NHTSA — Visibility: Defroster/Defogger System Problems


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,350 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.

2004 Mitsubishi Lancer accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Owner Comments

problem #10

Jun 292005

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


This is with reference to the climate control panel, the knob to turn system temperature from cold to heat, with time the knob got stiff and it was very hard to turn from cold to heat, for years I have had to play with it every time I needed to use it to switch to the temperature I desired according to the weather, especially in the rain and when going from summer to winter. Finally the knob broke off and now I am no longer able to turn it making it "impossible" to defrost the windows, especially when it rains and they get foggy from the humidity or early in the morning during the cold winter months which results in unsafe driving as it impairs my vision to the point that I need to roll down my windows while I am driving which is quite dangerous. Only the rear window defrost works because it is controlled by a different knob. I have read on several websites that this incident has happened to a great amount of other Mitsubishi Lancer owners, with models between 2002-2005 and for the exact knob, the one for the climate control. There are 2 other knobs to control the fan and direction of air that work perfectly and no reports on being stuck or broken on those two. It seems that the temperature control knob is the only one getting stiff and breaking off with time, so it more than likely is a factory defect with the knob or the whole part. I have always been able to stop when raining and so far I have not had any accidents on account of this but I am not sure if other consumers have had the same good luck. Is Mitsubishi already taking any action to fix this problem" what can we, as customers, do to get it fixed"

- Miami , FL, USA

problem #9

Oct 012014

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
Climate control panel/system got stiff to turn from cold to heat and eventually the knob/stem of climate control panel broke. Now it is impossible to defrost windows which results unsafe driving. I have happened to know from internet that this incident happened to many Mitsubishi Lancer 2002-2005 customers. Mitsubishi is not taking any action to fix this problem for these customers.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #8

Mar 132013

Lancer 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer. The contact stated that the levers for the climate controls fractured. The contact was unable to defrost his windows when needed. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer. After diagnosis they advised him that the heater climate control levers failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 170,000.

- Burlington, TX, USA

problem #7

May 012012


  • 90,000 miles


The knob to adjust my heating and cooling broke off. Now I am stuck with freezing cold air blowing all year round. This effects my visibility at times because I can not use defroster. I was told to replace the unit would be $300+ labor. Seeing as though they have to take the whole dash apart to fix, it is quite expensive. I have read online many other people are having this same issue. I think if Mitsubishi gave us a bogus part that is guaranteed to break, they should have to replace/recall it.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #6

Jan 192010


  • miles
The ac/heater controls on the dash, the knob was very hard to turn to change the air from hot to cold. The knob has now broken off. I am finding this is a common issue and a very expensive fix. We took the car to service center and they will adjust the lever as the seasons change.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

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problem #5

Dec 012011


  • miles
Yes we have a 2004 mitsibishi Lancer. The heater knob will not turn and it eventually broke trying to turn. Just looking over the internet there are a number of cars with the same problem. I need to know how to fix this and from what I can tell this is a continually problem. Here is 20 degrees and we have not heater due to this defect. From what I am being told it will take $800 to fix this problem. I bought this care to have minimum problems. Please help.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #4

Oct 162010


  • miles


Heater and A/C control know is too stiff to turn requiring me to adjust it manually under the dash, which is dangerous or impossible while driving.

- Pendleton, OR, USA

problem #3

Oct 072010


  • miles
I turned the knob to heat. It was pretty stiff but it would move to cold temperature fine. I tried it again and the knob and part of the shaft broke off. I had to drive to work in the cold. Good thing I worked about 10 minutes away. Today I was searching on the internet to see how much it would cost. That's when I saw a comment saying there was a tsb issue on 04 model Lancers. Luckily I found this website. Hope Mitsubishi would do something about this, its October and I really need my heater.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Sep 242010


  • 60,000 miles
The temperature control knob became very difficult to turn, and broke off. This made for a safety issue when the windshield wouldn't defrost. I'm also now unable to use the heat.

- Alexandria , VA, USA

problem #1

Oct 172008


  • 68,500 miles
I own a 2004 Mitsubishi lance ralliart sedan. The air control switch (knob used to adjust the temperature) began sticking/catching about in about 2006 (my car was already out of the warranty time frame due to mileage). The switch then broke completely off in 2008. To fix the problem the dealership needs to replace the entire heating control unit, modify (cut) the damper, and install a new lever which costs over $1600. I found that this same heater control unit has been used since 2002 in Lancers, galants, endeavors, and other models - all having the same issue - it eventually fails and the owner is stuck paying more than $1600 to fix what should have been repaired in latter models or simply fixed with a new switch.

- West Valley, UT, USA

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