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 15 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Feb 112010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


Well I've just read all 52 other complaints and low and behold !!!! I coulda written a bunch of them to the letter. Driving on the freeway and all of a sudden the RPMs went up and the speed went down. Coasted to the off ramp and sat there waiting for AAA to tow the car. Got it to the garage .. Received the lovely call the following morning telling me the transmission needed overhauled. Then to add insult to injury the garage is now telling me the transmission is fixed but i have a coolant issue. After speaking to three mechanics last night I'm getting the feeling the shop screws up some hoses while they removed the transmission. I've always owned FORDs..... This really pisses me off....

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #53

Dec 272009

Taurus 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I have an 03 ford taurus, without no warning or any symptoms, the car will not go into gear at all.. its like over night the car decided it was going to stay in neutral .. i do not know what to do... its very hard to trust mechanics now a days. has anyone ever had this complaint.. I'm sure they have.. just want some explanation before I make a decision on who to take it to.. cannot afford to be ripped off.. oh yea, and I'm still making pmts on the car.. that really sucks.

- , Herndon, VA, USA

problem #52

Feb 012010

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

Great car with some bad parts in the tranny. Failed without warning just like everyone else's. Stay away from the 03'

- , Cicero, NY, USA

problem #51

Mar 242009

Taurus S 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


I had to get a loan to pay for this transmission failure, it sucked.

- , Columbus, GA, USA

problem #50

Jul 012009

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Transmission went out without any warning while driving to work on 07/01/2009. I turned into a lane and the RMP's went crazy. Car started to shake and lose power. Parked car on the side of the road, turned it off and restarted it. The car started alright but I couldn't go forward or reserve so I had a feeling it was a transmission problem. The car repair shop wanted @ $2,000 to get it fixed. I didn't have the money since I am on a budget so the car had to be towed away. I was still paying on this car which I purchased used about 2 years ago at @ 50,000. The next car I purchase will not be a Ford... that's for sure! The Ford Company needs to be aware of these sudden problems which cause hell for those who drive the "ticking time-bomb" cars like the Ford Taurus 2003 SES.

- , Texas City, TX, USA

problem #49

Jan 042010

Taurus SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Was heading back to work from lunch, engine revved and wouldn't go anywhere. I managed to coast into a parking lot, had to have car towed to the house. It has 70,000 miles on it and gave no warning that anything was wrong with the transmission! I wish I had read this website before purchasing it since it is our main car that gets us to work. We don't have the money to fix this problem and don't know what we are going to do, since we just bought the car in September to replace our PT Cruiser that was totaled in a wreck. Ford needs to step up to the plate and fix their transmissions!!!!!!!!!!

- , Winnsboro, TX, USA

problem #48

Nov 072009

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles


Never purchase a ford car. Thers always issues with the transmissions. My 2003 Taurus had transmission failure.

- , Rockmart, GA, US

problem #47

Dec 272009

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,400 miles

My car is loaded with miles, thats for sure, so its bound to have a problem or two. But two days after spending hours and hours checking oil fluids, replacing the oil, steering wheel fluid, and everything else working on my car, it blows up! Im driving down the highway going 65, and all of a sudden my car just wouldn't go anywhere. RPMS shot to the roof and the car just wouldn't go anywhere.

Being a 17 year old college student with a job, this was a real pain in my ass. I babied this car, and for it to cost this much was ridiculous. Towing alone was $100.

Merry Christmas to me!

- , Minaato, MD, USA

problem #46

Nov 282009

Taurus SE 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,600 miles

It blows my mind that a vehicle with such low mileage (57,000+ miles) and that is well maintained can lose its transmission. What ever happened to Ford's integrity and quality. The transmission and engine are the primary components in a vehicle, and if they believe in their product, you would think they would automatically give it the maximum coverage possible (like their competitors are doing). My experience with Ford and another American competitor have been bad to worst. I guess they refuse to give me what I pay for, so as much as I would prefer to buy American, I'm going to have to buy foreign. Shame on them!!

- , Stone Mountain, GA, USA

problem #45

Nov 212009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The car is my son's and he has not had that car a good 6 months and the transmission has gone out already! He's not even finished paying for the car....This is some weak ass sh*t right here!!! My friend warned long ago about Ford vehicles.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #44

Nov 152009

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles


44000 miles on a babied car and transmission goes out?! No wonder foreign competition is winning. American engineering is going to the dogs! Time to start buying tanks? I thought at Ford Quality was job 1 !!!

- , Shreve, OH, USA

problem #43

Sep 152005

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Had the torque converter replaced in my 2003 ford Taurus at 68,000 miles. Then in May 2009 i was driving down highway at 70 miles an hour and the RPMs revved up and car wouldn't go anywhere. Had it towed to the dealers and it was the transmission again at 120,000.00. This time it cost me 2500.00 to have fixed. Today, November 16, 2009 I was driving to work and the check engine light came on and i had it checked at auto zone and know it says failed transmission sensor. So what do you have to do put in a transmission every 60,000 miles? I was so mad, i wrote ford and there response was they are sorry, but the part is not under warranty and there is nothing they can do about it. I will be selling this car and I will never buy a ford again.

- , Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #42

Oct 282009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

I have had my Taurus since 2003 and loved it until now. I couldn't believe the estimate I got today to fix my transmission. It could have been $1,000 cheaper if we had just fixed the torque converter, but it wouldn't have fixed the problem. I am so discussed right now in ford. Then they were trying to sell me a used and a new car today, that would have cost more and probably have had another transmission malfunction.

- , Hanceville, AL, USA

problem #41

Oct 052009

Taurus SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

2003 Ford Taurus...looks great,no problems , oil changed regularly. And now ....the rest of the story..75,000 MILES:

Transmission failed without any warning. RPMs max out, Car fails to move. After coasting off of the expressway (if you happen to be lucky that day) car will not go into gear. There is no visible problems with fluid or anything being broken. Haul to nearest dealer with wrecker. Get runaround for a couple of days until you make them confront the problem. Get astronomical quote on repair. Haul home with Uhaul dolly and park it indefinitely.

The internet is crammed with the same story. Ford knows of the problem but did NOTHING to recall or confront this problem. They chose to sell this crap. The terrorists who are ruining this country are not only overseas, but,at your local FORD plants and dealeships. Sorry if you are an overpaid,spoiled Ford employee. You should be embarassed to work for P.O.S. DO-NOT-BUY-FORD!!!!!!!!

"I think I'm turning Japanese...I really think so."

God Bless the USA ( We really need it! !! )

- , Clarkson, KY, USA

problem #40

Oct 012009

Taurus SES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

I was driving down the highway and the car reved up to 6 and then went back down and then I was pressing on the gas pedal it was slowing down and I was stranded on the side of the road for about an hour and I finally got hold of someone at home and it was towed to my brother in law who is a semi-mechanic and then we had to send it to a dealer, The transmission fluid was black, but not burnt. The car was done with it;s warranty and it was paid off. I always bought a ford my whole life except for the chevy truck I own, but now I will definitely not be buying any more fords.

- , Dunseith, ND, USA

problem #39

Dec 162008

Taurus SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

The Transmission was the start of many problems with this car. Pulled up to a stop sign and the car never moved again. Had it towed by AAA (by the way AAA is a must have if you are to purchase a Ford Taurus or have one). Really the worst part about the car is the electrical problems I am having - see electrical complaint.

- , Cross Plains, WI, USA

problem #38

Sep 212009

Taurus SES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Now I'm part of the transmission club . . . went out two days ago at a cost of $2000. Can't wait to show my friends my new transmission.

- , Saint Louis, MO, US

problem #37

Sep 202009

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,869 miles

My wife and I were driving to a friends house who had just closed on their new home. The cars RPM's were a bit high, about 3-4 minutes after I noticed that, the car stopped accelerating on the highway. My wife was driving and began to get upset, I told her to calm down and drive it to the nearest off ramp. We stopped the car, and I opened the hood. I checked the dip stick right away to see if the fluid had the burnt metal smell (it didn't.) I rubbed the fluid on my hands and noticed it had a bit of black in it (not good.) I triple checked the car wouldn't go into any gears R, D (D) or 1. We called a tow truck, and are in the process of finding a place to repair it with at least a 2 yr warranty (based on what I've seen here I'm not taking any chances.) Normally if I were single I would junk this car, but we are currently saving to purchase a pickup truck to use for our new home projects. DO NOT BUY THIS CAR WHATEVER YOU DO!!!! I'M DONE WITH FORD.

- , Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #36

Aug 212009

Taurus SEL 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,800 miles

Just driving in 5:00pm traffic and car seemed to have popped into neutral.I looked down to see if it was still in drive and it was. When I coasted up to the traffic light I tried all gears and nothing. Called AAA and they took me to the nearest ford dealer. They quoted me 2800.00 to fix it.Had to call around and got it towed from there to a guy that said he could do it for 650.00.He called me back and said the converter had torn up other stuff and it cost me 2000.00.The dealer told me to trade it in for another Ford. I will when they can make a car that will last more than 48,000 miles!!!!! ASSHOLES!!!!

- , West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #35

Aug 112006

Taurus SES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Well, in August of 2006, less than 30 days after I purchased the vehicle, while driving in town the vehicle without any symptoms would not drive forward. I pushed the car to the side and checked the level of transmission fluid and it was OK. My assumption was that the transmission had gone bad. I called the dealership where I purchased the vehicle, which thank goodness was still under 30 day warranty and they repaired the vehicle. I was told they initially thought it was the transmission, but later determined it was the torque converter.

The torque converter failed again in February 2008. This time I incurred the cost, approximately $700. I believe that Ford definitely knows there is a defect in their workmanship. Will they recall? Probably not.

- , Greenville, NC, USA

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