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 4 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #76

Oct 032010


  • 62,500 miles


Transmission failure. Vehicle has approximately 60,000 miles. Was pulling out into busy traffic. The engine revved but stopped moving. The vehicle had to be pushed to the side of the road. This is a one time event. There were no signs, symptoms or warning lights prior to failure. There has been nothing done to repair or correct the problem due to the repair costs.

- Creswell, OR, USA

problem #75

Jun 142010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 86,753 miles
My wife turned right from a two lane county road onto a four lane us hwy. The car went into neutral as trucks and cars flew past her. She thankfully got off the road and walked back to the nearest store for help. The car was towed to a transmission shop where we were told it was the torque converter and input shaft. The estimate was $1800. The car has over 80K miles and the transmission fluid and filter had been changed at 30K and 60K miles as factory recommended. Due to the severity of the intersection where northbound us hwys 441 & 301 split, the speed where traffic changes lanes due to their inability to read signs and then a car stranded in the middle of traffic death easily could have been the outcome.

- Anthony, FL, USA

problem #74

Sep 232010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 93,634 miles
There are no events leading up to failure!! my 17 year old daughter was getting onto the highway 45 minutes away from home and the car just stopped suddenly, she was in an area where her cell phone had no service, she had to accept help from a stranger that stopped to help! her and her 15 year old sister were terrified!! after finally getting in touch with me I had to have the car towed in which they had to ride with a tow truck driver which was just as scary to them!! since then I have done a small amount of research and my findings are astonishing!!! the 2003 Ford Taurus has hundreds of complaints about the same problem! transmission failure... I am the only owner of this car and she was driving it to chapel hill because it was safer (in my eyes) that her 1998 Mercury marquis, I am very upset that no one has told us owners of this vehicle that there is a known problem with the transmission. I really expect to hear something from someone in reference to fixing this problem or I will be contacting the state attorney general's office. I have documentation of all the other owners and problems. The car has been taken to a local mechanic because there is no way I'm letting Ford touch my car again... and will be getting the results later next week, I should not have to be out of a vehicle because of a known problem that could of been fixed sooner! thank you and know I will be hearing from someone soon!

- Hope Mills, NC, USA

problem #73

Sep 212010


  • 130,000 miles


Transmission slipped out of gear while traveling about 30 M.P.H. pulled over, put in park, shut off and restarted vehicle. Cycled through gears, no engagement. Free wheels in any gear but park. No symptoms prior to this. Will update when it is replaced.

- Blasdell, NY, USA

problem #72

Sep 152010


  • 89,563 miles
Transmission failure while driving down highway. No warnings or signs of malfunction prior to.

- Vermilion, OH, USA

problem #71

Sep 112010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 42,571 miles
2003 Ford Taurus transmission just stopped pulling. No slipping no problems what so ever then nothing. It only has 43K miles and I'm nearly 80 yrs old. I cannot afford to spend $2000 on a repair that should be repaired at no cost because there should be a recall with all of the complaints I have read for the same problem. It is odd to me that most recalls are for something stupid like a taillight may be prone to leaking but when it comes to life threatening problems it is overlooked. It is just a good thing that she wasn't hit by someone since she had pulled out onto the highway and made it to her lane before the transmission just stopped pulling not noise, pop or anything!! will someone with a backbone please stand up!!!

- Heber Springs, AR, USA

problem #70

Sep 032010


  • 64,000 miles


2003 Ford Taurus fails at highway speeds to a dead stop. Many reports noted on - in line with Toyota failures. Endangers the public. All related to known transmission failure.

- Ridgeland, MS, USA

problem #69

Aug 062010


  • 82,000 miles
Recently while driving my 2003 Ford Taurus down a busy highway my transmission quit working almost causing a major pile up it cost me around 2500 dollars to repair the problem here is a link of other consumer complaint

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #68

Sep 012010


  • 60,120 miles
I was on I-95 N speed 65 mph. My car revved to 4-5 RPM and I noticed that even as I was pressing on the accelerator that the car was not gaining speed but decelerating. I pulled over on the shoulder an coasted to a stop. The car wasn't/didn't over heat, there was no dashboard lights that came on to warn me. I had no warning of any transmission problems before. I turned off the car and turn the car back on which worked just fine I went to put the car in drive and it wouldn't go anywhere. I put the car in overdrive and reverse an the same thing it was like it was stuck in a constant neutral. The car just hit the 60K mile a few days ago. While I waited on family members to come assist me I checked all fluid levels including the transmission and fluid was correct. From reading on the forums there has been many complaints about this same problem from more than a few thousand people. I will have to go to a shop and the average price for fixing this problem on average is 2 grand.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #67

Jul 242010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,506 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle and it was towed to her residence. The vehicle was inspected by her personal mechanic who stated that the transmission would need replacing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The current and failure mileage was 58,506. Updated 12/21/10 updated 12/30/10

- Gainesboro, TN, USA

problem #66

Aug 132010


  • 89,819 miles


Son was driving car, stopped at an intersection to make sure no cars were approaching, took foot off the brake and nothing, stepped on the gas pedal and it would not move. He shut the car off, started it back up, tried all the gears and it would not move. I had driven the car earlier in the day and did not have any problems, there was not any indications anything was wrong. From what I understand this is a huge, common problem with the 2003 Ford. I am a student and I had just paid off this car. It has just over 89,000 miles on it. I don't have the amount of money it is going to take to fix this problem. Someone needs to tell Ford that they have a defect in their vehicles and do something about it. I called Ford and all they said they could do was take down my information and told me to take it to the dealer and have it checked out. They know what the problem is and they are ignoring those who have a Ford vehicle and refuse to do anything. I am very frustrated since I now have no car and can't buy another one. Please do something about this problem so many people are having.

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #65

Aug 122010


  • 76,354 miles
I was driving 55 mgh down the highway, when without warning, the engine started to rev, but my car wound not go forward. Coasted to a stop and tried all gears but it just would not move. It was a very hot day, and I was in an area without cell service to call for a tow. It was the torque converter. $1400 to replace. My car only has 76354 miles on it. I have learned that this is a very common problem with 2003 Taurus'.

- Gwinn, MI, USA

problem #64

Jul 182010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
I was driving South on two lane highway. Car went out of gear as though it were in neutral. Would not go back into gear.

- Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #63

Jul 132010


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated while traveling at 10 mph, the transmission failed without warning. The contact stated there was never any prior indication that the transmission was failing. The dealer referred the contact to the manufacturer. The manufacturer did not provide any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages were 101,000.

- Altamonte Springs, FL, USA

problem #62

Jul 032010


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact was driving approximately 15 mph, approaching a traffic light when suddenly, the rpms increased and the transmission failed to function. The vehicle was towed to her residence, and two days later the vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician replaced the transmission. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Statesboro, GA, USA

problem #61

Jun 152008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus with less than 40,000 miles. Complete transmission failure, automatic overdrive transmission. The car was driving fine earlier in the day, then my was going to my daughters home, when she stopped for a stop sign by my daughters home, the car pulled away and stopped accelerating in the middle of the intersection. She was almost hit by another vehicle coming from adifferent direction. This could have been worse if she had been on an interstate or open road in heavy traffic. There were no warnings of any type that a problem was forthcoming. The car has not been repaired due to lack of funds. Rough estimates $2000 +/-. Ford acknowledges problems with the transmissions, but will not discount any repair or help customer in any way. There are numerous complaints all throughout the internet on this same problem with the same result. No help from Ford. This needs to be investigated, because accidents could have been caused from this condition.

- Ridgeland, MS, USA

problem #60

Jun 192010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 71,750 miles
2003 Ford Taurus transmission failure without warning! on I-44 in Oklahoma, driving with cruise control at 75 mph, engine revved to 4500 RPM and only stopped climbing because I turned off cruise control. It was as if the transmission suddenly went into neutral. We were very fortunate that we were able to get out of very heavy traffic and coast to the shoulder of the highway. The transmission would not allow forward or reverse in any of the gear ranges. We had no prior occurrences of this problem, it came without warning! the vehicle had to be towed to a Ford dealership and the transmission was replaced with a rebuilt Ford transmission. The dealer told me it was an internal transmission failure. It cost $3171 to replace and $350 for a rental car to use to continue our vacation. We were over 750 miles from home and on the second day of vacation when it occurred.

- Fond Du Lac, WI, USA

problem #59

Jul 012010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Taurus ses with 123K miles on it. Never had a moments trouble out of it till July 1 2010. While driving to work the car just stopped pulling. Upon further investigation, I found out that the transmission had failed. I researched the problem and found out that alot of people with the same car have the exact same problem. If I had been on a busy highway this could have ended in a totally different way. This is a very bad safety issue that Ford needs to address.

- Snowcamp, NC, USA

problem #58

Jul 012010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
My wife's 2003 Ford Taurus with 58,000 miles had the torque converter spline gear, that was not heat treated properly. Fail.just out of happened at an forward or reverse. This could have been deadly.this is a very common problem, and we feel a recall is in order.thank you.

- Tiffin, OH, USA

problem #57

Jun 262010


  • miles
2003 Ford Taurus. Car was running okay. I was stopped at a red light and when the light changed. I put my foot on the gas pedal and the car would not move. A few days earlier during a heavy rainfall I noticed the rpms meter go up while the speed dipped. I panicked but he car made it home and drove fine for several days thereafter. I was told the transmission was shot.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

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