NHTSA — Vehicle Speed Control Problems

2003 Mercury Sable (Page 1 of 2)


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,587 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 Sable engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Mercury Sable Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Aug 012015


  • 136,000 miles


I was driving East on I-70 from Kansas City mo. Cruise was set at 78. 4 lanes. Was in left passing lane and had to slow down quickly because of vehicle in front was doing about 50mph. The right was clear and I started moving to the right to pass. The car instantly accelerated as I started to turn right. The acceleration actually pull the car forward so fast the rear end slid to the left. Car moved a crossed the right 3 lanes of traffic at about a 60 deg angle. I managed to turn the car into the skid to avoid the guard rails and started back across the lanes with complete loss of control of the car as it did a complete 360. As I was returned to facing East again I pulled off into the median as I was again in the far left lane now in front of the vehicle I had started to pass. Having been in many emergency situation in my 67 years. I just road out the turn. I was no fun watching the vehicle I was trying to pass approach me while I was completing the 360. With so many vehicles surrounding the gap I was in, I am still amazed no one was killed, and no collision of any sort occurred. Took to the dealer and it was suggested the PCV valve was plugged. Replaced. Around Feb 2 2016 I was driving I 95 to Florida. I noticed the cruise dropping out twice without braking and once accelerating without resetting. I understood now that the I-70 incident was actually the cruise control. I will have it disconnected so that it can not be used again. How I survived is beyond belief. I am extremely glad no one was with me.

- Essex Junction, VT, USA

problem #20

Sep 232015


  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. While driving 45 mph, the contact attempted to decelerate; however, the vehicle failed to stop. The contact immediately shifted the vehicle into neutral and avoided a collision. The contact brought the vehicle to an independent mechanic and was informed of a customer service campaign. The manufacturer and dealer stated that the vehicle was not included because it was manufactured in another plant. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 123,000.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

problem #19

Feb 032015


  • 220,000 miles
My car is trying to kill me! I was driving at approximately 40 mph, when I started to brake for a stop before turning. The car slowed down, as I held my foot on the brake, but suddenly the car started to accelerate. I already had my foot on the brake, and the brake held, but I had to take the car out of gear, and shut the engine off. The engine was racing at a speed I would estimate at 80 mph. It was a frightening and dangerous experience. I checked to see if a floor mat was pressing on the gas pedal. It was not. The same incident happened on two more occasions. My mechanic has not found the problem. I no longer drive the car.

- Holtsville, NY, USA

problem #18

Aug 282014


  • 118,478 miles


Throttle cable stuck, engine at 1800 tpm, engine revved to 2600 RPM, inability to slow vehicle, surging. Required hard breaking. Once car stopped, idle dropped to 900 RPM after 15-30 seconds. Happens with increasing frequency. Engine surges at start, revs to 2100 then to 2600. Inspected cable, throttle and cruise control cable point of entry to supporting bracket plastic shattered. Cable emits sound from binding. Took to Ford dealer, they indicated my vehicle was not part of the recall although the problem has been clearly documented with the same make, model, year and engine.

- Spartanburg, SC, USA

problem #17

Nov 092008

Sable 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Stuck throttle and the car speeds up... updated 08/19/13 the consumer stated the incident happened multiple times.

- Pompton Lakes, NJ, USA

problem #16

May 072013


  • 130,000 miles
The speed control cable collar broke, leaving the throttle stuck open at about 27%. this caused the vehicle to accelerate on it's own, and required extra effort to stop the vehicle. I have a receipt for the repair made by pepboys.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #15

Jul 172012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 154,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph and releasing the accelerator, the vehicle continued to accelerate independently. The contact shifted into neutral and the engine rpms increased excessively. There was also a loud bang heard from the engine area. The contact replaced all of the sensors, the lower intake and the mass flow device, but the repairs did not correct the problem. The contact stated that the throttle cable would become stuck, causing the vehicle to accelerate independently. The failure mileage was 154,000 and the current mileage was 161,000.

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #14

Oct 082012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 151,000 miles
I was driving my car and while I was braking for a stop light I couldn't stop. Something was giving my car gas as I was trying to stop. Ever since then when I drive it my RPM's are high and makes a noise. I called the shop and had my idle air control valve replaced because that's what the automotive place said was wrong. Since then it's been in 3 other times and had the part replaced just in case it was a faulty part. Now the mechanics are baffled as am I. I did research and noticed this was a common complaint on these vehicles. I just took it in again today December 6,2012 and we can't figure out the problem. It's getting worse to where I can't really drive it because when I go to brake it won't stop. I can be at a complete stop and not touch the gas and my car will get up to 45mph without me even touching the gas pedal.

- Osceola, IN, USA

problem #13

Oct 202012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that while traveling 5 mph she attempted to enter a parking space when the throttle seized in the open position. The contact was able to stop the vehicle by firmly depressing the brakes. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic or dealer, and was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were not available.

- Carroll, IA, USA

problem #12

Oct 302012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
When I accelerated my vehicle the throttle stuck in the open position. My car accelerated to over 40mph in a residential zone. I put the car in neutral and the engine revved up to the cutout RPM limit. I immediately shut the vehicle off. When I opened the hood to inspect the problem I saw that the plastic collar holding the cable in place broke off, causing the entire cable to move freely. One piece of the cable was stuck outside of the collar causing the throttle to engage without the accelerator pedal being pushed.

- Henrico, VA, USA

problem #11

Jun 062012


  • 74,200 miles


Driving on I-25 northbound, at 50 mph, the vehicle started to accelerate, with my foot off the accelerator. Went from 50 to 65...stepped on brake, brakes slowed/stopped the acceleration...pulled off at the first exit ramp. Looked under hood, for anything not correct...nothing visually detected. Did this one more time...3 days later. Have not experienced since.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #10

May 012012

Sable 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I was driving about 35 mph and let up on the gas when I realized I was in a 30 mph zone. I drove about five more blocks without touching the throttle and the car never slowed until I applied the brakes due to coming to a stoplight. This was on level ground. Since then the car will not slow down without using the brakes. I have driven over 5 miles at one time at 60 mph without the car slowing to less than 58 mph. When I take it out of gear to help me slow down the engine revs up and then very slowly idles down. Occasionally the engine will slow and then die when sitting at stop lights. My brakes were worked on 3 months ago but are feeling like they need to be repaired due to shaking when I have to brake hard to stop the car.

- Desmoines, IA, USA

problem #9

May 292012


  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle surged forward until the contact applied the brakes. The contact stopped and shut off the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent repair shop and the contact was informed that the cruise control cable was fractured. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 106,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #8

Feb 162012


  • 177,400 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that the vehicle maintained a speed of 50 mph when the accelerator pedal was not being depressed. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop. The repair shop stated that the cruise control cable needed to be replaced, along with the throttle case assembly. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 177,400 and the current mileage was 192,431.

- Ionia, MI, USA

problem #7

Sep 302002

Sable 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that the vehicle would involuntarily accelerate while at complete stops. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they stated that the failure was due to a sensor that could not be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 1,000 and the current mileage was 65,000. Updated 04/10/12 the consumer stated when the engine was started, it would run at a high rate above idle. It would continue until the engine warmed up. The consumer stated the idle speed can not be regulated. Updated 04/13/12

- Camton, OH, USA

problem #6

Sep 102011

Sable 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I was driving when I realized that my car was going much faster than it should be. I was going up a hill so I moved both of my feet away from the pedals and realized that it was still gaining speed. I pressed hard on the brakes and managed to bring it mostly to a stop about 80 feet from an intersection and another car. I put it into park, but still had to hold the brake down hard in order to keep the car from rolling forward. When the light changed, I put the car in drive and it "peeled out" and was almost impossible to control. I hit the brakes hard, turned at the intersection then into a vacant parking lot. I put it in park immediately and shut it off. I tried to restart the car and the engine immediately went to 5000 RPM, so I shut it off again and had it towed to my local dealership. The car was definitely accelerating without any input on my part. The brakes were able to slow it down, but only with full pressure and it took much further than it should have to come to a stop. I was driving a 2003 Mercury Sable.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #5

Jan 032008


  • 35,850 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Sable. The contact stated that the vehicle accelerated beyond 7 rpms when she depressed the accelerator. She stated that she had to depress the brake extremely hard then shut off the vehicle before it would stop. In addition, she stated that she lost control of the vehicle. The dealer stated that the cruise control cable caused the failure. They disconnected the cruise control. As of May 19, 2008, the dealer had not repaired the vehicle. The contact stated that she noticed an oil leak. The mechanic the oil seal pan needed to be replaced. The mechanic replaced the oil pan seal and there had been no further occurrences. The failure mileage was 35,850 and current mileage was 36850.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #4

Jul 182007

Sable 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The car has a throttle over run problem. When I lift my foot off the gas and the apply brakes, it feels as if the engine is not returning to idle completely. The brakes are in good condition. I have had numerous close calls with rearend collisions. The dealer never found a problem.

- Winston, GA, USA

problem #3

Jun 152005

Sable 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,969 miles
Dt the consumer had difficulty stopping the vehicle. When the consumer attpemted to stop, the engine started to race. Dealer replaced iac valve assembly.

- Glens Falls, NY, USA

problem #2

Mar 082005

Sable 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,429 miles
While turning right into a parking space with my foot on the brake the vehicle suddennly accelerated, jumped a concrete wheel barrier and scraped a post. I took it to the dealer the next day. The could not duplicate the problem.

- Pasadena, TX, USA

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