Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2003 Honda Accord suffers from widespread transmission failure & problems with the stereo backlight failing. We recommend avoiding this model year like the plague.

The transmission begins slipping & eventually has to be replaced, typically soon after 90,000 miles & with a repair cost of over $2,000. Transmission failure has been a huge problem for the Accord & several other Honda models all through the early 2000s model years. Honda extended the transmission warranty to 93 months/109k miles for the 2000-2001 Accord as a class action lawsuit settlement, but owners of other Accord model years with transmission problems are out of luck.

The stereo backlight problem has been an issue since these Accords were only a few years old. Honda eventually issued a recall which covered the repair for 7 years/100k miles, which was nice while it lasted but now that period is over. Honda initially was replacing the entire radio ($800) but eventually began replacing just the PCB which at ~$300 is much cheaper. That sounds like a deal, but keep in mind we're talking about a backlight bulb that costs $2 to fix in most other cars.

8.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$686.00
Average Mileage:
65,605 miles
Total Complaints:
23 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Install a new condenser (13 reports)
  2. Honda needs to redesign the exterior front air vent system (7 reports)
  3. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jun 102013

Accord 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Bought this car in February, and just recently tried the A/C,which does not work . It is june and I need air. Like other users have said it is a poor design because debris can easily hit the condenser.

- , York, PA, USA

problem #22

Nov 132011

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Dealership tells me that the condenser will fail soon because it has been hit by road debris. I've been hit with most of the problems mentioned in this site. This car is a disappointment.

- , Mamaroneck, NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 222009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The A/C stopped working in the middle of the summer. Our mechanic couldn't figure out what was wrong so we had to take to dealer to diagnose. Apparently the Condenser had been damaged by road debris (common in make/model and due to a design flaw). Honda estimated the repair at $700.

We took the diagnoses to our mechanic who ordered the part and charged for labor $300 all together. Much less than what dealer was charging. What a shame, and I always loved my Honda!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #20

Apr 012010

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 70,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

CHECKED AND FOUND THE SAME AS THE OTHER COMPLAINTS WHERE A ROCK HAD CAUSED A LEAK. iT SEEMS TO BE A DESIGN FLAW ANS HONDA MOTOR CORP SHOULD STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT AND DUE THE RIGHT THING AND START A RECALL DUE TO POOR DESIGN. THIS IS NOT A CHEAP FIX AND THEY NEED TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT!

- , Howell, NJ, USA

problem #19

Apr 012009

Accord V6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

The problem made by design issue. need to be replaced by recalling

- , Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #18

Jun 162007

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Thank god, I'm not the only one who is having this problem!!! Honda NEEDs to do a recall on this!!!

- , Gastonia, NC, USA

problem #17

Sep 082008

Accord ES 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 77,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Honda should take care of this design problem and fix my car

- , New Richmond, WI, USA

problem #16

Aug 252008

Accord EX 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The A/C unit stopped blowing cold air after a regular day of driving. I do not have a long commute and was not driving through any construction or off road. When I took it into the dealership, they told me it would be $600 to repair and not covered under my extended warranty. (I bought this car used from Honda in late 2006). They told me a rock had broken the unit and I had to pay for the repair. My question is, how can a rock break it when I drove 40 mph or less on non-freeway roads the day the A/C stopped working! They told me if they only recharged the freon it would only work for 30 min before it all leaked out. This is a design flaw when the car stops working properly with regular driving.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #15

May 292008

Accord EX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,676 miles

a/c stopped working ---took it in to the dealer and was told that the condenser was damaged by rocks hitting it....per Honda tech.....i don't live on or drive on any dirt or gravel roads i told the tech....well it can be caused by snow also he told me..//

so does that mean don't drive in the snow...or don't buy a Honda in a state where there is snow or rocks......all 50 states have either one or both of theses...so maybe--hondas should not be allowed to sell cars in any of these 50 states.

i have never had this type of problem occur on any car i have owned....and I discovered that there is now a shield on the new Accord....If Honda didn't think this was a problem...then why change the design now....and then why not stand up and do the right things and cover this damage under warranty.....I WILL REMEMBER THIS WHEN BUYING MY NEXT VEHICLE. COME ON PEOPLE-----STAND UP---GET MAD AS HELL----AND DECLARE THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO STAND BY AND LET HONDA GET AWAY WITH THIS.

- , Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #14

Apr 102008

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

After reading other complaints regarding this same issue, I have to say this is ridiculous. Honda needs to own up to it's mistake and cover these repairs under some sort of warranty or recall action. At $600-$700 to repair, this is not something to be overlooked. Used to be a Honda only person, but after this, my preferences are changing.

- , Canby, OR, USA

problem #13

Apr 042008

Accord LX Coupe V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This is definitely a design flaw. The condenser should be protected by a screen that would allow airflow but prevent debris from damaging the unit. A piece of concrete hit my condenser and punched a hole in it. The unit lost all of its fluid. To replace the condenser, they have to remove the front bumper which is one of the reasons it costs so much to fix.

- , Irving, TX, USA

problem #12

Feb 052008

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

2003 Honda Accord- My wife just informed me the other day the the A/C wasn't working. I checked out the relay and it's just fine so I searched on the internet to see if others have had the same issue and came across several postings about the condenser and road debris. Well after looking at the front of the car directly at the condenser I could see that it was pretty well haggard from rocks and other crap. I did notice an area to the upper left side that was wet from a leak, more than likely it is freon. Judging by the mass-open holes in the plastic beneath the bumper, it is no wonder that is was damaged! Honda has a major design flaw going on here and we are all suffering the consequences. This is B.S. that we are stuck footing the bill for a car that is supposed to be the most reliable car on the road. Honda should take lessons from the guys at Toyota on how to take care of their customers and maybe on how to design a car!!!!!

- , Chico, CA, USA

problem #11

Dec 012007

Accord EX 3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,200 miles

This is the second "rock into the condenser" problem I've had in 3 months. Considering I don't go "off-road" in this family sedan I think this definitely speaks to a design error. I'm also wondering if there is an after-market screen available to protect the condenser since it is so delicate. In this case, the dealer (Honda Cars of Concord, NC) went to bat for me and they are replacing the condenser at no charge. They warn me, however, that if the problem happens again I'm on my own. My only recourse, per them, it to file a Comprehensive claim on my Auto Insurance. If course, with a $500 deductible and considering the repair is between $500 and $600, this is not much of an option. Hopefully Honda will address this at some point.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #10

Aug 302007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles

Paid $21K on a certified Honda Accord (what a rip-off) from Honda dealer (Avery Greene of Vallejo). Then in 2 months, A/C condenser stopped working. According to dealer not covered under warranty because it was owner's fault, damage caused by rock hitting condenser.

No way to verify their claim, but car was hardly used in 2 months time. I'm having this fixed somewhere else. They're not getting my business anymore.

- , Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 142007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Don't buy a Honda, They won't stand behind their product. AC quit working and took it to dealer. They said that a "Pristine" Pebble had destroyed the condensor, and that it was not a mechanical error so it was not covered under the warranty. I believe that the number of complaints reported of similar occurances proves that it is a mechanical error due to poor engineering.

If Honda is so reliable, why won't they admit that they screwed up the condensor placement on the 2003 model and fix it. They did make changes to the 2004 model. Why would I pay over $800 to repair something that a tiny pebble could take out the next time I drive my car?

- , Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #8

May 312006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 50,000 miles

There was a hole in the condenser, so it was replaced. That worked for all of about 3 days. Now it works sometimes and half the time makes a sound that sounds like it's dying while blowing hot air. It is located in a horrible position that allows a small rock to penetrate. Honda needs to redesign the exterior front air vent system

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #7

Jun 082005

(reported on)

Accord Es V6

  • 60,000 miles

I had the same problem with my condenser. A rock hit the condenser and caused a hole in it. I had to have a new one installed. Looking through the front of the car, it would be extremely easy for a rock to hit the condenser. There are two huge openings that go directly to the condenser. I can't believe that Honda has recognized this as a recall problem.Honda needs to redesign the exterior front air vent system.

- , Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #6

Apr 242006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 66,235 miles

Replaced condenser which was damaged by a stick penetrating it. Less than two weeks later I had to replace the condenser again because it was damaged by a small pebble. Honda you have a real problem and unfortunately I am paying for it.

- , St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #5

Jun 202006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 34,000 miles

aluminum air conditioner cooler corroded to the extent rows of cooling fins were falling out.

- , Medina, OH, USA

problem #4

Oct 022006

(reported on)

Accord

  • 115,000 miles

Design flaw! The A/C condenser was bowed from road debris. This is not covered under extended warranty, the condenser replacement cost me 700.00. This could happen everytime I get out on the road. I feel this is design flaw.

- , Plano, TX, USA

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