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:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,898 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Oct 102008


  • 114,000 miles


The intake manifold was making alot of noise. Apparently Toyota was aware of the problem because they replace it for free on low mileage vehicles (within the 3 yr, 36K mile factory warranty) or on higher mileage cars up to 70K miles. My vehicle has 114K miles so it was not covered. I will be issuing a complaint with Toyota as well.

- Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #11

Dec 012008


  • 69,000 miles
The intake manifold of my 2003 Toyota Camry is faulty from the time the car was built. Toyota is saying that they won't cover as its not in warranty. How can a part that was faulty from the date it was installed not be covered. It is clearly a factory issue in their own admission. How can they not be responsible for fixing?

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #10

Mar 062004


  • miles
Water pump failure, replaced 3 times 1st. Time15months into new car warranty 2ndtime 13months later still under warranty 3rdtime after 5 year warranty Toyota covered.

- Bloomington, MN, USA

problem #9

Aug 012008


  • 89,000 miles


There is clattering noise in the intake manifold. The noise started about 6 months ago and has gotten continually worse. I took the car to a local dealership and was told they had no idea what the noise was. The manufacturer claims it is not a defective part.

- Ripley , MS, USA

problem #8

Nov 032008


  • 66,000 miles
The car was idling, with the transmission in park, for about three minutes. I placed my foot on the brake in order to shift the car from park into drive. The instant the shift lever went into drive the car engine roared, the tires squealed, I was pushed back into the seat and the car shot forward heading toward vehicles on a busy street. I seemed to have no control of the vehicle, except for steering, from that point on. To avoid a broadside collision with vehicles the street I followed the Contour of the banks drive through lane which was a 90 degree turn to the left. Nothing I did seemed to have any effect on the motion and operation of the car. In making the turn the right front wheel climbed over the driveway curb. In correcting for that I over steered the car and climbed the curb on the left side of the driveway striking a wells fargo sign on the property adjacent to the left side of the driveway before advancing into the main bank parking lot. The car proceeded forward where, just after entering the parking lot, it struck the right front fender and bumper of a usps mail truck. The car ricochets off the mail truck and proceeds into and almost through the adjacent cvs pharmacy parking lot before coming to a stop. The gasoline tank was gutted when the car ran over the sign resulting in gas being dumped on the bank driveway. The vast majority of the gas was spilled on the bank driveway just after the sign. The gas continued to spill but diminished as the car proceeded through the cvs parking lot to the point where there was no gasoline spill at all where the car came to a stop. It is my belief the car stopped for no other reason than it ran out of gas. Nothing I did or tried to do appeared to have any effect.

- Sun City, AZ, USA

problem #7

Apr 212008

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,949 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. Every time the contact drove the vehicle at various speeds, he noticed a noise coming from the engine, which he believed to be the valve. He took the vehicle to the dealer and a technician stated that there was excessive sludge damage in the engine. He further stated that the engine needed to be rebuilt at the contact's expense because the warranty expired. He has had the oil changed routinely at 5,000 miles; therefore, the sludge build-up was abnormal. The contact has a copy of each time the vehicle was personally serviced. He also has a sample of the sludge taken from the vehicle. The failure mileage was 36,949. Update 05/13/08 after a breakdown of the engine, huge amounts of gel oil sludge was visible in the engine cylinder head. Updated 05/13/08.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #6

Sep 252007

Camry 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. While driving approximately 40 mph, the check engine light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic and he stated that there was sludge in the engine. The mechanic was unable to determine the cause of the failure. The dealer stated that the failure was impossible and accused the contact of not using the recommended amount of oil and inspecting the vehicle. He filed a complaint with the manufacturer. The vehicle is unable to be driven. The current and failure mileages were 42,000.

- Somerset, TX, USA

problem #5

Jun 162007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Camry le, 39,000 miles. The car completely shuts itself down while driving. Luckily, this happened in a parking lot of a dealership when we brought the car in for a seemly unrelated issue. Should this happen outside, it could be deadly. This should be a recall item given its dangerous failure mode. The car initially had start issue a day earlier. It only started after the hood has been opened for a few minutes. Brought the car to the dealership next day. The start issue happened a few more times in the dealers lot. After it finally started, it had a power window failure, followed by the shutting down of the car by itself while the car was physically moving. The dealer could not pin point the problem but suspected the body ECU (engine control unit) because of the power window failure. They replaced an ECU and that solved the problem.

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 102005

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased the 2003 Toyota Camry in September 2005. While I love my car I do have some concerns after hearing the other complaints. I hear sloshing sound under the dash. It is really loud when braking, accelerating, or parking. I asked the dealer about it several times, and was told it was normal for your car. Also, hear a squeaky, grinding sound when turning the steering wheel to either side. This happens every time I turn the wheel, no matter hot or cold weather. The delaership could not find anything wrong with it the first time I took it them. They kept it 2 days, and said nothign was wrong. It continued for antoher week, and I returned with it to the dealership, and they kept it overnight and called me the next day, and told me they did not have time to look at it, but they were sure nothing was wrong with it. They will not return any phone calls or even talk to me when I go there. The las thing, was the paint continually chipping and peeling of in chunks on the hood, front bumper, and rear bumper. I have spoken to Toyota about this several times, and they continued to say it was not their fault, and my car was not under warranty. So they could not do anything. This all started about 3 weeks after I bought the car and continued today. Please advis me if therewas anything I could do to fix any of these problems. Thanks.

- Natchez, MS, USA

problem #3

Nov 122003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle accelarated on its own and surged forward 6 or 7 times. Contacted Toyota and dealt with the liability department. And they didn't see anything wrong with it. This started happening on November 12, 2003. See also 10055728.

- Jamaica, NY, USA

problem #2

Sep 202004


  • 20,000 miles
When driving 30 mph rpms accelerated to 80 mph. This caused the consumer to go off the side of the road, causing damage to the vehicle. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 112002


  • 600 miles
While driving, steering became difficult so consumer pulled into a parking lot. Vehicle was very hard to turn. Consumer inspected under hood and noticed a small fire in the engine compartment.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

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