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:
56,276 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #36

Apr 192012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles


I was driving down a side street when the car quit moving forward. I coasted to a stop and tried reverse, and it would not go in that direction either. The engine was running when this occurred. I had a baby in the car and a trunk full of groceries. I got out and checked all the fluids. They were full. The transmission fluid was clear. The maintenance book said not to change the transmission fluid until 100,000. My car has only 73,000 miles. This car is well maintained. I paid to have it towed to the nearest car repair shop. They determined it was a transmission problem and could not fix it. I then had to pay to tow it to another shop that informed me that this was a characteristic problem of a 2003 Ford Taurus. If this defect is known by Ford's and they chose to ignore it and not fix our cars, I hope you will do the right thing and make Ford's fix it without me having to pay a huge bill which is hard on a limited income. I saw this address on a facebook page. The address is: please check out this page. You will see the many people are having this happen. I just stumbled upon the page by accident. I wonder how many more there are out there not knowing that there are a lot of us driving Ford's defective cars. Please make them accountable. They did not hesitate to take car payments for years. They should not hesitate to fix a car that they built. I was from detroit and always believed in buying american, but my opinion has changed. That is a shame. Thank you very much. I hope you can do something to help me.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #35

Dec 212011


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the vehicle would accelerate even when his foot was not engaging the accelerator pedal. The contact also stated that he was able to maintain control of the vehicle by engaging the brakes. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage is 184,341...updated 04/16/12 the consumer stated the engine did not slow down normally when the accelerator was released. The vehicle would maintain speed for 15-20 seconds after the accelerator was released. The engine idle was set too fast. Updated

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #34

Dec 152010


  • 0 miles
Was pulling out of the car garage and put in reverse the car started back and the engines RPM roared up and crashed in to neighbor tree went across the street and crashed in the other neighbor tree and house all of this in reverse.

- Victoria, TX, USA

problem #33

Jan 022012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles


2003 Ford Taurus. We were driving down the road and the engine revved up like it was in neutral. No power at all. The car started slowing down in traffic and there wasn't anything that we could do about it. We coasted over to the shoulder of the roadway. We put the car in reverse - nothing, put the car in drive - nothing. We had the car towed to the mechanic. It will cost $2,500 to fix. The car only has 53,000 miles on it. Ford knows about the defective transmissions on these cars but fails to do any recalls.

- Whitesboro, TX, USA

problem #32

Nov 132011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Was going to work on 11/13/2011 at 5A.M., warmed up car, jumped in said car put it in reverse...nothing; put it in drive....again nothing= blown warning at all!!

- Wiscasset, ME, USA

problem #31

Sep 262011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • miles
I was driving on a major highway with my children and all of a sudden my car's transmission light came on, my car started bucking, and soon lost power and I was forced to put my car in park in heavy traffic and restart it.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #30

Sep 052011


  • 108,000 miles


It should be a transmission problem. When I was driving at 65mph the car lost dragging force suddenly and I had to push the car to the emergency zone. Then I cannot move the car anymore with any shift (R, D, od, 1). I found many 03 Taurus had the same problems from some other websites. The model should be recalled because it has nothing warning sound or damage clue.

- Worcester, MA, USA

problem #29

Mar 082011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Oil change was performed on my 2003 Ford Taurus (mileage was 73,200) 8 am the morning of March 8, 2011 at a Ford dealership. When the dealership was finished w/my car, I drove to work, less than 5 miles away. I parked my car at my office and it sat in the parking lot until 5 pm that day when I drove my car home. The afternoon of March 8, 2011 we had a thunderstorm pass over w/1-2 inches of rain. When I got in my car to drive home I noticed a spot on the passenger side floor mat but didn't check it until I arrived home. When I opened the passenger side door and removed the floor mat, I could see the carpet was soaking wet. I immediately used several towels to soak up the water. The morning of March 9, 2011, I drove my car back to the dealership where I had the oil change. I asked the service manager to look at my car, showing him the damp passenger side carpet. I asked him if someone bumped something under my hood when they changed my oil the day before. I asked him if they knocked something loose that would have caused the leak on the floor. He said 'no' but asked me to return to the dealership the following morning March 10, 2011. I did return to the dealership, they looked at my car and told me I had a cowl leak and it would cost approximately $400 to fix. I have not had it fixed but I've noticed from reading about other 2003 Ford Taurus owners, they've had this same problem.. is there not some way Ford Motor Company should be held responsible and pay for these repairs?

- Oxford, MS, USA

problem #28

Nov 042010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 195,732 miles
Spark plug ejection 2003 Ford Taurus ses 24V.

- Wetmore , KS, USA

problem #27

Mar 012010


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was decelerating to approximately 30 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle as it resumed normal operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure recurred intermittently when decelerating to approximately 30 mph and under. The failure mileage was 170,000 and the current mileage was 182,000.

- Alcoa, TN, USA

problem #26

Jun 012009


  • 68,100 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the rpms suddenly increased and the transmission surged violently. The contact referenced a related tsb (tsb 018746, engine and engine cooling) but no related recalls. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that repairs would have to be repaired at the owner's expense. The vehicle had not been repaired as the parts were on back order. The current and failure mileages were approximately 68,100.

- Payson , AZ, USA

problem #25

Oct 112009


  • 73,887 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving approximately 55 mph the engine began make a knocking noise and a check engine service light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was driven onto the emergency lane and would not restart. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that a valve spring head broke off inside of the engine causing engine failure. The authorized dealer replaced the engine with a remanufactured engine. Within a few days, the failure recurred and the vehicle was taken back to the authorized dealer who stated that they did not know what was wrong with the engine. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continued to occur intermittently. The failure mileage was 73,887 and the current mileage was 80,000.

- Union, OH, USA

problem #24

Dec 122008


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the check engine light illuminated on the dashboard.the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the cam sensor was replaced. Approximately 5 months later the failure recurred and the vehicle was taken back to an independent mechanic where the cam sensor was again replaced. The failure recurred again and the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the cam sensor was reset. The failure has not recurred. Approximately 1 year later while driving at approximately 20 mph the front passenger side tire blew out. Upon examining the vehicle the contact noticed the coil spring was broken and pierced the tire. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the front passenger side coil spring was replaced. The contact also stated that approximately 2 months later while attempting to operate the vehicle it would not shift into gear and would not move. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where it was in the process of being diagnosed. The failure mileage was 77,000 and the current mileage was 90,600.

- Quinnesec, MI, USA

problem #23

May 172009


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving the vehicle at any speed and any road condition, the contact would observe an unusual screeching noise from the engine. The dealer performed a diagnostic on the vehicle and advised that the cam shaft synchronizer sensor had failed. The vehicle was left at the dealer where the contact was awaiting repairs. There were no recalls and she was advised the repairs would be at her expense. The manufacturer would not provide any assistance. The failure mileage was 87,000 and the current mileage 87,200.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #22

Jan 152010


  • 41,000 miles
Blower fan failure to operate and when it did work, it made a loud squeaking noise. Finally complete failure. System evaluatlion, fuses, circuit breakers, harnesses all good. Removed fan motor housing and fan motor. Both showed evidence of water collecting in the housing and motor itself. To correct the problem I purchased a fan motor, installed and reassembled everything. My question, is this going to happen again?

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #21

Jul 282003


  • 68,454 miles
While driving at highway speeds (65-70) when accelerating to pass, car bucks violently (at 70K miles on odometer). Also, random rough idling since date of purchase of vehicle in July 2003. After taking car in numerous times to dealership while under warranty and they were unable to diagnose even after hooking up recorder. Did my own research on line and discovered a faulty camshaft synchronizer was the problem. This is a $400 repair that Ford is aware of as there is a service bulletin on it. However, the failure rate is usually after the warranty expires making it the responsibility of the consumer. I have also personally spoken with a dozen Taurus owners who have experienced the same problem. Lodged a complaint with Ford Motor Company who did not respond or follow through. Very disappointed as this could pose a serious safety problem for consumers not to mention catastrophic engine failure if the synchronizer fails completely. If your Taurus has a rough idle that is intermittent and the diagnostic says there is no code, it is probably this problem as the service bulletin from Ford indicates that the cam synchronizer does not throw a code to the computer system. Also, if your car bucks or hesitates on hard acceleration or there is a high pitched chirping sound, it is the cam synchronizer. If you take it to the dealer tell them what it is so they don't charge you an additional diagnostic fee that will show no problems! it's bad enough to have to pay $400 for a part that shouldn't fail, but does after the warranty expires. Ford should have issued a recall on this and other vehicles that had the same problems (know to occur in the F150 as well).

- Rochester, MI, USA

problem #20

Sep 142007


  • 33,000 miles
My car began making a high-pitched squeal. I took my vehicle to a local Ford dealer. Upon hearing the noise the tech knew that it was the result of a bad camshaft position sensor, camshaft synchronizer. He stated that it is a common occurrence with Ford. The camshaft position sensor would function intermittently resulting in an engine stall without warning. Sometimes I was unable to restart the vehicle for quite some time. The engine has stalled when backing out of the driveway, when proceeding to make turns in traffic, and other not so ideal locations. Thankfully oncoming traffic stopped their vehicles before impacting my own.

- Lorain, OH, USA

problem #19

Jan 012006

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle would shut off. The dealer was unable to determine the cause of the failure. The vehicle was taken to a personal mechanic, but he also could not identify the failure. The mechanic reprogrammed the PCM to the latest calibration level, which was recommended, but that did not solve the issue. The contact feels that the vehicle is unsafe to drive because it shuts off and could cause a crash. The current mileage was 57,000 and failure mileage was 42,000. Updated 1/8/09 updated 01/14/09.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 012008


  • 46,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus with only 46,000 miles on it and the water pump has had to be replaced twice. Also, the brake pads on the vehicle have had to be replaced at least three times and the mechanic told us that the pads on the Taurus are cheap and will erode quicker than on other vehicles. Lastly, the vehicle does not get good gas mileage as expected. Next car will be a Honda.

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #17

Sep 022008


  • 78,081 miles
While driving on the freeway the car died because I let of the gas pedal due to traffic slow down. When I exited the freeway and came to a complete stop it died again. It repeated one more time. The third time it restarted the rpms shot over 5000 and when I put in gear the rpms came down.

- Winnetka, CA, USA

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