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...


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,671 miles
Total Complaints:
34 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace torque convertor (21 reports)
  2. not sure (7 reports)
  3. replace convertor (4 reports)
  4. replaced transmission (2 reports)
2003 Ford Taurus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Mar 212013

Taurus SEL 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


Same as some others. My son was stranded in the middle of rush hour traffic. Car just would not move. Had to call friends to push off the road. Thought the transmission was gone but turned out to be the torque converter. The repair shop said this is a common problem for the Ford Taurus and he has replaced hundreds!

Disappointing that Ford will not address the problem!

- , Milford, MI, USA

problem #13

Jun 102012

Taurus SE Wagon 3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,500 miles

Accelerating up Freeway On-Ramp lost forward motion ... pulled as far left as possible which blocked the passenger door from opening. Engine running fine but no movement in all gears (Auto Trans).

Called Auto Club .... they called the Highway Patrol because I was partly blocking the High Speed On-Ramp and in harms way, and called a Tow Truck.

Was eventually towed to a nearby Mechanic who agreed there was a Transmission Problem.

Found a Transmission Shop open on a Sinday. They informed me that it was COMMON for Taurus Torque Converters to strip out before 100,000 miles, and this turned out to be the problem ($1400.00).

- , Monrovia, CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 312012

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,923 miles

The splines on the torque converter were stripped, it was a dangerous situation with my wife driving in rush hour traffic and the vehicle was suddenly and unexpectedly (no prior problem indication) disabled... very dangerous situation. Transmission repair guy indicated a recall on the 2004 Winstar for exactly the same issue, I think the same transmission. I see numerous complaints about this problem on the Taurus so why no recall? Very dangerous situation with life threatening potential.

- , Thunder Bay, Ontario, canada

problem #11

Sep 082011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


2003 Ford Taurus convinced me to never buy another Ford product again until this problem so many have suffered at very dangerous conditions, is compensated and paid for in recall. The transmission mechanic made no bones about the fact that Ford will forever lose business with this insult to the average joe's pocket book. Buy Nissan, henceforth, Ford is crap.

- , St Augustine, FL, USA

problem #10

Apr 232012

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Ford, we need a recall asap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Natchitoches, LA, USA

problem #9

May 272012

Taurus SES 3.0L V6 Vulcan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,128 miles

Driving 70/75 down 4 lanes of I-96 in Detroit when suddenly I start loosing speed. I touch the gas pedal enough to watch the RPMs rise and no acceleration. The engine is still running and sounds fine so at this point I'm 97% sure it's the trans. Was able to exit the freeway without too many evasive maneuvers and actually made it down a side road. Haven't even taken it to the shop yet, it's been towed to my home. After reading all the complaints on here and elsewhere I'm now 99% sure it's the torque converter and hopefully the tranny doesn't need a rebuild. Last Ford I ever drive for sure.

- , Allen Park, MI, US

problem #8

Dec 032011

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles


Purchased it new in 2003. Never had any problems. Only 61,000 miles. Drove it one night with no problems. Got up the next morning. to move car and it would not go foward or backward. It is still sitting in our yard. Not able to get it fixed. Understand it is expensive to fix. We are not able to do this.

- , Panama City, FL, USA

problem #7

Feb 072012

Taurus SES Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

On the coldest morning of the year, in the 20's, around 6:35 a.m., I turned onto a curvy road. Without warning, my car engine was still running but my car was not moving. It felt as if I were in one of those Final Destiny movies. My instinct was to continuously pump my breaks because I was afraid someone would run into my black car barely visible in the early morning. In a skirt and heels, I pushed the car into a dirt driveway between two ditches as far as I could. A deep mud puddle prevented me from going into the driveway any farther. A few minutes after, I sat in my cold car and watched as cars began to zoom by. It was at that point, I realized how dangerous this problem actually is. My husband was on his way out of town and felt compelled to turn around to make sure I was all right. I had wrapped myself in an extra blanket until AAA, my husband, and my father-in-law arrived. It costs around $1400 to get it repaired and that is with a customer discount. Now, I still have extra thoughts about crossing busy lanes and traveling curvy roads due to my experience. THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE!

- , Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #6

Jan 282012

Taurus SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Same symptoms as all the others. Driving down road, went to accelerate, car would not pick up speed. Coasted to side of road. Would not go into any gear, drive, overdrive, first or reverse. Shifter moved, but transmission would not engage. No warning light and no check engine light, therefore code was not set for diagnosis. No problem with transmission prior to this, no slipping, no hesitation, nothing! Just sudden malfunction. Waiting to hear how much this will cost. This car has been well maintained. It is our leisure vehicle, only driven on weekends/trips, son is an ASE certified mechanic and all fluids have been changed and checked regularly. Had to resort to my daily drive-to-work vehicle, a 2001 Toyota Corolla with 145,000 miles and no problems whatsoever!

- , Howardsville, VA, USA

problem #5

Nov 132011

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Driving on roadway when vehicle suddenly, without warning, lost pulling power, although engine would rev. No gears worked. Replaced torque convertor.

- , Enterprise, AL, USA

problem #4

Jan 122012

Taurus LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


I have been a Ford Car driver for over 20 years now. First car was a 72 Mustang. Father retired from Ford with 35 years on the job. Fords are the ONLY cars I have ever driven. On January 12,2012, I was driving to work at 5:30a.m. As I was pulling into the driveway of my job my car just STOPPED. Engine was running well, but the car would not go in drive, reverse, NOTHING. If I was on the highway I would have been in a serious accident. All I could do was sit in my car and thank God I was not seriously hurt. All I could do was think how many people has this happened to!!!! OMG what if I had my children in the car. This is a very serious issue and Ford needs to do Recall ASAP on the 2003 Ford Taurus, WAGONS and CARS. When I got my car to a shop I was informed that it was not my Transmission but my Torque Converter. This could have killed me!!!!!!!!!!!!! It cost me $1330.00 to get this fixed and I want to be reimbursed by FORD ASAP!!!!!!!and I am going to no stops to make it happen. Not only am I fighting for my $$$$ im fighting for all the people that own this car, and their loved ones!!!!!!!!!!. Just one day prior to this happening to me I found out that Ford did a recall on 2004 and 2005 models of two other cars but not the Taurus Wagon. The recall was for the EXACT same issue that I had. I will fight with all that I have to get a recall on this car. I pray that a recall goes in affect and that no lives are lost due to this serious, and deadly defect. I have had no other major issues with my Wagon since I drove it off the lot in 2002, other that the basic things that will go wrong with a car that is 9 years of age, with over 160,000 miles on it. I love my car and its been good to me but this is just to serious of an issue to not say anything about. i dont want to look up and see and accident on World News that states a family has been hurt in a Taurus due to this issue. If there are others that have had this issue please help me in getting this car recalled.Its a matter of life or death!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #3

Jan 052012

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

No signs of imminent failure. All of the sudden, the car will not move in drive or reverse. I knew this was a common problem, but DANG!

- , Franklin, IN, USA

problem #2

Jul 212010

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Driving along at 55 and transmission acted as if it jumped out of gear. Had it towed to Ford dealer to be fixed, where they said they haven't had this problem. they charged $1400 to replace convertor. Did I mention I was 220 miles from home. What a Pia.

- , Louisville, KY, US

problem #1

Nov 092011

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,262 miles

My Father in-law turned 85 in June and his driving skills/reflexes have diminished... with that he finally decided it was time to let his '03 Taurus go... He wanted me to have it but with three cars already I really didn't see the need. My wife said we can't hurt his feelings so we gave him a grand and drove it away.... I was shocked to see that the car had 10,000 miles on it... I knew it had to be low but I was thinking 40-50K... So I thought maybe I'll keep it and sell something else..... On the way home I noticed there was a weird sound coming from the engine compartment, it almost sounded like an engine knock or ping, I thought since the car was sitting for a long time it may have had some water in the tank or that the gas was just old... so I put in some gas dryer, some octane boost and a bottle of injection cleaner.... after the tank went down to 1/4 I filled up with high test.... still the same noise. I took it to my mechanic and he said it wasn't anything with the engine, he went to the transmission shop next door and they both went for a ride.... They both felt (but were not positive) it was the beginning of the torque convertor going bad..... the car shifts fine and when at highway speeds you can't tell anything is wrong...until you hit the accelerator...then you get that low pitch almost ”diesel” like sound.... The sound goes away after it shifts into the next gear but then starts again after it hits a certain rpm….

Any thoughts?... Do you think because of the extremely low mileage Ford would repair this under warranty?

- , Riverdale, NJ, USA

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