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The Worst Ford Taurus Model Year You Should Never Buy

Ford is one of America’s favorite automakers, and it makes some of America’s best-selling cars. But like anything else, Ford isn’t perfect, and Ford has also made some really terrible cars. And, while the Ford Taurus is a generally decent car, it has its off years too. Here is the worst Ford Taurus model year you should avoid at all costs.

The 2003 Ford Taurus’s main issue

As Car Complaints said, the 2003 Ford Taurus is the worst model year for the car ever. In fact, it’s so bad that Car Complaints gave the 2003 Taurus the “Avoid Like The Plague” badge. The 2003 Taurus earned that award simply because it had many issues in many different areas. However, the biggest and most common issue had to do with its transmission.

Transmission issues aren’t new to Ford cars in this era, and for the 2003 Taurus, Car Complaints says that its transmission problems were not only the most common issue, but they were also a very expensive issue to fix. Car Complaints says that, with an average mileage of about 93,000 miles, owners of the 2003 Taurus reported that their transmission would just fail, causing the car to simply stop moving. 

For most owners, the only way to fix this issue was by replacing the whole transmission, and that doesn’t come cheap. Car Complaints says that, on average, it cost 2003 Taurus owners about $1,930 to fix this severe transmission issue.

The 2003 Ford Taurus had other serious issues

Media get a close look at a Ford Taurus April 20, 2011 during the New York Auto show
The Ford Taurus | DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

The second most common issue, and unfortunately, a more severe issue than the 2003 Ford Taurus’s transmission failing, had to do with its engine. Many 2003 Taurus owners on Car Complaints said that their car would suddenly accelerate, much like the infamous Toyota sedans did a decade ago. And much like those Toyotas, this unintentional acceleration led to accidents and, unfortunately, deaths.

Car Complaints says that this engine issue caused at least six crashes, one car fire, nine injuries, and one death. Like the transmission issues that are common on the 2003 Taurus, the average mileage of the 2003 Taurus models that suffered from this sudden acceleration issue was the same at roughly 89,000 miles. 

This wasn’t the only engine issue, but it was the most common one, according to Car Complaints. They also mention that the 2003 Taurus had cooling issues that could lead to the engine not working properly. Some owners reported that fixing these engine issues had cost them over $2,000. Additionally, Car Complaints says that the 2003 Taurus had other less common but weird engine issues, such as the theft light turning on and then the engine stalling. 

The 2003 Taurus’s other issues 

The 2003 Taurus had far more issues, but one of its other problem areas had to do with its suspension. This wasn’t a serious issue, as Car Complaints gave it a severity rating of 1.7 out of 10. However, it was a very common issue, and it, coincidentally, happened at around the same average mileage as the 2003 Taurus’s suspension and engine issues.

The most common suspension issue was that one of the front coils suddenly broke. While uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, Car Complaints reports that no crashes, fires, injuries, or deaths were caused by this particular suspension problem. 

Other issues that the 2003 Taurus had involved massive recall campaigns. Car Complaints says that the 2003 Taurus was involved in four recalls that affected well over 1.4 million cars. That said, not all of those cars were Taurus models. The two largest recall campaigns that the 2003 Taurus participated in had to do with its air filter being a fire hazard and its brake lights failing.