really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,226 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 Hyundai Sonata accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments

problem #8

Feb 132013


  • 156,000 miles


The chrome on the interior door handle of driver side exhibited a crack and separated. My wife cut her finger on the cracked chrome plating. I contacted Hyundai customer assistance center at 1-800-633-5151 and was told that my vehicle was not included in the door handle recall (I.e., NHTSA campaign id number: 09V171000). I don't understand how one vehicle can be recalled while others of the same year and model are not.

- Eldersburg, MD, USA

problem #7

Jun 082012

Sonata 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
Vehicle had been recalled in 2009 (PE08071) due to defective chrome on door handles. This vehicle had been taken to dealership, chrome was repaired as it had caused a small laceration. Chrome is again defective, caused laceration on hand again today when attempted to open door. This occurred on the passenger side door which is very rarely used. Chrome is also peeling off of emergency brake handle, risking further laceration. Contacted dealership (go Hyundai - 104th & federal, westminster, co), dealership said this is no longer covered as they do not warranty the work done as part of a recall. In addition, car is too old for it to be covered under warranty. Car does continue to be covered under warranty for powertrain only. I have never experienced this type of problem on any model of car regardless of age. This appears to be unique to Hyundai.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #6

Jun 202011

Sonata 6-cyl

  • miles
Chrome on interior - drivers side door handle has erupted in one spot producing a piercing sharp needle-point which can pierce the finger or hand when opening the door. Care is required to avoid skin piercing injury.

- Elyria, OH, USA

problem #5

Mar 152011


  • 117,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the driver side door started to deteriorate and became sharp to the touch. He received injuries to his fingers after opening the door. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who stated that the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The manufacturer was contacted but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 117,000.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #4

Nov 162010

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
I have a 2003 Hyundai Sonata. The chrome plates on interior door handle of driver and passenger side exhibited a crack and began to separate. My wife and I have both cut our fingers on the cracked chrome plate. When I brought my vehicle to the dealer, service manager told me that my vehicle was not included in the door handle recall. Hyundai recall only vehicle produce in 2002- 2003 March, but my vehicle was produce in 2003 April. I don't understand how one vehicle with a problem can be recalled, and the other in same year and model with same problem is not included.

- Houston, TX, USA

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problem #3

Jun 032010

Sonata 6-cyl

  • 68,807 miles
My wife and I have both cut our hands on the chrome inside door handles of our 2003 Hyundai Sonata. When I questioned the dealer, lafontaine automotive group, in dearborn, mi. I was told that my vehicle was not included in the door handle recall. I don't understand how one vehicle with a problem can be recalled, and another with of the same year and model is not included. Please explain to me. I have pictures that I will try to send to the web site, if I can't I do have them for future reference.

- Allen Park, MI, USA

problem #2

Sep 112008


  • 74,000 miles
I truly believe the safety of my entire family is at risk after finding out that the door locks in the 2003 Sonata LX failed to respond to signals from my remote. I discovered the problem one night after locking my car and then sending my friend to retrieve an item from the vehicle. I forgot to give my friend the key to unlock the car and as a result I was surprised when he returned with the item. I inquired how he did this his response was the left rear door was open. Upon further investif=gation and attempting to lock the car with the remote it was realized that the lock was not responding. This situation was scary to know because my family drives the car at different times and this can endanger them if someone comes into the vehicle while they are away from the car. Living in NY and environs most of the times our cars are parked on the street and a prospective thief can access the car easily. The dealership changed the left rear door actuator after many calls to the manufacturer. I had to pay a reduced cost of $50 to get it foxed after Hyundai agreed to supply the necessary part since the car had just crossed 60000 miles/ 5 years. They said the reason the actuator becomes faulty is their inability to distribute current evenly to the system. Now the right rear door actuator has become faulty at 70000 plus miles and both parties, the dealership and Hyundai, refuse to fix the problem although it was acknowledge to be a known and possible defect in these vehicles. The door now stays in the lock position but again it is a safety issue if I'm trying to gain access to the car in an emergency....please advise Hyundai to stand by their product....and replace all defective actuators in their line of vehicles.

- Huntington Station, NY, USA

problem #1

Feb 282009


  • miles
All door latches are peeling and can cause a cut.

- Camden, NJ, USA

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