NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,300 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Mercury Mountaineer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Mercury Mountaineer Owner Comments

problem #19

Jul 292010


  • 65,000 miles


Transmission failure on a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer. The transmission failed occurred while traveling on the heavily traveled interstate 295 in NJ. The failure occurred with no warning what so ever. After taking the car to multiple repair shops which included a Ford dealer, I was informed that this is a common and known problem for this type of vehicles and also the Ford Explorer. I depend on my car to go to work and I service the car as recommended by Ford. Now I am in the process of repairing the car and meanwhile I had to rent a car for a week. If I was not an alert driver, that failure could have caused an accident and serious injuries and or death to me and other motorists. I think Ford should take responsibility and try to rectify the problem before someone get killed and with the very high sticker price that is associated with these kind of SUV that is supposed to be safe and reliable. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Galloway, NJ, USA

problem #18

Jul 122010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer. While driving at approximately 25 mph, the overdrive off warning light illuminated. The contact shut off the engine and when restarting the light was no longer illuminated. Within seconds, the warning light had re-illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair facility where the contact was informed that the second and fourth gears were not functioning correctly. The vehicle was not serviced for the failure. The failure and current mileages were 80,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #17

Nov 202009

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2004 Mercury Mountaineer and the transmission is very dangerous, my wife started to back up and put it in reverse and the transmission hesitated and then slammed into reverse causing her to jerk and then her foot came of the brake and hit the gas pedal causing her to Ram a parked car behind her, and that was just the first time.the next time I myself was in the vehicle and it done the same thing except there was not a car behind me to stp me and I went over a embankment and if not for a tree I would have gotten hurt bad, the tree stopped me from going to the bottom, and it still to this day will slam into reverse, nothing has been done with it yet. I have read on the internet that alot of Mercury Mountaineer owners are having the same problem this is going to get someone killed if it has not already.

- Hurley, VA, USA

problem #16

Dec 082009

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • 78,898 miles


Purchased the 2003 Mercury Mountaineer in 2007. We only drive the car locally for school and work and within 30 days of purchase, the car would not go into reverse. Was told the transmission was slipping and made the dealership/warranty pay for $1600 repair. Since then the check engine light comes on every 3 months. We get check fuel cap message, replaced that twice (last one from actual Ford dealership) because they told us it wasn't the original from the car. Car leaks water through the rear window/roof seal and now my light stays on when I lock the car and it tells me every time we get in the car that there is a door ajar no matter if we get out and reclose all 4 doors and back door. R&R wheel speed sensor and ball joints had to be replaced 8/29/08 for $555. Just recently had my transmission go out again (12/8/09) and had to have complete rebuild of a Mercury transmission which cost us another $4000. It still slightly vibrates going between 30 and 40 miles per hour. Also the back hatch has cracked completely down through the logo. Our Ford dealer charges $200 just to look at the vehicle!

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #15

Mar 032010

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • 102,100 miles
I have a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer. I was stopped to get fuel. I put my SUV in park to get out. I was leaving my keys in it. When I stepped out and walked to the rear, my SUV started rolling backwards. I had to run back an jump in it and hit the brake. I looked at the gear shifter an it didn't go into park. It stopped in the middle of P and R. if I had locked the doors I would never been able to get inside before it hit the fuel pumps. It has been stopping at that spot every time I put it in park.

- Lavergne, TN, USA

problem #14

Jan 032010


  • 60,000 miles
I have 2003 Mercury Mountaineer and I have had it since February 2007. I have had numerous problems with it and the last problems was the breaking point. I have three more years to pay for this vehicle and I want something to be done about the problems with this vehcile. Ford should be held responsible for this vehicle and fixing the problems associated with it. I purchased this vehicle from community Ford in new albany, ms in February 2007 with 45,000 miles on it. I couldn't get an extended warranty or any warranty with the vehicle I was told. After a year, I had to replace the front end and it was $500 at george's tire services. I took it in due to this noise coming from the front and I was advised that if I didn't have the work did it would lock up on me while I am driving and cause and accident. I noticed that my structure body:hatchback/tailgate has cracked completely. My seat belt on the driver side in the back don't work. My engine cooling system aircompressor has went out and I have electrical problems where my oil gauge is constantly saying it's low. I have my oil change every 3000 miles. I am hearing this noise in the rear of the vehicle and I don't know what it is and can't afford to get going to Ford to see what it is. I have been smelling this burning coming from the under the hood and I don't know what it is either. My lastest problem is my transmission is going out and I have had this vehicle for two years and I have three more years of payment on this vehicle. My transmission cost me around $3500 and I don't have any warranty on it. This is a lemon I have purchased and I think something should be done about it.

- Artesia, MS, USA

problem #13

Jun 222009


  • 108,000 miles


I have a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer and I am having transmission problems now. I had an accident back in June 2009 where my vehicle rolled out of the yard and hit the neighbors house and I was hurt in the process. On June 22, 2009, I went outside to warm my vehicle up before I went to work that morning. While, I was getting ready to leave out the door to go to my vehicle it start rolling back. I immediately ran outside behind the vehicle to keep it from hitting the neighbors house because I knew people were there. I grab the door and it threw me on the ground so hard that I thought I damaged my organs. After the lowndes county sheriff left, I went to george's in West point, ms where they do my tires and brakes to check on the brakes. They checked my car and said everything was fine. I went to the North Mississippi medical clinic to make sure I was ok and I didn't have any broken bones. I had to go back to the doctor again the next day on June 23, 2009 because I was not feeling good. I was taken to baptist memorial hospital on June 26, 2009 due to the incident and when I was thrown it jarred my acid reflux and caused a virus. I was checked thoroughly for organ damage and put on pain medication. This incident cost my insurance to go up and I didn't know what happen until my transmission starting going out in my vehicle. I have had this vehicle for two years and have three more years to pay for it and my transmission is going out. I looked on the internet under recalls to see if there were any and I saw 12 complaints regarding the transmission problems. One complaint caught my attention regarding the vehicle rolling out of the yard and that's what happen to me. I took my vehicle to starkville Ford on Dec.29, 2009 and was told that my 2nd shift gear has completely gone out and I asked how does this happen and he said he didn't know. He knows because I am pretty sure he has seen alot of these vehicles and it is going to cost me $3500 to fix my vehicle.

- Artesia, MS, USA

problem #12

Oct 102009


  • 78,000 miles
I have a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer with 78000 miles on it. The transmission was replaced three months ago for slipping and not downshifting it is now gong back in tomorrow to be repaired for needs to recall this vehicle it isn't very good.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #11

Feb 112009


  • 69,949 miles
I drive my husband's 2003 Mercury Mountaineer it has 69000 miles on it now and we bought it used Dec 2004. When the SUV shifts into 3 or 4th gear it clunks or shutters. We have taken it in to the dealers several times having it returned and told there is nothing wrong. In December 2007 we took it in again with the same complaint and they did a transmission flush. Now when accelerating up to 35 the RPM would raise up to 4,000, like it was slipping.then it shift into wrong gear. The overdrive off light on the dash started flashing. Next day service engine soon light is on. We took it to dealership they claim they won't know what is wrong with it until they take it apart and it could cost any where from $3,000 to $4,000. We repeatedly took it to the same dealer and they would never find anything wrong and now that the warranty is expired we have a major expense not covered.we ended up taking it to a transmission repair shop where they were very familiar with the problem. The overdrive piston put in at the assembly factory was made of aluminum and is a defective part. So after 1 week without a car, the new overhaul kit, overdrive piston and torque converter we spent a grant total $1,895.83. This is something the dealer should have fixed when we first complained about it. I can honestly say we will never go back that dealer again.

- Brunswick Hills, OH, USA

problem #10

Mar 032008

Mountaineer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Transmission problems started at 62000 miles. Ford done repairs on 2 different occasions two days after the warranty went out the transmission went out and it started smoking out from under it. The vehicle is a lemon!!!! they need to recall Mercury Mountaineer.

- Higdon , AL, USA

problem #9

Nov 012005

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


Please see the issue about the transmission not going into park properly. Very dangerous.... Mr. Mark fields, president of Ford Motor Company re: VIN#[xxx] I own a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer, with 28000 miles on it, which I purchased new from lakewood Ford in Nov. 2003. In 2005, I brought my car in with a few minor problems, at which time I explained to the service tech that the car was not shifting into park properly and was sticking. After having the car for a day, they returned it to me saying they couldn't find anything wrong. Yesterday, my wife took an entire day and rented a car, so that we could bring it into freeway Ford to have them check the transmission again. The service manager oley seemed nice enough in handling the matter but then at the end of the day reported back to us the following; 1)the transmission problem was something to do with a shift lock out and it would cost us $265 dollars to replace and was not covered under the warranty. The warranty issue with the transmission is unacceptable and I would like your team to reconsider. First, it is indeed part of the power train and it is unfathomable to me that any court of law would consider it otherwise. Second, I'd think this is a safety issue as well, and should something happen where the car slips out of park and kills someone, I can't imagine the NHTSA would find no fault upon your company. I frankly was totally shocked at the response I got from the dealer. I've owned many brands of new cars, and no one has ever claimed something as obvious as this (with documented history!) as not covered in warranty. I consider myself a pretty fair person and I'm not one to make a big issue out of something but this is just wrong! if this is your policy, it's now very clear why Ford is a failing company. This is the type thing that will show up on U-tube and just continue loss of customer loyalty.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #8

Jun 302006

Mountaineer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,800 miles
We bought our Mountaineer new in 2003. We have had numerous problems, but the worst has been with the transmission. We have consistently taken our vehicle to dealerships for service, but are continually told that they cannot "replicate the problem at this time". the transmission has always shifted hard, but dealerships simply tell us it just shifts hard. In January of 2006 the overdrive light was flashing and the check transmission light went on. I took it into the dealer who told us we had to have the torque converter replaced as they found metal shavings in the pan. We paid over $1300 believing this would solve the shifting problem, it did not. At the end of June I took it into another dealership for an oil change and trip inspection. I mentioned again that it shifts hard. Their tech looked at it, found metal in the pan and said the transmission needed to be replaced (at less than 55,000). Apparently the torque converter Ford sent to the first dealership was faulty, causing the transmission to need replacement. Ford did pay for replacement of the transmission, giving us about a 45 day warranty (as the warranty started from the day the torque converter was first replaced). We thought surely that would fix the shifting problems. No...still shifts hard. If we could sell this thing for anywhere near what we owe...it would be gone.

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #7

Sep 022006

Mountaineer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,652 miles
On 9/2/06, I used my vehicle to go to store and while at the store, I had difficulty placing the vehicle into park and needed to shut vehicle off to finally lock it into park. I then returned home with the vehicle and parked it in my driveway. The vehicle then rolled down the driveway and crashed into my house and struck my 8 month old son 's stroller. It caused damage to my house and vehicle received damage to the windshield, front bumper, hood and grill. I immediately called the dealer and was given an appointment to bring it on 9/11/06. After examining the vehicle, the dealer stated that they recommended replacing the brake shift interlock switch since they have been found to stick and be faulty in other Mountaineer. I was told that although this was a safety hazard, it was not a recall and not covered under my warranty. I was ordered to pay $298.67 for the repair and told that the repairs to my house and the damage to the vehicle would also have to be handled by me. I don't know how something as serious as this is not a recall but it is a known safely defect by Ford Motor Company. I feel that they are responsible for all of the damage and the payment for the repairs and that they are lucky that no persons, only property was damaged that day.

- West Islip, NY, USA

problem #6

Jul 212006

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,300 miles
2003 Mercury Mountaineer AWD 4.0L. We purchased our Mountaineer in June of 2004, with 22,000 miles on the odometer. Approximately 300 miles into our ownership, we experienced a front bearing wine. Dealership covered defect under 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty. Other defects covered...replacement of the rear speed sensor at 23,454 miles. A 2nd ABS problem required a new actuator speed control switch assembly at 28,419 miles. Transmission shift solenoid replaced at 32,075 miles. Driver side passenger window motor replaced at 33,443 miles. Recall on rear glass hatch lift struts at 27,379 miles. January 23, 2006 our Mountaineer now has 42,777 miles on the odometer. We noticed a low pitch noise starting at 25-30 mph and becoming higher in pitch at higher speeds. Our local Lincoln / Mercury dealership service advisor determined we had a faulty rear axle ring & pinion gear set. They rebuilt our rear axle using the VIN # to determine actual bill of sales date, which was June of 2003. This gave us a warranty until June of 2006 thus nearing the end of our 36 months warranty. We regretfully admit paying a $200 deductible the dealership asked for. We drove off with our newly rebuilt axle in our Mountaineer. Our noisy axle never went away. The dealership blamed this due to worn and noisy tires. We replaced these tires at 47,500 miles or 4,500 miles after the original axle noise complaint with no real apparent change to our noisy problem. Our Mercury Mountaineer went back into the shop at 48,300 miles with a noise still distinctive from the rear. Again our local Mercury dealership took a look at the SUV with the service manager riding in the vehicle. His comment... sounds like an on-going rear axle issue. He would check with his district manager about replacing the entire axle assembly this time around. They contacted us by phone the next day. They didn't believe it was the axle, but one of the rear outer hub wheel bearing assemblies. It would cost us $270.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #5

Apr 032006

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles
Vehicle is 2003 Mercury Mountaineer AWD/ the vehicle keeps on losing the power to the transmission and you just sit there watching the RPM race with no power happiness at all speeds which has almost caused many crashes re pulling out into traffic. Has been to the dealer and they can not find anything. On going problem X 2 years and is at the dealership now re I feel I'm going to get killed in this vehicle.

- Newmarket, NH, USA

problem #4

Jun 082005

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
At 34,500 miles, transmission began a noticeable delay in making the shift into reverse gear. Gave a list of gripes to champion Mercury dealership, where I bought the vehicle, to be fixed before the 36K warranty ran out. The dealership did not include this transmission gripe in the list they input into their computers. Visited the dealership again at 39K miles, with the transmission problem getting worse, and the dealership denied having that gripe aired within the warranty period. So nothing was done about the transmission. Now, at 43K miles, the transmission bangs into reverse gear after a large delay, and the shifts from 2-3 and 3-4 include a heavy shudder, consistently.

- Magnolia, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 062005

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
Last December the engine revved and accelerated very high, around 6,000 rpms. Afterwards, the transmission engaged, acceleration lowered and the transmission changed gears while entering a street in oncoming traffic. When attempting to accelerate the engine revved but the vehicle did not move. Attempted this 3 times to no avail. On 4th attempt the transmission engaged and the vehicle moved. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer said it was the solenoid pack and an oil additive that they believed were causing the problem. They performed the repairs. The problem recurred in June. Took the vehicle back to the dealer. The dealer found nothing on the diagnostic machine and could not duplicate the problem. The problem recurred again in July. Took the vehicle to the dealer and again the dealer could not find anything wrong. The dealer replaced the solenoid pack again because they did not know what else to do. The mechanic spoke of ongoing problems with Ford Mountaineer and Explorer. Yesterday while on the highway this problem occurred again while attempting to accelerate. After several attempts the transmission engaged. Called Ford, who referred another dealer stating there was nothing they could do. Called dealer and they offered to replace the transmission.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #2

Sep 062004

Mountaineer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When shifting my Mountaineer into drive the vehicle jerks into gear. At highway speeds it shifts very hard from one gear to another. Sometimes when trying to pass a vehicle and accelerating the transmission gets confused and goes to the wrong gear. It gives you a feeling similiar to a standard shift being put in 4th when it should be in 2nd bogging down dramatically.

- Pickerington, OH, USA

problem #1

Nov 042003

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
I began having problems with my transmission shifting hard into gear. As speed increased it would jerk inot the next gear. I went to the Ford/Mercury dealership in montgomery, al. In Nov 03.they told me it needed a computer upgrade that was different from what was on my car. At the time the car was still under warranty. The jerking stopped temporaryily. I began to notice it again. Well now the warranty is gone, I did not purchase an extended warranty, the truck is 13 months old and my shift solenoid is gone. Per 2 estimates it will be costly. But I am also told at the age of my car and miles this should not be occurring unless it is a faulty transmission. One transmission company has advised me that fixing the shift solenoid will not work long until the inner part of the transmission is fixed or rebuilt.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

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