really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,211 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 Corolla electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Toyota Corolla Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Mar 182016


  • 135,000 miles


While driving the car, noticed bad smell. Stopped and came out from the vechicle and it started on fire from the engine compartment.

- Sparks, NV, USA

problem #21

Dec 062005


  • 80,000 miles
Takata recall.the contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. While driving various speeds, the air bag warning indicator and the check engine light remained illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the vcu needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 15V043000 (air bags). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000. Parts distribution disconnect.

- New Caney, TX, USA

problem #20

Nov 152015


  • 126,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. While the vehicle was parked, the engine burst into flames. The contact stated that the check engine light illuminated the day prior to the fire. A fire report was filed. The fire department extinguished the fire. No injuries were sustained. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 126,000.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #19

Oct 262013


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V043000 (electrical system), and 15V286000 (air bags); however, the parts to do the repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. Updated 02/12/16

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #18

Feb 022015


  • miles
This form required I enter an incident date. There has been no incident.I entered the incident date of the date of my recall notification.after 6 months and several telephone calls to my dealer, Toyota has still not corrected the issues addressed in their recall notification. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ safety recall NHTSA #15V043. Manuf.recall #D3B recall date Jan. 27 2015. I received the recall letter from Toyota in approx Feb 2015( I am medically disabled) and then called in Feb 2015 my local stadium Toyota to schedule the recall maintenance.always they have been exceedingly courteous and competent when I've used them for oil changes and another recall service.they took my name/tele number and said they will call me back when the specific parts come in......which is generally what the letter does say.("..we will send another notification once preparations are complete") I called back stadium Toyota May 18 2015.they said they"will call me to schedule.... I called back again June 22 2105.they said they"will call me to schedule.... I was called by a gal from stadium Toyota do general maintenance the week of July 23 2015 & told her I was only interested in this particular recall issue.( I service my car elsewhere because, unfortunately, stadium is too expensive for my ssdi budget) she told me she would have the service department call me concerning this issue. July 27,2015, I did try to leave a complaint via the telephone complaint number but hung up after "heavy volume".now I am leaving this complaint on your intranet.I did verify that this particular recall is the only open recall for my vehicle.what a great web site this is !!!

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #17

May 112015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact received a notice for NHTSA campaign number: 15V403000 (air bags, electrical system); however, the part needed was not available. The contact believed that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #16

Feb 272015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign number:15V043000 (electronic control unit) and stated that the part needed was unavailable to perform the recall repair. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #15

Mar 162012


  • 81,766 miles
Camelback Toyota took care of a recall on the wiring harness and since that date I have had numerous problems - lost my keyless entry, lost my speedometer, lost my horn. D & B auto found some problems at the tune of $428.70 (got my horn, speedometer and keyless entry working again - this was 8/12/13). Then approximately September or October, my car would start lurching and felt like it went into neutral and I would loose my speedometer - no engine light would come one - we tried several time to find out what was wrong - D & B auto checked out my speed sensors and found them to be okay and suggested it was my instrument panel and told me to call dick's speed-0-tech - I did and was informed that it could not be the instrument panel on a 2003 Toyota Corolla - suggested I call sam's compu -tech - I did and he said he could not help me until an engine light came on. In the meantime I found [xxx] the tech and he found the ecd connector (E8) not fully seated (locked) - not this is after the recall by camelback Toyota and then I still had the problems of the car lurching, going into neutral and loosing my speedometer so [xxx] the tech came back and we spend approximately 8 hours checking out the instrument channel and guess what we found (done by camelback Toyota) - first he looked at the wiring under my dash and said "this is not factory" and then we found 6 zip ties holding the wires going into the instrument panel box and again he stated this is not factory. We found the wires would not stay in the box because it had obviously been twisted - so we fixed them and the car has been okay since - this was 10-20-14. Now you are telling me I have another recall on this - I cannot go through all this crap again so what are you going to do about it? information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #14

Jan 282014

Corolla 4-cyl

  • 108,010 miles
I have received 3 safety recalled notices applied to my car. On January, 2014 I went to a local Toyota dealer. They took my information, but did not give me an appointment because of not a computer system. They told me they would call back. I called them 10 times and they never had computer system or people to receive my calls.I called Toyota puerto rico, I gave my phone number and a short description of my problem. I never received a call back. On July, 2014, I visited another Toyota dealer with the same result: No massage nor call back. There is enough time and opportunities to fulfill with this car recall, the reason to submit respectfully this complaint.

- Ponce, PR, USA

problem #13

Jun 192014

Corolla 4-cyl

  • miles
Vehicle mileage does not match carfax report. Likely odometer tampering.

- Tolleson, AZ, USA

problem #12

Feb 172011


  • 50,000 miles


1. electrical: Driver & passenger side electric windows would not roll up after rolling them down. Drivers side window button was not broke...& physically worked when pushed down or pulled up but did not roll the window up. Passenger side window button actually broke/caved in when pushed to roll window down. Once rolled down...it would not roll up. 2. unknown or other: Air conditioner barely blows any air out of vents. When set on "highest fan option"...U can hear it working & can feel cool air but U have to have your face 2 inches in front of vent to feel it. 3. seat belts: Passenger side seat belt will not click/lock into locking device to keep seatbelt on. Don't know of anything breaking it...just wouldn't "click" into locking device one day.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #11

Jun 252013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the contact noticed a burning smell emitting from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis but they were unable to duplicate the problem. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- Baker, LA, USA

problem #10

May 242008


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The contact stated while driving approximately 45 mph, the entire instrument panel illuminated. In addition, the dome light would not function. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis. The manufacturer issued a voluntary recall related to the electrical system. The technician advised that the vehicle be taken to the location where the vehicle was purchased. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 59,000.

- Remsen, NY, USA

problem #9

Apr 042013

Corolla 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Took my car into Toyota dealer jim coleman Toyota - because of the 2003 supplemental restraint system (SRS) electronic control module (ECM) safety recall notice that I received 2 weeks ago, made an appointment 2 days ago with the dealer for this recall - said to come in today at 2:00 pm for the repair. One hour and 45 minutes later - fix was not completed because they said that Toyota corporation only allows for 12 sub-wire harness (filters) to be installed each day at each dealer through out the United States of America. They did not that the part and told me at the beginning of the service that they didn't have the part - but still needed to check my car to see if it needed to be repaired. They will have the part tomorrow and will fix tomorrow - hopefully. So my complaint is why does Toyota not send the parts to the dealers to fix this safety recall and what will the NHTSA do about this problem with no parts from Toyota to fix the problem - only 12 per day per dealer" also I don't no if this is related but the passenger door lock doesn't work - when it rains it might or not work - problem occurred in 2005 and until this day - right after warranty ended on the car? like an electrical short in the right passenger door - not sure if it is related"

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #8

Jan 192013


  • 185,000 miles
Was driving 20mph on a side street with my toddler in the car when I smelt strong electrical fire. Window switch got stuck on driver side window and instead of blowing fuse my door caught on fire. Called the dealership etc and they wouldn't do anything about what happened because no recall for my year. Just received a recall letter today. Two months after! this is my second recall on this car and I'm not sure how much longer I can handle this. I will never own a Toyota again. Fyi the first recall was for electrical problems in my driver side door so they replaced the entire door panel parts etc but obviously didn't fix the problem.

- San Clemente, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 132011

Corolla 4-cyl

  • 127,275 miles
While driving my Toyota Corolla 2003 model at freeway 110 with a speed of 65 miles per hour, I noticed that the mil or malfunction indicator light turned on. As soon as I saw the light, I went straight to a mechanic to find out what is wrong. The mechanic used a diagnostic tester and showed the code P0070 solenoid "E" fault and advised us to go to the dealer and check if there is a recall on this because this is a manufacturers fault, but Toyota claimed that there was never a recall issued on that particular defect. I tried to research on this and found out that Toyota issued a technical service bulletin issued on Oct. 23, 2002. It was also admitted by the manufacturer that Toyota has made production changes in later models of the Corolla line to eliminate the issue but has not issued a recall on the 2003 model. If this is the case, then this will truly posed a problem to many Toyota Corolla 03 users. We bought these car 5 years ago and we did not experience any problem on it until today. Is it possible that your organization can urge Toyota to issue a recall on this. Thank you.

- Carson, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 172009

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
2003 Toyota Corolla. Consumer writes regarding filing complaint with Toyota corporation for headlights melting and entire assembly needing to be replaced the consumer stated the driver and passenger side door would not unlock when she tried to use the remote. The dealer had to dismantle the door panel and install a new lock device. The transmission had to be replaced due to faulty work on the part of Toyota. The driver and passenger headlights continued to go out, until finally, the consumer had to pay to have the entire electrical portion of the headlights replaced.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #5

Sep 102009


  • miles
I was driving along the interstate at about 60-65 miles per hour when the engine suddenly turned off: All indicators in the dashboard turned off/went to zero and there was no way of accelerating. I had to somehow pull over to avoid an accident. When finally on the side lane the engine just turned back on. My husband would not believe this but we now found an article on www.spiegel.de that related to this. Hence my reporting it now.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #4

Mar 052007


  • 80,000 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) purchased 2003, Toyota, Corolla, VIN: [xxx] with daughter. Veh was purchased from Toyota of orange in ca. Two days later a hit and run driver forced veh to skid across five lanes on interstate 10 in Ontario, ca, and landed atop center divider. The vehicle was sent to repair shop and "repaired" after approximately 5-8 months. However, the car was never properly repaired, and I complained to both Toyota, and to the insurance company, allstate, but Toyota adamantly stated the veh was without problems. The car was continually in the shop for the brakes. Eventually the carpet caused the accelerator to become stuck and the car went out of control. I was forced to reach down while the car moving and pull the carpet with both hands to release the accelerator. Stepping on the brakes did not help. Neither Toyota repair nor allstate would help resolve our complaints since 2003, we were simply told that the veh was fine. Additionally I believe the frame is bent, lack of interlocking brakes causing skids, brakes are soft and drop to floor, and poor steering column. This car is dangerous and is impossible to drive without involving near miss accident episodes. The car skids if going as little as 5-10 miles per hour. I offered to give the car away to anyone who was willing to investigate my complaints, all to no avail. I just recently learned that one of the problems I heard in the brand new car was a hole in the exhaust system. Toyota continually denied this for 5-6 years, then by accident a very young newly employed staff at Toyota of orange, informed us that our complaint about loud air sounding noise was a hole in the exhaust, which had been continually making the noise, and burning of eyes (migraines). The brakes were repaired every 2-4 months or less until I just reported less frequently. The car is now no longer under warranty. Currently it needs some brakes, rotors, drums, calipers, and shocks as always.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #3

Mar 212005

Corolla 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,500 miles
Car caught on fire after sitting for 30 plus minutes. Total loss. Toyota has not yet returned numerous telephone calls, and the selling local dealer wants it off their lot. 14,500 miles. Purchased extended service policy, which Toyota is not honoring. Fire department said it was electrical failure.

- Coto De Caza, CA, USA

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