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 5 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #82

Nov 162012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles


While driving on speed control, my car started to accelerate like crazy. Luckily, I was able to slam on the brakes, but this was a very scary issue!

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #81

Nov 162012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
As I was driving on the highway on cruise control, the rpms suddenly increased and the car quickly slowed down (even though it was on cruise control!). luckily, there wasn't a ton of traffic, but I was forced to slowly exit from the left lane. The car just stopped on the service road, right in an area that I could have easily been hit. I've read a ton of complaints exactly like this, and this is pretty unsafe in my opinion.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #80

Nov 072012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 131,349 miles
After driving approximately 3-miles without incident stopped for a red-light. When light changed, stepped on accelerator but car would no move in an gear selected. No prior noises or fluid leakage; just a dead transmission. Appears to be a common (well documented) problem with vehicles of this year, make and model.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #79

Feb 042011


  • 84,081 miles


When I was on my way to arbys the transmission went out on me with no warning. My car could not shift gears to go into reverse or forward. Luckily I was able to coast to a stop and put the car in park. The employees at arbys assisted me with pushing the vehicle out of the drive-through. The car runs but cannot shift into any gears. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where the faulty transmission was replaced with a transaxle assembly reconditioned transmission with reman torque converter. Total cost of repair was $1,839.33.

- Fremont, OH, USA

problem #78

Oct 042012


  • 94,261 miles
The transmission failed as the contact attempted to accelerated uphill in heavy traffic area. I was able to coast to a stop and put the car in park. Started the ignition and attempted to shift into reverse but the vehicle would not respond. The vehicle would not operate in any gear which was selected. The vehicle was towed back to the mechanic where the transmission was replaced/repaired 18 months ago. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. Total cost of repair was $710.

- Fremont, OH, USA

problem #77

Sep 102012


  • 137,000 miles
I just picked my four year old sun from daycare and the car suddenly stalled without any warning, I was on the left lane and had to steer the car to the side of the road. No forward no reverse. Neighbor said same thing happened to his Taurus and he changed the torque converter and now it drives fine, seems like a common problem. This is a disaster waiting to happen, imagine what would have happened if I was on the highway driving 60?

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #76

Jul 102012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


Was driving down I-74 in the quad city area at approximately 50 mph, when my 2003 Ford Taurus quit moving - just stopped while driving down the interstate! would not move in either forward or reverse directions. I was very lucky I was not hit from behind. Had it towed to my mechanic, and it was determined the pump drive splines inside the torque converter were defective. Had to replace the torque converter at a cost to me of about $2,000. My mechanic said he's seen this exact same issue in about three dozen Taurus' in his shop alone, in 2003 to 2007 models. He is wondering if all torque converters are made at same location and shipped to various plants for installation?? Taurus' built at some plants are part of the recall, but mine isn't because it wasn't built at the "recall" plant. But my vehicle had the same problem as the other torque converter recalls!

- Hiawatha, IA, USA

problem #75

Aug 182012


  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was driving 50 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact had the vehicle towed to a dealer who performed a diagnostic test and the located the failure as a defective transmission. The dealer advised the contact that the transmission needed to be replaced. The contact did not have the transmission replaced. The failure mileage was 145,000.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #74

Aug 082012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
The latest incident was today. Vehicle was started, idling, put into reverse with foot on the brake. Engine suddenly increased speed and vehicle lurched backwards. Vehicle was put in drive with foot on the brake, engine would periodically increase speed and vehicle would lurch forward. On several other occasions while driving, notably at speeds 20-40 mph, vehicle speed would start increasing on it's own. On those occasions, the increase was not rapid or extreme, these were thought to be flukes, but now it's lurching after the vehicle is put in drive or reverse. The frequency of these incidents with this vehicle are increasing and I believe this is a serious safety issue.

- Lonoke, AR, USA

problem #73

Sep 082011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Driving 2003 Ford Taurus in heavy traffic on overpass champaign Illinois. RPM's soared and drivetrain completely stopped moving car forward. We coasted to safe parking. Had car towed to transmission mechanic and he stated that Ford should be ashamed of themselves and to keep the receipt of what I had paid in excess of $1200 for new torque converter. I have exact dates in September 2011 to include full receipts in storage at this time. Had I not been as skilled a driver, many could have died in such abrupt drivetrain failure, no warning!!!!!! we want a full refund for want we had to pay, to include towing. We have moved from Illinois to Florida, I am on disability and would appreciate some attention to such a large amount we had to pay for such a dangerous condition. Please contact me if you need additional information and copies of our receipts from the reputable mechanic. Thank you.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #72

Dec 052010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 177,000 miles


Coming into town at highway speeds, slowed down to 30 mph and then nothing the splines in the torque converter stripped out and I lost power to the wheels. Couldn't go forward or backward. Ford does have a recall for newer vehicles but not on my model. My Ford dealer says they have done a number of these repairs on older models as well.

- Crookston, MN, USA

problem #71

Jul 192012


  • 119,869 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle lost power without warning and the transmission would not engage in drive or reverse. A local mechanic inspected the vehicle and advised that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and the current mileage was 119,869.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #70

Jul 162012


  • 232,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while stopped at a stop light, the vehicle would not accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the contact's home and was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic test. The contact inspected the vehicle and noticed a transmission failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 232,000.

- Lizella, GA, USA

problem #69

May 222012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
The transmission went out and I had to replace it. I read about many other complaints about the transmission going out in a 2003 Ford Taurus, so I thought I would add this one.

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #68

Oct 102011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Total transmission failure out of no where. Multiple other phantom engine failures/engine inexplicably dies.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #67

Jun 262012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
While attempting to pull through a very busy intersection in tulsa, Oklahoma, my transmission started slipping without warning causing many (thankfully) alert drivers to take evasive action to miss me when my car wouldn't go. It has been brought to my attention that the transmissions, most notably 2003 model year, in the Taurus' have a bad reputation for this yet Ford refuses to recognize this. Many just give out at highway speeds. I pray my children aren't with me if any such occurs again after I replace this recall that I'm aware of.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #66

May 012012


  • miles
The transmission is defective in this car. It has been flushed and is full of fluid. From the beginning I could actually put the column shift between gears. Not what it's supposed to do. The salesman assured me that it was not a problem. The transmission overheats and shifts rough when hot. Last month after driving on the highway for 1/2 hour to get to work, I got off the exit and had to wait at a light. The car refused to shift for several minutes after the light changed. I was almost rear-ended. Two weeks ago the same thing happened. A car came around the corner and just missed me as I was stuck in the middle of the road. There have been numerous complaints about this transmission and it is so bad it even has its own facebook page. I work part-time and have a long commute. I now can only drive backroads at low speeds to make sure my car will shift. And I do not have money for a new transmission. I can't drive to other cities for job interviews. I understand Ford was aware of the problems with this transmission and did nothing to rectify the problem. The car needs a recall.

- Centerville, OH, USA

problem #65

Jun 022012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
I was driving my car to the store, came to a traffic light and accelerated and it shifted fine until I pressed the gas pedal and nothing besides high rpms... also it happened with no signs or warnings and transmission wasn't slipping or acting up...had it towed to a mechanic and he said it was my torque converter that ruined the splines that engage.! something needs to be done!

- Lake Milton , OH, USA

problem #64

May 182012


  • miles
I had just pulled out from a stop sign when, without warning, the rpms suddenly went really high and the car stopped accelerating. I was in congested traffic. I tried to coast my car off the road but I didn't have enough speed. I was stuck half way in the road. Thankfully, I broke down in front of a garage. I got out of the car and a mechanic pushed car to safety. The garage inspected my car and said the transmission went out and it needed to be replaced/rebuilt. I'm really glad I wasn't going fast or else I could have been seriously injured or killed! my mother had asked earlier if she could use my car to take my sick father out of state to a dr. Appt.(bc the car's gas mileage is better than her SUV). I'm glad I had class that day and couldn't let her take it. Numerous people have reported having this same transmission problem. Ford needs to issue a recall. This is a serious safety issue!

- Richlands, VA, USA

problem #63

May 192012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 142,950 miles
We were driving uphill on an interstate highway at the speed limit when all of a sudden the engine speed went up and the vehicle speed started falling. Some smoke appeared in back of the car. We barely made it over to a very narrow shoulder (against a guard rail) before we stopped. The engine was running but the car would not move. Traffic was very fast and heavy and only a foot or two from the driver's door. We were stuck there for over an hour. A mechanic who subsequently looked at it said that the transmission had burned out. Repairs, now under way, are estimated at $2200.

- Groton, MA, USA

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