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 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Apr 052010


  • 65,000 miles


Driving to work lost power in car. RPM went up pulled over I had no drive no reverse nothing the transmission was gone no warning no lights, no noise just stopped. I had it towed to shop they told me the pump was out. I have been only owner and always maintained my car. It has 65,000 miles on it.

- Monroe, WI, USA

problem #35

Mar 232010


  • 70,900 miles
I had just pulled out of the parking lot of my local ymca and was driving on a Suburban road when all of the sudden my rpms went up and my speed went down. I was able to bring the car to a stop but loss all control of the ability to accelerate my vehicle. I brought the vehicle to a stop and called for a tow truck. The result was that the transmission had broken down. The approximate mileage on my car at the time is 70,900 miles. This complaint has been documented over 58 times on the web at:

- Montville, NJ, USA

problem #34

May 162009


  • 68,000 miles
2 transmission in my 2003 Ford Taurus. The first transmission went out in 2005 at 68,000 mile and the second transmission went out at 121,000 miles. Had to pay to have fixed and when I contacted Ford they said they are sorry but there is nothing they can help me with. Is it traditional for a transmission to go out every 60,000 + miles? I was driving down the highway at 70 miles a hour when the second transmission went and the car revved up and wouldn't go no where and almost go rearended because there was construction on highway and no where's to pull over. I also had my grandson and daughter in the car and we all were scared that we where going to get hit.

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #33

Sep 112009


  • 162,000 miles


The transmission quit working while I was driving down the road at 55mph with kids in the car. I have searched this and have found many people having this problem.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #32

Aug 012009


  • 40,544 miles
2003 Ford Taurus LX -without any warning the automatic transmission ceased to function. This car had 40,500 miles on it. I stepped on the gas and the car felt like it was in neutral. I have since found that this is a common problem with this car and that some people were traveling at 70 mph on a busy highway when this occured. This could have been a deadly accident on a busy highway or anywhere in heavy traffic. My mechanic told me that the torque converter splines were totally worn out. This at just over 40,000 miles! my car is in for oil change and safety check every 3,000 miles and this is something that cannot be detected. However, Ford Motor Company, from what I understand, is aware of this problem and there has been no recall or publicity regarding this. This was a $1300 fix.

- Daytona Beach, FL, USA

problem #31

Jun 262009


  • 174,000 miles
The transmission failed completely, without warning while driving. All gear settings, with the exception of park, responded in the same manner as neutral. There was no warning of any type. The transmission simply failed. All recommended services have been performed on or ahead of schedule for this vehicle. A cursory search of internet auto message boards revealed at least several hundred failures of the same type in 2003 Ford Taurus automobiles.

- Guston, KY, USA

problem #30

May 192009


  • miles


June 12, 2009 drive time 7300 E. hampton ave. Mesa, AZ 85209 to whom this may concern: My name is andrea M. love. May 14, 2009 was the happiest day of my life because I purchased my first new car, a 2003 Ford Taurus ses from drive time at 11247 E. colonial drive, orlando, fl 32817. The color is a beautiful dark cherry red, the interior and exterior looks magnificent; it's roomy for my family and best of all it's my first new car. Iżve seen the many advertisements on television and thought to myself everyone canżT get approved like they say. I went online and filled out the application and to my surprise the next day I received an email and a telephone call that I was approved and needed to come into the office to speak with a sales person. I called my entire family and all my friends and told them the great news I had just received because a week prior I had a very traumatic experience. On May 19, 2009 it rained from sun up to sun down and it was forecasted to rain the rest of the week, so my children asked me to drive them to school the next day. When my daughter opened the passenger side door to get in, she stepped into a three inch puddle of water. At the same time the battery light was flashing on and off. On Wednesday the 20th I called the drive time service center to make an appointment to have the leak looked at and repaired. The next day I took off work to take my car in to aamco transmissions and was told they could not find where the leak was coming from and that the alternator was bad, but the battery was okay. They replaced the alternator and said I needed to call the service center back to find another repair center to have the water leak checked out. I had to go another day cleaning water out of the car and buying air fresheners to rid the car of a nasty mildew smell. Thursday, May 21st I called the service center again and told them what repairs I had received.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #29

Nov 292007


  • 83,412 miles
I was driving the Saturday after thanksgiving 2007, was stopped at a stop sign went to pull away and make a turn then car stopped moving. I was on a two lane road, with cars coming behind me. I started car back up and put into gear, would not move. Had towed to work (Subaru, Lincoln, Mercury of beechmont). Our tech looked at on Monday and told needed a transmission. Ford L/M would not help with any cover of the repair. The car had 83,412 miles at that time. I had to put a used transmission in, which is bad and put another transmission in and that one is bad but drivable.... I Ford knows there is a problem they should fix it before someone gets hurt or killed. I did call Ford co and the rep was not pleasant and really did not want to take me information, they did and nothing was done..

- Batavia, OH, USA

problem #28

Feb 112009


  • 52,774 miles
Transmission failed at 52774 miles. Had it serviced twice in this short of milage. Had transmission repaired at a cost of $1,897.69.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #27

Jan 012009


  • 80,125 miles
Without warning, transmission went out, after midnight in 30 degree weather, miles from home. Third such occurrence with same product. Problem will not be fixed in the near future due to being unemployed.

- Selma, AL, USA

problem #26

Dec 122008


  • 83,000 miles


Drove my car home from work, went out the next morning and started so it would be warmed up.. I was taking my son to school. We went out got in the car, I put in drive it would not move.. put in reverse.. nothing. I had to call someone to take my son to school, had my car towed to Ford dealer. They removed the transmission and told me the torque converter was bad.. going to be at least 1,000 dollars to fix it...I bought the extended warranty but it ran out 10,000 miles prior to this happening. I had no signs or warnings anything was wrong with my car.

- North Vernon, IN, USA

problem #25

Nov 172008


  • 101,000 miles
Ford Taurus, has many problems. My Ford has had to have the transmission rebuilt as well as problems with the blower motor on the heater/ac. Transmission rebuild job consisted of new torque converter as well as new clutch bands, the splines were striped. As far as the blower, the motor made a noise for about a week and then stopped. If ya'll would research these issues you will find that these problems are a recurring issues with the 03 models and the others with this tranny, and blower. Hope you do something on behalf of the consumer.

- Collinsville, MS, USA

problem #24

Sep 152008


  • 58,000 miles
Car had a large leak of transmission fluid on the driveway. There was not any trouble with shifting gears but a whine, at times. Tried to take it to the dealer this past Monday at 10am. They were closed due to storm damage and electricity outages starting Sunday afternoon. Was referred to transmission company. Told it is a known problem at about 60,000 miles (I'm at little more than 58,000). The pressure inside changes and computer makes changes that then causes the fluid to rise through the vent. I'm been told it is going to be $1,816.96 repair and three days without a vehicle. The repair shop is rebuilding the existing transmission. Technician stated unsure why Ford has not had a recall on this.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #23

Jul 292008

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Ford Taurus has a bad torque converter and transmission. Consumer states that the transmission and torque converter needs to be replace and the vehicle has less than 60,000 miles on it but Ford will not do anything about it.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #22

Jul 022008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. While driving 25 mph, the contact heard a popping noise coming from inside the passenger compartment. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the contact was informed that the vehicle needed a new transmission pump. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 77,000. Updated 08/04/08. The consumer stated the vehicle continued to accelerate. It would not go forward. Updated 08/06/08

- Keller, VA, USA

problem #21

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 #20

May 302008


  • 115,000 miles
While traveling in my 2003 Ford Taurus at approximately 50 mph, the transmission suddenly failed and an accident was narrowly avoided as I was able to pull off the road. The vehicle has approximately 115000 miles on it, but has had routine service performed. Although it has not yet been serviced, I did check that the transmission fluid level is normal and not discolored or evidence of fouled fluid.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #19

Mar 102007


  • miles
As all these other complaints, the transmission failed in my 03 Ford Taurus. No warning, no lights or whistles. Approx. 54,000 miles. Sucks, that the best way to describe it. Cost $2,700 plus towing. Never again! one would think in this day and time when the economy is so crappy, Ford would want all the business they could get....they know this trans. Is a bad next car was going to be a crown vic....but not now.....

- Williford, AR, USA

problem #18

Mar 062008

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,649 miles
2003 Taurus - transmission failed; went to accelerate through busy intersection; no power; had to coast through intersection to get to safer place. Car towed; est. 1300-1600- to fix per Ford dealer; final cost $1933.50. No warning; no nothing; just would not accelerate; last year it was the strut blowing through the rear end of the wagon for $1500 fix; this year $1933.50 for transmission; Ford says out of warranty; too bad; it is like having a heart attack and the doctor can't explain why; what an explanation to get from a "reputable dealer". they took my money whether I had a heart attack or not.

- Dedham, MA, USA

problem #17

Apr 012007

Taurus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford Taurus. The contact stated that the windshield slipped down and she heard a lot of wind noise, rattling, and water leakage. The floor began to rust, the lights flickered, and the cruise control failed due to water damage. The alternator was replaced twice due to water damage. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 03V087000 (visibility:windshield). The failure mileage was 43,000 and current mileage was 68,000. Updated 04-02-08 the vehicle jerks when the consumer drives over 35 mph. The dashboard lights go dim. The vehicle would also stall. The dealer stated it was due to a bad alternator. Updated

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

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