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2003 ford taurus shaking & won't accel above 50! Check engine light flashing!

WHAT IS WRONG!? Out of nowhere without any warning car starts shaking & jerking! Seems to Wana die when not hitting the gas!

Shut off the engine and have it towed to a shop.

The flashing check engine light means there is a misfire severe enough to damage the catalytic converter.

It sounds like you’ve already melted the cat.

Good luck!

Oh no you think I need a new converter!? Those are high!

Your car has a cylinder or two misfiring, bad enough to cause damage to other things like the catalyst if you keep driving.

Ask your neighbors, friends, coworkers for a recommendation to a local independent shop and have your car towed there.

I figured possible misfire but had no idea it can cause that serious of a problem that fast! When I drove it home when this started happening I drove about 7 miles maybe & had it on cruise at 50 the highest it would go that I would risk! With my caution lights on of course.

Thank you for your input ive been trying to research as much as possible so I know what to expect, cost, so on, & so forth! I found similar stories ending in spark plugs & wire problems also found misfire to be the main issue…

Could be the injectors,my 2000 Focus behaved similar to that,ran like new when I replaced the cheap OEM injectors(gave up on it when it dropped a valve)-Kevin

It could be many things, but I doubt the cat is plugged if this is a new problem. If the check engine light has been on for a few months, then you might have damaged the cat.

With an '03 it is very possible you have a few bad COPs (coil on plug) and spark plugs due for replacement. Each spark plug has a coil sitting on top of it. There is a rubber connector between the coil and the plug and that rubber gets old and drys out. Then the electricity that is supposed to fire the spark plug goes into the motor without firing the plug - a misfire. When several plugs aren’t firing the motor shakes and acts like your motor is acting. You have 6 coils and 6 spark plugs. I’d replace all of them, even if the shop says 2 or 3 are the ones misfiring. When a couple of coils go bad, the “good” ones now will start misfiring in a couple of months and you’ll be back at the shop with the same symptoms coming from different cylinders. Replacing all 6 will be expensive if you get genuine Ford parts (about $70 per cylinder for the parts) but less expensive coils from NAPA or another local parts store will work fine.

I think you are looking at $500+ for a proper fix if I’m right about the coils.

Hmm sounds to me like its not gona be a cheep fix. Still waiting on tax refund & anything over 300 is really putting me in a tight spot. I have 2 in preschool I drive them everyday! :frowning:

If you keep driving the car with a “flashing” check engine light you risk being stranded, much more damage to the car, and much more expense to get it fixed. If you can’t afford to fix it now you need to park it and figure out another way to pick up the kids, get groceries, and get to work. That tax refund is weeks, maybe months away.

The cheapest possible fix is to change the plugs only. That may take care of it, but UncleTurbo is right-the coils may need replacing too. If you ignore it too long, add an additional $500 to the cost to replace the catalytic converter, as it will get fouled if you drive too long with a misfire.

Thanks for the good advice. I wouldn’t dare drive my children in that car the way its acting I also have a 9 month old & expecting lol! I prayed God get us home & he did! Now I pray the car is in his hands & it is. I have some ideas how to get help & hopefully taxes come within a couple weeks we will be trading in for something bigger anyway to fit two carseats & two boosters anayway :slight_smile:

That’s what boggled me when this occurred because my flashing Cel didn’t start until after the shaking & jerking happened. This was all on my way home last night so that’s all the driving I did just to get home!

If you have a lost spark ignition system, that is the one that has one coil for two spark plugs and one coil burns up, then you lose two cylinders at the same time. It will come on suddenly, it will be difficult to accelerate or go very fast and it will shake like a wet dog.

If you get the codes read, you will probably get two codes, both a P030x with the x identifying a cylinder and the two cylinders identified will be shared by one coil. If you open the hood and look at the coils, you might even be able to see visible damage on the bad one.

If you have a coil on plug system, then the above is bogus. Then the most likely culprit would be the crankshaft position sensor. For that you would get a P0300 code. But these often result in an engine not running at all.

Engine is missing. Could be a lot of things, plugs, injectors, coils, head gasket, probably not valves.

maybe you installed the spark plugs and wires and made a mistake? I’ve been there, car was shaking.

This car is new to me so I have no idea what it could be I know ive been driving it for close to a year without any major issues… until now!

What I would suggest you do before proceeding with spending money on guesses is to borrow or even buy a simple, cheap code reader. I think (?) even Wal Mart, AutoZone, etc may have something for 60 dollars (?) that may at least steer you in the general direction of the problem.

Some chain type auto stores such as AutoZone, O’Reillys, etc have loaner tools that can be used for free after placing a deposit which you receive back when the tool is returned. Whether they loan code readers or scan tools out I do not know.

These are bone simple to use. Simply plug it into the OBD port on the bottom edge of the dash underneath the steering wheel, turn the key to the RUN position, and see what pops up.
They’re not the final answer to all problems but could help in a tight money situation and the code reader, if you buy one, can always be kept in the glove box for future use.