hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,250 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 Mitsubishi Lancer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Owner Comments

problem #8

Nov 292010

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


My 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer heater knob broke off and I am unable to get the defroster to work. This has been an ongoing problem as this is a material defect in hundreds if not thousands of Lancer automobiles. Please help force Mitsubishi to recall and fix this dangerous problem.

- Leavenworth, KS, USA

problem #7

Sep 302009


  • 48,000 miles
The heat/ac knob in my 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer will not turn. It has been difficult for years, but for fall/winter 2009 I had to have a mechanic crawl under the dash and force it with pliers, then I left it that way all winter. Not very safe or convenient. I'm looking at a very expensive repair from Mitsubishi which they should pay for. It is a safety issue, you can't defrost your windows without heat, nor should you have to use such lousy equipment. Mitsubishi needs to step up and issue a recall, I've seen this complaint all over the internet.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #6

Apr 252008


  • 75,000 miles
Mitsubishi 2003 Lancer ES problem: Ac knob won't switch all the way over to heat?it kinks. If you turn it too hard, it breaks and you require to change the whole console which costs around $388 plus the labor required to install it, then the total will be around $675! this problem has been going on since 2008 but it worsened with time to the point of breaking recently. The two outside knobs on the HVAC unit (the knobs that control the temperature and where the air flows out from) are connected to the heater core via metal wires. When you turn the temperature knob to the right the wire pushes out and when you turn it back to the left the wire pulls in. This wire is connected to a piece of plastic on the driver side of the heater core. This piece of plastic is connected to a gear and is supposed to work harmoniously with the piece of plastic the airflow knob (right outside knob on HVAC unit) is connected to. That is where the problem is. These two pieces of plastic, blend link and lever, which are supposed to slide back and forth with the turning of the knobs, don't work well and the wire isn't strong enough to force the piece into the heat position. The result is the wire often kinks. On the driver side, under the dash, up and to the right there are two pieces of white plastic, one closer to the firewall then the other. There is a metal wire clipped to each. This is the part you have to turn to change it to heat. The 'bottom' is the temperature knob. You can either grab the wire or the piece of plastic it connects to and turn it toward the firewall most people simply turn the device by hand now but that"S not safe to do while driving! I believe this is a defective design by Mitsubishi that results in a safety hazard when the wind shield fogs up and you can?T turn the knob because it kinks. Mitsubishi needs to deal with this issue because it"S happening to hundreds of people.

- London, 00, USA

problem #5

Aug 012004


  • 20,000 miles


2003 Mitsubishi Lancer - difficulty turning the temperature knob. Had it fixed at the dealer just enough so that I could turn the knob, but is still very difficult and he warned that if I use it too much it will likely break. Apparently Mitsubishi is aware of the problem but refuses to issue a recall.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #4

Oct 192002


  • miles
Since we purchased the car we have been complaining; but told that the knobs are a little hard to turn and there is no problem. The controls finally became inoperable; which puts our safety at risk. HVAC controls have been designed with a mechanical flaw which makes the defrosting, heating, and ac components difficult to operate and eventually become inoperable. Tsb 055-003 has been issued putting the repair on the consumer for a design flaw which put motorist at risk especially in inclement weather.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012008


  • miles
Mitsubishi Lancer 2003 base model air conditioner (heat cool) knob broke off due to malfunction of turning/wires. This has happened to numerous people and yet no recall.

- Belleview, FL, USA

problem #2

Aug 022008


  • 186,000 miles
I had just left my home. I had not been driving for more than 2 minutes when my front speakers shut off. I then start to notice a burning smell. I see the interior start to fill up with smoke. I thought it was an engine fire at first until I noticed a fire in my passenger door speaker. I pulled over but was not able to extinguish the flames. I made a call to 911 to send the fire department. Thankfully the fire house was very close and was able to put the fire out before it damaged more than just the door. I have the door and subsequent damage scheduled to be repaired Aug 18th 2008. I have not taken apart, replaced, or upgraded any dash, radio or electrical component of the car. I don't know what would have caused this. Additionally I am also missing the heat and A/C knob as it broke off last winter.

- Newark, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 282006

Lancer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When I bought the Lancer in 2003 the first thing I noticed was the knob for the air and heat was really hard to turn. My dad and I took it back to the dealer and explained it was hard to turn. The salesman got in the car and turned the knob he said yeah it is a little hard to turn but they are made like that. I told him it felt like it was going to break and he said it wont and once again they are all made like that. I only turned the knob only when I had to because I didn't want it to break. I took it back in and the dealer said they get this compliant all the time and it would be $800 dollars to fix the problem. I told him if they get a lot of complaints maybe there is a defect. In 2006 I was on my way home from a trip and I turned the knob from air to heat and it broke off. When I got home the next day I called the dealership and they told me I should have brought the car in for a check I explained that I did and every time they blew it off. He said well to fix it, and it will cost $800-$900 dollars. Is this cause for complaint.

- Ocala, FL, USA

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