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.

6.6

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$500.00
Average Mileage:
115,135 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. replaced radio (1 reports)
  3. the radio needs a new circuit board (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 012014

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

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

The stereo system is DEAD - the RADIO does NOT WORK!!! How do you screw up a radio? We have had radios in cars for a long time, many decades, yet Honda can't seem to get it right. I HATE driving around in silence without a radio!!!

I think this is the last straw for me with Honda cars. If you can't produce a simple durable electronic radio, then why should I trust you with spending a lot of money on your cars? Honda vehicles always seem to command a premium in terms of price compared to a similar type vehicle made by another manufacturer and the base versions always come without a lot of basic accessories.

I'm going to start looking into other vehicle manufacturers. This is like the American car companies in the early 80s - they got complacent and started having a lot of defects and reliability issues. So, our family turned to Honda vehicles. I guess Honda has lost their "quality" edge over other car manufacturers.

- , Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #6

Jun 182013

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 172,000 miles

WHY IN THE HELL HONDA WON'T RECALL THE BAD RADIO IN 2003 HONDA ACCORD. YOU CAN'T JUST BUY A RADIO OUT THE STORE CAUSE THE AC IS HOOKED ON THE RADIO. AND DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME TO REPLACE IT WITH A OUT OF THE STORE CAUSE IT WON'T. HONDA PLEASE FIX THE TOSHIBA LAPTOP CAR RADIO.

- , Albany, GA, USA

problem #5

Nov 282012

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 230,290 miles

Radio began going in and out some times playing some times static, then just quit working. Had to have mechanic unplug it. very annoying.

- , Conneaut, OH, USA

problem #4

Jan 012007

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

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

The frequency of the radio problem was growing. Issue was very rare and started around 70k miles. Restoring the audio was usually a matter of turning off the radio and any other uses of voltage (headlights, wipers, A/C, rear defroster) and then turning radio back on. That little trick failed to work today (it was raining).

Called local dealership. They will only replace the entire unit (not a circuit board) and the cost is roughly $1K. The repair is not worth the expense. Too bad. Everything else on the car has worked very well.

Now I need to decide if I want to put an antiquated "boom box" in the passenger seat to get radio broadcasts. I won't drive with ear buds from the ipod.

This car may be "donated" to the niece sooner than expected!

- , Decatur, GA, USA

problem #3

Mar 222006

Accord EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,655 miles

Had to do without the car and rent a car to get to work. What will go wrong next?

- , Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012010

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

My radio doesn't have back-lighting, it goes on and off by itself, and sometimes it makes a loud noise that just about sends my heart into attack. I go to the local Holland, MI dealer without checking for this problem on line. They tell me that this is not a common problem and that they will have to charge me $50 to check it out. After they check it out, they tell me that it will cost $900 to fix.

I now go on line and find that hundreds of other owners have had the same problem. I call Honda customer service and they agree that this is an inherent problem, but tell me that I have waited too long to ask for their assistance. They offer me nothing. I go to a local radio repair shop, they contact Honda and agree to fix the radio for $410 total, including their cut, which is only $65.

I think that I will choose a different dealer and car maker for my next purchase.

- , Holland, MI, USA

problem #1

Jul 012008

Accord LEV6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

The stereo system constantly stops playing. I disconnect the battery and reconnect, enter the security code and it works for a while.

Now the system is totally out, will not turn on.

I have had this car for 2 months the transmission has died and been replaced and now the stereo.

I am so surprised at the the lack of quality in Honda cars and all of the problems reported.

The Car sucks and the dealership I bought it from sucks - Hennessy Honda in Woodstock Georgia. Do yourself a favor, when you go shop for a car drive right on past this dealership.

You will be glad you did.

- , Marietta, GA, USA

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