really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,958 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Honda Civic Owner Comments

problem #14

Jun 182015


  • 129,000 miles


Transmission wouldn't respond lost control hit tree

- New Britain, CT, USA

problem #13

Nov 192014


  • 300,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic. While attempting to accelerate, the vehicle jerked and failed to accelerate. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the cvt transmission needed to be drained and burnished. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 300,000.

- Tracy , CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 062014


  • 117,650 miles
My Honda Civic suddenly went dead with no indication of failure. The transmission went dead and the repair shop said that it was a incorrect gearbox ratio. It is a known problem with transmission failure and I feel that I shouldn't have to pay for something that is a known problem.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #11

Mar 032014

Civic 4-cyl

  • 147,773 miles


Went to leave walmart around 7 pm. Car wouldn't move...cvt trans, hybrid..

- Kennebunkport, ME, USA

problem #10

Sep 042014


  • 31,563 miles
Transmission failed and car died while driving on highway at 55 mph with no warning. Was in slow lane and able to get onto shoulder without getting hit. Transmission had to be replaced.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jan 012013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
Transmission slip for 20 min when I first start the car then it shift hard after that. Seat belt light always on.

- Sunnyside, NY, USA

problem #8

Jan 112013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 108,212 miles


I had taken for a recall on my Honda 2003 Civic ex at mcdavid Honda of irving. I recently had a oil changed at mcdavid Honda of irving. After the oil change, there was a difference in my car's performance. Its takes a lot to throttle the car from start to run, if its on incline road. The gas mileage has gone down from 30mpg to 27 mpg. When asked to have a look at it, the service adviser said "$ 99 for diagnose." When I took the delivery after the recall was done, I noticed my air bag light has come-on. I asked the service adviser about the light, he said the light was on when I delivered the car to them. There has been no accident, and the light just came on by itself. They told me, I have to pay $99 to have Honda to diagnose the problem. I talked to american Honda, they said "as your warranty has finished, american Honda is not responsible for any repair and services performed by any authorized Honda dealership".

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #7

Jun 012011


  • 76,900 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic. The contact stated that when driving the vehicle while the engine was cold, the vehicle would exhibit difficulty in shifting from second to third gear. The contact stated that the problem did not occur when the engine reached optimal operating temperature. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the issue. The failure mileage was 76,900 and the current mileage was 88,400.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #6

May 202010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
While attempting to enter an intersection my 2003 Honda Civic hybrid was unable to accelerate due to a slipping transmission. I was almost hit by another vehicle who was able to avoid me.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #5

Jun 062011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic hybrid. While driving, the contact stated that the vehicle would hesitate when shifting into gear. The dealer replaced the battery and clutch fluid in an attempt to repair the defect, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 139,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Cornelius, OR, USA

problem #4

Oct 012009


  • miles


For several years now my car has been vibrating and jolting when I accelerate from a stop. Especially when going uphill. I took it in to a Honda dealer for repairs and was told the only solution was to "burnish" it and it should help, although only temporarily. The burnishing helped only slightly, and before long my car was back to vibrating and jolting just as badly as before. I was told this was not a hazardous condition, so I have just lived with it for awhile now, but it would be nice to fix! it seems this is something that Honda should address if it is in fact such a common condition and has been addressed overseas. Please help convince Honda to address this problem!

- Knightdale, NC, USA

problem #3

Mar 072008

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles
Driving on highway and suddenly transmission shifted down into 1st gear and stuck. I called Honda care (2003 Honda Civic hybrid) and asked them to pay for these repairs because of a long history of problems with this transmission. They have issued an extended warranty (7yrs/100,000miles) for this transmission to avoid a recall, but will not let me use it because the car carries a salvage title...which has nothing to do with the transmission that has been a problem for this vehicle from the beginning. If there had been a recall on this transmission, they would be required to replace it. They are somehow getting around a recall by saying it isn't a safety issue. But, I disagree. If I had been driving this highway at normal traffic hours, I would have been rear-ended at 60+mph. That is a safety issue, and thousands of people are having the same experience. They should be forced to do a recall.

- Fairview Heights, IL, USA

problem #2

Aug 252007

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,319 miles
While my vehicle was still under warranty, I took my car to the dealer with a slipping/shuddering problem. They changed the transmission fluid and the problem seemed to go away. The problem re-curred and I took it back again. Again they changed the fluid. By the third time I took the vehicle back a third time, for the same problem, the vehicle was out of warranty. Now I am finding out, only after researching the issue myself, that the belt is the problem and that the issue is consistent with 2003 to 2005 models. The problem is becoming worse and now my car is bucking when I try to start out from a stop. I am afraid to drive because of the fear or the car stalling at inopportune times and I am distracted by the issue.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #1

Oct 012002

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The transmission went from drive to neutral while driving.

- East Hanover, NJ, USA

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