really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,413 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 Toyota Avalon engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota Avalon:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Toyota Avalon Owner Comments

problem #5

Nov 232015


  • 200 miles


Testing api.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #4

Nov 092015


  • 100 miles
Testing api

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #3

Jan 052015

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 138,766 miles
The engine started cold and revved to 2500 RPM and then oscillated between 2500 and about 3000 RPM and never slowed down. I put the car in drive and drove it the block and a half to my house using the brake to stop at the only stop sign on the route but stopping was difficult. The next morning I experienced the same ultra-fast idle and drove the car on an errand that was about 2 miles distant. The same pattern persisted but the brakes were heating up and smelling from frequent use in keeping the car within the city speed limit. It also stressed the automatic transmission while braking against the fast motor. I started shifting from drive to neutral and coasting to control the speed while the engine speed oscillation continued. I parked the car back home and had a tow truck take it to marietta Toyota where the diagnosis was to replace the idle control motor at a cost of $669 less a $99 negotiated discount. That service solved the problem but the problem had the potential to overheat the brakes, cause one to coast in neutral without ideal control of the car in an emergency, etc.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #2

May 282014


  • 105,000 miles
Electronic control module (ECM) issue: Problem w/ intermittent warning lights for air bag some time ago (researching date)- took vehicle to dealership. No more light, but vehicle began stalling/losing power while driving- rarely, but became more frequent over time. Instrument panel/check engine lights will illuminate- now every minute or so while driving. Other people have same problem- NHTSA id 10605681. Took vehicle to dealer late May. Dealer on phone w/ Toyota multiple times + had tech from another dealer come and look at vehicle - could not figure out what was wrong. Dealer now says the ECM faulty. Not repaired, but dealer wants to charge 8hrs of diagnostic time and not repaired - can dealer charge if recall item? my concern is that problem is more than air bags- faulty ECM results in loss of power/control when engine shuts down, stalls or experiences intermittent loss of power- vehicle no longer safe to operate. I cannot drive it; I cannot sell it. Called Toyota, asked for part # of recalled SRS/ECM- was told only local dealer has part numbers. They took information and transferred me to "Toyota corporate"- operator id'd as Toyota corporate asked questions, indicated they had documented my file. When I asked operator to confirm items operator had chosen to document, operator refused to respond to my requests for confirmation- I asked for supervisor- was told "no supervisor" there. Operator threw me on hold (on hold for over 30 minutes w/ corporate then transferred me to NHTSA w/out operator ever coming back on the line prior to transfer (NHTSA conf # available). "corporate" indicated that Toyota has no control over dealers- they can charge whatever they want to diagnose even if related to recall notice. Loss of use over 1 month. Dealer said no new ECM replacement part available. Pretty sure recall remedy inadequate.

- Cody, WY, USA

problem #1

May 312014

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
I was involved in a collision where my passenger side front tire came off of a ledge in a construction zone at which point I lost control of the vehicle. There was no barrier in place on that side. I chose to direct my vehicle toward the mud pit on the right of the road. I corrected to the right causing the vehicle to go off of the road and nose dive through the first mud/dirt embankment. I expected the airbags to deploy on both side and front taking the speed and force of the collision with the first embankment and the yaw of the vehicle in the air. I was attempting to control the vehicle still at this time at which point I had now landed rear bumper first and a bit sideways on a 2nd embankment. This then launches the front of the vehicle airborne finally coming to rest in a mud and gravel drive way of an individual who lives off of the highway. The vehicle lost all of it's transmission fluid almost immediately through some opening in the bottom of the vehicle and the headlights were not damaged but after further researched I had determined that the impact sensors are actually located in the front bumper of the vehicle. 2 were injured in the accident which were myself, the driver, and my driver's side rear passenger who was wearing a seat belt but not properly. She had the lap portion of the belt on but the shoulder portion behind her. She is a 20 year old adult female.I am a 19 year old male and had mine on properly. She hit her head twice on my headrest. I was thrown into the side of my door and then the steering wheel, then back against the door resulting in bruised ribs. If the vehicle's airbag system were to have deployed properly there would have been a barrier between me and the door which caused my bruised ribs on my left side. There is a known airbag recall on my vehicle for which Toyota which I have not been notified of a solution for at this time.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

Not what you are looking for?