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:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
58,485 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 1 of 2)

problem #32

Jul 112011

Camry 4-cyl

  • 162,000 miles


2003 Toyota Camry le engine driving from snell ville ga to South Carolina Toyota Camry oil light came on then car cutoff first time ever. Failure due to timing chain broke in engine causing damage to engine; needs another engine rebuilt or new one etc. Available but cannot afford one.

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #31

May 202011

Camry 4-cyl

  • 52,150 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Camry 4cyl car with 52,000 miles, that has a coolant leak from the back of the engine next to the intake manifold. On further inspection and research, it was revealed that the leak is coming from the head gasket area, due to stripped out block/headbolt, as a clear sign of manufacturer defect indicated and substantiated by the amount of similar cases found on internet forums such as: I called Toyota headquarters to report this problem, seeking help with this $6,000 issue and was told "nothing we will do". it seems car makers will not do the right thing unless they are forced to and this is why I am trying to do my part to jolt a vehicle recall for this design failure, by a company claiming to put costumers first, but instead snubs so many of us the first chance they get. Consumers need help with this issue with Toyota; please help us. The best fix so far reported is purchasing another Toyota 4cyl motor with the same flawed engineering and Toyota wants no part of being responsible for their short coming. I've own a few Toyota's, this is absolutely the most disappointing experience with them and to know there are so many instances of the same problem and yet this company refuses to do the responsible action and issue a recall to fix their failure. Any and all the assistance in this matter is needed. Thank you

- North Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #30

May 162011

Camry 4-cyl

  • 92,422 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that smoke was emitted from under the vehicle as it stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop who diagnosed that the cylinder head bolts were pulled out, the head gasket exhibited an oil leak and after pressure testing the cooling system, the cylinders filled up with coolant. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who offered instructions on how to repair the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 92,422. Updated 06/17/11 the consumer stated the instrument cluster lights illuminated and power steering, along with the brakes failed to work. Updated 11/23/11

- St Louis , MO, USA

problem #29

Dec 172010

Camry 4-cyl

  • 175,345 miles


Engine failure do to head bolts stripped out. Hundreds of other cars have had the same problem. Toyota is aware they have a problem.

- Signal Mountain, TN, USA

problem #28

Mar 212011


  • 149,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that antifreeze was leaking out of the rear of the engine. The vehicle was taken to dealer who stated that the head bolts stripped and as a result, the engine had to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted by the dealer who did not offer any assistance. The VIN was unavailable. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 149,000.

- Salt Lake City , UT, USA

problem #27

Feb 152011


  • 148,000 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Camry le (4 cylinder, 2.4 L) which began leaking engine coolant from around the back of the engine block. My mechanic said that it was likely a blown head gasket. After further research, he determined that the cause of the leak was most likely loose head bolts in the engine block which were due to the bolts stripping the thread from the block. He said my only option was to replace the engine at that point. Apparently this is a very common problem with 2002 and 2003 Camry, and Toyota needs to be held accountable for this! I bought a Toyota because I wanted a vehicle which I could be driving years from now. Now I'm left with a vehicle I don't know if I will be able to drive next week!

- Springfield , MO, USA

problem #26

Apr 012010


  • miles


2003 Toyota Camry. Coolant leaking, problem with engine, say many other people stating having this problem on the internet under vehicle reviews and complaints. Had to replace the engine at 100,000 miles. Very upset. Same description as every one else, gurgling noise, coolant being quickly removed, mechanic chasing the problem to the engine, engine replaced. Called Toyota, joke of a reaction, no apology or any offer of compensation.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #25

Mar 102010

Camry 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
In March 2010 I had a problem with my wife's Toyota that I believe I either shouldn't have to pay to fix or have Toyota share in the cost. When I called Toyota to register the complaint they said couldn't help me, so I am asking for your help. My wife's Camry (2003 with just under 100,000 miles) developed a leak in its head gasket, so I took it into our local garage. They looked at it (pressure test) confirmed it was leaking and went on line ( to see what experiences other mechanics had with this problem and recommended fixes. The research showed that this problem was being reported frequently and more often than not also resulted in a more severe problem of stripping the engine bolts out of the block, requiring an engine replacement. My mechanic said I would be best off taking it to the dealership where we purchased the car and have them look at it, because if it was more than just the head gasket, I may be able to work something out with them. It was his opinion that a leak in the head gasket shouldn't cause the stripping of the engine bolts. We took it into our Toyota dealer and they investigated - took the head off - and found that it was what my mechanic had feared, three engine bolts were stripped and the engine would have to be replaced. Cost for a new engine block, head, labor, etc. $7,500. I told them what my mechanic had found online - this was happening a lot to this type engine (2003 - 6) - and my belief that this was a design flaw and asked them if there was something that Toyota could do to help defray the cost or was there a recall, etc. The service rep said no... no help from Toyota. I have all the paperwork and can you send you copies, including the identifix report. Considering all the pressure people, government, and lawyers had to exert on Toyota to get them to admit and address the recent accelerator problems, I was wondering if you could check or add my case to a database to see if some legal action is warranted.

- Mansfield Center, CT, USA

problem #24

Apr 302008

Camry 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
I am the owner of 2003 Toyota Camry. And I would like to file a complain due to the engine defects in my vehicle. In April 2008, I discovered the engine coolant was leaking and it was so severe that I had to take to the mechanic shop for inspection and repair. The mechanic did the pressure test cooling system test and found coolant leak coming from cylinder had by the intake manifold. The mechanic removed valve cover and found 2 head bolts vehicle was only 56000 miles at that time. I was told by the mechanic it was not safe to drive because the car could overheat any minutes. So the engine needed to be costs me $2700 to replace the I report the incident to the Toyota manufacture /dealers in torrance. They respond to me that they were not responsible for this problem. I requested new motor vehicle board from California to help me to resolve the matter. The Toyota still insisted that they were not responsible for it.

- Temple City , CA, USA

problem #23

Jan 152010


  • 90,000 miles
My Toyota Camry 2003 head gasket is blown. My auto mechanic informed me that Toyota bolted the heads in a faulty way and the leak can only be fixed temporarily.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #22

Nov 012008


  • 77,000 miles


Fatal car accident.

- Bay Shore, NY, USA

problem #21

Dec 222009


  • 85,089 miles
Oil light came on. Took to Toyota dealer to check. Within minutes said it was sludge and needed a new engine block.

- Narberth, PA, USA

problem #20

Aug 122009


  • 99,427 miles
2003 Toyota Camry xle 4 cyl. With less than 100K overheated. Took vehicle to independent mechanic who advised me of a coolant leak at the intake manifold and to take the vehicle to the dealer. Dealer has vehicle, reports it is not the intake manifold that is leaking but 3 rear steel bolts that go into aluminum are stripped. Toyota is "unwilling to participate" in the repair with an estimate of $6900 which includes purchasing a new block. This same issue is all over the Toyota forums, usually this issue appears as a probable blown head gasket. This is not the case in my vehicle. Toyota is aware of this defect but is doing nothing to stand behind their products. This is not an uncommon occurrence and as more vehicles attain approximately the same mileage, more reports are being made of this fault. This type of repair should not be the responsibility of the consumer when the manufacturer is aware of the defect. This most certainly should prompt a recall. Perhaps a class action lawsuit is in order.

- Palm Springs, CA, USA

problem #19

Jul 252009

Camry 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
2003 Toyota Camry le, 4 cyl., automatic, approx 60,000 miles. Problem: Uncommanded full acceleration. Driving conditions: Clear weather, daytime, dry surface highway, cruise control - off, transmission gear selected - drive. Consequence: Major loss of vehicle control. Corrective action: Throttle / sensor checked for failure at shop - no defect noted - could not duplicate failure. Replacement throttle $1100 with labor.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #18

Jul 152009

Camry 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
2003 Camry, 4 cylinder, 2.4L engine, xle model. Fluttering noise under light acceleration from the engine area. Dealer determined that the intake manifold needed to be replaced at a cost of $760. Engine had 86,000 miles. Very disappointed with this failure which should have never happened with a car of this supposed quality. I rate this car a 2 out of 5.

- Ames, IA, USA

problem #17

Mar 012009


  • 51,200 miles
A crack is developed in żoil sub panż at the bottom of the engine body on my Toyota Camry 2003, which have only 51000 miles on it. An independent auto technician told me that a crack in the oil pan is unusual and it might have been there at the time of manufacture. A mechanic at the Toyota dealership in metairie told me the same thing along with the fact that such a crack is hard to detect. I am lucky that this fault was detected early and fixed before a fatal breakdown could have occurred. I have fixed this problem at Toyota dealer's ship and it cost $3100, when I raised this issue they agreed to split cost fifty fifty and still it cost $1532 and that is too much for me seeing as how none of this was my fault. The old part is still with Toyota dealer ship they didn't hand over to me. I regularly change oil at the Toyota dealership, and I was surprised to learn that they failed to notice this fault earlier. Please investigate this problem.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #16

Nov 032008


  • 77 miles
While driving home one day I began to smell antifreeze in my car. My husband took the vehicle to a local garage who informed him that it was the head gasket. My car has only 77,000 miles on it. I took the car to my mechanic who confirmed that it was the head gasket. While repairing my vehicle the mechanic noticed that all four screws popped out. It cost me over $1700 to repair. My mechanic reported this to be unusual for any car's head gasket to go with such low mileage. "it's unheard of". Toyota claims I am not covered because I'm over the mileage and would not help me. Clearly this should be a recall.

- Port Jefferson Station, NY, USA

problem #15

Jun 152007


  • miles
Engine noise caused by intake manifold crack as diagnosed by a Toyota service dealer.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #14

Sep 022008


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle overheated. The contact filled the vehicle with water and drove to a mechanic. The mechanic stated that the engine coolant leaked water between the cylinder head and the block. It was also discovered that three cylinder head bolts were loose. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 100,000. Updated 10/16/08. Updated 10/17/08.

- Cincinatti, OH, USA

problem #13

Jun 242008


  • 58,000 miles
Vehicle started making a loud rattling/vibrating noise that started around 57,000 miles. It sounded like there was no oil in the car, though oil change had been done less than 1,000 miles prior to noticing this. Sound got worse and worse over the next week or so and was usually loudest when the car was first started up in the morning or after it had been sitting all day. Heard mostly when it was idling in park and when you first started driving. Once you got going, the sound wasn't so bad. Took it back to the oil change place and they said it sounded like a lifter problem. Did some research at and various other places on the internet and found out many people are having the same problem. It's actually the intake manifold. I called Toyota and was told warranty was 5 years or 50K miles. Since car was purchased used I had them research date of first use and, of course, my 5 year cutoff was 2 months prior to my phone call. The sound got so bad by 58,000 miles I took it to our local repair shop and without telling them what I had found out, they told me the intake manifold had to be replaced for a cost of $600. Vehicle is in the shop being replaced at my expense as I write this. Toyota should be made aware that this is a big problem and recall this part since it is clearly defective.

- Gulf Breeze, FL, USA

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