definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,802 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Owner Comments

problem #5

Oct 012008

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


The heater knob on my Mitsubishi Lancer was hard to turn from hot to cold from the very first time I got the car with 65000 miles. One day the knob broke. I went to the official dealer and they told me they had to replace the entire heating dashboard piece and I paid over $400. The knob even after this was not easy to turn and after a year and a half broke again. Now I find that many other people had the same problem. The dealer never mentioned this or offered any alternate solution when I mentioned the knob was still hard. I can't defrost my windshield since I cannot change the temperature. My windows get all steamy and I can't see while driving. If I try to reach under the dashboard while driving to move the plastic part that connects to the heater is hazardous since I have to bend and try to reach under my dashboard. This should be a recall!!

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #4

Jan 082011

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
2003 Lancer oz rally, steering column fell down in my lap. Factory said to bad, out of warranty and no recall issued. My local dealer wants 700+ dollars to fix it, this is outrageous the car only has 64,000 miles.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 122003


  • 10 miles
I have a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES. The temperature knob, which was impossible to turn from the very beginning has now broken off. I researched online and have come across hundreds of the same complaint and this is with minimal research on my part. Initially switching the temperature knob from hot to cold was difficult at best. I often had to request a grown man to help me just so I could defrost my windshield. I did bring the issue up to the dealership near my home, which has since closed, and they informed me the knob would not break. Well.....the knob broke and now I have to use a needle nose pliers to change the temperature. The safety issue is when you are driving and it begins to rain or snow, etc. And you need to adjust the temperature you cannot. I have had to pull off the highway in haste because my windshield is fogging up and I need two hands in order to switch my temperature knob. Mitsubishi has got to be aware of this since apparently a technical report had been sent to their mechanics advising how to fix this program. In addition I have read Mitsubishi actually has a repair kit for this problem and apparently for the car owner the cost for the total repair is $800-$900. It is an absolute disgrace that Mitsubishi was allowed to sell cars in 2002, 2003, and 2004 get away with not repairing this problem.

- Bryn Mawr, PA, USA

problem #2

Mar 152008


  • miles
The air/heating unit button on the dash broke off completely. It was extremely hard to turn the knob to heat while attempting to turn it to the right. When I contacted the dealer they knew exactly what I was talking about. They said that they've had many car owners buying the unit because this is a common problem with the 2003 Lancer. The unit itself is very expensive to buy at a cost of $379. This does not include the labor. The labor was quoted at $549, because they would have to take the dashboard/ trim out and off to replace the unit. I just replaced the unit and the same problem has started again. This is just one of many problems. I have experienced. The car will jerk and hestitate and lose power while driving. The gears will shift and I will lose momentum while driving. You can hear a revving sound like the transmission is about to go out. These are just a few problems - I haven't mention that I've had to replace the air condition unit because of the condensation leaking into the front passenger floor board causing it to fill with water. This problem occurred twice. The dealer replace the unit with a new one.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #1

Aug 012007

Lancer 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated that the top coat of clear paint is peeling off of the driver side fender and hood. The dealer has been notified. The current mileage was 36,000 and failure mileage was 35,000. Updated 03-25-08 updated 03/25/08

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

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