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:
93,606 miles
Total Complaints:
334 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 (32 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 12 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #114

Apr 232010

Taurus SEL 3.0L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


i too have joined the transmission club.was on vacation 160 miles from home and tranny decided to take vacation too. after 200.00 rental car bill and 1700.00 transmission bill i am back on the road again.thanks ford for a vacation i will never forget.hey ford, do the right thing and send everyone that has that pos ax4n tranny a letter letting them know that their tranny is a ticking time bomb and could blow at any second! PS. I did save a little money.the Kia Rio i rented got 38 mpg. and comes with a 10 year 100000 mile warranty!

- , Brighton, TN, USA

problem #113

Jul 082010

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,615 miles

Well I had my car 4 years, I am the 2nd owner and was told the first owner was an older couple that drives a car until the warranty runs out and trades it in. when I bought my car it had 36,000 miles on it so I thought it wasn't a bad deal if I only knew what was going to happen. Now I have kept up on oil changes, power steering fluid, antifreeze, and transmission fluid. Little did I know that hot summer afternoon my car would just stop with me and my 6yr old in the car, sweating our asses off, groceries in the car, and stuck on the side of the road for almost an hour and half. We were driving home on hwy 17 when I slowed down and went to get over and pass someone and the car did nothing. It hit the gas and the engine revved up but did not move at all. We were able to get on the side of the road with cars passing at least 60mph wondering what happened. I cut the car off and tried to start it and put it in gear and same thing, so I got out and checked the fluids everything is good I mean nothing was even a little low. So now, I'm trying to figure out what me, my son, and my groceries are going to do. I called my grandmother who is at a doctors app an hour away. So my $150 worth of groceries were mostly bad and were fixing to die of a heat stroke being a single parent is not easy and I was expecting my car to at least hold up until it was paid off I have another year to pay on a car I can't drive because I can't afford to get it fixed. I am really in a bind and feed up with ford that will do nothing but charge me to fix it which is $2500. I am putting my grandparents in a bind because they have to drive me everywhere and I don't know what to do any advice?

- , Midway, GA, US

problem #112

Oct 022010

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I was driving to work when the car just revved really high and would not go forward anymore. It was almost like it was in neutral. I coasted to a parking lot and turned the car off, restarted it and tried again. But nothing, no drive or reverse. This is a serious issue because of this problem that Ford has known about, but failed to fix......I may lose my job and home because I have no way to get there because I can't afford to fix the car. And to top it off, I am still paying on it!! This is BS and Ford needs to do something about this!


problem #111

Sep 192010

Taurus LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


My granddaughter is using the car in Ford and we will be in Florida Oct 15th, Here is her report to the National HIghway Traffic Safety Administration and were she intends on taking it further. We are quite upset that she could have been in a serious accident. it was two to three days later and this matter was on the Orlando News media. Here is the link

On Sunday, September 19, 2010, I was driving on the Interstate 4 in Orlando, FL when without warning I was forced to coast to the shoulder of the road, because what I would later find out was both the torque converter and pump had gone out in my vehicle. At the time of the incident there was less than 62,000 miles on my vehicle. I had to have the vehicle towed twice, first to my boyfriend's house and again to a garage where I would have to pay more than $1500 to get the transmission completely overhauled. Currently, I have a part-time job as a Sales Associate and make $8 an hour. At this rate, I would have to work more than 188 hours to cover the cost of the repair alone. And this doesn't even factor in the fact that the Kelley Blue Book value for the vehicle is now equivalent to half of the cost of the repair. That is absurd!

I spent the week without a vehicle and I had to rely on friends to transport me to and from work. During that week I learned about many other people who have had similar problems with a 2003 Ford Taurus and the torque converter. Five days after I experienced problems with my vehicle the local news did an expose on what else, but a failing torque converter in a 2003 Ford Taurus. Within the Orlando area, three people took it upon themselves to get some attention from the media. The news even reported finding internal documents within Ford detailing the problems with the transmission. Incredible!

I find it absolutely irresponsible, negligent, and morally wrong that Ford who has known about the problem, has not voluntarily issued a recall, and perhaps even more unacceptable that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has failed to effectively step in and require Ford to notify the public of this extremely dangerous issue.

Please follow up with me with information on how to make a formal complaint, as I find that this is a potentially dangerous situation as a reported 600,000 vehicles were manufactured with the same torque converter that I had in my 2003 Ford Taurus. I fail to see how this matter isn't as serious as the problem Toyota recently had, as the car is now seven years old and will typically be handed down to young drivers who have recently received their drivers license. And of course the 600,000 is a conservative number, because a serious accident continues to grow unavoidable as long as there are no forced recalls on this matter.

- , Bellefontaine, OH, USA

problem #110

Oct 222010

Taurus 3.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

While driving on the freeway, at 70mph, in rush hour traffic the transmission on my taurus failed. No warnings, no previous indication that there was a problem My taurus has 79,000 miles. Luckily my husband was driving the vehicle because I am not sure I would have known what to do. Everyone should file a complaint with I am so ticked. Like others I do not have $2000 disposable money to throw into a vehicle that is only worth $3000. I bought this car new so I know how it has been driven. My next stop is Ford Motor Company! I have always owned a Ford but unless they make this right my next purchase will not be american made!!!!

- , Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #109

Oct 192010

Taurus SES 3.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

This is the 3rd taurus I have owned and the first with this kind of failure I had a 95 when I sold it w/170k tranny ok and original My 99 sable I still have w 160 k does slip a little but still works. I purchased the 2003 in July w/59k on and all was well until tonight. The damn thing just failed no WARNING!! Went to pickup one of the kids and DEAD. I got the car for my wife cause the 99 was showing age. But after reading the complaints with the cars UNDER 120K THIS IS CRAZY. At a time when the economy is iffy and many people are on tight budgets a major repair on a vehicle is not helpful.A LITTLE HELP FORD IF YOU WANT TO STAY IN BUSINESS!

Update from Nov 12, 2010: I had the car towed to a transmission shop and the torque converter was bad.Where the shaft goes into the converter the teeth in the converter were damaged. I was told it was common especially on the 2003. the repair job was 1070 dollars which also included replacing the mount. I did lodge a complaint with Ford. Also checking this site it also seems the 2003 has more complaints than the others. On Oct 19 when I lodged my complaint I checked complaints from 1998-2007 and 2003 had the highest by a long shot 114 verses less than 50 for each other year. If more people would call Ford as well maybe something will be done.

- , Sturbridge, MA, USA

problem #108

Oct 132010

Taurus 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


My wife was just driving along and with no indication light or any symptoms what so ever the transmission just stopped working. Luckily she had already gotten out of the busy intersection and could coast into a suicide lane.

My research shows it to be a defect in engineering and Ford knows about it.

This is a ridiculous problem, Ford needs to have this recalled already before someone gets killed.

- , New Braunfels, TX, USA

problem #107

Sep 252010

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

I came out of the grocery store and put my $200 worth of groceries in the trunk of my 2003 taurus ses with 112000 mi. I turned my engine on and put it in reverse and nothing. I put it in drive and again nothing. My ice cream was shot. Got it towed to the garage and the mechanic told me the tranny was shot and would cost from $2100 to $2400 to overhaul. After replacing the rack and pinion steering at 50K, The cam sensors at 80K and the timing cover gasket at 90K I'm done putting my hard earned doggie dollars into this heap. It does have a great muffler.I know why Ford didn't need a Bail-out. They make a fortune in replacement parts. By the way I was religious about my routine maintenance/oil changes and changed the transmission fluid and filter @ 90k as per recommendations. SHAME ON YOU FORD

- , Beech Grove, IN, US

problem #106

Sep 192010

Taurus V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

My girlfriend was driving to work on Sunday on Interstate 4. She was driving at 65 MPH when without warning her transmission failed. Luckily she pulled off to the shoulder without harm. Her engine was running fine, but the transmission acted like it was in Neutral.

The car only has 62,000 miles on it, and the car is only 7 years old. This is ridiculous that Ford has not done a recall yet. It's a very dangerous condition for anybody to be in.

The problem was the Torque Converter and Pump went bad on the transmission. This is a very expensive repair. This kind of job can not be done at home, it requires a lift and the sub frame to be dropped out of the vehicle.

Although I am a fan of Chevy, I know there is no such thing as a perfect car, GM has put out some crap. And all vehicles break down, it's physics, you add a lot of heat and a lot of moving parts, things are bound to fail. But I believe it's every car manufacturers responsibility whether it be Ford, GM, Toyota or whoever that if there is a consistent problem with their automobiles that can cause a potentially dangerous scenario for their customers to rectify the situation and ensure people are safe on the road.

If they finally decide to do a recall I believe they should reimburse the people who have already had to pay out of pocket for this severe negligence.

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #105

Sep 112010

Taurus S 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,389 miles

My grandmother bought her 2003 Ford Taurus brand new and has had it for 7 yrs and has hardly driven it at all as it only has 43k miles on it! She pulled out onto the highway yesterday, she got in her lane them she just heard the engine rev up and it would not pull. She coasted as far as she could and tried to get out of the highway but it was sticking out in the highway. She is nearly 80 yrs old and she doesn't drive on the interstate. This is a very life threatening concern as it could have been worse if she had not made it over to her lane. No wonder Ford didn't need Government Bailout money because they just keep ripping people off without fixing their problems!! It is funny how Auto Manufacturers will recall a freaking taillight because is may leak but when it comes to bigger finance situations, the customers are on their own!! Ford, do the American thing and fix your crappy cars!! First On Race Day to the scrap yard!! Look at Complaint #70 and go to the website and file!!

- , Heber Springs, AR, USA

problem #104

Sep 162010

Taurus SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,234 miles


The first converter gave out 22K miles back and was covered by a warranty. Last week the new converter blew out. Cost was $1477. No warranty on the previously replaced converter. Both left me and my wife on a freeway and we had to call a wrecker for a tow.

After reading all the posts on this site I won't be getting another Ford. I had just replaced the brakes, shocks and struts. After being fixed at Keller Ford it did drive OK on the way home. Its very frustrating to realize there is such a problem with the converter and Ford hasn't helped more than they are.

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #103

Sep 152010

Taurus SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,563 miles

Coming from a Ford family, and the Reliability they raved about how well the taurus was and sold... I am very disappointed at what has happened and especially what I've read here. Same scenario as others..just driving along, no warning, and then there's nothing. My car has been meticulously cared for with no rust or damage to interior or exterior. But not sure to invest 2000+ just to repair. To nice to junk, maybe can sell for parts.

- , Vermilion, OH, USA

problem #102

Sep 102010

Taurus 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

My wife's 03' Ford Taurus was a very good car for the several years we have had it, but just like so many people on here, we were going on a family outing and without any notice the transmission just completly quit working. It is very disturbing after reading all of these complaints that the Ford moptor Co. has not had a recall on these transmissions. I have never been a big fan of Ford myself but my wife and her family only buy Ford vehicles, I think everyone on this page should get together and personally complain to Ford for these problems. We are like a lot of other families right now and are not in a position to take on another payment or come up with $2000.00 to repair this car when it's only worth about $3000 on kelly blue book. I guess that is why they have no resell value just like most Ford vehicles. For a company that says how much pride they take in customer satisfaction, this is a real shame.

- , Vincent, AL, US

problem #101

Sep 102010

Taurus SL 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Just like all the others she was driving then the rpm's went up and the car quit moving forward, no reverse, no nothing!! $1800 bucks. looks like this transmission should be recalled. I want some f'in money back!!!

- , Stow, OH, US

problem #100

Sep 032010

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Another story of a full stop in a highway situation. No warning light, nothing. Luckily, had just pulled into a rest stop, in a rural area, and had a cell phone. Too few miles to have such a problem. Had another Taurus, 1997, with 250,000 miles. Thought we were going the right direction buying another Taurus. Hope this year/model is not a lemon.

This problem is just as bad as the Toyota issue. Recently received $500 compensation on bad paint for a Mitsubishi over 10 years old. You'd think Ford would be all over this. I am writing to Ford on behalf of all, and letting Clark Howard know...this sucks and people's lives are in danger-think of how many police departments that buy these!

- , Ridgeland, MS, USA

problem #99

Aug 242010

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

I was driving home last week and my car stopped dead. I live on a very busy road and was lucky to be able to get my car off the road. Earlier that day I was out on a major highway with a lot of construction and nowhere to move my car if something had happened. It's now in the shop and it will cost somewhere between $1200-$1800. Something needs to be done, since this happened I've heard about a lot of transmission problems in the Taurus.

- , Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #98

Aug 142010

Taurus 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

my 2003 ford taurus transmission failed without notice i was driving on the highway and my vehicle stpped running properly i pulled over put the car in park because it would not move foward then i put it in drive nothing happened even in reverse nothing i had it towed into a transmission shop they charged me 1500 dollars to rebuild my transmission damn it needs to be a recall

- , Dayton, OH, USA

problem #97

Aug 172010

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

Coming to work yesterday, not more than a 3 minute drive. Slowed down for a stop light and when I reengaged the accelerator nothing. There may have been a small noise, I don't recall for sure. Transmission refused to engage. Coasted into a parking lot. Turned off motor, turned back on. No warning lights, everything looks good. Only gears that worked are park and neutral. Not even the typical noise that occurs when you shift from park to reverse or drive. Have been advised that this is a typical ford problem and will likely need a serious repair. Low end estimate $800, high end, $2200. I can't afford either, having spend $600 in the last two weeks on normal wear/tear repair. Will probably junk it and drive around in my ancient old pickup truck with no a/c. I love the car, but don't by one if your finances are tight like mine.

Update from Sep 10, 2010: It was the torque converter. Luckily I live in a low cost of living area and the repair was $810 rather than $1K. I hate asking my father for a loan when I am 48 years old! I replaced the starter and the alternator right before the transmission problem. Now I need to do the brakes and get new front tires. This was not a good time to have a tranny problem! I love my Taurus, but I saddened by the lack of quality on something like the drivetrain. Ford you can do better!

- , Florence, AL, USA

problem #96

Aug 032010

Taurus SE 3.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 177,000 miles

Just like a lot of the others here, driving it down the road....bam, nothing.....just like it was in warning....nothing! Who the hell is going to pay $2,000.00 to fix it? Sure as hell, not me! I guess I was fortunate to have as many miles on it that I had. Saw a lot of other complaints with a lot less miles. Very sad for me....I fall in love with my cars.

- , Byron Center, MI, US

problem #95

Aug 032010

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

i was driveing from jackson where i work. i was going down 23 and put the car on cruise control at 70. then all of a sudden the rpm needle jumped speedo dropped. i made it to the side of the highway car would run but would not go forward or backwards. had to pay to get it towed home. after reading everyting on here. ive relized we all need to get something done about this someone is going to get hurt or killed.

- , Milan, MI, USA

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