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 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #56

Jun 092010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 132,000 miles


I was driving my 2003 Ford Taurus down a state highway, in Arkansas, and the transmission went out while driving it. I went to pass a vehicle, and instead of the vehicle kicking into passing gear, it was as if the vehicle went into neutral instead. The engine just revved up and the vehicle started to slow. I barely made it to the side of the road, without being struck by another vehicle. The vehicle gave no indication of any transmission problems and has approximately 132,000 miles on it. There were no shifting issues, sounds, or warning lights. I have read where many other Ford Taurus owners have experienced nearly the same issue. This could have been much worse than it was, since I was in the middle of a main highway and traveling at approximately 55 miles per hour at the time of the incident. The vehicle will not shift into any forward gear or reverse.

- Manila, AR, USA

problem #55

Nov 152009


  • 88,475 miles
Transmission failure. While driving on an expressway, I felt the gears slip as the transmission was automatically shifting from drive to overdrive. After the gear change, I attempted to accelerate, however, power did not transfer from the engine to the wheels. I coasted to a stop. The transmission was rebuilt at my own expense.

- Apo, AP, USA

problem #54

Jun 092010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus V6 3.0 SE the transmission failed without warning on a busy san francisco street while making a turn and accelerating slightly out of the turn. Had to push the car out of the street at some peril to myself. I have investigated and there have been numerous complaints about transmission failures on the 2003 Taurus. Transmission has to be replaced with a rebuild. The cost is $1300 plus towing fee.

- Martinez, CA, USA

problem #53

Jun 022010


  • 120,000 miles


2003 Ford Taurus, 120,000 miles no warning car just stopped going moving, transmission seems to not be working, goes in every gear just no movement, have had nothing but trouble with this car since I bought it 3 yrs ago.

- Metter, GA, USA

problem #52

May 272010


  • 115,000 miles
I was coming home from work and had just started up an incline after stopping at a stoplight at one of the busiest intersections in St.louis (hwy 64 & lindbergh). As I tried to accelerate, I heard an awful noise and realized I didn't have any power. There were no warning signs....just gone! luckily, I was able to immediately pull off/coast into a nearby mall's parking lot (plaza frontenac). When I got to a stop, I put the car in park, then proceeded to try all the gears on the gearshift. No difference between them....they all seemed like neutral. I kept the car running, checked the transmission fluid, and noticed some grey/black in with the pink (just on the edges). Once my husband got there, he verified he thought the grey was from metal shavings from the transmission. I had this happen to my 1997 Dodge avenger (transmission gave out at 37K on busy highway at rush hour), so I knew the signs. After having aaa tow my car to a transmission repair shop, we waited for the verdict. It will be at least $1600 to rebuild the transmission. This will include the torque converter. The shop says they will also replace some of the other weak parts the Taurus is known for in their transmissions. The car is a 2003 Ford Taurus ses with 115K on it. I've had it since brand new and can't believe all of the complaints online, especially in regards to the 2003 Taurus. Why hasn't there been a recall"!" I don't currently have the car or my insurance info.on me to supply the VIN number....

- Valley Park, MO, USA

problem #51

May 232010


  • 120,000 miles
My husband was driving my 2003 Ford Taurus to the corner store and the transmission failed in the middle of the road. There were no warning lights or signs leading up to the failure. Luckily my husband was able to get to the end of our quarter mile driveway were we then pushed it to the house. I am very thankful this did not happen to my three children and I when we were out shopping earlier that day. This a potentially deadly failure that I have found many cases of online.

- Hope Mills, NC, USA

problem #50

Mar 282008


  • 107,000 miles


1) events leading up to the failure, none. Car had no problems, transmission made no noise, was not slipping, etc... car was well maintained. 2) the failure, how often it occurs, the consequences. The transmission failed on the car at 107,000 miles, no warning, was on the freeway coming home from work, depressed the gas pedal to pass another car and then rpms maxed out. Car did nothing in any gears. Luckily I was able to merge over 3 lanes and arrive safely to the shoulder. However, had I not had enough speed this most definitely could have cause an accident. 3) what was done to correct the failure? the transmission needed to be replaced. Luckily my dad, a former mechanic, was able to put in a used (16,000 miles) transmission for me. This cost me about $700 dollars. While this transmission is still doing fine, car now has 135,000 miles, this gives me no assurance as these transmissions tend to go without warning at low mileage.

- Brookfield, WI, USA

problem #49

May 132010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
2003 Ford Taurus SE - VIN# [xxx] - I had just taken a right turn onto a street and the vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. There were people behind me. I pulled off the road and it would crank but not switch gears. All fluids were in correct order with no issues. There were neither dashboard warning lights nor any unusual auto noises. This car only has 102,000 miles on it. It costed $1600 to fix. Thankfully I was not on a very busy road or I could have been severly injured. Ford needs to be aware of these problems and initiate a recall on these faulty transmissions. I was told by a certified mechanic that this particular Ford has 6 different transmissions...meaning there is a significant safety issue that is being covered up! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Guntersville, AL, USA

problem #48

Apr 122010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Driving car to the store and came out our car would not move. Ran fine but would not go into gear. Mechanic said our torque converter went out. They see about 2-3 Taurus's a month with the same problem. Cost around $800 to fix. Needs recalled considering all the complaints I've been reading with the same problem.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #47

May 102010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Taurus transmission just gave out while driving. Fortunately I was able to coast off road and get car towed to dealership. I have only 83,000 miles on car and transmission gave no warning it was going! now I have to pay 2650 dollars to fix tranny Ford knew was bad!

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #46

May 132010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 156,000 miles


Traveling on highway, all of a sudden when I was trying to accelerate the car would just increase the rpms. The car wouldn't move in any gears. Repair shop told me transmission failed.

- Raynham, MA, USA

problem #45

Apr 062010

Taurus 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Driving at approx. 30mph and my car acted like I just threw it into neutral. Any gear I tried to put it into acted like I was in neutral. My transmission had to be repaired. I am reading the message boards and seeing that this is happening alot in the Ford Taurus. Some were driving down the interstate when this happens and that could be very dangerous going from 65mph to 0. I think there needs to be a recall on these Taurus transmissions. My mechanic stated that he's fixed around 20 of them in the past year, there's obviously a problem with them.

- Shell Rock, IA, USA

problem #44

May 102010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Without warning the car lost power and would not go into any gear except park. The transmission has failed and will cost $2200 for a rebuilt one to be installed. This occurred once before, the same day our state inspection was completed, but we were able to get the car into drive again.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #43

Apr 292010


  • 118,000 miles
While driving to work, stopped at red light, when I accelerated through the power. There was no warning. Luckily I was able to get off to the side of the road and call for tow truck. Thank god I wasn't involved in an accident also, considering the transmission just goes out and how impatient drivers are.

- New London, WI, USA

problem #42

May 102010

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 87,426 miles
Transmission failure on 2003 Ford Taurus. Car would not go forward or reverse after pulling out into traffic although the engine was running fine. On-coming traffic had to stop or swerve to avoid my stopped car. This happened with absolutely no warning or previous problems. I found 68 other documented cases identical to this incident. Tow truck driver said he has towed 68 cases himself and was aware of the problem. I called Ford and was assigned case#[xxx] but was told there is no re-call for this problem. This is definitely a "life-threatening" situation. Please read the other incident reports at police were on site but don't know if a report was generated. They pushed car out of traffic. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #41

Apr 222010


  • 128,095 miles
I was driving down the road and with no warning at all, my 2003 Ford Taurus starts to rev as if it was in neutral. I pull off to the side of the road, I try putting it gear with negative results. Not even a little jerk. Get it towed to a shop, they tell me I need a new transmission. Tranny just stopped with no warning. I tried googling the defect and I found a web site called and I find out that this is a very common problem with the Ford Taurus. The one thing for sure is, is that I will never, ever buy a Ford vehicle again. I wouldn't even take one if I won it in a drawing. This is my 3rd one and each of them had major problems. 3 times, shame on me. I believe Ford needs to fix this transmission problem and stop making shoddy products. I had a tempo, the engine went at 88,000. I had a Ford Windstar, the tranny went. Got it rebuilt 3 times in a 6 month period and finally just junked it. And then when I already told myself that I would never buy another Ford, I get a good deal on a Taurus. What a mistake. I know that I'm rambling on, but I do believe that Ford could do something about this transmission problem. I've googled this problem on the web and there are many people just like me that feel the same way. That the Taurus is junk.

- Falls, PA, USA

problem #40

Apr 192010


  • 99,986 miles
I was driving my 2003 Taurus ses and was following a truck going over a railroad track and was going like less than 5mph since the truck in front of me was going so slow and when I went to press on the gas pedal to move forward after passing the tracks the car was making a noise when I tried to press on it more. And all of a sudden it just stopped at first than started moving again so I pulled over off the main road. The next thing I know the car just stopped and would not move whatsoever. I turned the car off and turned it back on again trying to move forward by pressing on the gas and it didn't budge. The car didn't even move at all nor in reverse. Everything else was running fine and there was no technical lights on in the car. Eventually I had it towed back home and found out the transmission was out the next day resulting that I have to get a new transmission. I've also found out that it was common apparently for 2003 Taurus cars to be defects for transmissions. This is highly a hazard on the road where a car just stops out of nowhere when who knows you can be crossing a light, railroad track or in mid-traffic where accidents can occur!

- Richland, MI, USA

problem #39

Apr 142010


  • 140,000 miles
With no warning or problems of any kind my transmission went out in the middle of traffic. My car was stuck in the middle of the road. Nothing I could do. Buses were coming at me from the left, cars from behind and in front. This is a huge safety hazard. Had to replace with another transmission costing over $1500. We will never purchase a Ford vehicle again unless this is made right by the company. We have talked to several mechanics and this is common amongst Ford Taurus'. wish we would have known about this ongoing problem before we purchased. We also wonder why there hasn't been a recall. Is this the purpose of recalls. How many people need to complain before something is done. No wonder people are buying from Toyota. At least they own their problems and offer a solution.

- Philadelphia, MO, USA

problem #38

Mar 122010


  • 107,000 miles
2006 Ford Taurus. Started decelerating in the middle of traffic. Engine starts and check engine light goes off and stays off so probably no dpc code. Transmission does not work at all. Ford shop said it's not their problem because it's out of warranty. It has 107,000 miles on it. It was by the grace of god that I didn't cause an accident.

- Blaine , MN, USA

problem #37

Dec 152009

Taurus 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Transmission failed with 63,000 miles on it!

- Jessup, MD, USA

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