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:
6 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 1
Average Mileage:
87,941 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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Apr 062011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


The vehicle begins to throttle and then shut off at any time if your foot is not on the gas. The vehicle also stays or goes up in speed while you are driving. I had thought this was the fuel pump but learned it is not. Im afraid that whatever the problem may be I could be driving the speed will go up on its own and then force the car to shut off and die leading to an accident. Therefore I must say I do not drive this car often or far.

- Westland, MI, USA

problem #35

Oct 262008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving approximately 45 mph, the contact depressed the brake pedal but the vehicle would not decelerate. The contact placed the vehicle in neutral and applied excessive pressure to the brake pedal in order to stop the vehicle and turned the engine off. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. There was a recall under NHTSA action number: PE12033 (vehicle speed control:cruise control vehicle speed control:cables) that could have been related to the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #34

Nov 012011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 98,500 miles
3 occurrences of throttle sticking open when attempting to accelerate when either passing or merging onto express-way. The first occurrence was when passing a vehicle on a road shortly after a full stop going about 35-45 mph the vehicle continued to accelerate even when pumping the breaks. The 2nd time was not until about 6-8 months later while accelerating rather quickly to merge safely into traffic on an expressway and the car continued to accelerate. Slowly at first and then after getting off at next exit I barely was able to apply the breaks to pull over. I was able to shut it down and after a few minutes attempted to start car and the accelerator raced so I immediately shut it down again. After waiting 10 min. Or so I was able to restart the car and it performed like nothing had happened. I was in an area of detroit that I was not going to stay there unless I had to so I again drove making sure I slowly accelerated until getting up to expressway speed. The 3rd occurrence happened in much the same way the 1st one happened. I think my response was different this time in that I did not attempt to pump the accelerator to try and unstick. If memory serves me I went into a coast mode until I saw the tack come down to a normal RPM speed. After the 2nd occurrence I removed the floor mat from the drivers side, so I know that after it happened the 3rd time it definitely was not the result of a jammed floor mat. The weather on all 3 occasions was not wet. The 2nd and 3rd happened during this past summer. No repairs have been made although we were going to have this looked at before winter.

- Redford, MI, USA

problem #33

Oct 152012


  • 33,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving approximately 45 mph, the contact removed his foot from the accelerator pedal but the vehicle continued to accelerate independently. The driver applied excessive force to the brake pedal and shifted into neutral in order to stop the vehicle. The contact inspected the vehicle and noticed a plastic clip on the throttle cable was fractured, which caused the cable to become stuck. There was a concurrent investigation under NHTSA action number: PE12005 (vehicle speed control:cables) that could have been related to the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 33,000.the VIN was not available.

- Wellington, FL, USA

problem #32

Jun 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles
Driving on the interstate at around 65 miles per hour the car started to accelerate on its own. I was unable to brake, so I pulled the car over to the side and put the car in neutral. In neutral the cars RPM shot up to 4000. I turned the car off. Upon examination of the throttle it has been discovered that the cruise control cable clip or adjuster that connects the cable to the throttle is cracked and not longer holds the cable in place. I have been able to manually adjust the cable back into position and drive the car, but it continues to fall out and accelerate on its own. Has happened several times and is very dangerous. I have been unable to locate this "clip" to have the problem fixed.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #31

Nov 252009

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On Wednesday, November 25, 2009, I was driving my parents 2003 Ford Taurus sel around town, doing last minute shopping for thanksgiving, when all of a sudden the car took off, as if the gas pedal had gotten stuck. My mother was in the front passenger seat and I told her what was happening. I tried stepping on the gas pedal to see if it had gotten stuck, but that did not help and I was getting very concerned. I kept my foot on the brake and then put the car into a lower gear and then into neutral, all the while, the engine continued racing, and turned off the engine. It took me almost two blocks to get the car stopped. I immediately called the auto club for a tow truck, as there was no way I was going to turn the engine back on. I then called my father and told him what happened and he proceeded to come down to where we were. The tow truck came and the driver was the one who found that the plastic housing that holds the cruise control cable had broken and the cable slipped back and was wedged-up against the side of the broken housing. I took photos of this. The car was taken up to our mechanic. The cruise control has never been used. We contacted the Ford customer service who took all the information and gave us case number 0436723349. They told us to take the car to the dealership to have the part replaced. My parents took the car to the dealer, but they only offered to replace the part; however, we wanted someone to witness it and see what it looked like before the part was taken off and discarded and we would have had no way to prove it even happened. They just wanted my parents to leave the car all day to have it checked out, but my father opted to take it back to our mechanic who would save the part and give it to my father.

- La Crescenta, CA, USA

problem #30

Dec 142011


  • 87,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the accelerator pedal stuck while driving 30 to 35 mph. There would be an increase in engine rpms up to 4,000 unless the vehicle was shifted into neutral while applying the brakes. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic, who inspected the engine and found that the plastic clip that held the vehicle speed control cable to its bracket was fractured. The mechanic took a piece of wire and wrapped it around the cable and bracket to remedy the failure. The dealer was not notified. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 87,000 and the current mileage 93,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #29

Aug 302011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 98,062 miles
While driving my daughter experienced a sudden acceleration and braking did not stop the engine from accelerating. She placed the vehicle in neutral and while still having difficulty braking was able to stop the vehicle and turn off the engine. Car was towed to service location and cruise control was disabled to remedy the issue. Fortunately no damage or injuries resulted.

- Kingston, MA, USA

problem #28

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 #27

Dec 082011


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that when starting the vehicle, the rpms would fluctuate rapidly. The vehicle had not accelerated but the contact stated that when the failure occurred, it seemed as if the vehicle was attempting to surge forward. The contact would then firmly apply the brakes as a precaution. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who stated that the failure was most likely caused by a cruise control cable failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 140,000 and the current mileage was 150,000.

- Cordorva, TN, USA

problem #26

Jan 182010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • miles


I have a 2003 Ford Taurus. In the past, I've had the pedal stick and the car will accelerate on it's own. When I pushed on the brakes, it takes me about 3 times as long to stop the car and once it's stop it is still trying to go and the RPM was above 3. I was also pushing the brakes as hard as I could and the car was still trying to go. The first time this happened was in the winter of 2010. It happened roughly 5 times in the winter of 2010 and 3-4 times in the winter of 2011. It did not happen in 2012 due to the warm winter climate, at least that is my guess. I also remember it happening when it was very cold outside. The one time it was around 0 degrees. It felt like the pedal would get stuck. The only way I could get it to stop would be to aggressively keep pushing the pedal and then it would get unstuck. One time I let it go to see how far it could speed up on it's own I got it to 50 mph without pushing the pedal before I got nervous and was able to get it to stop. I've also noticed in the past that the pedal sometimes will feel like it will get stuck but in those cases the car won't accelerate on it's own like I explained above. I brought all of this to the dealer's attention but they wrote me off and said it could have been due to the cold. I never thought to report it till I heard about other incidents similar to mine recently in the news.

- Kent, OH, USA

problem #25

Sep 132011


  • 185,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was driving 40 mph when the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The contact depressed the brake and was able to decrease speed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 185,000 and the current mileage was 202,000.

- Wrightsville, PA, USA

problem #24

Dec 012011


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while stopped, there was an increase in the engine rpms. The contact had to apply heavy pressure to the brake pedal to keep the vehicle stopped. The failure ceased after a few moments. The failure also occurred while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on three occasions and they were unable to diagnose a failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #23

Nov 012008


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle accelerated up to 75 mph without warning. The brakes were applied, but the vehicle continued to accelerate. The contact was able to maneuver the vehicle onto the shoulder and stop. The vehicle was then towed to the dealer. The dealer inspected the vehicle and found that the cruise control throttle cable was fractured. The dealer replaced the throttle cable. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 94,000 and the current mileage was 112,000. The VIN information was not available.

- Yardley , PA, USA

problem #22

Dec 152010


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus sedan ses. The contact stated that while the brakes were depressed the engine revved and the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 119,000. The VIN was unknown.

- Bettendorf, IA, USA

problem #21

Nov 252011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 134,408 miles
Pulled into traffic just before stop light, car continued to accelerate, at stop light put car in to neutral, engine continued to race, turned car off and back on still continued to accelerate, pulled into traffic as I could not pull out of traffic continue to shift to neutral, in and out till could pull over and call tow truck. Breaks were able to control car but engine over heated. Took to local dealership where was told it was a broken/stuck cruise control cable and that engine overheating had cracked radiator cap.

- Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #20

Mar 082012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 52,900 miles
First time we noticed it I was accelerating to get on the freeway and the throttle pedal felt like it was sticking at a point about 1/4 throttle then it would work normally past that point. This occurred on several occasions that day. After that occurrence two days later we were on our way home and while cruising at 70mph on I-40, with the cruise control on, I accelerated to pass another vehicle and I felt the same incident as before. The feeling on the throttle is as follows: Hard to press until the pedal reaches the 1/4 point then a snap and the pedal moves down freely. By coincidence two days after arriving home I came upon the msn report of Ford Taurus throttle problems. I will now be taking my car to the local dealer to report this problem. Thank you

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #19

Jul 062011


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that while driving 75 mph with the curse control engaged, the vehicle would not decelerate while braking. The contact had to shift the vehicle into neutral in order for the vehicle to slow down. The contact then shut the vehicle off. The contact did not call the manufacturer or take the vehicle to a dealer. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #18

Feb 182012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 96,786 miles
Sudden unintended acceleration occurred while driving at 50 mph. After applying brakes, I shifted into neutral, stopped the car and shut off the engine. The car was towed to a Ford dealer for service. The dealer found that the cruise control cable had broken and caused the throttle to stay fully open.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #17

Jan 222012

Taurus 6-cyl

  • miles
Vehicle made noise while driving on flat ground. Asked passenger if they heard the noise and they did not. Car continued to drive approximately 2 more miles. Car started to fail while driving uphill. The car made a revving sound and then stopped moving. Turned flashers on and pulled over to the side of the road. Scared that car would not park. Tried to change gears and vehicle went into park. Still scared so hand brake was applied. Called father and uncle to move car. Car had to be pushed backwards down the hill into a parking space at a secondary school. Next day, car was towed to residence. Vehicle will be towed to transmission specialist in February for diagnosis. Had to worry about getting to work to even pay for repair. Scared to imagine the cost.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

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