Notes: Beware of the NHTSA complaint data for the 2003 Camry. It is almost certainly misleading.

The problem with NHTSA data for the 2003 Camry is that for months on end, the news media repeatedly told the public that several Toyota models had an unintended acceleration defect, & to go to (the NHTSA's website) to file a complaint.

So, the NHTSA received a disproportionate number of complaints about Toyota unintended acceleration issues because of the national news media attention, to the point where their data is unreliable taken in context with any other vehicle that did not receive national news attention. typically receives more complaints per day about vehicles than the NHTSA does, but the news media did not repeatedly say "go to to report your Camry acceleration problems" like they did about the NHTSA -- so although we have less complaint data than the NHTSA for the 2003 Camry, our data for the Camry is a far more statistically accurate representation of the Camry's reliability than what the NHTSA data shows.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
12 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
28,688 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 Camry brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

Jan 012006

Camry 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


I would like to report that I have a Toyota 2003 Camry model xle and I have experienced a similar brake problem as recently reported in the Toyota prius. When I am braking on an uneven or slippery surface, I hear a strange grinding noise, the brakes lock up, and the car skids. I have brought my car to the Toyota dealer for repair and they could not find anything wrong. This problem has been going on for a few years. I do not remember when I first noticed the problem.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #31

Jan 032010


  • miles
I read about your investigation into the 2010 prius braking difficulties when going over potholes or uneven road surfaces. I have a 2003 Camry and have been having the same exact problem for years. I actually took the car into the dealership and they replaced the sensors on the ABS, but this did not fix the problem and they said there was nothing else they could do. Anyway I just thought you would like to know that this problem is not limited to the prius in 2010.

- Bay Shore, NY, USA

problem #30

Feb 022010


  • 120,000 miles
After reading the recent description of the potential problem with the brakes on the 2010 Toyota prius I realized that the description is identical to the problem I have on my 2003 Toyota Camry. This has happened on several occasions. When the brakes are applied and at the same time I happen to hit a pothole or a rough or uneven surface the car will lose braking ability and it is often accompanied by the chattering sound like you hear when anti-lock brakes are engaging, except in this circumstance the brakes do not seem to have any effect. Although I have not had an accident it is very much a sense of lost of control when it happens, and most recently when this happened I had to shift lanes suddenly to avoid hitting the car in front of me. As stated this phenomena has occurred on more than one occasion.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #29

Jun 102008


  • 93,000 miles


2003 Camry le with a failing braking system. The brake pedal must be pushed almost to the floor for the brakes to engage. I have had it to the dealer on four separate occasions over the past 18 months with the same complaint. They claim the brakes meet manufacturer's specs, and have failed to diagnose any problem, and no fix was ever offered. The pads and rotors are ok, and they agree that is not the problem. I owned the car since it was new, and there is a definite problem with the brake pedal needing excessive depression, which Toyota denies. They have opened a case file on the car, but have done nothing about it. I am afraid to drive it, for fear the brakes will not engage at all. Purchased at sunnyside Toyota in North olmsted, Ohio (440)777-9911. I believe the braking system on this model is faulty, and needs to be fixed. Every time I take this car out for a test ride, it seems to be worse. I have stopped driving it, and Toyota has refused to do anything, except have yet another of their dealers "look at it". I am tired of taking this into the shop to be diagnosed, only to be turned away saying it's "completely up to manufacturer's specs." Four times is enough !!! there is something very wrong.

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #28

Jun 062006


  • miles
I bought a Toyota Camry 2003 le in June 2006 and I found that it takes time for the brake to stop the car.. I went back to dealer 3 times the check the car and I was told that's how the car is designed they cannot help me, and they said that I will get use to it. But I never get use to it. It very scary when driving on highway.

- Willingboro , NJ, USA

problem #27

Jul 202008


  • 30,500 miles
Wife turned into our driveway which slopes down (10 - 20 degrees) as she has been doing for the last 20+ years with her foot on the brake. The pavement was dry. The brakes failed to stopped the car. She veered left to avoid going over a 20 foot embankment at the end of our driveway and crashed into a stone wall. Based on the angle of impact the car rolled over onto its roof. Air bags did not inflate. My wife remained suspended by the seat belt upside down until emergency forces arrived. She sustained multiple bruises and chest pains attributed to the seat belt. If she had gone over the embankment only god knows what the extent of her injuries would have been. New tires had been installed on the car (front wheels) during June 2008 at which time the front brakes were also checked for wear by an auto mechanic. The car was "totaled" as a result of the accident. Subsequently I checked the brake fluid in the car (after the accident); the brake cylinder was full. Further, the Toyota Camry is equipped with brake wear indicators. No indication (sound) of excess wear was given prior to the accident. My wife is adamant she had her foot on the brake pedal. I surmise two things could have happened: 1. the brakes failed completely and gravity acceleration down the driveway contributed to the car's speed and subsequent impact; or 2. the car surged due to a failure of the electronic throttle control (etc) in which application of the brakes was inadequate to stopped the car. Based on prior NHTSA complaints/actions (ref NHTSA action numbers PE04021; DP05002; and DP06003) and the similarity of circumstances, I believe the etc failed. I recommend the NHTSA and Toyota take action to remedy this unsafe situation.

- Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #26

Mar 272007

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,790 miles


Cruise control did not disengage upon pressing brake pedal. Hydraulic brakes would not stop vehicle. Method used to stop vehicle included putting vehicle in neutral and applying emergency/parking brake. Narrowly avoided collision with other vehicles which had stopped by squeezing between them and the concrete medium. My vehicle was scraped on drivers side but no other vehicle was damaged (thank god!). could not duplicate.

- Folly Beach, SC, USA

problem #25

Aug 212006

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
I recently purchased a 2003 Toyota Camry with ABS brakes. The vehicle is Toyota certified with the 160 point inspection which includes brakes. The brakes are very spongy, I have to depress the pedal two inches before the brakes begin to engage and another three inches for the brakes to fully engage. The dealers service manager told me that this was a problem on the 2003's and a new brake design eliminated the problem on newer models. I asked what could be done to upgrade my brakes and was told that no improvements or adjustments were possible. They also told me that numerous customers had the same problem and had "learned to live with it". I have small children and I was upset at the prospect that a known defect that the dealer acknowledges should place lives in jeopardy. Those two inches could be the difference between life and death. I wonder how many accidents which involved 2003 Camry could have been avoided. I feel this warrants a safety issue and possible recall. Thanks !!!

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #24

May 272006

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,701 miles
Brake failure. Has happened before and complaint filed previously. This time, brakes failed when approaching intersection. Vehicle speed before braking about 35 mph. Vehicle had been driven about 5 miles with occasional gentle braking after being parked for approximately 6 hours. Outside temperature about 85 degrees, sunny and dry. Failure hadn't happened all winter, warmer weather only time problem occurs. In this instance, brake pedal went to floor upon initial application. Braking effort insufficient even though both feet pushing pedal. I'm 210 lb active cyclist. Pushing effort definitely not lacking. Nearly broadsided car in cross traffic. Swift evasive action by other driver only reason accident didn't occur. In past, dealer said they were unable to duplicate condition. Brake pedal has "quiver" when pressed quickly. Dealer replaced brake booster but problem not corrected. Brake pads, shoes, rotors and drums in excellent condition. Brake fluid clean and at correct level. Feels like flaw inside master cylinder or in pedal linkage design which is different than most motor vehicles. I feel car is dangerous to operate and I won't let other 2 drivers in the family use this vehicle. Toyota should know of Camry braking problems as they are posted many places and have been brought to Toyota's customer, including myself. Thses defective vehicles are highly prevalent on the highwqys and are a ticking time bomb waiting to kill or maim some unsuspecting person.

- Latham, NY, USA

problem #23

Dec 012005

Camry 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,842 miles
To whom it may concern: I am writing with regard to a 2003 Toyota Camry, VIN [xxx], purchased in the summer of 2003. On December 14, 2005, I took the car into jon lancaster Toyota/Scion dealership. Prior to bringing the car in, on 3 occasions, the brakes failed. Upon attempting to brake, the brake pedal began vibrating and there was a thudding sound. The car did not brake and I had to push the pedal 5 times in order for the car to slow down. However the car did not stop completely. According to the documents, a technician checked over the brake system and stated there was no problem. An employee stated that the thudding noise and the inability to stop was normal which this type of brake system and that he has had several customers in the past complain of this problem. Since the inspection, the car has failed to brake on two occasions. I contacted rosemurgy Toyota, the dealership where I purchased the car, and they informed me to bring the car back to jon lancaster. However, jon lancaster dealership is insisting that the brake system is functioning normally. This car is extremely unsafe not only to it occupants but also to others on the road. This car is under warranty and I am writing to insist that this matter be looked into and resulting in repair or replacement of the car. I have contacted an attorney regarding this matter. Also, I will be forwarding a copy of this letter to the Wisconsin consumer protection Agency and the us department of transportation. Updated 07/17/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Sun Prairie, WI, USA

problem #22

Jul 062005

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,545 miles


Brake pedal frequently goes nearly to floor. Has happened even when car stopped at lights. When pedal travel excessive, braking performance very poor. No warning. Brakes work fine for a while then pedal travel and brake performance drgrade severely without warning. Nearly in several collisions. Also, fraquent vibration in pedal linkage, especially when pedal pushed quickly. Dealer replaced brake booster but no imporvement in performance. Dealer says there is nothing else to be done. Often feels like internal leak in master cylinder. Complaint to Toyota turfed back to dealer. Feel car is dangerous in this condition but Toyota and northway Toyota not interested in repairing problem. Last date listed in incident date, but has happened many, many times. Afraid to operate vehicle in heavy traffic, especially at highway speeds.

- Latham, NY, USA

problem #21

Dec 082003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,918 miles
On December 8, 2003, at 6918 miles consumer was at a stop sign and tried to apply brakes and they failed. Consumer was in a school zone and tried to stop at a traffic light, took the vehicle to dealer to be inspected, and the service department couldn't find anything wrong. Again, had the vehicle out and was at a 3 way stop and tried to apply the brakes, and they failed again. Took vehicle to dealership on April 21, 2005 at 13096 miles, and they did find that because of a brake failure there was internal failure in master cylinder, and the front rotors were warped.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #20

Mar 012005


  • miles
2003 Toyota Camry has problems with brake equipment. The brake pedal went to the floor and the brakes faded while attempting to stop. The vehicle was taken to the dealer three times but they didn't find anything wrong.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #19

Dec 082004

Camry 4-cyl

  • miles
Approaching intersection the traffic light changed and attempting to stop vehicle, the brake pedal went to the floor board, but the vehicle did not stop before impact with another vehicle. Speed at impact was approx. 20 mph and neither airbag deployed. Just recently had vehicle at dealership to have soft brake pedal checked, and was told of similar complaints concerning problem.

- Columbus, GA, USA

problem #18

Aug 232004

(reported on)


  • miles
Inquiry regarding why no investigation or recall has been done regarding brakes for 2003 Toyota Camry.

- Hewlett, NY, USA

problem #17

Nov 012003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
The brake pedal will plunge to floor mat. The pedal height was very low, pumping pedal increases the height. The car will stop, continued pressure causes pedal to drop to floor. When the engine was off, the pedal would touch the floor. When the engine was running the pedal was about one quarter inch from the floor.

- Hewleett, NY, USA

problem #16

Jul 062004


  • miles
Consumer complained about a brake problem since she purchased the vehicle. When applying the brakes vehicle surged forward. Then, brakes would not stop the vehicle. She told dealer about this problem, and they could not duplicate the problem. Consumer indicated that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle.

- Somerset, PA, USA

problem #15

Apr 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
Gas tank thump when starting from stop. Slight thump and heavy thump all depends how much fuel in tank. Suspension bolts tightened to factory specs. Parking brake out of adjustment coming up to high hard holding on hill and brake pedal to soft.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #14

Jun 232003


  • 400 miles
While driving at 40 mph, and when depressing the brakes vehicle did not slow down enough to avoid a collision. Consumer's vehicle was involved in a rear end collision. There were no injuries reported. However, consumer was cited. Vehicle had been to the dealer twice concerning the brakes. Dealer would simply remove the rust and do nothing else.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #13

Mar 072004

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,434 miles
When applying the brake pedal it would proceed to the floor and the vehicle would continued to accelerate. The vehicle surged forward and crashed into a building. The consumer stated the brakes were soft. Updated 7/5/12 the consumer stated after braking and coming to a complete stop, he used the emergency brake before putting the gear in park. Updated 07/12/12

- Clinton, IA, USA

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