Model Year 2001 Ford Taurus
Rear Suspension-Related Complaints to the NHTSA
While acknowledging more than 1,000 complaints and more than 1,000 warranty claims related to "rear suspension coil spring fracture causing damage to the adjacent tire and resulting in a sudden air loss or loss of vehicle control," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed its investigation of this issue in 2007.
Based on a technical study, NHTSA came to the remarkable conclusion that a, "safety related-defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted." This judgement was again confirmed in 2011, even after the agency had become aware of fatalities allegedly related to this issue.
What Owners Say (A Sample)...
The total number and the specificity of consumer complaints made to NHTSA about this issue are exceptional. Note that the following complaints concern the model year 2001 Ford Taurus rear suspension ONLY and were abstracted from a source database created by NHTSA on April 25, 2006 and downloaded from NHTSA's ftp site (ftp://ftp.nhtsa.dot.gov/Consumer_Complaints/).
The complaints shown here were chosen at random. Our editing was limited to obvious typographical errors and capitalization. Each complaint is preceded by the ODINO keyfield to enable verification of our processing. Note that although these consumer complaints come from NHTSA's on-line database, they have not been verified.
10138618 – 2001 Ford Taurus rear coil spring broke and Ford would not replace them for us. Three weeks later the front springs broke and Ford did replace and repair the front springs. Rear repair out of pocket costs was $647.64.
10155350 – My 2001 Ford Taurus broke a rear strut spring and it cut a groove in the drivers side rear tire. This caused a blow-out and my wife was driving on a side street and no accident occurred. We have a grandson who rides in a permanent car seat in the rear and fortunately he was not with her at the time. There was a recall last year for the front coil-over strut spring and we had the shields put on by a local Ford dealer. Why is it that the rear coil-over strut springs were not shielded or replaced. They are almost identical to the front springs and can cause just as severe an accident if cut down, as a tire in the front if you are at highway speed. We were fortunate enough to have this happen at a low speed. This is definitely a manufacture defect since the Taurus is a 2001 with only 47,000 miles on it. Car is usually only drive to and from work a distance of less than 3 miles. Other Taurus owners should be aware of this. When I checked the local parts house where I purchase my car parts [Taurus is well maintained] they have a back order for these coil-over struts w/springs of 22. So something is definitely wrong here.
10144910 – Left rear coil spring fracture.
10146215 – While my wife was driving home from work the left rear spring in snapped off puncturing the side wall of the left rear tire at approximately 45 mph. The tire deflated suddenly and my wife was able to pull the car off the road. After the tire was changed the car was driven to the Ford dealer where we had to have both springs in the rear replaced and a new tire put on and a alignment costing $507.00 total. Our car is a 2001 Ford Taurus with 38000 miles on it and this is the second expensive repair this year. In July we lost the electric motor on the power seat and that cost over $400.00 with Fords assistance on the bill.
10137605 – While I was driving my 2001 Ford Taurus the left rear coil spring on the strut broke causing the left rear tire to deflate from the spring penetrating the tire sidewall!
10147332 – Car parked in garage, started up heard a bang, tire was blown out- Tried to reverse out of garage -Rear wheels locked up - Called auto club they put small doughnut spare on rear drivers side (blown out side) -Took vehicle to local garage- Upon inspection mechanic said rear springs had fractured and punctured the tire and needed replacing, this with less than 50 000 miles on vehicle -Cost totaled $465.60 plus taxes. Had this happened the previous day we were traveling at highway speeds to a friends cottage -We could have been killed!!
10135390 – I have a 2001 Ford Taurus with 110,000 miles. The rear drivers side spring coil failed, came dislodged from the seat and was rubbing on the inside wall of the rear tire. This could have ultimately resulted in puncture and rapid air loss in the tire potentially causing loss of control of the vehicle. The problem was discovered because the rear tire was losing air and was brought in for repair. When the tire was removed there was a groove all the way around the tire approximately 1/8" deep and the spring coil was protruding. Prior to discovery, there was no indication of this problem. The car drove normally and was not noticeably lower or riding low. Although this problem for me did not result in accident or loss of control, it was very possible and I'm very concerned about the safety implications for other car owners. Additionally, when I contacted Ford about this problem, they offered no help in the repair of the vehicle, even in spite of a very similar recall for the front spring coils. (Recall No. 04V322000) In this recall, they acknowledge the exact potential failure of the front coils. The dealer that services my vehicle has seen my car every 3,000 miles and did not identify this issue proactively.
10155248 – Rear left coil spring broke, piercing brand new tire. Happened when we were visiting family out of town. Car was OK the night before, not the next morning. Found a garage on Saturday that would make necessary repairs so we could leave for home on Sunday. Repairs included new coil spring, new strut, new tire, alignment, to the tune of $592.92. Garage said the Taurus is notorious for this. The front coil springs were replaced on recall, why not the back? We feel we now have to, for our safety and peace of mind, replace the other side. Debating on getting rid of the car at this point.
10154477 – 2001 Ford Taurus SE sedan, left rear coil spring failed, punctured left rear tire. Had to replace tire, spring strut and sway bar link. $360.00.
10151824 – Fracture failure of both rear coil springs.
10154894 – Rear coil spring broke 2001 Ford Taurus *also broke on co-workers car same year same model. (Local garage said this is a real common problem).
10138718 – DT: 2001 Ford Taurus. The consumer stated the rear driver's side spring spun off its perch and punctured the tire. This did not cause an accident because there were no other cars in the area. The vehicle was pulled over and the spare tire was put on. The vehicle was taken to the dealership. The dealership found a recall for the front springs and replaced them, as well as the perch and the tire.
10149191 – On 2001 Ford Taurus, right rear spring had broken and caused tire to puncture. Vehicle was towed to Ford dealer and repaired. No warranty, because over 36 month warranty. Dealer replaced both rear tires and both rear springs, at our cost, parts and labor. Have pictures of broken spring and punctured tire.
10146030 – On December 15th, I pulled out of my driveway at about 5 mph and heard a clunking noise from the rear of the car. I got out and checked the rear tires and found that they were still inflated. I pulled out to leave my driveway and heard a loud screeching noise as I drove away. I drove back into my driveway and found that the left rear tire was flat. I replaced the tire with the doughnut and was able to drive the car. Assuming that the problem was a punctured tire, I took the tire to a local place for a tire repair. They reported that the tread had separated from the tire, but didn't know why. They replaced the tire and as my wife drove away, she heard the screeching noise and after investigation, the shop found that the rear spring had fallen down and gouged the tire, causing the tread separation. The car has been taken to the dealer for replacement of the rear springs, at any cost. What I don't understand is why Ford is taking care of the front spring issue but isn't taking care of the rear spring issue when the cause of the rear spring issues is fully know and understood. Ford needs to recall and replace the rear springs before people are killed due to their obvious negligence.
10153964 – Wife heard rubbing noise from rear of vehicle, I pulled off tire to look at brakes when I found rubber debris from tire. After looking further I found that the right rear coil spring on strut broken and end of broken spring protruding out, hitting tire. I then removed left rear tire to inspect spring and found it also broke. Both rear coil springs were broke about 1 coil up on the spring. The car was towed to a tire service store and a after market spring (Moog brand) installed which had a life time warranty. I did retain defective parts.
10127799 – 1. No initial problem noted. Took car in for routine service and recall to install sheilds around front coil springs. 2. Dealer called and notified me of the fact that the rear springs were broken. 3. Dealer offered to replace springs for $100 deductible charge, leading me to believe there is a known problem with the springs that Ford is not owning up to.
10149796 – I have a 2001 Ford Taurus with approx. 70,000 miles. This summer while making a turn out of a parking lot a heard a loud noise from under my car. Now whenever I enter my driveway, make a turn after stopping or hit any kind of bump, it sounds as if something is hitting the bottom of my car. I also noticed that the left rear wheel has little clearance at the top of the sidewall from the wheel well. I looked under my car and found the rear stabilizer/ sway bar on the left side was broken . When I removed the rear left wheel I found my spring was broken. When I called my dealer they told me that this was not a covered item and I should call Ford Motors, which I did. When I called Ford they told me that the front springs were covered because of corrosion but not the rear! I advised them that I was confused because if their springs had a tendency to break why would only the front spring be covered. I received no satisfaction from Ford. While researching where I could purchase new springs that were not prone to failure like the Ford springs. I found an article saying your office was investigating the failure of the rear springs. I was advised the to replace the spring would run approx. $350. per spring plus parts. My car does not handle properly since this happened and I cant use it for any distance driving. Is this something your office is investigating.
10138939 – In May of 2005 the rear coil springs of my 2001 Ford Taurus both broke and the left coil spring punctured my tire causing a rapid loss of air. The coil springs on the front of my vehicle broke in June of 2004 (and now have protective shields due to the recall in August of 2004). All four coil springs on my vehicle have been replaced. My vehicle is now registered in Virginia but had over 75000 miles put on it in Pennsylvania- I believe that if my vehicle had not been registered in Pennsylvania at the time of the front spring recall I would not have known about the recall. The Ford dealership in my area was reluctant to place the recall protective shields on the front of my Taurus.
10134476 – DT: The caller said the rear coil spring protective shield corroded and broke. It also broke the strut and punctured the back passenger tire. Driver was going around a curve about 45 mph when he heard a loud noise. Driver was able to drive the vehicle home. Caller said there is a recall on the front coil spring but not on the rear. Dealer has vehicle and they are going to fix the front and caller will have to pay for the rear herself. Manufacturer said to hold on to invoices in case there is reimbursement later.
10142126 – Consumer's  Ford Taurus has a defective rear coil spring. The rear passenger's side coils spring broke. Less than three weeks later the front driver's side coil spring broke and punctured the front driver's side tire. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the manufacturer was contacted. They agreed to pay for the front coils sping replacement, under recall 04V332000, but refused to reimburse the consumer for the rear spring replacement.
What Ford Says (Excerpts)...
November 22, 2005
The Ford Motor Company (Ford) response to the agency's October 13, 2005 letter requesting certain information concerning alleged rear coil spring fracture on 2000 and 2001 model year Taurus and Sable sedans is attached.
While the alleged defect is an apparent source of dissatisfaction to owners, it has not posed any risk for the safe operation of vehicles. This is supported by the fact that there are no allegations of accidents or injuries in the population of responsive reports related to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles, some of which have been in service for over six years.
The majority of the responsive reports allege that a rear coil spring fractured with no resulting tire contact. Other reports may allege damage to a tire, but approximately half of these do not allege loss of air. In reports where loss of air from a tire due to contact from a fractured rear coil spring is alleged, Ford believes that the most likely event is coil spring rub against the sidewall of the tire for a period of time until the sidewall is eventually penetrated and a slow loss of air occurs. Ford believes that this slow loss of air is not unlike a typical flat tire that can occur from any number of causes. Such events are consistent with Ford's belief that the rear suspension design on the subject vehicles minimizes the opportunity for tire interaction from a fractured spring.
Even in the unlikely event of a rapid air loss, passenger cars, such as the Taurus and Sable, are very stable. The lack of any reported accidents or injuries as a result of alleged rear coil spring fracture on the subject vehicles is consistent with the agency's statement in its PE00-040 closing resume "that some classes of vehicles are more sensitive to loss of stability with catastrophic tire failures... In this instance, full-size vans are disproportionately involved in the severe crashes." The agency also noted in its closing resume for PE00-045, related to Goodyear tires, that failures of [subject] tires other than on large vans have only rarely had serious safety consequences.
Based on the complete lack of accidents on vehicles with up to six years in service, the position of the spring relative to the tire, and the controllability of the vehicle, the data show that rear coil spring fracture in the subject vehicles has not posed any risk to motor vehicle safety.
[Director, Automotive Safety Office,
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