NHTSA — Visibility: Defroster/Defogger System Problems


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
102,944 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.

2002 Mitsubishi Lancer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Owner Comments

problem #9

Jan 032011


  • miles


This is a complaint I have seen on other websites from thousands of other Mitsubishi Lancers from 2000- 2005, but mainly in the 2002 model range. The heater/air conditioner controls seize up and either the cable freezes up and the control knob snaps off on the temperature controls. To me this is a safety concern not necessarily for the use of the vehicle, but rather for the health of the driver and those who ride in the vehicle. They could freeze in the winter or get heat stroke in the summer.

- Lake Isabella, CA, USA

problem #8

Dec 062010


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated that he defroster/heater control mechanism fractured at the touch when attempting to activate. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they informed the contact that the air conditioner/heater control module would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 114,000.

- Sun City , CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 072004


  • 580,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated that the climate control knob had broken. The contact was unable to use the heat or defrost option as a result. The contact had noticed that the knob was difficult to turn shortly after purchasing the vehicle. The dealer stated that the entire climate control unit needed to be replaced. The failure mileage was approximately 580,000.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #6

Mar 012010


  • 100,500 miles


I own a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer (oz rally) that was purchased in 2002. During the last few months of 2009, I noticed my temperature control knob was becoming harder and harder to turn. On Monday, March 1, 2010 it broke completely off, leaving a partial stub of plastic in the console and the remaining plastic inside the knob. I first went to two auto parts stores to see if they carried this replacement piece, and their personnel informed me I needed to have it repaired a Mitsubishi dealership. I then went to the Mitsubishi dealership to inquire about the problem. They informed me the part could not be replaced individually, but it would cost $311 to replace the entire console in addition to the $150 or more in labor costs. I refused to pay such an outlandish price, considering that my console was in perfectly working order. I only need the broken plastic mechanism replaced, nothing more. And paying approximately $500 to replace a plastic piece is ridiculous. After further research, I realized that this is a common problem with other Lancer owners and the manufacturer should be informed of this defect.

- Pleasant Grove, AL, USA

problem #5

Aug 312007

Lancer 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
Heater knob breaks off, causing $1000 +/- repair. Many people experiencing same issue.

- Uxbridge, MA, USA

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problem #4

Dec 012004


  • miles
When I purchased my car two years ago, I realized that the heater control knob in my car was very difficult to move. After speaking with many people that own the same vehicle as myself, I learned that in many cases, the knob to the control breaks, preventing the operator of the vehicle to successfully change from cold to warm. This is a safety issue primarily due to the difficulty to clear the windshield of frost. There is nothing being done by the manufacturer to alleviate this problem (such as a recall) and many dealerships are attempting to charge around $1000 to fix the problem. When I first purchased the vehicle, I had believed the prior owner had simply caused the knob to malfunction due to mistreatment; however, this belief had no way of being tested since I had never spoken to the previous owner of the vehicle. After talking with many owners of the same make and model vehicle, I have come to the conclusion that this a potential safety risk for many people, and should promptly be handled by the manufacturer.

- Hellam, PA, USA

problem #3

Dec 302005


  • Manual transmission
  • miles


The climate control knob on my 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer, will not turn without significant effort it seems likely that this will cause it to break at a later date.

- Middletown, OH, USA

problem #2

Nov 102006

Lancer 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
Filing a complaint that I've noticed to be occurring a little to often to the same brand/model vehicle I own. I own a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer. The problem is that there seems to be a very weak link in the heater/ac controls in the center console. For some reason, they tend to stick up and upon turning them they seem to break. Mitsubishi is aware of this issue and they are charging an extensive amount of money to repair this on every owners vehicle. They should have a recall on this item so it can be taken care of right away. The heating knobs are a necessity for climate control in the car, especially for me. I live in NY and it's getting cold. I don't have the money to pay for such an expensive repair and I believe that no one should. If there's faulty equipment in place when manufactured, Mitsubishi should take it into their own matters and repair the issues before it can lead to any other possible dangers.

- Richmond Hill, NY, USA

problem #1

Nov 112002


  • miles
Driver's side windows would fog up on the outside whenever the air conditioner is turned on. The problem can happen while vehicle is idling. A rental vehicle from enterprise.

- St Augustine, FL, USA

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