Are most cars reliable if regular maintenance is done? Are car horror stories unfair?

In addition to working with and transporting our child and teen clients, we also had to move their bed and personal belongings if they were being transferred from one foster home to another. We had no wagons, and this was before minivans were commonplace, so we had to use our 4 door and 2 door sedans to move all of that stuff.

Just visualize an official-looking black sedan with the Great Seal of The State of NJ on its door–with a mattress tied to the roof and the interior bulging with bags & boxes. It used to feel like something out of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Luckily, Ford never sold a lot of Tauruses with that fatally-flawed engine. IIRC, it was discontinued after a year or two.

We had a Taurus and I liked it a lot. I bought it for my wife and two children. We soon had 3 little ones, and it was a war zone in the back seat. When I referred to them as Moe, Larry, and Curly they stopped for a while. Reliability was decent. We liked it enough that our next car was a Windstar van. They were fairly well separated then. Reliability wasn’t nearly as good with that Ford.

@jtsanders I had a 1988 Taurus which I liked. It had the 3.8 V6. It accelerated well and was reliable. One of my friends and colleagues had a 1987 Taurus with the 4 cylinder engine and he had problems with the car from day one and it was brand new when he bought it. The Taurus I owned got better mileage than my friend’s 4 cylinder. The 4 cylinder Taurus had a 3 speed automatic while the V6 Taurus had a 4 speed automatic where the 4th speed was overdrive. That may have accounted for the difference in gasoline mileage.

We had the 3.8L too. The smaller engine was anemic in comparison.

Couldn’t have said better myself!

My parents had a similar era Taurus which they liked. It was their " retirement car", so it was configured w/ all the bells and whistles. The only problem with it was the ignition switch, which for some reason had to be replaced several times.

Wasn’t the 4-cylinder Taurus the same engine as the 4-cylinder Tempo, of which millions were made? I seem to recall that it was.

The 2.5 liter HSC engine was available in the Taurus from 1986 to 1991.

The ignition switch failures on the Taurus (and other Fords) was caused by the blower motor current being routed through the switch instead of through a relay. With age and the current increasing the switch was prone to failure due to overheating.
Same principle when it comes to Honda ignition switches only this time it’s the fuel pump and engine controls. Or VW and their 50 amp glow plug fuse/80 amp surge.

That is why electrical engineers get paid the big bucks; to overlook the obvious.


Interesting, thanks for the update. On a similar note, for some reason the current which powers the starter motor solenoid is routed through my Corolla’s ignition switch, which caused me some grief. Solenoid current is short in duration, but about 15 amps. I saw no reason to route it through the delicate ignition switch other than to save $10 on the relay, so I installed a bypass relay. No problems since.