really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,766 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 Dodge Neon brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Dodge Neon Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 272010


  • 68,000 miles


The following is, what I consider a life threatening problem with the 2003, 2004 & 2005 Dodge Neon srt-4 model cars and possibly other models that have unsecured vacuum lines in the brake system. I have two first-hand occurrences of this problem. The first occurrence did not result in an incident, but the second caused destruction of my vehicle and could have resulted in my & my sons death. In the first incident the small vacuum line coming from the turbo boost gage and the check valve blew off the brake booster. This line is not secured to the brake booster. It is only a push fit. As a result the brake pedal became very hard and I had about 20% braking at 30-40 mph. To keep this from happening again I zip tied the check valve and line on the brake booster. In the second incident the large vacuum line from the brake booster to the intake manifold blew off the intake manifold. This resulted in a very hard brake pedal and no brakes at 70 mph during very hard braking. The result was a frontal impact and the destruction of my car. This large vacuum line is not secured at either end and also has a coupling in the middle that is not secured either. I have secured this line with clamps and am expecting to get my car to the frame shop soon. This is a problem that is known by a lot of Neon srt-4 owners and they have taken measures to secure these lines, but there are a lot of owners that have no idea that this problem exists.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #6

Dec 122008


  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2003 Dodge Neon SXT. I purchased the car in 2008. 6 months later the transmission gave out. The car would not run at all. There were no warnings to this. Aamaco said that the radiator blew which led to the coolant and trans. Fluid mixing together and destroying the transmission. I had no warranty because the car was bought used. It cost me 3500 dollars to fix this problem.now the check engine light keeps coming on and the car is burning fuel. I am getting anywhere from 10 to 17 mpg depending on the day. I have taken the car to three different mechanics, including a dealership, who can not figure out what is wrong with it. The worst problem yet is that when it is raining outside and I am driving the car there is a small thunking noise, and then a loud thunking noise that locks up the rear tires and brings the car to a skidding halt. So far, know on wood, no accidents, but it is a very dangerous situation. Again, the car has gone to several mechanics who claimed they figured out the problem. Have changed everything from axles, to brake cylinders and brakes. Paid approximately 1500 dollars out of pocket, and the car is still doing the same thing. I have young children who I refuse to drive anywhere in this car for their own safety.

- Barnegat, NJ, USA

problem #5

Sep 142008


  • 88,802 miles
2003 Dodge Neon brake lights would go on revealing low brake fluid. Problem resolved by adding brake fluid and light would go out. After two incidents of correcting same problem car was driven and brakes were hard to press and did not stop within acceptable distances. Car was inspected by serviceman and it was found that the lower brake line fitting perpendicular to the ground and attached to the master cylinders leaked. The problem is that you assume you lose brake fluid by use and it is really a leak. Adding fluid appears to solve the problem but by the time you received a brake light warning air has entered the brake system and causes a situation where your brake distanced is compromised and at highway speeds you may not stop within the distance you are accustomed to and this may cause an accident. Tightening the fittings did not work at he time of this complaint.

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 012004

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Every 2000 miles the consumer has to put 2 quarts of oil in vehicle. The spark plug went bad in the engine. The brakes squealed every time the vehicle would come to a stop.

- Pennsboro, WV, USA

problem #3

Jul 252004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,400 miles
The accelerator stuck and the brakes failed. Dealer contacted the manufacturer, who reported that the throttle screw was loose, and they were inspecting the vehicle. Screw on clip on throttle hose came off, causingair to rush in rev up the accelrator and caused brake failure.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #2

Sep 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 0 miles
I was in a small collision at the speed of 10 mph or less. I rear ended a Ford F150 truck because my brakes skided on the road, my 2003 Neon fishtailed, and I hit the bumper of the truck. My right headlight was smashed, and my radiator was also broken. After 3 minutes my engine caught on fire, and my entire car was engulfed in fire within 5 minutes after the collision. My airbag on both driver and passenger side did not go off, I didn't hit the truck at a highspeed, yet my car went up in flames. Everything in the car was melted, and I think this car is very unsafe. Had I hit a truck or been hit by another large or small car, I hate to wonder what would of happened then. Would I of made it out in time before it caught on fire, or would it blow up on impact?! Neons are not safe, and I think this car will catch on fire at any speed. I have pictures of the car that shows the damage from the collision, and you wouldn't ever think the small damage could catch this car on fire.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #1

Feb 222003

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,160 miles
3/22/3 5160 mi radiator loose, brakes pulse, 4/7/3 5500 mi. Front rotors replaced. 4/24/3 6204 mi. Power steering failed (twice), ps pump replaced. 6/6/3 7300 mi. Seat back poke into my back from the head rest support, actually wearing a spot in the seat back fabric. New seat back ordered.

- Manchester, CT, USA

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