really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
98,167 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 Hybrid drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Honda Civic Hybrid Owner Comments

problem #18

Dec 202014

Civic Hybrid

  • miles


Car came out of parking and when it reached on city street transmission started slipping on street next (city street) to cinema hall and then car completely halted. For a moment it felt like tire's were punctured as it was loosing direction.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #17

Jun 152016

Civic Hybrid

  • miles
My transmission failing at mile 90.000.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #16

Feb 012016

Civic Hybrid

  • 115,907 miles
2003 Honda Civic hybrid transmission issues at only 115,907 miles have been a huge problem with this company. I just had to be excused from my shift of where I perform law enforcement duties so I could pick up my wife and two teenagers from the car that has been the bane of my existence and the bane of others' as well from what I have read in the umpteen different forums and sites across the world. Asia did it right by treating their people and Honda owners right by recalling their transmissions across the board due to the lack of performance and durability in the cvt powertrain. This vehicle left my family stranded along a very busy highway after having to coast to a stop from the far right lane because the transmission stopped accelerating while operating perfectly fine at 70 mph. Then we had to wait along the highway for an hour before a tow truck could come and pick up the car and tow it to the nearest Honda dealership which I'm it will cost an arm and a leg to get this fixed! in town it sounds like it's always mad as it shutters on take off and slow rolling accelerations making it a bit harry to get into traffic or get through an intersection of any kind. The car also jumps or surges forward while stopped at intersections as well. Not cool when you have your teenager operating this. I'm just glad she is smart enough to stay on the brakes! not to mention that the ac sucks during days it gets to 90 and 100 degrees here in Kansas. Who puts a rubber belt in a transmission any way. Get this fixed!!!! if you will not get it fixed, you will lose yet another customer!

- Fort Riley, KS, USA

problem #15

Sep 282015

Civic Hybrid

  • 156,819 miles


"juddering" happens with my continuously variable transmission (cvt) when taking off from a stop and when accelerating to enter an expressway. "juddering" means that the trans is slipping and making noise (loses power when you need it the most- very dangerous). River town Honda grandville, mi stated that it would cost me $2,100 to replace it with a new one. Honda Japan has recalled these transmissions in their hch model years 2003 through 2005. What can we do to get Honda America to treat us to the same recall that Japan has? this is a known problem, defect with the cvt. Honda makes quality vehicles with very good reliability, my other car is also a hch 2005 with a manual trans and absolutely no problems. Please check into the problem (I am not alone with this) and get Honda America to stand behind their reputation and recall the cvts or reimburse the $2,100 cost to get them replaced. This is an ongoing, everyday occurance not limited to just one time. Please help!

- Jenison, MI, USA

problem #14

Sep 202015

Civic Hybrid

  • 130,000 miles
For no reason whatsoever the transmission is no longer working and apparently there is "shrapnel" everywhere- according to the mechanic. A total loss in that it costs twice as much as the car is worth to find a new transmission. We are out $800 for the mechanic to tell us this news- for he had to take the transmission down to inspect it. A new one would be $4880. Could've caused a major accident or death, had this occurred on the freeway 5 minutes earlier! not funny Honda! after looking up similar incidents online- I'm grateful we're alive.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #13

Dec 292014

Civic Hybrid

  • 185,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic hybrid. The contact stated that while driving approximately 50 mph, an abnormal noise emitted from the front end of the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 185,000.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #12

Jan 102012

Civic Hybrid

  • 144,000 miles


Strong judder or shudder, along with noise, from transmission at intersection. Cvt transmission. Recently, has become worse. Change of transmission fluid took away the noise...temporarily. 3000 miles later, it has returned, and is worse. Burnishing does not help it. In Honda Civic hybrid (hch) forums, there are hundreds of entries on this problem. Many Honda dealers are extending warranty, replacing fluid for free, or checking erg for free. A Honda dealer in another state says there was an extended warranty issue from Honda that deals specifically with this issue. Another owner posts that shudder or judder up to 15 mph requires Honda to drain and burnish the 2003-2005 Honda hybrid cvt clutch. Honda will check the egr valve during this service too. Honda tech article# ats06070. Still others have received an extended warranty on this issue in the mail. My dealer refuses to do anything free of cost. I believe that this is untrue. Please assist. Burnishing does not work, changing fluid does not work. My dealer(s) in the area are: Pacific Honda, 4761 convoy St, san diego, ca 92111, (858) 694-1000, mission Honda and dch 5812 mission gorge rd, san diego, ca 92120, (619) 521-6000.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 252014

Civic Hybrid

  • 126,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic hybrid. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the vehicle decelerated independently. The vehicle failed to regain acceleration and was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician stated that a new or rebuilt transmission was needed to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 126,000.

- Bradeton, FL, USA

problem #10

Jun 042014

Civic Hybrid

  • 132,114 miles
Upon acceleration, the transmission judders violently.I have had tsb 07-049 done twice which is suppose to fix the problem, but the judder returned shortly after both tsb's were done.I have also had multiple transmission flushes performed and it has been using Honda's new cvt fluid sense it was available. Honda extended the warranty for the judder problem, but never issued a recall for this problem. Dealer told me that I need a new start clutch which I refuse to get because I will be paying up to $1,000 for the same defective part! an investigation and recall should be issued for the transmission's start clutch. I am tired of having to go to the dealer and have these so called "band aid quick fixes" done to the start clutch. This is a well known problem among all 1st generation Honda hybrid owners and it is a serious safety issue that deserves a recall.

- Roscoe, IL, USA

problem #9

Dec 262013

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 207,199 miles
Transmission shudder at starting speeds while on inclines.

- Lancater, PA, USA

problem #8

Jul 242013

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


We were driving along the freeway around 8:30 at night at about 70mph in the fast lane when the transmission suddenly stopped working. We had to coast over 3 lanes of traffic to pull into the emergency lane. My husband was driving, I was the passenger, and our 4 month old newborn was in the backseat. It took an hour for us to get a tow and a ride home. All the while I feared for the safety of my family, as it was quickly approaching dark. After some research on the internet, I found that I am no the only one that has encountered such a problem with the '03 Civic hybrid cvt. Apparently, Honda issued an extended warranty that would cover it for 7 years up to 100K miles. Unfortunately, I just bought this car a year ago, so I am well outside the extended warranty limit. My complaint is that there should be a safety recall on this vehicle. There were no warning signs that this would happen. We were just driving along, and there were no sounds or anything. By not having a recall on these vehicles, Honda put my little family in an extremely dangerous situation.

- Farmington, UT, USA

problem #7

Mar 042013

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Honda civic. Consumer writes in regards to recall notices for transmission problems. The consumer stated a repair shop found transmission fluid leaking at the center transmission plate and right axle seal.

- Woodsfield, OH, USA

problem #6

Nov 022007

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 71,757 miles
Transmission slippage/judder from a complete stop. Honda extended the warranty for 7 years or 100K miles. This vehicle was taken 3 times under this window and the transmission was not replaced by the dealership. This should have been a mandatory recall not voluntary extended warranty. This is safety issue when crossing intersections and transmission is slipping and stuttering.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 052012

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 126,205 miles
I drove my car to Honda of san angelo dealership for a recall, a software update campaign was done, I picked up the car and upon driving off the dealership lot, I noticed immediately that the electric part of the hybrid was not working, at all, it was working when I dropped it off and getting 47 mpg. Upon returning to the dealership, the service manager told me not to blame them for having a 9 year old car with 100,000 miles on it. I argued the point, that it was working when I dropped it off, and it isn't now, simple as that and as I drove off, the service manager flipped me off. The car is unusable, I parked it in my garage, and dropped the insurance on it. I plan to tow it to a san antonio dealership, which is a 4 hour drive one way, when I can afford it.

- San Angelo, TX, USA

problem #4

May 012012

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 132,000 miles
This vehicle has a slipping in the cvt (transmission) at lower speed and when coasting.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #3

Jul 092007

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Cvt transmission slips at 45K miles. Replaced transmission and problem reappeared at 75K.

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #2

Oct 032005

Civic Hybrid 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The transmission seemed to slip, the engine RPM's would go up but speed would not change. As you drove down the road you could see the tach which shows RPM go up & down, up & down all the time but the speed would stay the same. Very poor gas mileage around the mid 30's not even close to the 50 mpg that we were told. Then one day the car just made a bang and stopped, the transmission steel belt inside broke into many pieces and the car wouldn't move. $1800 to fix this then we still had the RPM up & down problem. Then @ 80,000 miles the battery light came on had update done to computer, made the mpg even lower and we were told the hybrid battery is going bad, replacement cost $3000. Couldn't afford this then the hybrid battery died 100% couldn't drive car without any kind of charge in battery and it also cause another part of the hybrid system to go bad which cost $1700 to fix. So we needed a new battery @ $3000 and another hybrid component for $1700 so we could drive this car. It had under 100,000 miles and Honda wouldn't help pay a dime, and all this not to long after we spent $1800 to have transmission belt fixed. So we traded in the car to Honda for a Ford. We also spent $1200 to have the ac compressor replaced on this car so it was a lemon from the start and all this time Honda wouldn't help at all even though we had complained time and time again. Now they are in a class action law suit which I hope they are made to pay millions. I would never purchase another Honda hybrid, this car was to save us money on gas because of the mpg but it cost us thousands in repairs that by far cost us more than the money we saved in gasoline.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #1

Jan 012003

Civic Hybrid

  • 5 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Civic hybrid. The contact stated that the vehicle would violently jerk when accelerating from a stop and also when driving at various speeds. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer numerous times where various transmission and engine repairs were performed, but the failure continued. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 5. the VIN was unavailable.

- Montclair, CA, USA

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