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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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
69,600 miles
Total Complaints:
32 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (10 reports)
  2. problem not fixed (10 reports)
  3. dealer replaced CD player under warranty (7 reports)
  4. not covered.......but the backlight display was! (2 reports)
  5. aftermarket, overpriced trunk cd changer (1 reports)
  6. auto manufacturer goodwill repair (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #32

Feb 022015

Accord EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


CD Player clicks and whines every time I start the car. Very annoying!! I cannot live with the car like this. I just talked to someone at a stereo place and to replace, it is estimated to cost upwards of $625 because the whole thing is one piece. They can't even just disconnect the CD player from the power because that would turn off power for the AC/temperature control. BAD DESIGN!! This needs to be recalled!!!

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #31

Jan 102012

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

This is my third radio since owning the car...The reason this one only cost $75.00 was the place I bought it replaced it for free. I had only had it in for 2 weeks...The cost of swapping it out was $75.00.

- , Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #30

Apr 052006

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Cd player stopped working at very low mileage...Dealership fixed it 1 of the 4 times it has had to be replaced.

- , Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #29

Nov 202011

Accord EX-L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


The 6 disc CD player on my Honda Accord '03 stopped working, it has 6 CDs stuck in it. However, the radio works. I called a couple of dealers and they asked me to keep the car overnite just for letting me know what is the reason for the problem. Hence I never pursued the fix for the problem. The problem is getting to my wife's nerves hence I did some research on getting it fixed and so far it seems quite an expense if I take it to a dealer or to some independent repair shop.

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #28

Jun 012008

Accord ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I purchased this car with 56k miles on it, after a year the light on the cd player/radio (6 disc changer) went out. After that the dealership replaced it but, later my cds (purchased from a store) would get so hot it would literally burn my face after it was ejected. Now i can't insert CDs or take them out. Honda says they can fix the problem for 859.00. The problem is this is a replacement radio!

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #27

May 012009

Accord EX 4 CYL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

The CD player won't take or eject the cd at all. i tried to to search online to find the fix but most people just suggest to take to radio to dealer to get fix.

- , Winter Park, FL, USA

problem #26

Jun 082011

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles



- , Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA

problem #25

May 012012

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

It was the first thing to break after our purchase. Bad design.

- , Cypress, TX, USA

problem #24

Oct 102008

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

Really terrible sound system in the particular model car. Even the speakers are crap.

- , Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #23

Oct 102012

Accord EX 3.06

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Literally the same day the Audio-HVAC Display went dark, I had no use of the CD player or radio. Related?

- , Eustis, FL, USA

problem #22

Oct 192011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,360 miles


The CD player issue started many months prior to 10/2011 but was intermittent .It actually stopped working all together in Sept 2011. I had it looked at while having the oil changed in Oct 2011. I have not been able to retrieve any of the 6 cd's in the player.

- , Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #21

Feb 182012

Accord EX-L 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,000 miles

My CD went out on me over a month ago. Initially I was able to listen to the 4 CDs I had in the player but unable to Eject or Load any others. Now the player doesn't work at all and I get an ERR code. I called Honda Corporation this week and they told me there is no recall on this issue despite me saying I have read many blogs/sites where consumers have complained. She told me they base their recalls on the number of complaints they receive. So please call and complain if you have this issue!!

- , Newnan, GA, USA

problem #20

Jul 042005

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

At this time I was still listening to CDs all the time. The multichanger jammed one of my CDs and there was no release available on the stock radio. They replaced the radio and did return my CDs from Japan a couple of months later.

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #19

Sep 012005

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

This was the replacement radio I received under warranty. The replacement radio would completely turn off and make me enter the security code anytime I would seek on a CD. I gave up on CDs after 2 radios had failed. I now listen to XM radio only.....

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #18

Jun 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Alright so this past summer my 6 disk cd player stopped working all of a sudden! a big pain in the ass! At first the disk numbers at the top still were showing, when I turn my car off to run into the store quickly and turn it right back on it would go from am to fm to cd and then go blank. It worked when it wanted to but now it doesn't work at all and you can't see the numbers of the cd anymore, sometimes it still does the changing of the stations when I turn it on and off quickly but I still have cds in there that I want! I went to the dealership and first they said I needed to pay 70 bucks to have a diagnostic test done and after that they can figure out what the problem is. I went back two months later and they told me it was 100 bucks! wtf this is ridiculous. Not only after they figure out whats wrong, they want to take my car for two weeks, and charge me daily to have the car there. I HATE HONDA! THIS IS BS! Who would have guessed that a Honda is more expensive and has more problems then my old Lexus! I WILL NEVERRRRRRRR BUY A HONDA AGAIN!

Update from Apr 4, 2011: Alright EVERYONE clearlyyyyyyyy we/everyone with a Honda has problems with the cd player! Now the only way to fix this problem is for ALLLLLLL of us to get in contact with Honda and ALLLLLLL of us need to file a complaint!! I'm positive that none of us want to pay $800 for it to get fixed to just break again!

In order for Honda to recall it we all need to call and make a complaint. They have recalled the backlight of the radio so if that is the case bring your vehicle in. They replaced mine according to the woman I purchased the vehicle from. But as every day passes and every time I get into my car I get more and more pissed off that it doesn't work. I've tried fuses, disconnecting the battery. Everything I can think of. The only thing I haven't tried is the cd player fuse.

If anyone knows that information please send me an email because the handbook doesn't have the information in it for the cd player fuse! Maybe that's because they know the cd player was going to go!!!!! !! Again let's get the cd player recalled it's never going to happen unless we take some initiative! please I'm begging y'all!!!!! With the economy the way it is money is tight!!!

- , Salem, NH, USA

problem #17

Jun 022010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Radio works fine but not CD player. it does not respond to anything.

right now only radio work.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #16

Oct 142009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

My Honda's factory installed CD player began malfunctioning about three months ago--CD getting stuck in player; player getting stuck without a CD. I paid an independent car stereo service provider $175.00 to get the CD out of the player (he had to go through the hood and cut the power). He cautioned me about using CDs with labels on them (though, I'd been doing so for years - why was this a problem now, I wondered?)

Alas, in less than a day's time, another CD got stuck. Took it back. Tech popped the hood, rescued my CD, and off I drove.

Now the player has developed another quirk - in the midst of playing a CD it will shut off and the display will go dark. If I press power, the display will come back on with some off-the-charts track number. It will play for a while and then shut off again. I've tried different CDs but cannot establish a pattern. The car is nearly seven years old and I don't think I'll invest in a costly replacement. But has anyone else had this issue and, hopefully, had it resolved?

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #15

Oct 222009

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

My CD player stopped working about a month ago. I had 6 CD's loaded and pressed the eject button to take one out but just got an ERR mesage and it wouldn't play any CD's either. I already had an appointment at the dealer a couple of days later for another problem and metioned the CD problem when I dropped the car off. The service rep said they would take a quick look but fixing it would probably run me about $1000! I asked if they could just get my CD's out and he said they'd se what they could do. When I picked up the car...the radio display no longer showed the ERR message for the CD player...it actually didn't even acknowledge that there was a CD player or any CD's. When I dropped the car off at least it showed on the display that there were 6 CD's loaded even though it wouldn't play or eject them! I pointed this out to the service rep and his response was "we didn't do anything to the CD player"...my response was "then why doesn't the display acknowledge that a CD player exists with 6 CD's loaded". He just brushed it off and said I could leave the car and they could check it but it would cost $$. I know there are many people out there with CD player problems with this car...WHY HASN'T HONDA ACKNOWLEDGED THIS PROBLEM!!!!

- , New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #14

Jun 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I'm so annoyed. First of all, I had the same backlight problem that others have mentioned here ... that happened about a year ago at 55,000 miles and my awesome mechanic convinced Honda to repair it under warantee, although my warantee had been up for years. Anyway, about a month ago my CD player quit. It started with songs skipping, CD's randomly ejecting, and strange noises as if the CD's were not in quite right and were thunking around in the changer. The mechanic couldn't help me with this one. The Honda dealer told me they could not either fix or replace it, but they would confirm that it was broken for $50 (duh). How can a dealer refuse to fix their own cars? Long story short, I found a fly-by-night type guy about an hour away who claimed he could fix it, and had fixed many 2003 Hondas just like this before ... two trips there and $250 later it worked fine, until today when it quit completely. I have 5 CD's in; the display says 6. The radio works but pressing the CD/AUX button has no effect. I can't load or eject CD's. To top it off, the dude who "fixed" it has not returned my calls. I am totally aggravated and I just wish I could get the dealer to take ownership of the problem!!!

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #13

Jun 012004


  • 39,000 miles

My cd/dvd player quit working just after the car went out of warranty so I took it in to see if they would do anything, of course they said no but they would put in a new one for a little over $1000. We still do not have it fixed.

- , Sherwood, MI, USA

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