really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,848 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Honda Civic Owner Comments

problem #14

Aug 042012

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while approaching a stop light the brakes failed. The contact stated that the vehicle did not slow down and the brake pedal kicked back up when depressed. As a result, the contact entered the intersection and another vehicle crashed into her vehicle. The air bags did not deploy. There were no injuries from the crash. The vehicle was taken to a repair shop, but the brakes had not been inspected. The failure and current mileages were 88,000. Updated 9/21/12

- Newburg, NY, USA

problem #13

Mar 152010


  • miles
This problem has been happening since the car was brand new, and continues to this day. While slowing down, and if the car goes over a bump or rough patch in the road, the electrical braking by the hybrid system turns off. This causes there to be no braking at all on the car for a brief period of time. The regular braking system will engage but it requires more force and time than normal to slow and stop the car. The stopping distance is definitely increased and could lead to an accident. It occurs often, and can be recreated over the same rough patch in the road. The amount of roughness required to cause this is low and there is no way to predict by looking at the road. It is actually quite shocking how little it takes and how different the braking is after it happens. I complained to the dealer but they said there was nothing they could do, that is just the way it is.

- Stevenson Ranch, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 012003


  • 1,000 miles
Braking while on a bumpy road occasionally results in a delay of the braking action. We thought this was part of the ABS system, but there was no ABS "feel" in the brake pedal. With the Toyota problem description, we now feel it may be a similar problem. Only occurs while braking on rough pavement.

- Leonia, NJ, USA

problem #11

Aug 152005


  • 51,000 miles


I wish to make notice to NHTSA that the issue in braking for prius vehicles would seem to me to be related, in general, to hybrids, built in Japan, and not just Toyota. I have an '03 Honda Civic hybrid, and it has issues. It has been in an accident back in '05 and what was the issue? braking! the car went out of control under heavy braking (though all these vehicles have 4 whl ABS) in an "animal-avoidance" attempt. I ended up careening side-wise sliding until colliding with a utility pole, at the passgr side "a" pillar. Raccoon didn't survive. I had noticed on several occasions that the ABS, upon encountering bumps or jolts of any significant degree, will "cut-out" momentarily, and further, the "engine-braking' associated with the hybrid motor-generator also cuts out and does not return (until after the stop has been concluded using only the available braking methods left)(no ABS "chatter" is to be observed in these scenarios). The phenomenon is definitely reproducible; I have often found that such bumps are virtually unavoidable on certain places I commonly drive near my home. It is such an issue that I have learned to try to compensate for that when driving over these bumpy places, but one can't compensate when encountering same in a new, unfamiliar area/situation. Please do look into the concept that it could be more of a Japanese made ABS system-fault, (possibly including engine-regenerative braking system) rather than a Toyota-only thing. I would request that my note be acknowledged, myself be contacted so as to provide any further info needed, and my contact info be retained so as to be contacted regarding subsequent resolutions, ie recalls/legal cases/settlements. By the way, I had not "collision" insurance, thus I paid to repair my hch post that accident. I still drive the car today, though anyone would have called it "totalled".tires- were the same set installed as oem, were at least 60% even at 51K, they readily woreout afterwards-post-acc alignmt issues

- East Ridge, TN, USA

problem #10

Dec 262009

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic hybrid. While driving 75 mph on the interstate when the accelerator pedal extended to the floor without the contact applying pressure to it, then the rpms increased. He then firmly pressed on the brake pedal and the vehicle started to slow down. The contact was able to continue driving. The failure has occurred approximately 7 to 8 times. Honda was contacted and stated that they were not going to repair the vehicle since the failure was related to the cruise control. They also advised the contact to have the vehicle diagnosed by the dealer. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 130,000. The current mileage was 207,496. The consumer also stated the brakes did not work well on a rough road when going down a hill. Updated 05/13/10.

- Rowling Heights , CA, USA

problem #9

Feb 132007


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I've encountered a problem with Honda hybrid braking systems on two models (the 2000 insight and the 2003 hch - both manual transmissions). Recently, ambivalence cost me dearly. Driving on the interstate, a truck cut me off. I hit the brakes but found myself accelerating towards the truck instead of stopping. At the last minute, I swerved to avoid the truck and ended up skidding, rolling, and finally crashing to a stop. On a positive note, I walked away from the accident with some minor scratches and no one else was hurt. My car has sustained serious damage and I am waiting to receive final word on its status from my insurance company.

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jan 022006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,100 miles


: the consumer stated the check maintenance light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealership to determine the problem. The dealership discovered the battery needed to be replaced. After the battery replacement, the check maintenance light went off. The vehicle was driven for a few days and the check maintenance light illuminated once again. Later, the consumer was involved in a rear end collision while traveling at 35 mph on a wet road. The brakes were applied, but the vehicle failed to stop before striking another vehicle in the rear end. The seat belts were in use and no injuries were sustained. The air bags did not deploy. The vehicle was inspected and diagnostics were performed to determine why the air bags did not deploy. The codes showed faulty sensors in the air bags. The dealer determined further testing would be required before a final decision could be made on the air bag failure. Update 2/24/2006 -

- Fargo, ND, USA

problem #7

Jul 012005


  • miles
2003 Honda Civic LX does not have anti lock brakes.** answer required***. when the consumer attempted to apply the brake, it went down to the floor. Consequently, the consumer was involved in a collision with 2 vehicles, due to the failure of the brakes.

- Chevy Chase , MD, USA

problem #6

Jun 262005

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,002 miles
Contact stated there was complete brake failure which caused an accident. The service dealer transferred the vehicle to a body shop to determine why the brakes failed. Immediately following the accident contact spoke with the manufacturer.

- Chevy Chase, MD, USA

problem #5

Sep 172003

(reported on)


  • 800 miles
A sound of metal rubbing together emitted from the vehicle while braking. The cause was unknown.

- Cliffton, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jul 252003

(reported on)

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,782 miles


The vehicle experienced extended stopping distance when the brake was applied. As a result the vehicle didn't stop until it was in the intersection.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #3

Jul 022003


  • miles
When coming to a stop pressure was applied to the brake pedal and vehicle accelerated. Driver did not touch the accelerator pedal at all. Driver was able to avoid a collision. Vehicle has been taken to the dealer several times but the problem could not be resolved.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #2

Jun 122003

(reported on)


  • 4,193 miles
Problems with brake system on 2003 Honda Civic ex. Consumer had to pump the brakes to get them to respond. Ph this is an intermittent problem. One time was getting off freeway and another time at the dealership when daughter was driving. At dealership vehicle crash while pulling in. Dealer could not duplicate the problem. Vehicle was subsequestly sold because of this.cw

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 062003

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
While driving, the steering wheel locked. The consumer had come to an intersection, had her foot on the brake, suddenly the steering locked, aimed the vehicle to the right, went off the road, over the curb and almost rear ended by a tractor trailer. The rear of the vehicle was still in the driving lane. The consumer was on the way to the dealer to have the brakes checked out along with the remote starter which allowed the vehicle to be driven without keys. The vehicle was returned to the dealer for a brake defect.

- Westford, MA, USA

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