Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,620 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 Toyota Corolla engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota Corolla Owner Comments

problem #20

Nov 132010

Corolla 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla 2003 4dr le, 80000 miles, I want to report coolant leak from engine area. I took the car to mechanics and Toyota dealer, they determined that coolant leak due to bottom part of the engine is cracking, recommendations is replace the engine block, that will cost about $6000. Mechanics stated that when Toyota made the mode of the engine, the mode does not make good.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #19

Aug 142009

Corolla

  • miles
I purchased a used 2003 Corolla. Vehicle came with all service records and it had been well maintained. I also checked all fluids. Mileage was 133,065 at the time I purchased it. I thought this was good because Toyota are suppose to last forever, right? a week after I bought it I noticed a knocking in the engine. I checked the oil and it was out. I have to put 3-4 quarts of oil in my car every 7-8 days. It does not leak, it burns it. The engine needs to be replaced. The emissions light stays on and I have also lost a hubcap cover. I've noticed that every other 03 Corolla I pass on road is also missing at least one. After reading the complaints on here, I am very concerned and know I will never by Toyota again.

- Taylors, SC, USA

problem #18

Jan 212009

Corolla

  • 48,381 miles
2003 Toyota Corolla le, 48,000 miles, engine seized due to lack of oil circulation in the engine block. Result was a complete engine replacement. The vehicle has always been well maintained and the oil changed at regular intervals.

- Uniontown, PA, USA

problem #17

Feb 062010

Corolla

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I'm not sure if this is a defect but I just want to file a comment I have with my vehicle. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla S made in 7/2002. The thing I have experiencing and still am is that my vehicle will lurch when it comes to a stop and engine idle speed changes when the vehicle was stopped. I've never experience this with other cars I have driven. I also didn't know if this is a defect or not back then until I start reading the news about the recall and other complaints from my model that is not due to the current recall. Here is the link to the news I have read about: www.cnbc.com/id/35269950 there is a quote from someone that experience the same thing as I did but did not state the year and model.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 092009

Corolla

  • 43,451 miles
I own a 2003 Toyota Corolla le. Car started to make a ticking noise for a few days prior to a complete engine failure with less than 45,000 miles.

- Uniontown, PA, USA

problem #15

Sep 272008

Corolla

  • 80,000 miles
I recently traded in a Ford Explorer on a 2003 Toyota Corolla.. 2 weeks after I bought the car the tensioner started to squeal and got worse progressively. At first I thought the belt was worn and got a new one, went to replace it and found that the bolt that holds the tensioner had snapped off due to the poor design of it. I was just notified by Toyota that I had to buy the new(correctly )designed tensioner at an additional cost to me of $180 plus the labor to do it which involves unbolting the motor mounts and jacking the engine up!I am a contractor and if I do something wrong or something the customer doesn't like I eat the cost. Shouldn't Toyota's bad design be paid for by Toyota. I was going to trade in my Ford truck on a new Toyota truck but after this little experience I think I will stick with Ford.

- Charlestown, RI, USA

problem #14

May 112003

Corolla

  • 36,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that the check engine light illuminated in her vehicle. The dealer stated that nothing was wrong with the vehicle. A few hours later, the light illuminated again. The vehicle was returned to the dealer and they stated that the sensor was bad and made the replacement. On the third occasion, they repaired a component related to the exhaust system because of the check engine light. After the most recent failure, the dealer stated that the charcoal canister failed. The failure mileage was 36,000 and current mileage was 36,100.

- Lake Ariel, PA, USA

problem #13

May 012007

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 101,000 miles
2003 Toyota Corolla purchased in 2002 was told today I need a brand new engine. My car has 102,000 not old at all well maintained got services when needed. No one can explain why my engine has gone bad. I just wonder how many other engines have gone bad this soon?? the last time something was wrong with my car it ended up being a recall a few months later had to have a rear axle replaced.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 262007

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,280 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla and I took it to the dealership for its 105,000 mile service. Part of the service was to replace the oil. I left the dealership after the service and the car was ok. I drove it for about 45 minutes. It sat for about 3 hours and when I left I drove it for about 30 minutes and then there was a loud clanking and banging from the engine. I had it towed to the dealership and they say I need a new engine. There has been no oil leak or black smoke from the exhaust. I had an oil leak around 96,000 miles that I took to the dealership and they fixed. Although I had to take it back because they did not fix it properly the first time. I feel there has been some error on their part and they are not willing to get into the engine and see if there is something wrong and just want me to replace the engine no questions asked.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #11

May 142006

Corolla

  • miles
I have noticed that several others have complained about the rotten egg odor coming from the engine. I had taken the car in several times about this and was told to only buy shell gas, I had tried this and it doesn't work. I was then told that the car was built for high emission standards and since I live in Texas, there is nothing that they can do about it. While I lived in California I did not experience the rotten odor. Has this issue ever been resolved? I am really tired of the odor.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #10

Aug 012005

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The consumer stated while driving the vehicle hesitated and white smoke came from the tail pipe during start up. The contact took vehicle to a local dealership. Upon inspection it was determined that there was sludge in the oil. The dealership did not service the vehicle because of the high cost. There was a program to extend the warranty on the engine for Toyota Camry regarding sludge build up, but not for the Toyota Corolla. The dealership stated they needed to take the engine apart and replace needed components.

- Fernandina, FL, USA

problem #9

Jun 152005

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 137,000 miles
Transmission went out, according to repair shop was defect from company. Less than 115 miles later the engine goes. According to service manager and master technician, engine looked great and could find no problem until discovered the cylinder head was warped and was a "common problem". engine and transimission gone within 115 miles of each other.

- Greenville, GA, USA

problem #8

Nov 012004

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
2003 Toyota Corolla experienced roll back. While stopped at red light car suddenly rolled backward. The consumer put the brake down as hard as she could but the car kept rolling. The consumer had to use the emergency brake to stop the car.

- Niceville, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 012004

Corolla

  • 29,285 miles
Check engine light came on, caused by poorly fitting gas cap. Concerned about burned oil debris in new oil changed. The consumer stated that one inch of the engine oil had been lost over 1800 miles enough that the engine could be completely out of oil over a 4000 mile period.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #6

May 272004

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When the brakes were applied, the vehicle would idled at a high RPM. The dealership and manufacture has been contacted. Technician was unable to determine the cause. Please provide any additional information.

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jan 182003

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Toyota Corolla surged, hitting brand new washer in garage, surged again, running up planter curb hitting tree. Taken to Toyota dealer both times without success. Dealer said they could not duplicate scenario. Why so many people having same problem yet Toyota saying there is nothing they can do? also, have problem with vehicle dropping out of overdrive, rearview mirror problem with visor. So much for the saying; "you won't get a lemon at Toyota of orange". I'm happy to say I haven't had the sulfur smell.

- Orange, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 202003

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My new '03 Toyota Corolla ce (17715 miles as of 01/19/04) has some serious defect that makes it stall. At least 5 times, from October 20, 2003 to January 22, 2004, we had to bring it to the dealership for the same problem. It already had to be towed twice, as it would sometimes stop in traffic, putting the lives of my family in danger. So far, none of the Toyota dealership's technicians have ben able to find the problem. I was told that diagnostic tests performed on this car have shown unusual codes unfamiliar to Toyota technicians. One such code, that they are unable to interpret, is "P1780. they thought the problem was the ECU switch. They replaced it in November 2003, and since then the car has stopped twice. On January 24, 2004, less than a week after it was delivered to us following repair for the same problems, it stopped again, became inoperable, and had to be towed to the dealership. At each occurrence, the engine indicator light, and in some cases the "low engine" pressure light would stay on permanently, the steering wheel would become very hard to maneuver, and then the car would come to a sudden halt. To restart it, it would take turning the ignition key on several times. My biggest fear is that it may someday stop suddenly (as it usually does) in a busy intersection or on a highway, thereby putting at risk the lives of my whole family. This problem needs some urgent attention.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #3

Sep 062002

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2003 Corolla has a rotten egg smell, especially when I am stopped, and it has been going on since I got the car. The dealer said to change gas and it would probably wear off, but it hasn't and I have been reading on the internet that other people are complaining about this, so I'm not the only one. Also, when I am stopped, sometimes the Corolla will surge forward. I read where someone else is having the same problem about this, too. I am ready to trade this car because I didn't buy a brand new car to smell this continually. It is very disturbing and may be unsafe smelling the emissions from this.

- Pilot Mountain, NC, USA

problem #2

Feb 232003

Corolla

  • miles
The vehicle caught fire, after it was started.

- Spring Valley, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 052002

Corolla

  • 8 miles
The vehicle became hesitant and did hold in idle, the manufacturer was aware that a problem existed with the new model engines.

- Largo, FL, USA

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