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.

6.5

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$472.00
Average Mileage:
72,304 miles
Total Complaints:
86 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (33 reports)
  2. Honda issued a recall - covered 100% for 7 years/100k miles (28 reports)
  3. replace the entire CD player radio (13 reports)
  4. call American Honda (1-800-999-1009), ask for goodwill repair (4 reports)
  5. call local honda dealer and mention service bulletin 04-027 (4 reports)
  6. radio removed, LCD replaced, radio re-installed (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

Aug 152007

(reported on)

Accord LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

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

HONDA IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF IMPORTS GETTING AWAY WITH "LITTLE" PROBLEMS THAT AMOUNTS TO" BIG" ONES. INSTEAD OF ENGINEERING A RADIO THAT THE BACKLIGHT COULD BE CHANGED THE WHOLE UNIT NEEDS TO BE REPLACE. HONDA WILL NOT EVEN ADDRESS THE ISSUE.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #25

Jul 172007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This problem appeared last year at some point. My wife drove without the backlight until we heard about the warranty extension.

Recently we had the circuit board replaced at our "favorite" dealership. At first we dropped off the car only to be called after 2 hours that they had to order the part. We picked up the car again and went there twice for nothing.

The 2nd time the part was there and the repair took 2-3 hours. A few days later my wife notices that the CD changer was no longer working - it does not play, load, or eject CDs.

We went back and were told (without any diagnosis - maybe they only forgot to re-connect the changer to the main unit or something simple like that?) that a new CD changer had to be ordered. That was 3 weeks ago and we have not heard anything. My phone calls are not being returned. Will give them a few more days, then complain with Honda.

- , Medfield, MA, USA

problem #24

Jun 132007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

At first the screen was just really faint and then it went out all together. Definitely a pain because that display is the control center of the car... lots of important information is displayed on that screen. Luckily, when I called Honda about this they explained that they were aware of the problem and that they had extended their manufacturer's warranty to 7 years/100k miles in order to cover this problem. The dealership that I took my car to corrected the problem for free (bad circuit board) in about two hours.

- , Avoca, MI, USA

problem #23

May 022007

(reported on)

Accord EX 4cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

The overall car is fine, but the freaking back light problem pisses me off to know end. The dealer in Middeltown NY is 100% CRAP. Without a doubt... the worst dealer I have ever delt with. Hond nees to recall this problem......... They are starting to smell like FORD!!!!

- , Highland Mills, NY, USA

problem #22

May 022007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

The LCD in Honda CD/Radios are a known problem. Just a pain in the butt. The dealership wanted me to buy another radio at $600.00. On ebay there was someone selling a service to repair the LCD light for $100.00. Just another reason why I won't ever buy another Honda. Transmissions are JUNK and they know it!

- , Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #21

Apr 292007

(reported on)

Accord LX 3.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

I BOUGHT MY 2003 HONDA ACCORD USED. I HAD FOR 3 WEEKS ANDS THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN THE RADIO. NOW I CANT SEE WHAT TIME IT IS OR WHAT TRACK OR DISC IM LISTENING TOO. I CANT SEE THE SETTING FOR THE HEATER/ AC. TO TOP IT ALL OFF, ITS NOT COVERED UNDER MY PIECE OF SH*T WARRANTY. THIS IS A REAL PAIN IN MY ASS!!!!!!!!!

- , L'Burg, IN, USA

problem #20

Apr 242007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

Back light went out at 90000 miles on radio. Not only can I not see the radio, but I'am unable to see the settings my heat or air are on. This becomes annoying since I drive at night all the time in a bad part of town. I just have to hope nothing else will go out. This inconvient since I thought I bought a top of the line vehicle that has no problems. Was I sadly mistaken. Honda just wants their money to fix the problem, they don't care about customer satisfaction. Call American Honda (1-800-999-1009), ask for goodwill repa

- , Kaufyan, TX, USA

problem #19

Oct 112006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 40,000 miles

Honda is crap. This is my 4th Honda and my last Honda. I took my car to Tameron Honda here in B'ham (aka - the worst dealership ever) and they replaced it, but I'm fairly certain they did NOT replace it with a new stereo as they told me they did. Not to mention this is also the dealership that told me that there was nothing wrong with my window motor and then the motor went out a month later. If you are in b'ham take your car somewhere else... And for goodness sake... DO NOT BUY A CAR FROM TAMERON. I've known lots of people who have had the same underhanded selling tactics used on them at Tameron... This is not a coincidence... It's the way they do business.

I have several problems with my car... Window motor out at 37K miles (problems with it started at 15K, but Honda wouldn't do anything about it), Windows rattle, outside window trim is crinkling up, interior light cover comes off easily, door molding coming off, transmission went out, O2 sensor went out. I hate this car. Never again will Honda get my business.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #18

Feb 272007

(reported on)

Accord EX 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

This is not really a complaint... more of a kudos to Honda for fixing an annoying defect and a heads up to those who have the same problem. I purchased my car last month from a general used car dealer (not a Honda dealer). One morning I got in my car and the backlight would not work. I googled the defect and promptly found the problem on AutoBeef. Called a Honda dealer in my area (Birmingham, AL) and mentioned the problem and SERVICE BULLETIN 04-027. They worked me in within two business days, and the problem was fixed for free. Everyone at the dealership was really nice, and looking at my invoice, it looks like they also replaced my air breather pipe (part of a different service bulletin 03-043) without me even asking (or knowing there was a problem). So be sure to mention the service bulleting, and you should be fine.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #17

Mar 142007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

When my light went out I was sure you could just replace a bulb or fuse but when I called Jim Skinner Honda in Dothan they told me it would cost $400 and I would have a huge hole in my dash for 4 to 6 weeks while they sent it back to the factory. As many Honda's as this has happen to i would think there would be a factory recall.

- , Headland, AL, USA

problem #16

May 132006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 61,000 miles

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

I've had several minor problems with my honda that I have just put up with, but the one thing that I guess I took for granted was that the stereo/cd player/air conditioner screen backlight would work past 3 years. I called my service tech @ honda who asked "how many miles I had"(62000) "did I purchase an extended warranty"(no). He said it was going to cost about 300-400 bucks to replace a power switch and then proceeded to give me the number to some hole in the wall that would charge less to replace it. I'm considering it because I'd rather not give Honda another dime of my money. Any Honda accord owner 2003 and beyond knows how vital that display screen is and if not just wait until it goes out on you!!!!I'm guessing I'll start seeing alot more complaints once these screens start going out in cars everywhere!!

- , Katy, TX, USA

problem #15

Oct 142006

(reported on)

Accord

  • 17,500 miles

I only have 17,500 miles on the car and I can no longer see what station is playing on the radio. I can not see which CD I selected to play, I can not see the heat gauge or the air conditioning gauge. This is really awful and my warranty just expired in August of this year 2006. I do not know what to do.

- , Carver, MA, USA

problem #14

Feb 122007

(reported on)

Accord EX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

This is not really a beef, it is more a positive report for Honda. After reading these complaints, I called our Honda dealer and told him about the LCD in the radio went out. I also told him that I had noticed that there was a service bulletin out for this, and he told me that they new about it and as long as we did not damage it by abuse (like pouring coffee over the radio), they would replace the LCD free of charge. They took the radio out, replaced the LCD, and re-installed the radio. I took the car in the morning, and it was ready by noon. They took me to work, and also picked me up, so it was really painless. In my mind, Honda is the best! (The waranty ran out last year.)

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #13

Jan 302007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

The backlighting of the radio went out after the warranty expired. I called the dealer and they said it would be $774 for a new radio to be installed. I called Honda America for the Goodwill replacement. Well, no goodwill there. Since this is our first Honda and we do not have it serviced at the dealer, they couldn't help us. This will be our last Honda. Once the radio is repaired, it's going up for sale. My wife had a Toyota 15 years ago. They charged us $450 to replace the water pump. That was the last Toy we owned. No more imports for me.

- , Magnolia, TX, USA

problem #12

Jan 302007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

This is the second Accord that I've owned. My previous Accord was a 1990 LX and was an absolute peach of a car. I never had any major problems except for an ignition problem ($400) for which there was a recall. It cost me nothing to fix. I drove that car for 12 years and 135,000 miles before finally donating it to a local rescue mission. I expected the same performance with the 2003 but was quickly disappointed. I love the horsepower of the V6, but the radio backlight went out at 48,000 miles rendering the radio, CD, clock, and A/C dial useless. When I contacted Honda, they said I was too far over the 36,000 warranty mileage for them to repair it for free. Consequently, I've been driving it for 1 1/2 years with no radio display. This is definitely my LAST HONDA. I'm switching to Lexus for sure the next time I buy a car. "Disgruntled Honda owners unite!" Honda should come clean with all of us and repair this "known" problem for free.

- , Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #11

Dec 232006

(reported on)

Accord EX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

The radio and climate control are one unit. I can't even just replace the radio. This is bullocks.

- , Tucker, GA, USA

problem #10

Jan 032007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

Stereo/AC control panel went dark, replaced under warranty.

- , Prairieville, LA, USA

problem #9

Dec 202006

(reported on)

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

My 2003 Honda Accord is about to hit 65,000 miles and the backlight on my radio just all of a sudden quit working. My radio still works fine I just can't see anything. It is a real inconvenience. It is very frustrating to me that Honda did not have the courtesy to do a recall as this is obviously a big problem with big costs. I am fortunately not having to pay for this because I have a great dealer, Moore Stewart Honda in Selma Alabama. I highly recommend them. They are dealing with Honda directly so that I do not have to and are making sure that Honda is going to pay for it!! If you are in the area I highly recommend them!!

- , Prattville, AL, USA

problem #8

Sep 112006

(reported on)

Accord EX-V6

  • 32,000 miles

This is a KNOWN issue with American Honda. Service Bulletin 04-027 explains the backlight defect in all 2003 and some 2004 Accords with the 6-Disc In-Dash Unit. The LX with Single-CD and Navigation Units are not affected. The service bulletin gives the VIN ranges for the 2004 models that are affected. The service bulletin is titled Audio-HVAC Display Module is Dim or Dark.

Even if your Accord is out of warranty, the dealer will call American Honda, and they will replace the stereo on a good-will basis at no charge to the customer. If the Accord is still within the original warranty, no charge.

I heard about the defect, then my backlight burned out as well. I found the service bulletin online and gave my dealer a copy. They called American Honda and my replacement stereo was ordered. Once the replacement stereo was in, I made an appointment and 2 hours later, my car was done with a new stereo. If your local dealer tries to charge you, call American Honda directly.

This is not a recall because it is not a safety issue. A service bulletin was issued instead so if your Accord has the backlight failure, the dealer will already be aware of the defect and the solution.

From what I have read on the internet about this issue, it is a defect in the stereo unit itself, from whoever manufactured the unit (Honda does not make stereos). There is a resistor on the circuit board that is too close to the amplifier heat sink. Over time, the resister will melt and fail. The resistor controls the backlighting. The unit remains functional, but the backlight and button illumination no longer operate. The problem was discovered and corrected in 2004, which explains why all 2003 and some 2004 models were affected.

- , Valencia, CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 112006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 40,000 miles

My cd player completely quit working at @ 40,000 miles. It will not even let me eject the cds. I was so excited to have a 6 disc cd changer. A lot of good this does me now.

My LED light in the radio display also went out at @45,000 miles and from what I have read this is a major problem in 03 accords. Call American Honda and report the problem. Mention "Goodwill Consideration" and Service Bulletin 04-027. (Vehicles affected: 2003 Accord (except DX and LX L4 models):ALL. This was issued July 9, 2004. You might be able to get your radio replaced for free even if your warranty has "run out".

- , Statesville, NC, USA

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