ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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...


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,150 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments

problem #8

Dec 152011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was unable to shift from park into drive unless the brake pedal was engaged repeatedly. In addition, the rear brake light failed to illuminate when applying the brake pedal. The failure recurred intermittently. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 04V106000 (exterior lighting: Brake lights: Switch) however the contact's VIN was not included in the recall campaign. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The failure mileage was 128,000. Updated 6/4/12 updated 06/07/12

- Broomall, PA, USA

problem #7

Sep 032010


  • 133,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. When the contact drove the vehicle into the garage he noticed that the brake lights remained illuminated. The contact also noticed that he was not able to engage the cruise control at any speed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed the failure and confirmed that it was the brake light switch. The vehicle wasnt repaired because the brake light switch was on back order. The manufacturer advised the contact that the VIN wasn't included in recall 04V106000 exterior lighting: Brake lights: Switch; therefore they will not assist with the repair. The failure and the current mileages were 133,000.

- Columbia , SC, USA

problem #6

Apr 282010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated the exterior brake lights would remain illuminated despite if the vehicle was on or off. The contact was able to locate a recall and when contacting the dealer, was informed his VIN was not included with the recall (NHTSA campaign id number 04V106000 (exterior lighting: Brake lights: Switch). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were unknown.

- Parkland, FL, USA

problem #5

Jan 032007

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 25,201 miles


Transmission failed in "park" and unagble to shift to any gear. Car towed to Ford dealership where the brake light switch and connector harness was replaced, part # 3F1Z-13480.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #4

Nov 012005

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While the vehicle was in park, the gear shifter became stuck. The dealer and manufacturer stated that it could be an indication that a new battery is needed. The contact stated that this has been recalled; however, her vehicle was not included although she has experienced the same failure. The manufacturer stated that nothing could be done because the VIN was not included and the warranty expired. NHTSA campaign id number 04V106000 (exterior lighting:brake lights:switch) was referenced. The recall number was unknown. The failure mileage was 35,000 and current mileage was 46,000. Updated 03-05-08

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #3

May 102006

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Over a year ago, I noticed that it was hard to get the gear shift to move from the park position to drive or reverse in the 2003 Ford Taurus. No matter how hard I tried I could not get the car into gear. Finally, something told me to push down on the brake pedal, hard, and then it would release. I would do this for a few days and then it would not happen again for months. Each time that this occurred it would take longer and longer to get the car into gear, then again, it would disappear for months, then start all over again. I finally took the vehicle to a reputable repair shop, and it would not fail for them, but intrigued, they told me to bring it back whenever it occurred again. Months later, you guessed it, the problem returned with a vengeance and lasted more than just a few days. The only way it would release is when I really stomped down on the brake pedal. Back to the shop it went because my brake lights would not always work, but the turn signal would. That is a dangerous situation. This time the mechanics called Ford who told them that they did have a problem with certain cars and asked for the VIN #. for some reason, even though there was a technical bulletin, my VIN # number did not fall under the recall, even though it was having the same problem. That makes no sense to me. Even though this was not an expensive job, I feel that Ford should reimburse me. After all, I did have the same problem. When the mechanics received the brake light switch to install, the part had been completely redesigned. That tells me that Ford knew of the problem and addressed it, but only for certain vehicles with specific VIN numbers.

- Winter Springs, FL, USA

problem #2

May 162006

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
: the contact stated the brake lights do not work properly. A problem with the malfunctioning stop lamp switch and/or associated wiring has caused the stop lamps to become inoperable. The vehicle will not start unless placed in neutral. There is an NHTSA recall, # 04V106000, regarding the exterior lighting: Brake lights: Switch. The VIN was not included in the recall.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #1

May 052006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
: the contact stated the brake lights do not work properly. While depressing the brake pedal, the brake lights flash. After starting the vehicle it would not shift from the drive position. Additionally, there are times when the vehicle will not start it must be turned off and restarted. There is an NHTSA recall, # 04V106000, regarding the exterior lighting: Brake lights: Switch. The VIN was not included in the recall.

- Farmington, NY, USA

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