really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
121,006 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 Honda Civic body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Honda Civic Owner Comments

problem #13

Nov 022015


  • 158,000 miles


I noticed a few weeks ago that the hood had started to bounce somewhat while car was in operation, upon investigating I found the support that the hood latch assembly is attached ( bulkhead / cross member) had a hairline crack appearing. Within a matter of a few weeks the entire latch assembly had broken loose. Once this happens even the secondary latch is useless, at this point the only thing keeping the hood from flying open during the course of driving which involves air turbulence is a very thin gauge steel cable connected to the inside hood release latch which isn't meant to restrain hood from flying open. I've also found one documented case of a hood flying open while car is traveling down interstate in Ohio, this was a 2004 Honda Civic and the traffic crash report number is 10-119-89. I've contacted american Honda corporation and expressed my concerns regarding this safety issue on January 19, 2016. So far I've only received a case file number (04405315) and a lot of run around. I've been told in different conversation my car is 13 years old and out of warranty. I know that. The car was also out of warranty when both airbags produced by takata corporation had to be replaced. I feel this hood latch problem is just as dangerous if not more so, if ones hood comes unlatched going down a highway or worse a interstate this could very easily result in a major pile up putting numerous individuals at risk for loss of life and property damage. I've taken the car to a local Honda dealership, bryan Honda located here in fayetteville, nc. A service advisor and fixed operations director by the name of todd kuther has inspected the car, took photos and forwarded to american Honda using the case file# (04405315)

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #12

Mar 182010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
The door will not lock using the key. The key either gets jammed in the door or wont go in. When it does go in, it wont come back out. Frustrated because I cant lock/unlock my car without a break-in kit.

- Ellijay, GA, USA

problem #11

Aug 062013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
The clear coat on the paint job began cracking and peeling on the bumpers and hood.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #10

Apr 242014

Civic 4-cyl

  • 167,000 miles


I rear ended a vehicle that came to a sudden complete stop, I was going approximately 30 mph, (the roadway was 45 but I had started to slow as I slammed on my brakes). The collision was full frontal impact and my airbags did not deploy. I hit my head on the steering wheel despite having a seat belt on. I am having a mechanic investigate why my airbags did not deploy, but it concerns me as I was injured in the crash. I went to the emergency room and I have whip lash, muscle spasms and muscle tension in my neck and back. I feel that these injuries could have been avoided if the air bags had deployed. My lawyer advised me to file a complaint here as well as with Honda about this incident.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #9

Sep 082013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 141,072 miles
I was driving South bound on the 215 shortly before the exit, mills, there was a cone laying on its side in the middle of the road that I was not able to see from a distance because the color of the cone was facing forward. By the time I was able to realize what it was, I could not avoid it and go to another lane because I was in the middle of two cars, which probably would have caused much more damage then there is if I attempted to do so. As a result the cone cracked my front bumper on the right hand side in the shape of a V, there was a little steam coming from my engine and there seems to be some kind of leak now, as well as some black rubber type thing that looks like its supposed to be over the tire was dragging.

- La Mirada, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 122013


  • 126,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic. The contact stated that she was unable to open the front driver's side door from the interior of the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 126,000.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #7

May 152012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles


2003 blue Honda Civic clearcoat and paint are delaminating on large areas of the roof and portions of the trunk and hood. The paint is not exhibiting normal oxidation fading, the clearcoat is actually peeling away.

- Midland, TX, USA

problem #6

May 012012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
The clear sealant on the paint suddenly started to erode. Now large sections of the roof, hood, and rear trunk area look like the car has some kind of skin disease. It's an unsightly mess that has lowered the car's value and makes it look like a junk heap instead of the well-maintained and running car that it actually is. I would like Honda to pay to fix it like they do for any other issue that they are negligent about.

- Richmond, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 292012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 166,000 miles
On the bottom side of the hood, there are three rusted bolts. Directly above one of the rusted bolts, the hood is rusting...as this rusted area is in very close proximity to the windshield washing nozzle mechanism which delivers the windshield washing liquid to the windshield, at some future date, there will be a catastrophic failure. Please review and implement an action recall plan to address this potential safety issue. Thanks in advance.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #4

Jan 012009


  • 40,000 miles
Carpet under passenger side mat becomes completely sodden during and after every rain. Having blower only operate on "recirculate" as a Honda bulletin suggested does not help the problem. (also, in winter, operating during wet cold weather on recirculate does not allow windshield to properly de-fog.) door seals appear to be in good shape, with no apparent wear, and are in proper position. Because mat is not wet, appears that water is getting in car structure from below, not from door, for example. I fear this will cause floor of car to rust and rot, and carpet is becoming stained by mold growing under the mat. Difficult to keep this dry when one lives in a rainy climate. Think this has been happening for quite a while, but I was unaware because the mat on top was dry.R

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #3

Sep 012008


  • 120,000 miles


My blue 2003 Honda Civic LX's clear coat is fading. There is white blotches on 50 percent of my roof, 20 percent of my trunk and is spreading to my hood. An independent paint shop said to make it look like a factory paint job it would cost around $3,000. I then took it to the dealership and the service manager set up a meeting with a "representative" for me. The rep looked at my car and told me that her "rule is to look for factory defects only." She said that the coat is fading because of weather and has faded faster because the dark blue absorbs heat. I informed her that I have seen atleast five other blue Civics of the same year with the same exact problem with the paint. This makes me think that there is a defect either with the clear coat or the application. It seems unlikely that a 5 or 6 year old car's paint should be fading even after regular maintenance and care to the exterior.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 012008


  • miles
About 2 months ago I noticed the paint deteriorating from the exterior roof of my vehicle. I immediately contacted the dealership where I purchased the vehicle. They scheduled an appointment about 6 weeks later for me to come to the dealership and have the manufacturer representative view the vehicle paint issue. The paint is currently only deteriorating from the roof. The dealership declined to correct the issue stating the vehicle was 1) out of warranty 2) environmental factors contributing to the paint problem 3) care of the car while at the dealership, there was another customer who had an Accord with the same issue. I have also seen other Civics and Accord with the same issue. The service manager nor manufacturer representative did not provide information as to why the paint located at the area of deterioration was happening. The service manager directed me only to warranty expiration and environmental concerns pointing to the rubber strips at the exterior side windows where water spots were located.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #1

Jun 192008


  • 100,000 miles
I drive a 2003 Honda Civic ex. I got off work at 5:30 P.M. and got on the interstate and had the incident about 5:55. On 4 lanes of traffic, I was in the 3rd from the right. This is rush hour in indianapolis. No warning at all, the hood on my Honda flew up and smashed my windshield to pieces and put a large dent in the top of the Honda where it meets the top of the windshield. The hood stayed up, completely taking away any vision in front. I immediately slammed on my breaks and thanfully didn't hit anyone in front of me. Thankfully nobody was tailgating me. I managed not to swerve the car and stay in my lane. I could see a vehicle on each side of me as I slamed on the brakes. I then proceeded to steer my way to the left, crossing 2 lanes and then getting my car over to the shoulder. I used my side mirrors for this. When I got my car over on the shoulder, my hood came down. Incredibly lucky to not hit anyone and not get hit. The insurance company called me on the 25th. Their claims adjuster said that the hood latch had a decent amount of wiggle room! this should not be. There should be no wiggle room on a hood release. I just turned 100,000 miles a week earlier. My hood hadn't been up for months. My last oil change was around valentines day. One of those fluke things I hope. I would hate for somebody else to have this happen to them. I am so lucky that there was no damage form another vehicle. Car seemed fine mechanically. I got on the shoulder and was pretty shaken up. But okay.

- Fishers, IN, USA

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