This article will dive deep into what problems befell these full-size sedan models and what to look for if you are indeed looking at buying one of Henry Ford’s vehicles. In an earlier article, we already learned the Taurus can last around 200.000 miles, this article discusses the problems you can expect in that time.
The Ford Taurus has been plagued with rear suspension problems causing pigeon-toed vehicles. Failure of the power-assisted steering in the Ford Taurus can lead to an increased crash risk and injury. Some keys can be removed from the ignition switch, increasing the risk of vehicle roll-away.
By 2018, complaints lodged with the NHTSA were a negligible 11. Had Ford improved the build quality so much by the time the model was discontinued? Let’s have a look below and find out the truth.
1. Rear Suspension Failure
Jumping right in with a rear suspension problem is perhaps not the most positive way to start our article. In early February 2020, the NHTSA administered campaign number 20V072000 regarding a possible stress-induced fractured rear toe-in link on specific 2013 – 2018 models.
The fracture in this forged suspension part could have caused a loss of control of the vehicle resulting in a sudden direction change and increased chance of a crash.
For those who really must know, this forged rear toe-in link was part of the vehicle’s rear suspension system and kept the rear wheels aligned. The toe-in part comes from the fact that these links stopped the Taurus from becoming pigeon-toed. Pigeon-toed vehicles don’t drive well, which would have led to problems.
A potential 211,207 vehicles were affected. Ford Motor Company issued recall 20S04 and notified owners to bring their vehicles to the dealerships for a no-charge replacement of these faulty rear suspension toe-in links.
So do your homework before signing on the dotted line and ensure that the car you may be looking at has indeed been fixed.
2. Shifter Assembly Failure
Removing the ignition key without being in park doesn’t sound too big a problem. However, this fault means that specific 2017 – 2018 Taurus models failed to meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 114, “Theft Protection.”
As a safety feature, you should only be able to remove the key of the Taurus’s mechanical key ignition system if the vehicle’s transmission is in park. To protect the forgetful driver who forgets to put the car into the park gear and to apply the handbrake, the driver was ‘reminded’ to do the necessary by being unable to pull out the key.
With the faulty ignition switch, the consequences of any forgetfulness would have been a runaway vehicle and an increased risk of injury to the driver and or other road users.
To remedy this unsafe situation, the NHTSA safety campaign 18V141000 was administered in March 2018, and Ford issued their own recall number, 18C02. At the beginning of May 2018, Ford notified the owners of a potential 2100 affected vehicles and installed a new shifter assembly at no charge.
3. Loss of Power Assisted Steering
The collective engineering genius of car designers has ensured vehicles nowadays are fitted and equipped with various electrical goodies to improve the driving experience. But, when these mod cons fail, they make our lives difficult, such as with the loss of power-assisted steering.
In August 2017, the NHTSA administered campaign number 17V530000 to remedy a heat shield that did not want to stay in place. The heat shield on specific 2017 Taurus models became detached due to rust damage and ended up covering the power steering gear. This caused heat build-up under this heat shield, which increased the steering effort required. Simply put, steering became more difficult, and any loss of control increased the risk of a crash and injury.
Ford obliged by issuing a recall number 17S23 and again notified owners to bring their vehicles into dealerships for a no-charge inspection and replacement of the offending heat shield fasteners. Fortunately, only 253 vehicles were potentially affected by this issue.
4. Turbo Charger Oil Leak
No vehicle owner wants to receive a gift of a recall notice just before Christmas, but that’s what Ford Taurus owners received. Their 2016 vehicles fitted with the 3.5L GTDI engine were found to have faulty turbocharger oil supply tubes.
These oil tubes bring oil under pressure to the turbocharger to keep things running smoothly. On inspection, technicians noted that the brazing on the tubes had not been done correctly and had resulted in an oil leak.
Under the car’s hood are plenty of hot bits that could have ignited the leaking oil, with the extremely hot turbo being just one. The apparent fire risk was high and could cause severe injury or even a fatality.
NHTSA issued recall number 16V925000 in respect of some 1163 vehicles potentially at risk of fire, with Ford issuing their own recall number 16S46 at the end of January 2017. As in all of these recall cases, Ford notified owners to have their offending oil supply tubes replaced at no cost to the owners.
5. Link Shaft Brackets May Fracture
Going back a year, we now see an inherent transmission-related problem in the 2015 Ford Taurus. This prompted the NHTSA in November 2020 to issue recall number 20V692000.
On 2.0 L and 2.3L engined front wheel drive models, the support brackets for the front drive axle half shaft fractured. This caused the vehicle to lose its park function and a loss of power to the front wheels when driving. Simply put, stationery vehicles engaged in park were at risk of rolling away or grinding to a halt on a busy road. Both of these situations resulted in an increased accident risk and injury to the vehicle occupants and other people on the road.
A shortage of parts delayed Ford’s remedy to replace the link shaft brackets due to the volume of repairs. Owners were issued an interim notification in December 2020 detailing the safety risks of their faulty Fords. The second letter under recall number 20S63 was published in February 2021 once the replacement parts were available.
The concern that needs to be raised here is Ford’s time frame to rectify this. In this instance, owners were forced to drive their safety-compromised vehicles for two months before Ford repaired them. Would Henry Ford have approved?
6. Fuel Pump Malfunction
Vehicles need fuel to keep driving, so when certain 2013 – 2015 Ford Taurus vehicles equipped with the 3.5L GTDI Ecoboost engine were starved of fuel, the drivers would have been at risk of a crash.
What happened? An overheating in the components of the fuel pump electric module or PEM to use the appropriate automotive lingo caused the loss of electric power to the fuel pump. No power to the electric pump meant no fuel being made available to the engine, and in turn, the engine would stall or fail to start. Being stranded in the middle of the motorway is no laughing matter and puts owners in a very high crash-risk situation.
With 77,052 vehicles affected, the NHTSA, under Campaign Number 16V621000 and Ford, issued a recall under number 16S31. Kicking off on December 1, 2016, for their dealers to inspect and replace the PEM at no charge to owners. Fortunately, this remedy was made available before the busy Christmas season, and we trust those Ford owners had a Merry Christmas.
7. Fuel Tank Mounting Bolts Failure
This next fault is something that any action movie producer would love to throw into a car chase scene. Is anyone fond of fireballs and cars at the same time?
Ok, real life is not Hollywood, but the fact that the fuel tank may have come loose and erupted in a fireball on these 2015 Taurus models is not too far-fetched. The NHTSA deemed this possibility of fire too significant a risk and administered a safety campaign 15V605000 to remedy it.
So Ford may have slipped up in production and not tightened the fuel tank mounting bolts to specification. This resulted in the fuel tank straps fracturing and the fuel tank detaching itself without warning from the vehicle, with deadly results.
Fortunately for Ford and those Taurus owners, only 203 vehicles were affected. If you were one of these unfortunate few, Ford would have made contact in October 2015 and notified you of their recall number, 15S26, and retightened those loose bolts to specification.
8. Parking Brake Failure
Again with a park brake problem! So what Ford now experienced was a parking brake that did not fully engage when in Park gear. The danger is if the transmission was mistakenly left in any other gear than park on a slope, there was an increased risk of the vehicle rolling away. Obviously, this meant a crash was pretty much a certainty.
Specific 2015 Taurus vehicles were the subject of NHTSA safety campaign number 15V464000. As these vehicles were on the road with parking brakes that may not fully engage when applied, they failed to comply with regulations set out by the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 135, “Light vehicle brake systems.”
And again, Ford duly notified and advised owners of the associated safety risks and issued recall number 15C07 beginning September 4, 2015. Technicians inspected the vehicles and replaced the parking brake control assembly at no charge where necessary.
9. Water Intrusion Into The License Plate Lamp
Going back even further to 2010 – 2014, the early production years of the sixth-generation Ford Taurus suffered from the majority of the issues already reported above. However, corrosion in the license plate light assembly seems confined to these production years.
However, this problem had a twist as it affected vehicles initially sold in or registered in districts that used salt on their roads in winter. The salt would have caused the license plate assembly to rust, which would have led to electrochemical reactions in the metal, with the increased risk of a short circuit and fire.
By now, we all know that cars, fire, and people don’t mix well.
Ford addressed this very unique fire risk by issuing recall number 14S08 along with the NHTSA Campaign Number 14V285000 in May 2014 to remedy 183,425 affected vehicles. In July 2014, Ford instructed their dealers to replace the license plate assemblies.
10. Air Bag Second Stage Failure
Airbags are critical safety items, and we expect them to work effectively. From 2010 – 2012, Ford Taurus owners reported improperly inflating airbags which increased the risk of injuries in the event of a crash. As this was an apparent safety-critical issue, the NHTSA got involved and issued Campaign Number 16V247000 on April 26, 2016.
To understand the problem: The Ford Taurus has a dual-stage airbag with two inflator modules connected to one airbag. Each inflator has a different power rating and deploys under different conditions, i.e., the second stage airbag will deploy in a more severe accident.
In June 2016, Ford recalled roughly 695 vehicles where the second-stage module did not deploy correctly during high-speed accidents. The dealers then inspected and replaced the driver’s frontal airbag module to decrease the risk of death and severe injury.
After all of the 72 costly recalls and the never-ending list of noted complaints, Ford discontinued production of the Taurus model, and surprisingly not because of any quality or safety problems but because they wanted to focus their attention on their pickup and SUV models.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
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