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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
138,775 miles
Total Complaints:
22 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. head bolt repair kit (9 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
  3. replaced engine (3 reports)
  4. replaced the short block (3 reports)
  5. replace short block (2 reports)
  6. rebuild the engine (1 reports)
2003 Toyota Camry engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota Camry Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #2

Dec 152010

Camry LE 4.6L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles


click to see larger images

stripped head bolts stripped head bolts stripped head bolts

My wife purchased the 03 Camry from her father at about 60,000 miles in 2006. The car ran great and was the best thing we have ever driven, until! last week while waiting outside a hospital I heard this loud water gushing sound running across the front of the car, and I went to check under the hood, smoke was coming out the back end of the engine! I took it to a local auto shop to check it out ($120.00) and he had some bad news! The engine block blot was backing taking the thread along with it!!!! The only best fix was to get a used engine for $2300 from a junk yard and the cost of installation is $1300.00 (but it will soon happen again with a used Toyota engine). I called a Toyota dealer in South Attleboro, MA (where her dad had purchased many cars including this one) and they wanted between $3000-$6000 to replace the engine! Called Toyota customer service (1-800-331-4331) and the rep said he can't do anything about it because it is unusual for a car with that many miles and not many people has complained about it (BS! Want proof: NHTSA #10021542). So I did some extra research and Toyota had issued a new part number for the short block assembly back in April 6, 2007 ( TSB Ref #EG015-07). I questioned the rep. at Toyota Customer Service about the new part number and why Toyota had issued a new part number for an item that already exist and "so call" doesn't have an issue and his reply was that they issued a new part number for the different years of cars(but what I don't understand is why a new part number when they were all the same part number at one point, so there must have been a change) so I asked "why?" Same answer.... This is clearly a Toyota quality issue and I believe it will be a health issue too with the coolant leaking on to the engine and turning it into vapor, and then the vapor entering the cabin thru the heat/ac vent.

Please contact the NHTSA ( or 1-888-327-4236) and let them know if you are having the same problem, if you don't have it yet it will soon, so print this web-page and let your local state representative know as well about the hundreds of complaints you have read, print it out and mail those along with your concerns and the health issue with having to breath in the anti-freeze vapor from the vent. Toyota will not issue a recall if it is not a safety issue! but I strongly believe that it is! This is an uphill battle to have Toyota fix but united we can! please email me @ if you want to start a patitshion to have toyota repair the engine, we'll need some good numbers so don't be shy! Remember replacing the engine will not fix the problem it will only be a short term fix at a very high price.

- , Lowell, MA, USA

problem #1

Apr 022010

Camry XLE 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My 2003 Camry XLE has been babied by the Toyota service dept since I bought it new. It started running hot, and I had it towed to the dealership who determined there was "air in the coolant line". They flushed the coolant, replaced it, and sent me on my way. An hour later, it was running hot again. Back to the dealership. Two days later while looking for engine damage due to overheating, they discovered two of the back side head bolts were loose. They thought it night be caused by "engine vibration." The engine was not warped from overheating and looked great. When they tried putting the engine back together, they discovered those bolts were stripped. No known explanation. There is no reliable repair for this. The only fix is a new engine. Used and rebuilt engines run the high risk of the same problem. Anyone else having the same trouble?

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

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