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:
93,493 miles
Total Complaints:
335 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (154 reports)
  2. not sure (81 reports)
  3. replace torque converter (37 reports)
  4. sitting in drive way trying to figure something out (33 reports)
  5. rebuilt the transmission replacing only failed parts (18 reports)
  6. scrap it! (5 reports)
2003 Ford Taurus transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Taurus Owner Comments (Page 11 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #135

Feb 042011

Taurus SE 3.0L Voulcan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,453 miles


i was about to leave to go to school one morning so i stepped into the car, placed the key in the slot, turned on the car shifted it into reverse and pressed the gas when suddenly..."what?" i press the gas again and the car did nothing but rev. none of the gears worked. all the car did was sit there. like some of the other people, i researched about transmission problems in a Taurus and as it turns out, its a very common problem amongst these cars! i don't mean to get sentimental, but my father passed away not too long ago so now its only my mother and i. can you imagine how hard this impacted my mother's economy!? she has to pay the bills, the rent, and NOW THIS!? I THOUGHT WE COULD RELY ON THIS CAR! i wish i could help my mother with the expenses but i cant get a job due to the rigorous school schedule that i have. FORD SHOULD RECALL THESE CARS JUST LIKE THEY DID TO THE 1998-2003 FORD WINDSTAR, AND FIX THE PROBLEM!

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #134

Mar 092011

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought my 03 ford taurus new no miles.I now have 75,000 miles on it.Guess what the transmission failed while my wife and 4 year old son were on the way from dadeville to auburn .This was terrible,stuck and miles from help.Now I am walking to work because I had to leave my truck for my wife and son. I never expected this would happen so soon ,at 75,000 come on!!!Over the last 6 years i have bought 3 ford products,never again.What I have learned is that this a common and well known problem.Ford should do something to help loyal customers,yea wright, it will be my fault, it had to be something I done.That is how it will be. It sucks I don't have the money to have it fixed.will have to save for at least a year.

- , Dadeville, AL, USA

problem #133

Mar 072011

Taurus SE 3ol V3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,322 miles

Yesterday, as I was behind other vehicles at a stop sign, the car just stopped moving in gear. I had to wave other cars around me. When I turned it off and then restarted, it did the same thing. No warning__nothing ! Had to get it towed home (thank God for AAA). I went online and googled "car won't move in gear", and here I am. I believe if this has been a recurring problem with this Ford make, that it should be addressed by FORD MOTOR COMPANY. I have no doubt that it is a well known problem because when I called the transmission repair people, they said it is a common problem and that they can fix it but cannot guarantee that it won"t happen again.If I had know this before I bought it, I would have had a lot of second thoughts.

- , Rocky Point, NC, USA

problem #132

Dec 162010

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles


I thought I bought a reliable used American made car for my daughter to get to school & work in, she drove it for about 11 months with no problems then all of a sudden one morning it wouldn't engage into gear (forward or reverse). I thought maybe it was the linkage from the shifting lever but discovered no problem. I then searched for a solution online and ran into this website. After looking up this car i said HOLY SH*T! this car has a serious problem that should've been recalled by Ford. I just sold it on Craigslist & said goodbye to Ford forever!

- , Westfield, MA, USA

problem #131

Jan 052011

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

sooo just like the many other complaints, my 2003 Ford Taurus as well decided to suddenly stop. Thankfully, I was turning into a parking lot when all of a sudden I go to accelerate, the engine does nothing but rev. I turned the car off then back on again only to find this fixed nothing. The only two gears that worked were Park and Neutral. The horrifying part is I just purchased the car exactly two weeks prior, with a mere 79,000 miles and a 3-day warranty. I had the car towed immediately back to the dealership, to which I demanded something be done about their lack of upkeep for the vehicles they sale each and every day. To my surprise, they offered to pay half of the $800 repair costs. Again, I was thankfully turning into a parking lot, and not on the highway filled with early morning commuters, as I would have been only 10 minutes later. After reading these complaints, there is definitely something Ford needs to do about this life-threatening situation.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #130

Jan 242011

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

All of a sudden the transmission starts behaving badly.. will not shift. Took to the Ford dealer in Charlottesville. They charged $69 to tell me that it is a common problem in Ford Taurus, funny they did not tell me that when I bought the car from them. On top of that, they could not commit to a total cost of repair until they open up transmission. The repair cost can be between $1,600 to $2,700. I was leaning towards buying 2011 Ford Fusion and with this Taurus incident, Fusion is out of questions and most likely all Fords are out of the question. They certainly know how NOT build and earn long term customers loyalty.

- , Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #129

Feb 072011

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles


I was driving I-75N, got off at my exit and switched lanes as the light was turning from red to green. Just as I got under the light, my car would not accelerate. It was in gear, but the engine would only rev (as if it were in neutral). I put on my hazards, restarted the car to no avail. Called 911 and reported what had happened. A kind (and brave) stranger was able to push my car safely through the intersection and to the shoulder where I parked and waited for a tow-truck and friend to pick me up. Had it towed to PepBoys (they don't work on transmissions) had it towed to Aamco and subsequently Cottman Transmissions where it sits now. Parts and Labor are estimated at $2331. Many, many other similar accounts from other 2003 Ford Taurus owners. Should be a recall on the failing torque converters. And the stickler is, I just had an oil change at my local Ford dealership and they told me my car was in great condition. There was nothing to worry about. You can only imagine how relieved I was hearing that from the manufacturer.

Please, anyone else with this problem, please submit your complaints to While this website is really awesome and I'm so glad for others who have posted here, we need to band together in order to get Ford's attention. And after talking to their customer service rep, the only way they will make a move to correct this in any way is if the government forces their hand. We have a collective power and the ability to make our voices heard. Please, take the 20 or so minutes to go through this process.

Some of our stories of survival are awesome, miraculous even.. but how much longer will that last. This "faulty converter issue" we all seem to be experiencing could cause a great deal of pain, suffering or loss if not addressed.

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #128

Feb 032011

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,359 miles

Another Taurus Transmission bites the dust. The service rep at Ford told me the splines on the torque converter were completely stripped. I thought that was the reason for having splines on a shaft so it wouldn't strip under heavy torque. It just cost 1500.00 dollars to fix. This is the second Ford I've owned that suffered a premature catastrophic failure of an engine component. The last one was the head gasket fiasco on the V-6 motor at 58,000 miles on my 1992 T-bird. This will probably be my last Ford purchase, that's what I call a "BETTER IDEA"

- , Mentor, OH, USA

problem #127

Feb 082011

Taurus LE 3.0L Vulcan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

This car is my sister's she bought it new in 2003. 46K on it, meticulously cared for and garaged. She went to go to the store and it wouldn't move in any gear,no warning at all, just like it was in neutral. I checked the trans fluid and it was way over full. Called two mechanic friends and they both said that the torc converter was wiped out. the cost is about 1100 to 1400 to repair. This is unacceptable.... I have a 02 taurus ses with 130k and never had a problem with the transmission, I hope I didnt jinx myself...

- , Vermilion, OH, USA

problem #126

Feb 072011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Today my wife called and told me that her car just stopped going, that the engine would rev up but the car would fail to move. I thought surely its not the trans it's been babied and only has 66,000 miles on it. So after getting towed to the shop they tell me that its a total rebuild for almost 3000.00 dollars. How could this be ? it didn't make a hint of a problem and now its finished? What the Hell Ford? do you think you have a problem? I really hope that it don't take a Toyota problem on your hands before you wake up and admit there's a problem. I'm pissed after reading all the post that are identical. I want in on a class action on Ford.

- , Moses Lake, WA, USA

problem #125

Feb 072011

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,550 miles


Has been a dependable car up to this point. Have never had a car where: transmission failed with this low mileage and without any hint of a problem before catastrophic failure.

- , Saline, MI, USA

problem #124

Nov 242010

Taurus 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

my son-in-law and I were going home to pa for thanksgiving and i was driving my car on I-70 going north and at exit 91 in the state of indiana , just got out of down town indinanopolis , going 55 mph ,went to giving a little more gas because of all the traffic behind me my car just died and wouldn't move any more. I didn't know what to do there was cars coming from everywhere.I don't know how i did it but i manage to slide my car over into the medium on exit 91. my son-in-law could have been killed i don't know how we were not. i spent 14 hrs in pep boys parking lot waited, for my daughter to come and get us and take us the rest of the way to pa. a tow truck towed us to pep boys where they couldn't help us and it being thanksgiving the next day couldn't get any help.,until that friday. My husband came from pa and on thanksgiving and tow my car to pa, where it still sits as i speak at a garage.I had no warning at all it just die and i almost did too. It was the thanksgiving from hell. i still had 3 years to pay for it i call the place where i got my loan and told them they could have their car and where to get it. i loved my car.

Update from Apr 19, 2013: i never got the car fixed didn't have the money to do it . my husband bought a van so i could get back to ok so i could get to work and it was i ford also . i drove it for awhile and then traded it in and i now own a kia optima 2004. it is a great car. the loan company is still wanting me to pay for the car and still harass us about it. i told them where the car was and i don't know if they went and got it or not. that thanksgiving was the last time i ever saw my mom in good health. she died on april 3, 2012. i took my kia up to pa when she died.

- , Duncan, OK, USA

problem #123

Nov 232010

Taurus LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

The car was running like a top, that is before the transmission totally failed without warning. I was driving down a busy road the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, with a trunk load of perishables and the transmission totally went out. I had been fearing this because of other reports that I keep up with and sure enough, my worse fears were realized. Fortunately, I was off work that day and out earlier in the afternoon so the traffic was very light on that busy road. I am happy that I was not driving home from work as this particular part of central Florida is very busy. Car was towed to a transmission shop and the repair was estimated to cost between $1850 and $2850. Since I had gotten good service out of the car, I decided not to put that much money into it and replaced the vehicle. Everything else was in good shape as I took good care of the car - regular oil changes and other recommended maintenance. My problem is with Ford and their knowledge of the shoddy transmissions that they put into the cars for that year. Judging by the complaints I've read, this problem is pretty common for the 2003 models, and I am sure Ford is well aware of it. This failure could have caused a terrible traffic accident with possible loss of life.

- , Winter Springs, FL, USA

problem #122

Nov 282010

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,600 miles

Just wanted to add that my 2003 Taurus experienced the transmission failure also. While driving on the highway doing 65mph, it just went out. Towed to dealer and then found out torque converter and transmission pump need replaced at the cost of $1800. l was going to buy a new Taurus in two years, but now I have lost all trust in Ford vehicles. My next vehicle will be a Chevrolet.

- , Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #121

Nov 242010

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

2003.... 44,000..... miles tranny just slipped out of gear while driving. no warning. car will not go into any gears. Shop tells me needs a new pump and torque converter. At 44,000 miles this is totally unexceptable, and from what i hear, it is fairly common.

- , Farmingville, NY, USA

problem #120

Nov 242010

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Just like all the others on this page, my transmission went out with no warning on I75.

- , Grand Blanc, MI, USA

problem #119

Jan 012009

Taurus 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,609 miles

2003 Ford Taurus, we bought this car with 33,000 miles at 120,609 transmission went out with no warning. Lucky my wife did not make it to the freeway. Long story short, out $2200.00 was looking at 2500+ but got them to do it for 2200. Well, here is more bad news. I have put 50,000. on the rebuilt transmission. 2nd gear is going out now.The bad thing is this car still looks good but it is not worth $2500.00, Motor runs good. I do not have the money to keep putting transmissions in this car. I am at 180,000. I will not fix it again. I believe Ford needs to reimburse for the transmission to be rebuilt again.

- , Arnold, MO, USA

problem #118

Nov 152010

Taurus 3.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,756 miles

After dropping my kids off at school and was on my way home car was running great. UNTIL getting off highway ramp. light at top of ramp was red turned green half way up, I applied the gas, high pitched whirling sound then no drive.I was lucky! able to coast through light and pull over.Checked all fluids and all were ok. so ended up having to push car 1/4 mile into parking lot.The most frustrating part was I had to walk 5 miles to get home before I could get any help.This is horse sh*t gave no warning at all.I have owned Fords my whole life, but now I'm thinking it might be time to try another auto Mfg.

- , Lorain, OH, USA

problem #117

Nov 012010

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,756 miles

Well after spending my week carless and reading the other 100 some posts about Ford Taurus's transmission and it's problems I shouldn't have been so surprised how mine broke. I was driving along for about 7 miles and stopped at several red lights. I stopped at another red light on route 100 and when I stepped on the gas and the car would not move. I managed to get the car off to the shoulder, by my boyfriend pushing it. Of course turning the car on and off did nothing because we were both already sure that it was the transmission. I called AAA to come tow my car to the shop, although this towing has now resulted in my steering being ridiculously off. After a week I had my transmission rebuilt, my car back, and I now have to steer like an idiot until I can get that fixed next. Thank god I didn't actually pay for this car and I inherited it from my grandmother. Now all I can think about is what's going to be next to break.

- , Macungie, PA, USA

problem #116

Nov 122010

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,358 miles

Yet another member of the Ford Taurus failed transmission club. My 73 yr old mother in law is moving from the heartland to the southwest to be closer to family. She is driving a Ford Taurus 2003 w/ 81,438 miles on it, just had it serviced before she left on her trip to the southwest 11/11/2010. Passing through El Paso Texas 4 lane busy interstate the car loses all momentum and begins to coast to the side of the interstate as 18 wheelers are passing her by at 75 + miles per hour she coasts helplessly to the side of the road. As you can imagine she is very frightened and nervous to say the least. She calls my wife in a panic asking for advice, long story short she calls 911 the hwy patrol shows up and helps her arrange for a tow truck. The car gave no warning at all prior to putting her life in jeopardy. When is Ford going to take accountability for their faulty equipment? After someone is killed? I drove for 4 hrs to rescue my mother in law, loaded the worthless car on the trailer and paid for a room to stay the night as she was in no shape to travel right away. We got the car home and unloaded it at garage this morning. The mechanic said he knew from previous For Taurus encounters what the problem was before we unloaded it. The transmission pump shaft was sheared off, cost to fix $800.00. The pump is only around $100 dollars but to remove the sub frame and all to get the trans out is a lot of labor. Don't buy a Ford anything until they resolve their issues with this transmission. Thanks Ford for almost causing yet another freeway pile up.

- , Safford, AZ, USA

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