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:
93,373 miles
Total Complaints:
336 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (155 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 1 of 17)

problem #336

Dec 102017

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


No warning, car just quit moving. 53k miles on this vehicle! This is hard to believe!! Ford step up and fix this!

- , Statesboro, US

problem #335

Jul 192017

Taurus 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Are you kidding me? This is the 3rd time in 3 years this piece of crap car has had transmission issues. Ford needs to wake up and smell the oil burning, there is obviously issues with the trannies in these cars. I checked a local junk yard for parts today and they have over 20 Taurus cars from 2001-2009 and say that this is one of the cars they see a lot of as well as the Sable. I cannot afford to fix this car again. It is my mom's car which I drive since she is not able to, I take her to all her Drs appts and to the store...... That is it! Thank God I work from home and do not have to depend on this car to get me to and from work. It is in the driveway sitting and has been since August, I am trying to figure out what to do. Fix it again and wait or sell it as it and take a loss, junk it. The car is in excellent condition otherwise.


When I was growing up I remember the kids saying FORD stood for Found On the Road Dead! WOW!

- , Buford, US

problem #334

Aug 122017

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,734 miles

My husband and I looked for months for a Ford Taurus for my mail route as they are one of the only cars left with a bench or split front seat. We chose this one because of the low miles. And only 2 months the transmission shaft broke in two!!! I bought a ford taurus in January with 118,000 miles on it and it blew the engine!!! I have to find a new brand with the bench front seat!!!

- , French Lick, US

problem #333

Dec 162016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Bought our 2003 Taurus from a very nice elderly couple in March 2016 with 36,000 miles on it. My husband and I both use the car, as it is our only dependable vehicle....well, was. I drove the car to work this morning with absolutely no issues whatsoever. Got in my car to go to lunch, put the car in reverse and only thing that happened was my RPMS went up and the car wouldn't move. I tried all gears with same result. We do not make a lot of money and can't afford a $2000 repair on a car we bought less than a year ago. The car currently has 50,000 miles. Still way too soon for the transmission to go bad. Ford should step up and make this right. It is obviously a known problem because as soon as I searched 2003 taurus transmission, I got a ton of results with many other people saying the same thing. Wish I would have searched better before we bought this piece of garbage.

- , Visalia, CA, US

problem #332

Oct 142016

Taurus LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

No warning, car just quit, Looks like I can join the group.


- , Appleton, WI, USA

problem #331

Nov 152016

Taurus 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

My son drives my 2003 Ford Taurus, which I purchased for him to drive until he gets on his feet. He kept saying the transmission was slipping. I took it to my mechanic who put it on a diagnostic machine and it showed nothing wrong with the transmission. However, two weeks after the visit to the mechanic, the car left him hanging literally in the middle of the road at 5 a.m. Luckily there were no vehicles around or it could have been dangerous. Thank God for his saving protecting power!!

- , Pylesville, MD, USA

problem #330

Sep 142016

Taurus SES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles



- , Chillicothe, MO, USA

problem #329

Jul 262016

Taurus SE 6 Cal

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,203 miles

Warning. Dangerous Situation. Avoid! 2003 Taurus sedan with 55,000 original miles. Transmission failed in the middle of an intersection while making a left-hand turn. Transmission would not move in any gear. On-coming traffic could have collided with us. Towed to "Auto-Club" recommended dealer, who stated that this is a Known Problem by FORD with Taurus transmissions $2800 replacement cost. No way to fix without complete replacement. Called Ford corporate customer service and they said "nothing could be done and No reimbursement

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #328

May 162011

Taurus SES V6-182

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,050 miles

Was leaving work one night, got to red light and stop. Light change ,gave gas and vechile did not move. Check gear to see if was in drive. Gave gas vechile did not move. Had to call and get a tow. Next day found out tramission was bad. Had to pay $1123.50 to get vechile repaired. Should I get my money back or some kind of refund. This is a common problem with the ford Taurus.

- , Hattiesburg, MS, USA

problem #327

Jun 032016

Taurus LX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Came out of the highway was able to turn, and then could not move anymore. The car turns on and accelerates but would not move when you put it in drive or reverse. After looking up problems with 2003 Ford Taurus Transmissions, to my surprise found out I was not alone.

Did not know there were so many similar problems with that same year car. I guess the Ford Motor Co. did not care about fixing the obvious problem. Anywhere I call is going to be costly, $1800.00 - $2000.00 or more. the vehicle has 108,000 miles is not worth for me to put that much money into it. will probably junk it. One thing for sure I'm not buying anymore Ford Vehicles.

- , Shorewood, IL, USA

problem #326

Apr 082016

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,341 miles


No warnings! Went to get my son from work, got to bottom of hill, let traffic go by, went to continue, and nothing! No, drive, no reverse, nothing! Had to have it towed home. I have been without a car for months, and looks like I'm there again! What the hell? I looked at paperwork that came with the car, and the transmission was serviced one year ago today! I only had car one week! I can't afford to replace it right now, and I can't afford to be without a car.

My question is if Ford knew about this car doing this, why the hell didn't they fix it?!

- , Troy, NH, USA

problem #325

Mar 102016

Taurus SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

My son was driving down a 50 mph highway and the car just stopped switching gears. Luckily he was able to pull into a parking lot. The car only has 69,000 miles and we had to replace the torque converter for $1200.

- , Clinton Township, MI, US

problem #324

Feb 232016

Taurus SES 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,350 miles

Drove to work and parked car with no problems with transmission. There was no slipping or noises of any kind. I went to leave work that afternoon and the car started and ran fine but It would not go into any gear. Had it towed and got the call today that it needs a new transmission.

Update from Mar 8, 2016: I had a used transmission installed by someone that didn't charge an arm and a leg. The only problem with this is it a used transmission so the warranty is not very long but it was the cheapest route and that's the way I had to go. It cost me right at $700 total. Just saying a prayer that it will not happen again.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #323

Jan 032014

Taurus SES 3L V6-182 Ohv

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,129 miles

For about a month, the transmission acted strange in that at highway speed, it would act as if it were in neutral for a little bit, then resume behaving normally. Of course, when we would take it to a mechanic, it would behave, so problems weren't easily found.

Eventually, we went to put the car back in the garage. Upon engaging drive, the transmission made a horrible grinding noise (much like shoving a manual into gear without bothering with the clutch), and left a large puddle of ATF in the driveway.

It moved far enough to get back into the garage and went into park.

At this point, it refused to disengage from park at all, and had to be dragged out on sleds to get it onto the back of a tow truck and head off for repair.

Here it is, ~2 years and ~15k miles later, and the reman is starting to act a bit funny again. Here's to hoping it either lives, or dies while still inside of the warranty...

- , West Allis, WI, USA

problem #322

Nov 122015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Transmission failed when my daughter was driving the car, and had to be replaced at a cost of $2000.

- , Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #321

Dec 012015

Taurus LS 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Like a lot of you, I was driving along in my Taurus and there was a pop and dead transmission. I have seen transmissions have problems before, but was honestly surprised when it just died out of the blue. I found out later that it is a defect in the transmission at the point of the drive shaft. Ford decided to go with an inexpensive part that, over time, will wear down and eventually break so that it effectively cuts the transmission from the engine. This was a design flaw that has caused a lot of people serious trouble with their cars down the road. If you are thinking about buying one of these cars be careful. These seem like nice cars, but the problems with the transmission gives zero warning leading up to the failure. Once it fails its either replace the transmission or replace the car - no third choice. And these days a new transmission is worth more than the car will be.

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #320

Oct 102015

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

This issue is totally uncalled for! This is most definitely an issue that Ford could have prevented! This car was purchased for my grandmother to have something reliable and it is anything but reliable. She is an older woman and only drove it to get groceries in the small town we live in and the car has been very well cared for and kept in a garage. It has never even been driven over 55mph and the transmission failed at only 80,000 miles!!!! This is heartbreaking because she is on a fixed income and Ford builds crap like this when there customers trust them!!!!! SHAME ON YOU FORD!!!!!! Your junk your selling to your customers could have left an old woman stranded!! All because of your greed!! Now she's stuck with a pile of worthless junk because you don't fix a problem you are well aware of!! I mean seriously you have over 10,000 complaints on this exact transmission and you've done nothing to make it right!!! Your customers will eventually figure you out and then what?? Do you really think your company is above this! You are only as big as your customers you idiots are going to take the whole company down with you and your greedy little selves!!!

- , Cordova, AL, USA

problem #319

Sep 132015

Taurus SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,990 miles

Wife was supposed to leave in a couple of hours to help with sick grandson in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Trans just quit ... no prior symptoms or warning ... no gears forward or reverse ... like a lot of others have reported. Towed home for $125 and now sitting in the driveway. I'm reading internet posts trying to figure it out. Could be this problem - - seems to explain it pretty well.

I had thought Ford resolved these Taurus trans problems from the earlier models ... guess I thought wrong ... seems they just kicked it down the road and then stopped producing the car 3 years later hoping they'd all crash or die and all go away. I had been thinking positive thoughts about Ford since they didn't take government money to bail them out of their financial difficulties like GM did. Or did they get some special "under the table deal" and kept their mouth shut in exchange for the gov't hammering GM and selling Chrysler to Fiat.

Might be time to re-teach the wife to drive a stick again like we used to when we were young ... never had a manual fail other than normal clutch replacements. Working a clutch is just a bit more difficult now that I'm partly disabled. Well, I'm just glad it happened a few miles from home rather than some obscure part of the PA Turnpike.

Update from Oct 25, 2015: Just as suspected it was the torque converter. The splines in the disc welded to the back of the case were stripped. This stops the pump shaft from turning. No pump = no fluid pressure = no gears. Replaced the torque converter and the car runs like new again. Only thing done to the transmission was fluid and filter change. It's just a lot of labor getting it out and back in. As one trans parts supplier told me, the AX4N trans is pretty bullet proof up about 200,000 miles. The torque converters are junk. Rebuilt converters by DAACO have splines twice as thick as original and so do TRANS STAR which now owns DAACO. So if you plan on keeping the car for awhile, insist on one of those or risk the same problem again. Make sure you change your fluid and filter regularly to protect the trans from unnecessary wear. Ford Engineers should be called to task for this stupid design decision.

- , Milford, MI, USA

problem #318

Aug 052015

Taurus ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

One evening after work I went out to get in my car and drive home. I started my car which was fine and shifted it into reverse. It never moved. I could not get it to go forward or backward. A friend pushed it hoping that it would catch but it did not. I ended up calling my partner to come and get me. I work an hour from home and this occurred at work so I later had to have it towed to a mechanic who could not look at for weeks. In the interim I had to use my partners car leaving her without transportation. She finally went out and bought another vehicle. I was told it will cost $2400 to fix because it needs a new transmission. I had no warning whatsoever that I had any problems with this transmission until it just quit. To say I am mad is an understatement. Who has $2400 laying around that would want to put it in a 13 year old car?

- , Oskaloosa, IA, USA

problem #317

Sep 242015

Taurus SES 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

Driving along, everything fine. Then like a Bolt from the Blue, Transmission stopped working. Engine runs fine. All I have is PARK!

- , N, NC, USA

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