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.

3.0

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,691 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 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Jan 262012

Accord 4-cyl

  • 85,634 miles

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

The interior lights on the radio display went out. There is no lights on the heat/ac dial control, the fan control, all the defroster/air blower options. Makes it difficult to use the defroster in the front or rear when driving since I can't see which button I am pushing. It is dangerous to have to turn on an interior light when driving to see what I need to push to make my visibility better.

- Woodburn, OR, USA

problem #26

Sep 012011

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the interior lighting was inoperable. The dealer denied any assistance with repairs to the failure and the manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 83,000 and the current mileage was 83,500. Updated 11/07/11 updated 05/10/12

- Westchester, PA, USA

problem #25

Apr 202010

Accord

  • 108,000 miles
Control panel display (audio-HVAC display) failure. I have a 2003 Honda 4 door (w/O navigation)Accord ex. About 2-3 months ago while driving the display panel for the vehicle operating systems-radio, heat/ac, time blacked out. At-near the time of this occurrence I was on the New York state thruway. A flashing (emergency) sign -flashing 'emergency' 'check radio channel 530 or 1610 for details'- notifying an emergency. As I was driving and could not see the radio display. It was dark. I was unable to access the emergency notice. My vehicle was taken to Honda and was told this repair was a defect. This repair was part of a campaign to fix this display, per Honda service bulletin 04-027 but the program for my vehicle had expired. They mentioned the campaign was part of a campaign not a recall, even though they acknowledge safety was one of the issues in the program. I live in an area where the roads are equipped with emergency message signage' are frequent and commonplace. Not having the ability to access these messages due to a campaign program where no notice was received by me (I am the original owner of the vehicle). This problem, with potential safety implications seems to rise to the level of a defect. As I write, the display is dark and has not even flickered since the initial occurrence.

- Sloatsburg, NY, USA

problem #24

Feb 142010

Accord

  • 77,000 miles

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

I have a Honda Accord 2003 LX. My stereo light is dim and I couldn't see the clock. They have a service bulletin 04-027. However, they told me that they fix all the 2003 Accord except model LX and dx. The point is my car has the same problem as other 03's Accord does. It is really dangerous which can cause accident if drivers try to read the time at the dark. ( or it is impossible to see during at night without the background light) Honda should cover all the 2003 Accord! not only upper model.

- Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #23

Jun 132009

Accord

  • miles
Bought this car used (with over 140,000 miles) for my teenage son. When he turned the headlights on - all the interior display lights for radio, heating and air conditioning and defrosters went dark. We called Honda of America and they denied any knowledge of history of this recurring problem. They even went so far to say that because the Honda was manufactured in Mexico that no warranties applied. The car had a 6 cd player when we bought it Honda said the entire radio system could only be replaced by a single disc player. It cost $1000 to have the problem fixed. I own 3 Honda, have owned Honda for decades and will look to american made cars for all my future purchases.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #22

Feb 152009

Accord

  • 110,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Accord ex has had an ongoing problem of the accessory lights going out that control the radio and HVAC controls. It is actually a transistor on the printed circuit board blowing that controls the consoles lighting. Honda knows about the issue and has put out an extended warranty about this for 7 years or 105,000 miles, whichever comes first. If the warranty is out, the cost to fix it through the dealership is $700-900, not something many people these days can afford, and because they can't afford it, their safety is decreased. Although this is a known issue and the warranty has run out, they really should take responsibility and fix any that have this problem because this is a serious distraction while driving. Multiple times I've tried to change my temperature or radio settings and while trying to see the display almost gotten into an accident. There are message boards all over the internet addressing this issue and how much of a safety concern this is. An anonymous user posted this on the boards: : "can't view anything on the radio display or center controls. This is especially dangerous at night when trying to adjust the heat or A/C and can't see what I'm doing. Honda should definitely fix the issue. It really is a safety problem." More details here: www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Accord/2003/accessories-interior/stereo_backlight_blew_cant_just_replace_the_bulb.shtml.

- Shawmut, ME, USA

problem #21

Sep 172008

Accord

  • 106,000 miles

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

In September, my '03 Honda Accord LX V6 started shifting hard from 2nd gear in morning traffic. After a few miles, the car would not shift out of 2nd gear. 1st mechanic couldn't replicate the issue. On the way home, dashboard lit up like a christmas tree; check engine light, tcs light, oil light. Had car towed to dealer; total transmission failure. In addition to the transmission dying, 6 months ago the dashboard/radio/temperature panel lights failed, the dome light doesn't work, the right headlight has needed to be replaced 3 times, the driver's side seat has always been loose. I am the original and only owner of this car and have had it repaired/maintained at Honda dealers since purchase. To have all these issues, plus have the transmission fail at 106,000 miles is unacceptable. Then to have to pay $2200 to have a used, remanufactured transmission installed is unacceptable. This is chronic problem for the '03 Accord. A recall should be issued, people should be refunded their money already paid and offered a significant discount to be placed into a safe new car. It is only a matter of time before someone is really hurt...or has it happened already.

- Marshfield, MA, USA

problem #20

May 012005

Accord

  • 39,000 miles
I am the original owner of a 2003 Honda Accord ex. I have read numerous complaints concerning the same issue that I have experienced ( www.askmehelpdesk.com/cars-trucks/2003-Honda-Accord-wiring-problem-8584-10.html ). my radio/cd changer, temperature control and defrost lights went out just after my warranty had expired. I was also told that it would be a $400+ repair and the car would need to be kept for 2-3 days. Seeing that many others have experienced that same problem I would request that a recall to fix the problem be issued immediately. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #19

Sep 082008

Accord

  • miles
September 8th was a rainy day. Left class in the rain to notice that my wipers had completely stopped working on my 2003 Honda Accord. Thought that is was the fuse, but the fuse is fine. Haven't taken car to dealership yet because I wanted to do some research on any recalls. I've also had issues with my interior radio/ac lights. They don't work at all.

- Dunwoody , GA, USA

problem #18

May 292008

Accord 6-cyl

  • 102,613 miles
The back light that lights all of my instruments in my dash went out. I own a 2003 Honda Accord ex. There was no sign of a problem and then all of a sudden the lights went out...there is not a fuse or anything that controls this problem. It is a wiring issue in the stereo that causes the problem and it can be in upwards of $1000 to fix a light issue according to the forums online.

- Grandview, MO, USA

problem #17

Oct 312006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

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

I was driving at night when the lights for the radio and climate controls went out. The radio and heat/ac still work. I can use the cd player, the radio and the heat/ac I just cannot see what channel, temperature, etc. The lights on the knobs for these controls also went out. Checked every fuse and all of them are fine.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #16

Oct 302006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
- the contact stated that headlights failed while driving at night. The contact stated that the headlights flickered on and off. This happened all the time, the headlights would be functioning, and then the light flickered on and off automatically. The contact stated that the interior dome light flickered on and off as well. Honda had a recall for the same problem for 2003 Accord with campaign # 06E02300, for exterior lighting, headlights. The contact took the vehicle to the dealership, and was told that the electronic load detector needed to be replaced, which would cost $676.38. The contact felt this vehicle should be part of the recall. Updated 02/27/07.

- Shady Side, MD, USA

problem #15

Jun 052006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
Problem statement: 2003 Honda Accord console control lighting and stereo background lighting has failed. Why is this a problem: During night time driving you cannot see the controls to make adjustments and therefore have to turn on the overhead lighting to make any adjustments to the fan, temperature, change air flow position etc, or adjust the stereo. This is an error precursor to having an accident as it distracts you from driving. This is a generic problem: A quick research of the web indicates this is a common failure among Honda Accord ranging from years 2003 to 2005. In these Honda Accord all of the console control lighting is powered by circuits in the stereo and therefore the only fix is to replace the stereo at an estimated cost of $300 to $500 dollars.

- Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #14

Nov 232006

Accord

  • miles
There was nothing of consequence that occurred in the time leading up to this failure. The display, containing the clock, air conditioning, radio, and cd controls of the 2003 Honda Accord no longer lights up. This makes it very inconvenient to attempt to use any of these features. It is very expensive to have this fixed, as well, since the light source is inside the unit and the entire center unit must be replaced, which can cost approximately 1000 dollars. I am aware of this problem happening in the cars of every other person I know who owns the same model car.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #13

Jun 252006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
I own a 03 Honda Accord. The radio unit is one piece which has the climate control and radio function. Recently the backlight went out on the unit making it impossible to see any of control including rear defroster in the night. I took the vehicle back to Honda and they refused to replace the unit saying the car is out of warranty. Apparently this is a common problem with 03-05 Honda Accord's. with out the backlight all climate function are not visible at night. Honda has a service bulletin for this: www.driveaccord.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=673 the repair should be done as recall campaign as it causes a problem is it impair visibility of climate function but to-date Honda consider this to be warranty only repair.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #12

Jun 092006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
The interior lighting of my Honda Accord coupe 2003 went out. From what I've seen it is a very common problem in these cars. Everything works properly but the lighting is out and nothing is visible on the lcd screen.

- Plymouth Meeting, PA, USA

problem #11

May 282006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,400 miles
For no known reason the radio dash display on the 2003 Honda Accord has gone black making it impossible to see any of the information related to the heating/air conditioning operation, radio/cd operation and time. There is a service bulletin issued but Honda doesn't seem to think it is a big problem in that they seem to be unwilling to recognize the problem and provide financial assistance to affected owners.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #10

Apr 152006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The radio and cd and heat and air console lighting went out on my Honda Accord. Two Honda service places and the main Honda headquarters say that I have to replace the $800 radio before my lease runs out. I didn't break the radio lighting. One service place said that this is a common problem with Honda Accord. Be aware!

- Leicester, NC, USA

problem #9

Apr 062006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Accord coupe - radio dash display went out failure of radio/climate displays makes it impossible to read time/temp/warning displays. Honda has thus far failed to admit this is a widespread problem despite multiple Honda Accord owners experiencing the same issue.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 122006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
Ran off the road, trying to use window defroster controls because the backlight on the radio controls ceased functioning.

- Streamwood, IL, USA

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