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 1 of 2)

problem #34

Nov 112016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles


On the way back home from a doctor's appointment with my wife and our one month old baby, we stopped at a red light on a major state highway; when it turned green, I started off, got about halfway through the intersection, and suddenly the RPMs went up and I totally lost power. I coasted off to the left shoulder (did I mention it was a major highway? Nice!). There it sat until the tow truck took it to the transmission shop. It happened with no warning whatsoever. However, in retrospect, I think I may have been able to feel some roughness and herky-jerky stuff that may have been related, but the car does run a little rough and shifts in a herky-jerky fashion normally, so it's hard to tell. The tranny shop said it was a common problem with these cars and it was caused because the splines on the torque converter on the input shaft were too soft and eventually just wore away. (Somewhere there's another engineer who needs to be making french fries for a living--I find evidence of these flunky engineers everywhere.)

- , Hammond, US

problem #33

Jun 072017

Taurus SES 6-3.0L-F I

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Turned corner on way to doctors office and the car stopped and refused to move. When I pressed the accelerator to go nothing happened. There I sat in the middle of traffic and could not move. I was completely surprised that so many cars passed and no one stopped to help or offer assistance. After raising the hood and engaging my alert blinkers a young man in a truck with his children inside stopped and offered assistance. when we started to push the car toa safe parking space, another young man stopped and rendered assistance. What a dangerous spot I was in with traffic all around me and me a 77 year old with unsteady legs not knowing just what had just happened. There was no noise from any part of the car, nothing out of the order before the car just stopped. what could you have imagined with the engine continuing to run and every thing seeming normal. Not being a machinic it was one of those impossible problems. " What should I do." Not knowing a mechanic, because as you can see we don't use the car but so often, with 76000 miles and a 2003 Ford ln 2017. I still need some help in solving this situation aand Ford Motor Company should have that solution. As a resident of Louisville, KY with Ford all around us there should be help close by. With the situation known by Ford, there should be a recall on these TRANSMISSIONS . There was a 75000 mile conditional warranty on these caars, but as you can see I just missed that. Ford should take into account that the 1000 miles should be discounted and the warranty with held.Even as a condition of CUSTOMER LOYALTY and fair trade conditions. Looking for HELP from FORD. What about it.

Just a second thought. " Suspose I was on my way across country and this happened in the middle of nowhere USA...Thanks FORD for thinking of us.

- , Louisville, KY, US

problem #32

Oct 282015

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

2003 Taurus 3.0l V6. Car has 52,000 miles on it and my daughter came out of work and cranked the car to start home. No forward gears, no reverse gears, nada. Icing on the cake, it was dark and pouring rain. Had it towed to a reputable transmission shop, where they told me without even looking at it that the chances were very good that the splines in the torque converter were stripped, because that's what happens to almost all 2003 Taurus torque converters. They checked it out and they were exactly right. The original converter spline had a total thickness of .160" of soft teeth, or at least it did before they were stripped smooth. Was told that it wasn't "if" it would happen, but "when". This problem was known by Ford, and should have been recalled by them. I have had vehicles that were driven much harder than this Taurus has ever been, go 150,000 miles without one problem with the tranny. Shame on you, Ford. Shame on you.

- , Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #31

Oct 102015

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


I was driving to work on a Saturday and I turned at a light started to accelerate and then my car wouldn't go! The engine would rev up but no going forward! So I coasted into a subdivision. Luckily, I was only 4 miles from the transmission shop so my insurance covered the tow, but $1,200 to get it fixed! When I picked up my car the lady behind the desk told me to look into getting some money back from Ford since they recalled the Sable for the torque converter, but not the Taurus! Come on Ford when are you going to recall this? This is just another reason the economy is going in the toilet because of things like this! My bank account is now back a $0! I feel sorry for the people who have to pay this and then cannot put food on their tables!

- , Walled Lake, MI, USA

problem #30

Apr 042014

Taurus LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Like all other complaints. The drive gear in torque converter to pump fluids in trans was not strong enough for its purpose. Like all other complaints written - gear stripped and car needed replacement torque converter.I saw old gear and it was thin flimsy and NOT EVEN CLOSE to strong enough gear to do job. Please try to get a recall and reimbursement for those already repaired out of pocket Thanks AND FORD! you know it is true- STEP UP- and be accountable for your mistake. Future non-Ford owner.

- , Norton, MA, USA

problem #29

Apr 122015

Taurus Wagon 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

COULD OF BEEN KILLED------------DRIVING DOWN FREEWAY, I-94 West in left lane and put on blinker to get into right lane, hit gas and car revs and does not move any. THANK GOD momentum got me into the right lane and over to the side of the freeway. Again (happened in January 2013 already) car clicks into Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive and does not move any where, just revs up.

Had trans guy look at it, and R&R trans-axle stuck, would not move. Again, one re-manufactured torque convertor put on. Have done some research and NUMEROUS people have reported the same problem. Looks like I purchased a LEMON for sure. So this is torque convertor #2 in 2 years and 3 months. COULD OF BEEN KILLED, Shame on you Ford Motor Company for not recalling this issue-it is rampant in 2003 Ford Taurus cars.

- , Jackson, MI, USA

problem #28

Jan 282013

Taurus Wagon 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


Driving down the road I live on and the car was in drive and just stopped---thought I was in the twilight zone---hit the gas and it revs ups, put it in reverse (clicked right in there) and does not move but revs. Had to have the car towed 2 houses down back to my house. R&R transaxle replaced, parts were torque convertor, front seal, exhaust clamp, metric nuts, left inner CV boot.

- , Jackson, MI, USA

problem #27

Jan 312015

Taurus SE 3.0L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,465 miles

2003 Ford Taurus with 72000 miles and this is the SECOND torque converter replacement. The SECOND!!! First was at 38000 miles. This is horrible quality. I had real reservations about buying a Ford product to begin with, but bought the car with only 18000 mi on it in 2012. It was an old lady car and against my gut feelings went ahead and bought it because it had so little miles on it and was a good deal. Unfortunately my gut was right and previous experience with Ford should have been heeded (I won't go into it here). got me this time, but never again. Never another Ford for me. Two.....TWO torque converters in 72000 miles!!!!

- , Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #26

Oct 102014

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,562 miles

No warning whatsoever on this problem.. Took me by surprise!

- , Warwick, NY, USA

problem #25

Feb 132010

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,440 miles

On February 13 or 14, 2010 I was driving and all of a sudden my car would not go anywhere even though the engine was running. At the time it only had 44,440 miles on it. I took it to my mechanic who had the car towed to a reputable transmission shop. When I went to talk to the mechanic he said he already knew what it was and that he had a multitude of this make and model having the same exact problem. He said it was a design flaw that allows the torque convertor to "strip" without any warning. After taking the transmission apart he called and told me that it was the torque convertor and what it would cost to replace it including labor. So I had it fixed.

What is it going to take for someone to seriously address this issue so no one is killed? This is a dangerous car and many complaints have been made in regards to this issue as early as approximately 2007 so it is not the age of the vehicle but the design flaw. No telling how many people had this happen who did not report it. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed for all who have owned or still own the 2003 Ford Taurus.

- , Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #24

Aug 302014

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,539 miles


On August 30, 2014 out of no where my car would not go anywhere. Engine was still running. I had this happen once before and had to have the torque convertor replaced at 44,400 miles. I suspect that is what is going on this time and will have it repaired. The car doesn't even have 80,000 miles on it.

I am grateful that I was not in or caused an accident because of it. It is imperative that I have reliable transportation.. I thought I would have had that in a Ford but I was really wrong. This vehicle has been nothing but a huge migraine from the day I took ownership of it until now.

- , Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #23

Jul 182014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Without any warning transmission disengaged while on interstate. Could have caused an accident.

- , Richmond, VT, USA

problem #22

Mar 152012

Taurus SES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,098 miles

I was coming home from Dallas to Louisiana. We were near Shreveport, La. when I noticed my mileage had just went past 75000 miles. I mentioned to my wife, " Well our warranty just ran out." We went another 80 or so miles when all of a sudden the car started slowing down and the engine started accellerating really high. We pulled over and called someone to come and get us. Well Monday morning we had it towed to dealership in Alexandria, La. and they said the torque converter went out. I pleaded and begged with them to cover it under the warranty since it was only 65 miles over the warranty. They said they would do it for 500.00. I was p----- off. I will never buy a ford as long as I live.

- , Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #21

Jan 082014

Taurus SE 3.0L Vulacan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Should have looked at this site before I bought the car. Transmission went out, no gears, just like everyone else here with 03 transmission trouble. Turned out to be broken torque converter.

- , Paramus, NJ, USA

problem #20

Sep 272013

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,235 miles

Beautiful car, I am the second owner and it only has 52,000 original miles. This morning as I am going to work I am accelerating slightly to go up a slight incline and it surges, and loses its drive, no revearse....nothing!

Really upsetting as the car is in MINT condition, no rust except along the door edges inside the door, properly maintained to a T and then this! UGH, what a way to start a Friday morning.

- , Lake City, MI, USA

problem #19

Sep 222013

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,648 miles

Driving down the highway I'm going 70 - 75 MPH, taking it easy, and out of nowhere I can no longer accelerate! It drops from 70, to 60, to 50... and then I start to panic and got over to the shoulder. Got a tow truck to take it to a Ford dealer which told me they were not sure and would have to do more investigating to see how much damage was done. Of course insurance doesn't cover ANYTHING mechanical. And the "best" case scenario is AT LEAST TWO GRAND to fix, like it's pocket change or something. Sure, the car is 10 years old but it has les than 78K miles!! WHAT THE HECK. I bought a "grandpa" car, thinking that it was well-maintained and had low miles so it would be wonderful and I wouldn't have to worry about it. NOPE! This happened out of nowhere! I'm not hard on my car, driving crazy places, speeds, or distances. This is absolutely ridiculously.

- , Auburn Hills, MI, USA

problem #18

Jul 262013

Taurus SEL V.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

My car is currently in the shop having this issue fixed. Since I was told by the repairman this is very common I dedcided to look up 2003 Ford Taurus recalls. Much to my dismay this issue has not been addressed by Ford. I am pregnant, 7/26/13 (the day of the incident) was my birthday and I was travelling from NC to Charleston, SC to visit my mother for my birthday. I was about an hour and 15 minutes from her when on the interstate my car suddenly stopped accelerating. I had to manuever to the side of the highway pregnant and alone. I called AAA who came to tow me and my mom came out of her way to get me from another city. Of course since it was 7:00 in the evening on a Friday my car acould not even be looked at by the mechanic until Monday morning. Needless to say I am very upset about the danger to myself and my unborn child, the cost to repair, the cost to rent a car to come back to NC for work and then back to SC, and the 2 days I have to miss from work unpaid due to this issue. If anyone has suggestions for how to put more pressure on Ford to reimburse us for this and recall the car for this issue please let me know. I am on board.

- , Winston Salem, NC, US

problem #17

Sep 152010

Taurus SEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Driving on a busy city street on my lunch break from work, when the car just stopped in the middle of the street. I was embarrassed, and the police had to help push me to the side of the street as I could have caused an accident in the middle of the street. Took to a transmission shop and the transmission was replaced due to torque issues.

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #16

Nov 162012

Taurus SEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

Driving down the street when without any warning the car just slowed down and stopped in the middle of the street. The engine started reving up but the car would not go forward. I was blue in the face because this had been the second time this had occurred in 2 years on this car and I had just made my final car payment a few months before. I noticed the problem as one that had occurred before when the entire transmission had to be replaced, and took it back to the transmission repair shop. They replaced the torque and I was out of 1800.00 just like that once again!!!

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #15

Jun 112011

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

On Saturday, June 11th, 2011 I was at a red light at the intersection of the expressway exit and the entrance to the Buffalo / Niagara Airport in the Town of Cheektowaga,Ny I pressed the accelerator to proceed past the red light and to continue on my way through the intersection, but the engine only revved and the red tachometer meter needle swung up into the 3000 RPM range before it settled back down to about 750 RPM - yes, I've cut and pasted the similar facets of this problem from my other report ! The problem wasn't a blown transmission. The Torque Converter drive splines had stripped out - literally eliminating the actual connection between the torque converter and the transmission input shaft. The problem is that the O.E.M. [ Original Equipment from the Manufacturer ] torque converter drive splines are only .160 [ one hundred and sixty thousandths of an inch ] thick, and they wipe out after about 30 to 40 thousand miles of recorded odometer travel. The repair at the Ford Dealership cost about $1,600.00 I found several complaint sites specifically for the 2003 Ford Taurus torque converter problem. I mentioned this to the Service manager and of course he... "never heard of such a chronic problem" [ Bullshit ]. After I had the repair done and was doing further reading I found an after market Taurus replacement torque converter that has been manufactured with drive splines that are .260 [ two hundred and thirty thousandths of an inch thick ] I was pissed off that I didn't find it before they put another Ford O.E.M. torque converter in my car. This problem happened to me at about 134,000 miles [ on the odometer ] and AGAIN about 34,000 miles of travel 20 months later at 162,382. I made sure to tell the Ford dealership to use the thicker after market torque converter the second time it happened in Feb of 2013. I am not an advertiser or salesman of any sort. I have not been paid or compensated in any fashion for my endorsement of the torque converter with the thicker drive splines. In fact, only time will tell just how good it really works or how long [ in terms of actual odometer recorded miles driven ] it will last. It is made by a company called DAACO. Look them up on GOOGLE and good luck to ALL of us that are cursed with these Damnable F68-E2 Torque Converters that are in the Ford Taurus AXOD type transmissions.

- , Lancaster, NY, USA

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