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. 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
17,043 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Oct 302012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


I am the first owner of 2003 Accord, ex. My car has 113,000 miles on it. Its a well maintained car I kept for years. I must say that this car is excellent, however, there are signs that some parts are not functioning really well lately. For the past few months, I noticed my tcs sign on the dashboard comes on and off together with the triangle sign in orange. It started coming on after I turned off the ignition to my first destination and after just like 10-15 minutes and start my engine again, it will come on after driving for next 5-10 minutes. Also, just two weeks ago I noticed that the gear gets stuck on "park" mode and I have to press the handle before it gets released. I am not sure if the gear has something to do with the tcs and triangle showing on the dashboard. Also, I noticed my car has an issue with brakes when driving while raining. I have to step on the brakes a few times when its slippery to be able to come to a full stop. It's so scary that I almost hit the car in front of me a few times. I am lodging my complain so the manufacturer would take a look on this issue as I found all the complaints on tcs issue on 2003 Honda Accord ex online when I was trying to look for a solution on the same issue for my car.

- El Segundo, CA, USA

problem #37

Feb 042004

Accord 4-cyl

  • 8,300 miles
Front brake rotors continue to warp. I have taken the vehicle into Honda 4 times since owning the vehicle and the rotors have been resurfaced and new brake pads put on. The front brake rotors have never been replaced. The vibration is very bad when braking.

- Dublin, CA, USA

problem #36

Nov 142011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 76,095 miles
Since July 2011, my 2003 Honda Accord LX V6 experienced sluggish in the transmission. Sometime, suddenly, my car felt like someone slammed on the brakes causing me to jerking forward. It happened a few more times, then in September 2011, I brought the car in the dealer for the transmission service. I told the dealer service advisor about the symptom, after the dealer flushed the transmission fluid, then told me that the car sometime sluggish, replaced the fluid will fixed this.the problem got worse, more noise, jerking when the car automatically shifting, in November, the traction control system engaged, and the engine check light were illuminated.the car was slow to move. Brought the car to the dealer again on 11/14/2011, the dealer told me that the car "needs linear shift solenoid and brake light switch, parts had to be ordered, and the car can be drive !!! I drove the car home, it was so bad that I had to let the car sit waiting for parts. On 11/29/2011, the dealer replaced the linear shift solenoid and the brake light switch, then told me that the problem was fixed. Got the car home, the next day, I only drove about 5 miles, the noise and all the symptoms came back. I had to brought the car back to the dealer again. This time, they consulted with the Honda company technical service. After several days, the dealer told me that Honda technical service determine that the power train (transmission) is causing the problem; I need a transmission replacement, and it cost $3900. Called Honda customer service to register a complain about Honda service. This definitely need a recall.

- Port Ewen, NY, USA

problem #35

Mar 152004


  • 2,500 miles


My 2003 Honda Accord has had a shudder when braking practically since I've owned the car-bought new in Feb. 2002.. my mechanic told me the brakes would still work and I could drive the car as long as I was aware of the problem. I thought the Honda dealership in omaha had damaged the brakes while fixing the ABS system due to a recall. I now see it was probably a design flaw--since so many other owners of this model have experienced the same thing. Now the brakes need replacement, and I will ask for non-Honda parts. I previously owned a 1999 Honda Accord, and it was wonderful. This 2003 is not--in addition to the brake problem, the paint scratches easily and the interior is of very cheap materials, the ac smells bad when turned on, and the car has had electrical problems--many occurring after it was no longer under warranty. I will not buy another Honda vehicle.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #34

Apr 152009


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle suddenly stopped. The contact waited a few seconds and restarted; the vehicle performed normally after the restart. The failure occurred five times. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop where the timing chain and valve cover were replaced; however the ABS light was illuminated. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 53,000 and the current mileage was approximately 62,000.

- Ogdensberg, NY, USA

problem #33

Oct 012003


  • miles
I own a 2003 Honda Accord which I've owned for 3 years with in the last 3 years I have had to replace my brakes rotors pads and calibers 5 times my brakes over heat and sometimes wont stop this is a known issues to Honda and they have done nothing to fix it im afraid to drive my car cause I don't know if im ever going to stop even after having to had my brakes repaired 5 times and yet car still does the same thing someone needs to recall the brakes on this car before someone dies.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #32

Feb 012010


  • 55,000 miles


2003 Honda Accord ex 4 door sedan. I have had a soft, touchy brake pedal since the car reached 55,000 miles. Before that it was perfect, rock solid. I took it to the Honda dealership and the service advisor told me that they couldn't find anything wrong but they would replace the brake master cylinder and the ABS electronic modulator under my warranty. After few days the problem did not improve. The brake pedal went 1/2 way down easily and then the disc brakes just locked up all of a sudden. The driver had no real control over the braking actiion. I returned to the dealer and they called Honda repair and talked to a tech. He said that a soft, touchy pedal was normal on these cars. I told them that up to 55,000 miles the brakes were perfect. What had happened? they did not know. So I had them replace all my pads and turned all rotors.I then had them bleed the brakes. The stopping power did increase but the soft, touchy brake pedal remained. After going back to the dealer the 3rd time to complain, they finally just told me that they could not find anything wrong with my brakes and therefore could not help me. So I went to another dealer and had them rebleed my brakes just to be sure that there was no air in the system. After they did that my brake pedal firmed up a little bit. But after 2-3 days the soft, touchy pedal returned. No one at Honda could give me any explanation. Now I am reading about defects allowing air into the braking system from the ABS modulator and I am thinking now that it is the problem. It would explain why my brake pedal was fine for about 5 years and then all of a sudden the brake pedal problem appeared. I also drove a new 2010 Accord ex 4 door to compare the brakes. The new Honda had a very firm, solid brake pedal. So I went back to the service department and told them that I wanted them to fix my brakes so that they felt like the 2010 Accord's brakes. I was told by the service advisor that everything was fine and that it was my imagination.

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #31

Dec 262009


  • 91,000 miles
This issue is related to braking performance under raining condition. When driving under the rain, the brake performance is dramatically reduced. The car simply slip and hardly stop when pressing the brake.

- San Carlos, CA, USA

problem #30

Dec 132005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
I was driving 70 mph on the freeway, and I stepped on my brakes gently to slow down hill. The car started to shake. When I brought it to the dealer's attention during my service, I was told that it was my rotors warped and brake pads rubbing on each other. I research this online through,,, and this was a common problem. The dealer told me that everytime I changed my brakes every 20K miles, I would need the rotors resurfaced. This is a cost of $200 at the dealership. It is expensive and unreasonable to expect all Accord owners to do this. I called another Honda dealership service in the area, and was told that they see this come in every 3 days.

- West Covina, CA, USA

problem #29

Nov 102005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,450 miles
Late April 2005, brake pedal went almost to the floor while trying to stop. Thought was going to strike vehicle ahead but at the last second the brakes seemd to catch and vehicle was able to stop. At that time tcm light came on. No one injured. Dealer could find no problem with tcm system and replaced front disc brakes and turned rotors. Vehicle had 27,700 miles at that time. Second and third occurrences were in mid November 2005. Same thing with pedal going almost to floor with brakes not engaging and at last minute they engaged with vehicle able to stop. Tcm light did not come on this time. Dealer could not find any problem with brake system, nor could he repeat problem in the 8 hours he had the vehicle. No repairs made. Dealer said he has not heard of this problem but has several tsb's on brake rotors and brakes. Vehicle had 34559 miles at this time.

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #28

Mar 022004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles


1. car was sold as a white Honda Accord, all bumpers are eggshell, dealer told me that is the color on all white Honda vehicals. 2. car pulls to the right at all speeds, dealer told me that is the way all new Honda are built to vere off the road rather then oncoming traffic. 3. brakes make a loud clicking noise after in reverse to drive, dealer said that was the brakes resetting.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #27

Jul 172004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,636 miles
2003 Honda Accord recall on tranmission. Consumer learned of recall on the internet. Recall automatic transmission second gear inspection was performed. Alarm key remote no range, must be right up on car to work. Front brake noise and/or judder. Front brake discs were refinished and new front brake pads. Tires were rotated and and rear brake service was performed.

- Smithtown, NY, USA

problem #26

Jul 012004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,600 miles
Complaint received via E-mail. I purchased a brand new car, and since then I have been back to the dealership numerous amounts of times for many problems. First problem was my brakes needed to be replaced at 4600 miles, but weren't replaced until 7700 miles 3.5 months later due to back order. Currently, with 17,900 miles the brakes were grinding again. This is my 3rd Honda, and the worse one, yet likely my last. The second problem was that my right rear door was locked for 3 months. The dealer claimed that the problem was due to getting my windows tinted, but they attempted to fix three times, and was told the third time the problem only occurs if the temperature goes below 32 degrees. Since then the temperature has been over 32 degrees. I also have problems with sulfur odor coming from the exhaust, and was told that this was normal problem, would go away with time. But as time goes by the odor gets worse, and smells like rotten eggs. Another problem with the car is the alignment has been off since I bought the car. I have had my own mechanic look at the car, and he believes the car won't align correctly because of the axles. The final problem with my piece of crap Honda is the driver seat isn't secure, it slides very little back and forth and side to side.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #25

Jul 172004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
When braking the car shakes significantly and steering wheel moves side-to-side.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #24

Jul 102004


  • 34,000 miles
While attempting to apply the brakes the pedal began to pulsate, as a result the consumer experienced extended stopping distance. Please provide additional information.

- La Palma, CA, USA

problem #23

Jul 092004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,300 miles
The front brakes on my wife's 2003 Accord LX are the problem. We bought the car new in Nov. 2002. No problems for the first year, then in Nov. 2003 we noticed a growling or grinding sound with vibration emanating from the front brakes when stopping the first few times after a cold start. Under these conditions, the car did not seem to stop as smartly as it should. Took it to the dealer at 24000 miles, who diagnosed the problem as cracked front pads. Pads were replaced as a courtesy, though they are not covered under warranty, and the rotors were resurfaced. Last week, the problem reappeared in a panic stop situation in stop-and go traffic, 3 blocks after a cold start. The car now has 33K miles. Same grinding sound, same vibration, and not enough braking power to stop the car from 20 mph in a safe distance. We collided with a range rover at very low speed, not enough to deploy the air bag or damage the other vehicle. Now I am looking at several thousand dollars in body repairs. When I get the body fixed, I can take the car back to the dealer for another diagnosis on the brakes. Even with new pads and/or rotors, I am not confident that this will be a safe-stopping car.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #22

Oct 202003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140 miles
When the brake pedal was depressed vehicle failed to stop immediately. The brakes made a grunting noise, and vehicle jerked forward with force. This almost resulted in an accident. This vehicle was equipped with traction control. Also, brakes made a grinding noise. However, dealership indicated that this was normal because of the type of braking system that the vehicle had. Dealership performed a diagnostic test, in which no failure code was found. A factory representative inspected the vehicle, but the cause of the failure was undetermined. The vehicle has had four significant brake failures within the last 7000 miles. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they have been unable to duplicate the problem.

- Jamul, CA, USA

problem #21

Apr 302004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The dealer replaced the front brakes at 6,800 miles. At 22,469 miles, dealer indicated to the consumer that she needs to replace the rear brakes at owner's expense.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #20

Jun 012004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
When the brakes were applied, there was a shuttering in the front end. As a result, the vehicle was almost involved in an accident. Defective brake pads were installed during manufacturing. Excessive heat warped the rotors and affected the steering.

- Chadds Ford, PA, USA

problem #19

Sep 152003


  • Manual transmission
  • 23,240 miles
On one of my visit to the dealer to complaint about my the brakes on my car I also complained about the fact that my car makes noise when I am driving on surface that should not make my car sound like their doors are not put on correctly. I thought because it was new it was just a new car squeak but when I drive with the radio off I can hear this noise and I can just imagine what it will sound like when the car is not so new. When I drive in any other vehicle I listen for this sound and I don't hear this noise but as usual the dealer cannot find it. I will be taking in my car for the same brake problems again. On 9/12/203. This will be the fourth time. The first time was on Nov/6/2002, and they resurface the rotors. The second time was on Feb/1/2003, they replace both front disc. The third time may/01/2003, they replace brake pads. The pads are very high and the rotors are thick. There is no sign of warp or roughness that I can feel whem I inspect the brakes and I am some what familiar with brakes.

- Concord, CA, USA

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