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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.

7.7

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$144.00
Average Mileage:
75,203 miles
Total Complaints:
15 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. disconnect factory radio (2 reports)
  3. disconnect after-market products from direct battery draw (1 reports)
  4. do not use the security system (1 reports)
  5. remove fuse for radio (1 reports)
  6. starter bad (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #15

Sep 242012

Accord LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 175,000 miles

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

While driving, the radio will turn off. Then when its parked, the radio will turn on. Its a factory radio. There shouldn't be a problem. I kept the car the way I bought it. No modification done. All factory. Don't have the warranty anymore and the car is paid off. But now I am spending money on batteries.

- , Simi Valley, California, USA

problem #14

Aug 012012

Accord 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

If I let my Accord sit for a week without using it, the battery will have been drained enough that the car will not start.

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #13

Jun 012011

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Dealer charged a total of over $1300, couldn't find problem,said could be A/C, trailer hitch wiring, alternater,battery, etc, found problem myself & changed starter! About 2 hrs to change!

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 112010

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

I'm so sick and tired seems like every 5-6 months the battery is dead. Once I jump start car its ok for a few. Purchased new battery 2-3 times a year.

- , Riverside, CA, USA

problem #11

Mar 272011

Accord LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Radio keeps going on and off after car is switched off

- , Victoria, BC, canada

problem #10

Oct 012008

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I really thought I was the only one having a problem with their batter dying almost daily. About 4 years into ownership of my Accord I was noticing the radio would turn on without the car being turned on. I took it to the dealer when my car was still under the ext warranty. They said they fixed it but when I went to my car after getting my keys the radio was playing and the keys were in my hand. I was really angry because, if they are certified and want us to bring our vehicles to them, they should know how to fix the problem. I had to eventually purchase a jump box, because it got so bad that my battery would die overnight. Worst case my battery had died over an 8hr period..I was at work!!! I finally had a friend take my car to his mechanic and they disconnected the FACTORY RADIO. My battery hasn't died since. I'm still angry to have spent over $20k on a vehicle, and don't have a radio!!

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #9

Jan 242009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

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

I am the person who reported the previous problem with the battery repeatedly losing its charge. I did not try removing any fuses as one person recommended, but I found that if I did not turn on the original Honda factory-installed security system, the cars battery remain charged no matter how cold the outside temperature was, or how long the car was not used for. I will call the Honda District trouble-shooter to set up an appointment to see if they can track the problem down - I believe the security system has a wiring fault or short that causes the battery to drain out overnight. Well get back to you with Honda's response.

- , Manteca, CA, USA

problem #8

Jan 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My problem with my 03 Accord Coupe EX sounds like the others. The car battery dies repeatedly. It doesn't die as much if I either drive more than 100 miles a day which I usually do, or don't let it sit for over a day and a half without starting. Something is draining out the battery. When it gets colder (below 40 degF outside) the problem shows up more often. Currently just start the car with a portable power-pack (best $40 I ever spent just like the other guy said). Am going to try to remove the radio fuse like one guy said and will let you know what happens. I might try removing other fuses to see which circuit might be draining out the battery. Will also call Honda to see if they have any updates -I would expect them to at least acknowledge there is a problem.

Update from Apr 10, 2010: Eventually I solved the problem in two stages: 1. I disconnected the after-market security system that was added to the original security system before I had purchased the car second-hand; 2. I re-wired my after-market sound system amplifier which was wired directly to the batter so that when ever the car was turned off the amplifier (hidden in the trunk) was still drawing amps from the batter. The problem is fixed so I can only say that the two items drawing on the battery when the car was shut down were after-market products (security system and sound system.)

MIke B

- , Manteca, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 312008

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,050 miles

I have a 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 2 Door. I have had the car for about a year. Last Christmas I took the car in because the headlights would dim and brighten when you drove the car. The volts would range from 12.5-14.5. They said nothing is wrong with the battery or alternator. This is a normal Honda thing they said. I picked up the car 3 days later when I got back into town. It was about 20 above outside and it was dead as a door nail. The Honda Dealer said to install a better battery, so I did. I bought a gel type battery that cost around $130.00. At this time I drove the car everyday. For the last few months I onlt drive the car every 3-6 days. (I drive my crown vic to keep the miles down on this stupid Honda!) Every time i get in the car the battery is dead enough that the car only clicks. I have jumped it with a power pack more than 20 times. (best 40$ ever spent) I have put a tester on the battery with the car off (12.35V) and running (14.5V). With the battery disconnected it was 12.40V. So what is a guy to do. This is not a reliable Honda. I am thinking about trading it in for another Ford! Now I know why the car dealer was so willing to get rid of it!!!!!

- , Cedaredge, CO, USA

problem #6

Jun 242008

Accord EX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Since late last year, my electrical system has failed on at least 6 occasions. Four new batteries in the past year. I have had to carry around a portable battery charger and when I charge the battery it will start. It doesn't matter whether it is cold or not. Once we had driven it with friends to a parking lot near a beach. Over an hour on the road. Everything was off including the radio. When I got back in to start it, it was dead. No crank in the battery. Hooked it up and it immediately started. Honda has a problem on its hands. It sounds like the same complaint others are having. I left it at the dealer for two weeks and they couldn't get it to repeat the problem or find a problem. It has been in the dealer for the same problem three times. I think it is a bad internal computer chip that is not being located by the service department computer. My business partner has the same year, make and model with 25k on the car and it has happened to her twice and the battery replaced twice. I wonder if similar Acura models are doing the same.

- , Bremerton, WA, USA

problem #5

Mar 032008

Accord LX 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

I have the same problem of the battery draining and I discovered that the radio was periodically turning on briefly and repeatedly while the car was turned off. This resulted in the battery draining. This seems to happen when the car is cold. Removing the fuse for the radio prevented this from recurring, proving that power going to the radio was the cause.

- , Gorham, ME, USA

problem #4

Jan 112008

Accord EX 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

03 Accord battery periodically looses its charge. Probably a dozen times over the past 4 years. New battery didn't help, several mechanics looked at it and said the charging system is fine and there is no reason for the problem. After jump starting it, It will work again for another week to 6 months.

- , Rockville, MD, USA

problem #3

Jun 032007

(reported on)

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought this Accord in 2004 in hopes of having a problem free vehicle... wrong. My battery died again tonight after two previous deaths. I just got this battery in Jan/Feb. I am more than pissed. I currently have 92,000 + miles but this occurred around 50,000 and again at 80,000 something. Freaking ridiculous.

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #2

Oct 222006

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

We bought our honda from a certified honda dealer and I must add that we traded in our 2003 F-150 lariat that never gave us a single problem, anyway three days after we got the car it stopped running while my wife was driving. The car went to the dealer and changed the batt. and the alternator but couldn't tell us what the problem was. Three weeks after that the same thing happened and still no fix from the dealer. They say the car is fine. Well it has happened 5 times to be exact and still no fix. The worst part is that the service sucks from three different dealers.

- , Saint Jacob, IL, USA

problem #1

Sep 052006

(reported on)

Accord

  • 27,000 miles

Accord has died eight times since purchase. Dealership cannot determine the problem and Honda Canada unable to provide any assistance or relief. The period between breakdowns vary from three days to three months. We have asked for a new vehicle. This was not entertained. Bought two Hondas as most believe to be relatively maintenance free but have hard more than my share of problems with both the 2003 Accord and 2004 Civic. Dealership willing to investigate but to date no remedy has been provided.

- , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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