really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,048 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota Camry:

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

problem #22

Jan 212011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact was told by Toyota that the vehicle needed a new transmission in January of 2009, but they were not told why. A rebuilt transmission was installed and now the contact was advised that the trans axle failed. The contact took the vehicle to an independent mechanic and was told that the failure occurred because of the gear shift box, which caused the transmission to slip and make a banging noise while driving approximately 20 mph. The original transmission failed at 70,000 miles. The manufacturer stated that the warranty expired; however, the extended warranty was valid up to 75,000 miles. The contact stated that the failure was a manufacturers defect. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 90,000. Updated 03/15/11 updated 1/3/11

- Cornwall, NY, USA

problem #21

Mar 172010

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. After parking the vehicle and exiting it, the contact noticed that the vehicle suddenly shifted into reverse and began rolling backwards. The occupant sitting in the front passenger seat was able to turn the steering wheel causing the vehicle to travel over a curb which flattened both rear tires. No one was injured and a police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact had the pawl mechanism and tires repaired. The failure mileage was 60000. Updated 05/10/10 the vehicle was parked and the engine was left running; the transmission was in the park position; but the parking brake was not activated. The vehicle was on an uphill slant, downhill being to the rear of the vehicle. Minutes after exiting the vehicle, the vehicle began to roll backwards. The vehicle's transmission lever did move into reverse. The consumer believed that the pawl mechanism failed. Updated 05/12/10 updated 07/01/10 updated 07/02/10.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #20

Mar 012004


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact was driving approximately between 55-65 mph on normal road conditions. The transmission began to jerk excessively. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on four separate occasions for the identical failures with replacement of the transmissions. The four transmissions failed within 45,000 miles. When at a complete stop the vehicle surged forward unexpectedly. Also, during braking there was a delayed response. The authorized dealer was unable to duplicate the failures. The failure mileage was 10,000. The current mileage was 45,000.

- Plant City, FL, USA

problem #19

Dec 312002

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
I own a 2003 Camry xle purchased new from a local dealer in carson city, nv. I have had problems with the transmission surging, lurching and hesitating since purchased. I requested the service dept to check it out many times. They always said nothing was wrong leading me to believe I was crazy. After the 4th time I printed out many other consumer complaints, they still told me "nothing was wrong" but they said Toyota is putting in a whole new transmission. That was in 2006. Wow, if nothing was wrong why would they go to that expense? now after all that has come to light with the Toyota problems, I see why. I am not comfortable with this car and know that it has the potential for sudden unintended acceleration. Updated 03/19/10

- Carson City, NV, USA

problem #18

Feb 222003

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Camry. The contact stated that when driving low speeds, the transmission does not engaged. I took two to three seconds before the transmission would shift in gear. The dealer replaced the computer chip and upgraded the transmission which only minimally corrected the failure. A complaint was filed with the Toyota manufacturer for the failure. The failure mileage was 15,000 the current mileage is 87,000. Updated 03/11/10 the consumer stated the transmission seemed to hesitate for a couple of seconds when pressing the accelerator pedal. When the transmission did engage, the vehicle lurched forward. Updated 05/05/10.

- Brookfield, IL, USA

problem #17

Jan 182009


  • 55,000 miles
2003 Toyota Camry automatic trans. Put in reverse to back out of garage. Surged cut wheels to avoid hitting house next door, brick 50 ft from garage. Avoided a direct collision. But clipped some bricks at corner. Another 75ft into a small creek opposite bank stopped car. Braking was to no avail. Injury minor - pinched nerve in left shoulder. Counted 75+ reports for same model year involving spontaneous acceleration on your site. Your investigation in '03 or '04 found nothing suggesting unfamiliarity w/vehicle. We are the original owners. A goodly number of the reports are for recent years taking unfamiliarity out of the play. What are you doing currently respecting Camry acceleration issues?....regards, harvey miller

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #16

Dec 032007


  • 90,000 miles
Transmission started to act up at around 40 mph. Took it to certified transmission who in turn tried different parts, they even took to the Toyota dealer for assistance with the problem. After over a month, they decided I should replace the transmission. Even after the new transmission certified transmission still was testing the car and would stall. The car never stalled before the new tranny. Certified finally called for me to pick up my car. I asked if he was sure it was safe and he said yes. Friday late afternoon I picked up the car and paid $4,000 for transmission. Drove it Saturday once and it started to dog a few times. Sunday I went to grocery store and on the way home the car died in the middle of the busiest street in Kansas City. I was pulled off to the side calling my ins. Tow service when I was rearended at about 40 mpg. When it was all said and done with fighting with everyone, with no care or concern from anyone, I finally gave up fighting. I ended up losing money with the other ins. Co. because even if they repaired the damage, the car still didn't work and certified tried to say it could have been something else. Now after what I know, I feel certified transmission did not treat me fairly.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #15

Oct 302007

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
Car constantly rolls when vehicle is in drive. It is an automatic and we have to keep our foot on the gas pedal when completely stopped and a flat road.

- Indian Trail, NC, USA

problem #14

Feb 022005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 12 miles
While driving at 35 mph vehicle hesitated when trying to accelerate and then stalled. Owner contacted the dealer, and had the transmission replaced. However, the problem recurred.

- Fairfax Station, VA, USA

problem #13

Aug 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The consumer parked the vehicle and exited to retrieve a gas can. When the consumer turned around the vehicle was moving forward into her garage.

- Phoenix, MD, USA

problem #12

Dec 202003

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 V6 Camry experiences sudden and random jerkss/bucking/hesitation as driver accelarates into second/third gears. Took back to dealer 3X, 1st time ECU was reprogrammed; 2nd time dealer said the car was getting to know how I drive; 3rd time they said that is normal for gears. I found out the Lexus 300 ES, which has the same engine, also experience the same problem. Very dangerous condition because you are not expecting the jerking/bucking/hesitation.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #11

Feb 122004

Camry 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
While at a stop vehicle jerked forward as if wanting to accelerate. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #10

Jul 222003


  • 1,000 miles
While driving at any speed vehicle jerked. Also, gears were hard to change until the vehicle was over 35 mph. Dealer claimed that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle, but the way consumer was driving.

- Brownsburg, IN, USA

problem #9

Jan 222004

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
While down shifting and braking when going down hill, the vehicle went into over drive without warning, causing extended stopping distance. The dealer installed a replacement software program but no improvement was noticed.

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #8

Oct 062003

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
2003 Toyota Camry V6 le transmission replaced at only 4000 miles. Continued problems with transmission, engine. Faulty, delayed shifting, engine noise/resonance, lack of acceleration from a stop or to pass. Idle is noisy into the cabin. Vehicle continues to exhibit transmission and engine problems. Car has a reputation for smoot, compliant ride. Have taken vehicle to dealer on numerous occasions. Problems persist depsite dealer insistence that the problems are normal.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 092003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Transmission/engine at moderate speeds (50 mph) stumbles when throttle input is removed. The concern is increased braking distance when the condition occurs. Does not occur everytime throttle input is removed. Dealer could not find the failure mode.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #6

Dec 042003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Intermittently transmission failed while parking the vehicle. From drive to park transmission locks up and car won't move. Dealer has been notified.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #5

Jul 102003

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
2003 Toyota Camry is equipped with electronic computer controlled throttle, electronic computer controlled transmission, and cruise control. At various times the car will either hesitate for 5-10 seconds when accelaration is demanded or alternatively under light throttle it will shift down several gears the engine racing madly and accelarate. In cruise control it sometimes shifts down and accelarates 15 mph over the setpoint.

- Windber, PA, USA

problem #4

Oct 032003

Camry 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
While driving at 40-43 mph, as the transmission was about to be shifted into overdrive, the front end vibrated until about 45-50 mph and then the problem disappeared. The tires were rotated and balanced three times to make sure the tires were not the problem. The dealers conclusion was that there was an engine overload or bad tires. The vibration was felt throughout the vehicle. (may be a locked up converter or the transmission)

- Jamestown, PA, USA

problem #3

Jan 102003

Camry 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle shuddered around 40 mph related to the transmission. The dealer performed all applicable tsbs but the problem still existed. Also exhibited a severe shudder twice at 70 mph.

- Irmo, SC, USA

Read the next 2 complaints »