pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
114,169 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rebuild transmission (2 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. transmission and clutch repair (1 reports)
2003 Toyota Corolla transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota Corolla:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Toyota Corolla Owner Comments

problem #4

Feb 012017

Corolla CE 1.7L

  • Manual transmission
  • 130,000 miles


I bought my Corolla was bought new. It has only 130,000 easy commuting miles and after 13 years I thought that changing the oil would make it last forever.

Well a month ago right out of the blue I started hearing a racheting noise from the left side of the transaxle...on acceleration and deceleration. Fine in first gear, louder in all the others. I immediately changed the gear oil which didn't fix the issue but has allowed me to continue driving on it (still noisy.) Even before reading about others' problems it was obvious it was a bearing of some sort.

I haven' taken it to the dealer for an estimate yet. But I DONT plan on replacing it with a 13 year old junkyard transmission for $2000... if any still exist. My choices will be to have it rebuilt with new bearings if under 2K...or trade it in.

I remember years ago reading that the 2004 Corolla had "improved syncros" compared to 2003. I wonder if this means that Toyota redesigned the transmission because they saw service issues with the 2003 design.

- , New Haven, US

problem #3

Aug 012014

Corolla S 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 114,104 miles

I am the original owner of a 2003 Toyota Corolla S with a manual transmission. In November 2011, the bearings in my transmission failed on a long trip at just over 93,000 miles. The failure in the bearings destroyed the transmission and disabled my car on the freeway. I had it towed to an auto shop where I purchased a brand new transmission from the local Toyota Service Center. It was installed, as well as a new clutch.

This last month, my transmission began to grind going into 3rd gear. I bought it in to my local mechanic and found out the the transmission is failing. The synchronizer for 3rd gear is not working and the only solution is to rebuilt or replaced. The transmission is not even 3 years old and has just about 21,000 miles on it. Toyota will not warranty it. Their coverage is for one year, unlimited mileage. A new car with a new transmission is covered for 5 years/60,000 miles.

There is no reason this transmission should have failed. I take excellent care of my car and had hoped to drive it for 20+ years. I have had routine service performed on it and mostly drive my car on long trips as I ride to work most days.

- , Orinda, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 192012

Corolla CE 1.8L

  • Manual transmission
  • 129,931 miles

NOT A-F-inGain. Why oh why do the '03 TOYOTA Corolla BLUEs have to shine on ME!!!!!???? Another Transmission/Clutch/Differential problem???? OWIE to my Budget!!! And my POCKET BOOK!!! Not Another $2,000 +??? COME ON TOYOTA...WTF!!!!!!!!!!!! It is kinda hard to like your car when it requires major repairs like this. I was starting to think it was the way I was driving, but after reading posts on this site, I have come to the realization that the car is just a LEMON YEAR. GREAT!!! I must be unlucky in this area of my life (automobiles). I bought this car because it was the 1st year that Toyota updated the Corolla body style and It was cool looking. (at the time, looked like a low-end Lexus body style, with its little back-end antenna) Now I think I have a "Judging a Car By Its Cover/Brand" problem to deal with. HECK.... DARN... GUEZZZ....HELLABolsom(original). Now I am deciding weather to fix it or sell it? FORD is looking really good right not... Still Saying Something!!!

Update from Jan 29, 2012: Okay, This just in.... the total cost of rebuilding the transmission (which failed AGAIN!!!) and replacing the Clutch (AGAIN!!!), was $2,070.77 Better than last time but still an owie to my pocketbook.

- , Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 082011

Corolla LE 1.9L

  • Manual transmission
  • 82,642 miles

problem is annoying . would like know what is the problem; how to fix and how long by a dealer would take to repair. How much damage can be done by driving the car for a bit longer.

- , Kelowna, British Columbia, canada

Not what you are looking for?