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:
74,499 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #116

Jul 092011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


2003 fordtaurus ses 3.0L V6 55000 miles, setting traffic light, light turned green went 50ft. Transmission dis-engaged could not get it to re-engage (no R or D) had car towed to transmission shop. Writing this complaint due to the large number of people who have had the same problem. Ford should do a recall for the number complaints for this problem.

- Kettering, OH, USA

problem #115

Jul 022011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus ses. The contact stated that while driving at low speeds, the vehicle would no longer accelerate. After trying to restart it to no avail, it was undrivable and had to be towed. The vehicle has not been inspected nor repaired. The dealer was contacted and they advised him that the trans axle had possibly failed and needed to be replaced. The failure and current mileages were approximately 113,000. Updated 08/05/11 the consumer also stated head light lenses turned yellow, not allowing much light to radiate out of them and it was very difficult to drive at night. Updated 09/14/11. Updated 01/30/12.

- Bristol, VA, USA

problem #114

Jul 072011


  • 95,000 miles
My daughter was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus on July 7, 2011. The vehicle stopped moving. The engine was working, but the car would not move. Car was towed to a repair facility where it was diagnosed that the transmission was torn up and would have to be replace or rebuilt. This transmission failure happened without any previous indications of the car having transmission trouble. I understand that other 2003 Ford Taurus vehicles have also had this problem. If this failure had happened on a busy interstate during rush hour, it could have been a major safety issue. As it was, she almost had a wreck, because the car was driving down the road and then suddenly the transmission failed, causing the vehicle to not have any power to the wheels to move. She was nearly rear-ended by a car behind her due to this product failure. Ford needs to rectify this defect. I am having to come out of pocket for a lot of money to fix a problem that apparently is inherent to this model. I would like for Ford to reimburse my expenses.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #113

Jun 212011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 86,598 miles


As I was driving down a busy freeway heading to work at 70 mph my car just stopped accelerating... it scared me so bad I almost sideswiped a car next to me just in reaction to get off the road because there was a semi behind me. My cruise had tried to keep up with the 70 mph I set it at but it couldn't so the rpms went sky high and my gas pedal went straight to the floor. It left me stranded on the side of a busy freeway while speeding cars were flying by me, so I also could have gotten sideswiped there, I've seen it many times on tv with parked cars on the side of a freeway. Im not going to have a car for a long time until the transmission is fixed. And how im going to get the money for it I have no clue. I cant get to work I don't make money to get it fixed. Ford should recall because its happened to so many people and its not our fault, its theirs for building a faulty car. My car barely has 87,000 miles on it, a cars transmission should not go out at 87,000 miles. My old car had 180,000 miles and never had an issue like that. I may be going to a new car company next car if Ford doesn't fix this issue. Im lucky I had quick reaction time and I knew how to handle the car or I would be done for, this is absolutely a safety issue and Ford wont admit that.

- Manitou Beach, MI, USA

problem #112

Jun 222011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 145,075 miles
Without warning my 2003 Ford Taurus won't run in any gear, transmission failure. I had to walk in 105 weather with 5 kids in order to get help for a tow. This was on a busy four lane road where I had to narrowly avoid being rear ended going 50 miles an hour. Is someone waiting for a death to occur to require Ford to recall this faulty product?

- Hesperia, CA, USA

problem #111

Jun 112011


  • 78,000 miles
Transmission quit while driving.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #110

Jun 042011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While the contact was driving approximately 15 mph, the transmission suddenly failed to respond. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing where the technician stated there was a faulty torque converter input shaft. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the defect. The failure mileage was 58,000. Updated 07/20/11 updated 02/27/12

- Pottersville, NJ, USA

problem #109

May 112011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
I was driving down I24 with my daughter in the car during rush hour traffic. Out of the blue the transmission went out. I had to coast across 4 lanes of traffic to get to the emergency lane. I was stranded on the side of the interstate with my child for 2 1/2 hrs waiting on a tow truck. I have never been so scared of having an accident. Why is Ford waiting on someone to die before they fix this problem"???" this will be the last vehicle that I purchase from Ford!!!! I will be going with a foreign made car from now on.

- Manchester, TN, USA

problem #108

May 052011


  • 108,000 miles
Driving down the road and transmission went out. It does not change or shift gears. Has not been reapired yet, transmission needs to be replaced.

- Greenwood, SC, USA

problem #107

Apr 082011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
I was driving home from work, everything worked fine until I slowed down for a turn, and when I tried to accelerate wouldn't. the car is at around 83,000 miles, and besides this issue the car is in amazing shape.

- Allen Park, MI, USA

problem #106

Apr 032011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


2003 Ford Taurus transmission breaks going down the interstate at 75 mph, we were stranded on the side of the road at 11 pm in the rain.!!! if you search the internet there are hundreds of complaints about this transmission failing it is the same transmission that was recalled in the Windstar. But since no one has died yet nothing will change.

- Dayton, MN, USA

problem #105

Feb 112011


  • 76,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Taurus and was driving on a normal commute, while driving in the right lane the transmission just quit. I then had to coast through rush hour traffic across 4 lanes and sit in the emergency lane for an hour for rescue. There was no warning no signs just quit while driving. I have never been so afraid of being in an accident as that day. This is a serious concern that I have learned Ford is aware of and has done nothing to fix or attempted a recall on the transmission components that fail. It cost nearly $2000 to repair, on a car that only has a blue book value of $3500 clearly this is a terrible waist just to get the car moving again. It is unfortunate that a large company like Ford can allow such problems to occur in there cars, at least companies like Toyota fix the problems they find.

- Clearfield, UT, USA

problem #104

Nov 052010


  • 79,000 miles
I bought the car in March 2009 and had was extremely happy with it. On November 5, 2009 my husband and I left for the store. We had not even gotten 1 mile away from the house when the car stopped responding when you pressed on the gas. There was no warning, no loud noises and the car had been running fine. When we stopped to inspect what happened we found that the car would not go into gear. When you shifted out of park--nothing, literally nothing happened. We found out that the transmission had failed and forked over the $1000 to have a rebuilt transmission put in. Problem solved--or so we thought. Earlier this week (March 22, 2011) my husband left for work and it happened again. Same as last time- no warning and the car had been running fine. We are at our wits end with this car and although I love it we cannot afford to keep putting transmissions in it every few months.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #103

Apr 052008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
April 5, 2008 started off like any other Saturday, cleaning my house then going shopping at my local grocery, but this day was different. When I got in my 2003 Ford Taurus to go shopping, I turned the key to start my car and put the car in reverse, but the car would not move. I put the car in park and tried again by putting my car in reverse. Needless to say the car would not budge. No problems were indicated before that day. I called my local Ford dealership to ask them about a possible solution to my problem, but they told me I would have to bring my car to their shop. I said 'how can I bring my car to your shop when I can't drive it anywhere since it won't go in reverse'? the person on the phone told me I could have it towed to their location and when I asked how much it would cost to replace the transmission, the guy told me $3500. You can imagine how shocked I was to hear this cost! in the meantime a neighbor came to my house and suggested I call one of my town's transmission shops. I did and was told the cost to replace my transmission would be about $1500. I was also asked how many miles I had on my car and I told him 35,000. He was shocked to hear a transmission was out w/only 35,000 miles on my car. Later that day my car was towed to a local transmission shop and a new transmission was placed in my car. For one week someone had to take me to work and back home and at the end of the week I paid $1500 and got my car back home. During that week I did some research on the internet and discovered other 2003 Ford Taurus owners were experiencing the same problem I had w/my car. Seems Ford should do something to solve this problem.

- Oxford, MS, USA

problem #102

Mar 132011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 67,254 miles
I have a 2003 Ford Taurus ses with 67,000 miles on it. The transmission just stopped. Park and neutral only. Fortunately I was not in traffic when it happened. Over the last year a couple minor slips, but this time total failure. Having it towed to a dealer Monday.

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #101

Mar 082003

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus sel. 78K miles in great overall condition and no history of serious problems. While driving on the highway at 60 mph the car's transmission suddenly disengaged like it was in neutral. I coasted towards the right shoulder and tried cycling the shifter from neutral to drive. No success. The transmission would shift through the gears but the gears were not engaging. This happened without warning. No noises, no bucking, no indication that anything was wrong. Was a very dangerous situation to have happen on a major highway. Had the car towed 80 miles to my house for a cost of $400. The trans needs a new torque converter. Estimate at $1850. Don't have old parts. Have hundreds of exactly the same issue with the same year and model car. Ford really needs to pony up and make this right.

- Glen Rock, NJ, USA

problem #100

Mar 032011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
Complete transmission failure on a 2003 Ford Taurus while driving.

- Byron, NY, USA

problem #99

Oct 102008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 41,086 miles
In October of 2008, my 2003 Ford Taurus ses suddenly lost the ability to move while I was driving in heavy traffic. The torque converter had to be replaced - the vehicle had 41,086 miles on it at the time. Cost of repair was $1260.96.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #98

Jan 062011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 97,456 miles
Minor driving car, without any previous signs of trouble, no warning lights, etc., after turning corner, car acted like it was in neutral. Could not engage car in gear after that. Had to get help pushing into nearby park and have it towed in for repair. Thankfully, noone was hurt, and park was nearby. If this had happened at highway speeds I don't want to imagine the outcome. There were absolutely no signs of trouble previously that indicated any transmission problem.

- Camby , IN, USA

problem #97

Jan 102011

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus transmission went out with no warning on busy street, was like it was in neutral. Was able to coast to almost off of roadway. Two people came to aid and pushed the car completely out of roadway. Car has just 62,000 miles.

- Norman, OK, USA

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