really awful
Crashes / Fires:
31 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
20 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,045 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

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2003 Toyota Avalon Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #44

Nov 092015


  • miles


Testing api

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #43

Nov 092015


  • miles
Testing the speed

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #42

Nov 092015


  • miles
Testing the speed

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #41

Nov 092015


  • miles


Testing the speed

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #40

Jan 252015


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that while the brake pedal was depressed, the engine revved and the vehicle abruptly accelerated. As a result, the contact crashed the vehicle into a wall. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact did not disclose if a police report was filed or not. The contact and the passenger sustained minor injuries that did not require medical attention. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 75,000. Updated 03/26/15

- Palm Desert , CA, USA

problem #39

Jul 252014


  • miles
Submission from constituent re 2003 Toyota Avalon 4 dr-sd re sticky gas pedal problem. The consumer stated on July 25, 2014, as his wife was backing out of the driveway, the vehicle suddenly accelerated on its own. Despite pressing the brake pedal, the vehicle did not slow until it made contact with a lamp post. The dealer was unable to replicate, the consumers concern.

- Riverhead, NY, USA

problem #38

Jun 092013


  • miles


2003 Toyota Avalon. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle sudden acceleration. The consumer stated the brakes locked up and the vehicle suddenly accelerated. She frantically tried to stop the vehicle, even shifting the transmission into park, but to no avail. The consumer finally crashed into three cars that were stopped at a traffic light. The vehicle was totaled.

- Dunwoody, GA, USA

problem #37

May 232013

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that while the brake pedal was applied, the vehicle accelerated and crashed into a garage. The contact was not injured. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The contact did not call the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 88,000.....updated 07-10-13.

- Kingman, AZ, USA

problem #36

Apr 102012


  • 54,800 miles
I have an erratic acceleration problem with my 2003 Toyota Avalon car that I have not been able to resolve with Toyota. The car does not go forward when I depress the accelerator pedal from stationery position. When the pedal is depressed further, it lurches forward with a jolt. It does not happen all the time but is noticeable many times. I got my car checked by the local Toyota dealer and they suggested that I get the throttle body assembly cleaned. I got this work done. It seemed to have improved for a while but the problem came back again. I took the car back to same dealership on Jan 3, 2013 and again on April 13, 2013 but they could not replicate the problem since it happens erratically and not all the time. I insisted that the problem does happen and they kept my car for almost a day but could not replicate it. This has become a safety issue for me especially when driving in a stop and go type of traffic. I have written a letter dated April 4, 2013 to the Toyota headquarters in California but they tell me that the vehicle warranty has expired. This problem is similar to the erratic acceleration problems reported for other Toyota cars in the press. I think Toyota is responsible for fixing it at the earliest since it is becoming a safety issue for me now..

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #35

Apr 082013

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 67,440 miles
I was driving into a parking space on the side of a condo and needed to pull up approximately 2 yards. I gently pressed the gas peddle and the car shot forward, went over the curb, traversed several feet of grass and slammed into the condo patio brick wall. I was stunned. Had no idea what happened. The air bag did not deploy. I was not hurt but the wall was damaged in the amount of $2500 for repairs. I put the car in reverse and, again, the car shot backwards, extremely fast. My brakes worked so I just missed slamming into the cars behind me in the parking lot. I turned off the car and sat there. Then started it again and it behaved normally. Needless to say, now I am frightened of my car and something needs to be done.

- College Station, TX, USA

problem #34

Dec 202012

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


75 N traveling 65 mph there was a loud snap under car. Car tried to veer to left several times pulled back thought it was under control when speed increased car darted right head on into retaining wall bounced off did 2 1/2 360 degree spins hit wall again broadside and finally came to stand still. When speed increased and car shot to right all control was lost.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #33

Sep 102010

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 136,272 miles
9/17/2010 accident occurred as I entered a parking space with my foot on the brake and stopped when the car suddenly accelerated going thru a fence and hitting a stone wall when the car stopped. Our insurance company repaired the car after a Toyota rep. Examined the car. I received a letter from [xxx] from Toyota dated 10/25/2010 that stated they could not find any type of manufacture design or defect. Daytona Toyota did an aoh recall on the car during that time. My back and neck was strained and I had chiropractic adjustments, heat therapy and massages for two months paid by my insurance. 11/05/2012 accident occurred as I entered a parking space with my foot on the brake and stopped when the car accelerated over the curb hitting a stop sign. The sign ripped the left outside mirror off the door, scraped and bent the front and back doors on drivers side. The car now sits in my garage wrecked because I will not turn in another accident on my insurance because my premium went up after the first accident. I will absolutely not drive the car again because there is definitely something wrong and it is a blessing there was no one on the sidewalk nor a car on the street when my car accelerated. Someone could have been injured or killed. I do not believe that Toyota knows what is wrong nor do they know how to fix it. They need to take responsibility for what has happened to customers who trusted their vehicles. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- New Smyrna Beach, FL, USA

problem #32

Dec 102012

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 99,070 miles
As I was backing out from a space in a parking lot, my car suddenly accelerated and I had a hard time getting it to stop with the brake pedal. The wheels were turned in a sharp left position. The engine sounded like it was at a high rev. The right side of my car crashed into two cars on the opposite side of the parking lot aisle before coming to a halt. The whole event lasted just a few seconds. Fortunately, no one was injured.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #31

Jun 292012

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 81,340 miles
Parked Toyota Avalon was started, shifted into drive and uncontrollable acceleration occurred. Brakes ineffective so hit parked car in front extremely hard. Tried to shift to neutral but it slipped into reverse and hit car parked behind. Finally got into neutral and turned off engine. Very, very scary. No injuries, no police report, notified insurance to cover damages to cars. Will have towed to Toyota for inspection. If nothing found, I will not drive this car again. Witness said car "jumped up and accelerated uncontrollable".

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #30

Jan 192011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Avalon. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph when the vehicle exhibited an abnormal increase in engine rpms. The contact was able to correct the failure by lightly tapping on the brakes. The dealer was contacted and advised him to bring the vehicle in for inspection if the failure recurred. The contact stated that the vehicle was serviced less than 1,000 miles ago by the dealer prior to the failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure and current mileage was 91,500. Updated 03/07/11 updated 05/02/11

- Red Bank, NJ, USA

problem #29

Dec 152010


  • 86,000 miles
While in parking lot, placed car in reverse. The car accelerated across the parking lot, jumping a curb and hitting a 2 foot high pole in next parking lot. Braking had no effect. Attempt to shift into neutral failed. Steering also failed. Car towed to collision center subsequently totaled by insurance company. Car hit with such force, it was wrapped around pole and resting on top of pole. Wrist of driver hurt - had to seek attention from emts and go to emergency room. Under orthopedic specialist care currently. Passenger in back seat, 20 yr old, has neck strain and headache concerns.

- Destrehan, LA, USA

problem #28

Jul 092010


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Avalon. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer to have the brakes replaced. Three months after the brakes were replaced the vehicle accelerated and crashed into another vehicle. The contact stated that the vehicle became difficult to stop when the brakes were applied. The contact and the driver of the other vehicle were injured. A local mechanic noticed that the brake calipers did not have any screws to hold them in place while driving. The dealer confirmed that the screws were not properly placed in the calipers. The contact stated the manufacturer would not offer any assistance since the dealer did not repair the brakes properly. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #27

Jul 072010

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Avalon. The contact was driving at approximately 2 mph into the residence driveway. The brake pedal was engaged, followed by no power response. Suddenly, the vehicle crashed into a nearby shed. There was no personal injury or vehicle damage. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on two different occasions for the identical failure where the technician was unable to detect the problem. The contact had concern of the potential safety hazard involved. The failure mileage was 87,000. Updated 10/20/10 updated 10/21/10

- Goshen, CT, USA

problem #26

Oct 202007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Toyota Avalon with unintended acceleration. The consumer stated he sold the vehicle back to the dealer, but wanted to detail the events of the accident. While attempting to park the vehicle, it suddenly surged forward and caused the vehicle to accelerate over a curb, through the bushes and into another vehicle. A Toyota representative suggested that perhaps both pedals were depressed simultaneously or that perhaps the floor mat was pressed against the gas pedal. The consumer stated neither happened. The consumer stated the was the third incident of sudden acceleration that had she had experienced in the vehicle, but the first two were not severe enough to warrant a police report.

- Latham, NY, USA

problem #25

Feb 082010


  • 53,809 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that when trying to drive in reverse out of a parking lot, the vehicle suddenly accelerated and crashed into a pole. The contact then shifted from neutral gear then to drive and although his foot was on the brake pedal, the vehicle accelerated into a brick wall. The air bags did not deploy. The contact and the passenger were both injured as a result of the crash. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing but the dealer could not duplicate the failure. The contact called the manufacturer and requested that the vehicle be inspected. The vehicle was destroyed. The VIN was not available. The current and failure mileages were 53,809.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

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