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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,861 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Mitsubishi Lancer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Dec 032012


  • miles


The climate control knob was hard to turn and final broke so I can't use my car in the winter because I can't turn it to heat and I have 2 young children. There should be a recall this has appended to thousands and its a safety hazard in multiply ways.

- Amesbury , MA, USA

problem #27

May 122013

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles
The temperature control knob was very hard to turn on the ac/heater module and eventually broke off. A failure of the temperature selection could result in inability to defrost the windshield properly, resulting in unsafe driving environment.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #26

Mar 012005

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The hot/cold switch broke off. Since I bought this car it has been difficult to turn the switch for temperature control. Both knobs are damaged and now im not able to control the direction of the air neither the temperature. This has to be a manufacture defect since. During my research online I've found many similar problems like this one. Mitsubishi should make a recall and fix it.

- Modesto , CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 262012


  • miles


The heat/ac knob on my 2003 Mitsubishi has been extremely difficult to turn. This is especially hazardous when trying to defrost the windshield, until it finally broke completely off. Now I have no heat in my vehicle and it visually impairs my driving when it is cold and frosts up. I tried to search for parts( complete switch or switch knob shaft) they're not available but whole unit about $300 + labor. Are they(Mitsubishi) going to issue a recall? the more I research, the more I find that this is a problem for hundreds of other Mitsubishi Lancer owners with this same situation on their hands. The more I research, the more I find that this is a problem for others.

- Marengo, IL, USA

problem #24

Apr 282012

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Purchased vehicle brand new July 2003. Heat/ac knob has always been difficult to turn. It is now stuck on A/C. I am located in an area that acquires freezing temperatures, and evidently, will need to be able to defrost the windshield. Upon researching this issue, I have come across thousands of Mitsubishi owners with the same problem. Since most of the U.S. experiences freezing temperatures this should, without a doubt, be a recall because it is affecting so many driver's visibilities. The other safety aspect to be considered pertains to: Young children, the elderly, and the ill. Car windows open or not, how is it safe to have the young, elderly, or ill in a car over 100 degrees or under 32 degrees? this is simply unacceptable, irresponsible, and unsafe. Please advise a recall.

- Langhorne, PA, USA

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problem #23

Feb 232012

Lancer 4-cyl

  • miles
The defrost/air conditioner/heat control switch has not worked properly from day one. It is a fight for hours to get the control to turn. Was told in 2003 that the problem would work itself out with use in due time, it never did. Now the switch is stuck between the heat and the air conditioning mark and I cannot get it to turn to either. I called the dealer, and was told it would cost around $1,400 to fix the manufacturing defect. A service bulletin was issued in 2005 concerning this problem, but, the dealer was not obligated, according to them, to check each car it covered for the problem. I feel NHTSA should have issued a recall concerning this defect, because if one cannot use their defroster while driving when needed, then it is a safety problem if they cannot see through the windshield!

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #22

Feb 182012


  • miles


Heating control does not turn. Part number mn185137hc is broken. I was told by mistubishi dealer in san jose, ca that the part is defective and commonly breaks in Lancers. He said it should be recalled but Mitsubishi has not done so. Estimated cost of repair was $300 for a new controller assembly part, $80 to fix air vents so that dust does not spew, and another $600 in labor costs for a total of $980.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #21

Oct 102010


  • 130,000 miles
Temperature knob was always difficult to turn, then it broke completely off. Not a problem for the summer (it's stuck on cold) but needs to be fixed for the winter so that the car can defrost the windshield. Technician said it would be between $1500-2000 to repair because you have to remove the dashboard and replace the entire knob panel plus fix the real problem which is the "air mix door lever". apparently this is a common problem for mistubishi owners and the company has not done a recall to fix it; therefore owners are dropping $1000S of dollars to get their car operational for seasonal temp changes. Isn't it a safety hazard if your defroster does not work"?"

- Catonsville, MD, USA

problem #20

Jan 112011


  • 200,000 miles
No heat/defrost in Mitsubishi Lancer (2003) usually, its kind of hard to turn, but if you twist the knob fast enough, you'll hear this sliding sound behind the center console signifying the change from cold to heat. The knob is no longer doing that, no matter how I turn it. I will turn it the full 180 degrees, and it won't "pop" into place" and it'll end up turning back to about 160 degrees (the dial location).

- Brampton, 00, USA

problem #19

Dec 132010

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
The heat/ac knob on my 2003 Mitsubishi has been extremely difficult to turn. This is especially hazardous when trying to defrost the windshield. I've reported the issue several times to Mitsubishi and they have stated that they've never heard of this problem. However, the more I research, the more I find that this is a problem for others. This knob has been difficult to use from day one.

- Reseda, CA, USA

problem #18

Oct 012010


  • 72,000 miles


The heater control knob is broken. I can't rotate the knob from cold to heat. It began getting really difficult to turn about a year ago, until I could no longer rotate it about a month ago. The consequences of this are you can't switch the air from cool to warm in case you're driving somewhere at night and need to turn on the heater for a little while. Your windows fog up. Nothing has been done to fix the problem, other than my mechanic messed with the cable inside and now my knob is permanently stuck on heat, whenever I turn the fan on. A new part from Mitsubishi is over $500. Are they going to issue a recall? I know there are hundreds of other Mitsubishi Lancer owners with this same situation on their hands.

- Cedarburg, WI, USA

problem #17

Aug 012010


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated that the temperature knob was fractured which made it impossible to control the defrost, heat, and air conditioning temperatures. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who informed the contact of the repair cost. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 105,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #16

Oct 232009


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated that the heat control knob would turn but would not engage the heat. The contact stated that air would blow through the vents but would not get warm. The vehicle was not inspected for the failure or repaired. The contact stated that the defroster was also working but heat would not expel from the vents. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000 and the current mileage was 73,000.

- New Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #15

Jan 122007

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 78,545 miles
I have a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. Approx 4 years ago the temp control knob for the heating/ac became very hard to turn from cold to hot and vice versa. Shortly thereafter the whole knob and stem snapped off and broke. I replaced the whole heater/ac control but the problem still persisted. I have learned to live with this inconvenience in the southern ca climate. Now my son needs to have this vehicle in philadelphia, pa where he needs to be able to use the heater/defroster. As I have been researching this issue, this seems to a design problem that Mitsubishi has known about since March, 2004 with tsb-04-55-003 and tsb-04-44-003. As I am well out of warranty, I asked Mitsubishi service advisors if they will help with the cost of $700 - $1100 for repairs. I also contacted Mitsubishi customer service but none are willing to help. I feel that misubishi should recall and fix this issue for safety reasons (cannot use defroster) and for the fact that these are not isolated issues. Thank you.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #14

Jan 092008


  • miles
1. use of vehicles heating/cooling system. 2. the temperature control knob broken and became unusable. Defrost/defog no longer works due to not being able to change the temperature. 3. no fix at this time.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #13

May 242010


  • 87,000 miles
The A/C knob on this car has been an ongoing problem and has now broke off. It has always been very stiff when going from A/C to heat and now due to being used with such force repeatedly it has broke off, the vent selector has never been an issue its smooth and transitions easily after all these features are supposed to make the vehicle more comfortable and safe and warm on cold nights... I just went to a site where at least 150 people complained of the same problem. The part is over 200$ from a dealer and the dealer charges over 700-800$ to replace the part(talk about a racket) and yet with soooo many complaints I feel bad for people with serious health problems that are stuck in this vehicle driving under miserable and yes unsafe conditions especially for those who can't defrost their windshield or people who have a hard time maintaining body temperature... a recall should have been issued a long time ago, especially if the manufacturer has since developed a "repair kit" (in other words here's the fix to something we know doesn't work but we want all you hard working people to pay for it) so again lets screw the little guy right?

- Suisun, CA, USA

problem #12

Apr 182008


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated the knobs on the temperature control panel were breaking off. The dealer advised the manufacturer was aware of the failure yet the improved knobs were on backorder. The contact felt the failure could potentially become a safety issue because of the heat levels in the vehicle cabin. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 54,000 and the current mileage was 79,931.

- Poinellas Park, FL, USA

problem #11

Nov 012008


  • miles
Heating/cooling knob has been hard to turn since I bought the car. Eventually the knob broke off. I was told by a Mitsubishi dealership that they'd have to replace the whole unit which would run me about $300 for the part. I now have to drive in full winter clothes when it's cold because I can't get the thing off the cool setting.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 202009


  • 70,000 miles
This is a health issue for us because my husband has ms and is sensitive to heat especially, but also can be sensitive to cold. The heater knob on my vehicle broke. It had been sticking for a while. I had to turn the knob pretty hard to push from cold to hot or hot to cold. In researching a way to fix it I was appalled by the number of people that had the same problem with the 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer but no recall has been initiated by Mitsubishi. At this point we just need to replace one small shaft for the knob to slip onto, but the dealership claims we have to buy the whole unit - $215 plus shipping and labor. With my husband having ms, we are always paying medical bills. We went to a salvage yard and the heater assembly was missing from the only Lancer on the lot and according to one person every Lancer he saw come through had the left knob broken off the heater temp controller. Now it is cold in the mornings and warm in the afternoons and we cannot adjust the temperature at all. We had been using pliers but now cannot move it at all. Please look into this because it is a health issue for those with ms and other neurological and autoimmune disorders.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #9

Nov 042009


  • miles
Climate control knob broke off on Mitsubishi, found to happen on lots of these cars, cant defrost window. Cant see. Safety hazard?

- Washingtonville, NY, USA

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