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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
21 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
17 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,476 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 (Page 1 of 4)

problem #63

Nov 232015

Corolla

  • 230,000 miles

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

My 2003 Toyota corrola (odometer reading approx. 230,000 miles) never had this problem till this year around March when my wife noticed that the car suddenly accelarated and she couldn't reduce the speed by braking. Fortunately there was no accident, and the problem went away suddnely as it came. This thing happened twice afterwards the car was taken to sears auto center, natick, MA and they cleaned a dirty throttle. The problem went away till three days ago the problem came back. I was driving this time in broad daylight with medium traffic. Suddenly the car started accelarating and I couldn't reduce accelaration by braking. I cleared the floor mat area in case there was any blockage. But there was none, and the car kept on accelarating. It scared the wits out of me, and I had to stop the car by moving the gear to 'park'. I intend to take the car back to sears auto. But, it may be a chronic problem of 'sudden accelaration and failure to brake' with many Toyota automobiles.

- Wayland, MA, USA

problem #62

Oct 292015

Corolla

  • 183,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. When the brake pedal was released, the vehicle accelerated quickly without warning. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 183,500.

- Greenville, OH, USA

problem #61

Mar 162012

Corolla

  • 81,766 miles
Camelback Toyota took care of a recall on the wiring harness and since that date I have had numerous problems - lost my keyless entry, lost my speedometer, lost my horn. D & B auto found some problems at the tune of $428.70 (got my horn, speedometer and keyless entry working again - this was 8/12/13). Then approximately September or October, my car would start lurching and felt like it went into neutral and I would loose my speedometer - no engine light would come one - we tried several time to find out what was wrong - D & B auto checked out my speed sensors and found them to be okay and suggested it was my instrument panel and told me to call dick's speed-0-tech - I did and was informed that it could not be the instrument panel on a 2003 Toyota Corolla - suggested I call sam's compu -tech - I did and he said he could not help me until an engine light came on. In the meantime I found [xxx] the tech and he found the ecd connector (E8) not fully seated (locked) - not this is after the recall by camelback Toyota and then I still had the problems of the car lurching, going into neutral and loosing my speedometer so [xxx] the tech came back and we spend approximately 8 hours checking out the instrument channel and guess what we found (done by camelback Toyota) - first he looked at the wiring under my dash and said "this is not factory" and then we found 6 zip ties holding the wires going into the instrument panel box and again he stated this is not factory. We found the wires would not stay in the box because it had obviously been twisted - so we fixed them and the car has been okay since - this was 10-20-14. Now you are telling me I have another recall on this - I cannot go through all this crap again so what are you going to do about it? information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #60

Jan 072015

Corolla

  • 103,154 miles

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

I experienced a stuck accelerator pedal in my 2003 Corolla.I tried to kick the pedal loose and could not.I ended up grabbing the key and shutting the engine down to avoid losing control on the snow covered road and hitting traffic in front of me.I later determined that the throttle linkage had lost normal freedom of movement in the cold weather, even though I had cleaned the inside of the throttle body some months earlier.I believe most people would have had an accident in my situation.the only thing that saved me from an accident was my mechanical knowledge of cars enabling me to make the right decisions to avoid an accident.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #59

Oct 182014

Corolla

  • miles
TL-the contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that while at a stop sign, the vehicle accelerated independently and the brakes failed causing the contact to lose control of the vehicle. As a result, the contact crashed into ten vehicles and into a concrete wall where the vehicle came to a stop. A police report was filed. The contact sustained whiplash injuries to the neck and back including numerous hematomas on the waist that required medical attention. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. Djr

- Guaynabo, PR, USA

problem #58

Sep 082014

Corolla 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
While I was driving on the highway to work, driving at approximately 70-75 mph, I started to brake. Instead of decreasing in speed, my car accelerated and everytime I would push the brake, my car would increase in speed (unintended acceleration). Within the span of about 3 months, this incident has occurred a total of 5-6 times, making it very unsafe to drive.

- Alameda, CA, USA

problem #57

Nov 292014

Corolla

  • 136,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. While reversing at 3 mph, the vehicle accelerated independently without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 136,000. The VIN was not available.

- Kearneysville, WV, USA

problem #56

Nov 292014

Corolla

  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. While reversing at 3 mph, the vehicle accelerated without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 136,000. The VIN was not available.

- Kearneysville, WV, USA

problem #55

Jan 152003

Corolla

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the contact attempted to decelerate but the vehicle erroneously accelerated and crashed into an embankment. Upon impact, the air bags failed to deploy. The contact as well as the four passengers was injured. The injury details were not available. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was unknown.

- Richton, MS, USA

problem #54

May 082013

Corolla

  • 8,641 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that while starting the ignition, the air bag warning indicator illuminated continuously. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 3V133000 (air bags); however the remedy part remained unavailable. On a separate occasion, the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly when the gear was shifted into reverse. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 8,641.

- Sunny Asles Beach , FL, USA

problem #53

Jul 092012

Corolla

  • 86,000 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 while driving at low speeds, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The contact stated that the brakes were depressed but the vehicle did not respond. The vehicle did not stop until the contact crashed into a tree. The vehicle was destroyed. The contact's right foot was partially severed and the contact's left foot was fractured. As a result, the contact was confined to a wheelchair. A police report was filed of the incident and the vehicle was destroyed. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 86,000.

- Winder, GA, USA

problem #52

Jun 202011

Corolla 4-cyl

  • miles
Letter from congressman on behalf of constituent re sudden uncontrolled acceleration of a Toyota Corolla automobile dot/I#2011-2068. The consumer stated she was traveling at the posted speed limit, when the sign ahead indicated to reduce speed ahead. The consumer reduced her speed to the posted limit by pressing down on the brake. As she attempted to brake, the vehicle continued to increase in speed and a loud noise was present. The consumer stated she continued to press harder on the brake and she could feel the ABS activating. The ABS sounded like a high pitched noise and pulsating very fast. The consumer finally came to a complete stop, before going through an intersection. However, the engine was emitting a loud roaring sound. The consumer shifted the gear from drive 1 to drive 2 and the vehicle shuddered. She tried to shift to park, but as she got to reverse the vehicle tried to buck, so she put the gear in neutral and turned off the vehicle. The consumer stated her cruise control wa activated at the time of the incident. However, the dealer stated the problem had nothing to do with the cruise control. Updated 11/10/11 updated 11/16/11

- Slayton, MN, USA

problem #51

Jun 202011

Corolla 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Toyota Corolla. Consumer states problems with vehicle accelerating. The consumer stated she was traveling at the posted speed limit, when the sign ahead indicated to reduce speed ahead. The consumer reduced her speed to the posted limit by pressing down on the brake. As she attempted to brake, the vehicle continued to increase in speed and a loud noise was present. The consumer stated she continued to press harder on the brake and she could feel the ABS activating. The ABS sounded like a high pitched noise and pulsating very fast. The consumer finally came to a complete stop, before going through an intersection. However, the engine was emitting a loud roaring sound. The consumer shifted the gear from drive 1 to drive 2 and the vehicle shuddered. She tried to shift to park, but as she got to reverse the vehicle tried to buck, so she put the gear in neutral and turned off the vehicle. Updated 08/10/11. The dealership maintained the problem was the driver side floor mat and driver error. Updated 08/23/11. Updated 09/29/11. Upated 10/11/11.

- Slayton, MN, USA

problem #50

Feb 112010

Corolla 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
I own a 2003 Toyota Corolla S manual that for the first time in 9 years has accelerated uncontrollably. I started the car and put it in the first gear and it drove normally, but when pushed on the clutch switching to the second gear the RPM went up high above 4000. I made sure that I wasn't pushing on the accelerator. I checked if the floor mat was in contact with the accelerator but it wasn't. I put it in neutral and tried to diagnose the problem but the RPM was going very high and more than normal. So I turned the car off and restarted and everything was fine and the RPM went back to normal. Noticing that this is the only time has happened I would like to inform Toyota about the problem not asking for anything at this moment but if I the issue is still persisting they might have to look closely to the issue. Because my car has a manual transmission, I have more control on the car than an automatic transmission( option on pushing on the clutch) and disengage the engine from the transmission faster, I have less risk in being involved in and accident unless I need to suddenly stop. Thank you for your concern.

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #49

Nov 162010

Corolla

  • 37,243 miles
On November 16, 2010, while trying to park my Toyota Corolla 2003, the vehicle accelerated unintentionally crashing into a fence continued by crashing into some wooden pallets. I am the original owner of the car. My daughter a few weeks before noticed that the car will stay accelerated to a minimum of 1800rpm. The air bags were not activated and I did not received major injury. My neck was hurting for a while. I was lucky because there were two propane tanks following the fence. My son notified Toyota in puerto rico and filed a complaint #CR12287. He was told that my car was not included in the recalls because it did not have an electronic fuel control unit and that the gas in my car operated by a cable. The auto shop mechanics that repaired all the front damage of the car noticed the car accelerator too high. On November 24, 2010 the car was picked up by my son and was taken to Toyota for inspection. The Toyota employee tried to convince my son to sign an authorization to access all the data in the car computer memory but will not provide a copy of the data to the customer. My son refused to sign the release form. Waiting for the results of the inspection.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #48

Oct 312010

Corolla

  • 60,000 miles
Sudden acceleration on 2003 Toyota Corolla. Just returned from first road trip with this car, from Oregon to Colorado, and car suddenly accelerated. It happened 5 times - 3 of the times while the car was in cruise control. In particular - while going up hill -- the car picks up speed to get over the hill but after reaching the top, car fails to slow down and only after hitting brakes several times would the acceleration stop and car would begin to slow. In one instance, I had to take the car off the freeway and onto an uphill on-ramp to get it to slow and brakes finally worked at top of hill. I could actually feel the gas pedal pushing down on its own - without my foot applying pressure. The first couple of times it happened, I thought it was because the car was going down hill and was just naturally picking up speed. It was only after putting the car in cruise control that I noticed the problem was the car, not the environment. In the first incident, the car went from 52 to 83, the second incident - 57 to 90, the 3rd incident - 65 to 88, the 4th instance 75 to 84 and the scariest incident of all - the car went from 70 to 105 mph!! I could have been killed and the only thing that slowed the car down (besides my continual braking) was that I started climbing a large hill. One of the incidents was witnessed by a Wyoming highway patrol officer - out in the middle of nowhere and many miles to a town - who thoughtfully gave me detailed instructions how to get the car to stop safely (turn on your emergency flashers, put the car in neutral and apply even pressure to brakes - putting car in neutral gives more power to brakes). This car has 60,000 miles on it and had never been on a long trip before and very rarely on a freeway. I had never used the cruise control before and will not be using it again. Toyota needs to add the 2003 Corolla to the recall as it obviously has the same problem as the 2005 - 2010. Toyota will be hearing from me tomorrow.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #47

Aug 192010

Corolla

  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact was driving 5 mph and attempting to park when the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact was unable to control the vehicle and crashed into the cinder block wall, knocking a hole into the cinder block. The vehicle crashed into the wall with such force that is also caused a portion of the cinder block to shoot through a neighboring wood fence, fracturing the fence. The vehicle sustained moderate damages to the front end. The contact was uninjured. The vehicle was not repaired and the incident was reported to the manufacturer. The approximate failure and current mileage was 94,000.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #46

Jul 102010

Corolla

  • miles
I was driving on cruise control on a highway (approx. 60mph) in my 2003 Toyota Corolla S. suddenly, it started accelerating on its own and started swerving. I hit the brake pedal and attempted to counter-steer but lost control of the car and crashed front-end into the guard rail, then the car started spinning and I believe it must have hit the guard-rail further down. The front is demolished, the driver side was bent in so could not open the door fully, the back bumper was gone and the passenger side was heavily scratched. The airbags never deployed.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #45

Jul 022010

Corolla

  • 91,775 miles
While attempting to park in a mall parking lot at a lot speed, the engine accelerated without using the gas pedal. This occurred twice within a span of 30 minutes. I was able to apply the foot brake, emergency brake and shift the vehicle into park without incident. Then I turned the car off. I then started the car after shutting it down and the car ran normally.

- Thorndale, PA, USA

problem #44

May 032007

Corolla 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. While slowing down at a traffic light, the engine suddenly revved and accelerated through the intersection. The contact immediately turned the vehicle off and restarted it; the engine reset itself. The contact called the dealership and was told that the mats were probably the cause of the sudden acceleration. The contact pulled the mats away from the accelerator pedal and the failure had not occurred since. She also called the manufacturer in January 2010 and filed a complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 65,000. The current mileage is approximately 85,000. Updated 09/21/10. Updated 09/23/10

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

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