the roadway and drifted to make a right turn off a busy roadway. Although it was not in that roadway it was still obstructing the alternate road right lane traveled by dump trucks, until towed 2 hours later, vehicle fails to shift or otherwise go into any gear, the car is in front of our house, parked since that day, as obviously the transmission has failed and needs repair or rebuilding. I can not afford a transmission repair right now costing $3000.

- Poolesville, MD, USA

problem #126

May 012014

Taurus 6-cyl

  • miles
Went to cross a very busy intersection in our city (and intersection where there have been multiple fatalities), and the vehicle would not go. Engine was running; transmission acted as if it were in neutral. I was stuck in the middle of the busiest road in desoto county. My friends and I had to get out of the vehicle and push it across the road to a safe place. It appears the transmission has failed and the local transmission shops want close to $1800 to replace. I have read numerous complaints of this same issue affecting others. Why hasn't Ford placed a recall on this issue and fix it? I am surprised someone has not been killed.

- Horn Lake, MS, USA

problem #125

Feb 052014


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked forward intermittently and the transmission failed to engage. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the filter and the transmission needed to be flushed. The vehicle was repaired and the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the pumps needed to be replaced. The vehicle was schedule to be inspected and repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 82,000.

- Maryland Heights, MO, USA

problem #124

Jun 022014


  • 152,000 miles
We were stopped at a stop light when the light turned green car would not go. It acted like it was in neutral. Doesn't matter if it is in reverse, overdrive, drive or 1st gear acts just like it is neutral. No warning of any issues.

- Scott Depot, WV, USA

problem #123

Aug 162010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Stopped at stop sign and car wouldn't accelerate or go into any gear. Trouble shot problem as being the torque converter.

- Temple, TX, USA

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