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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,515 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Aug 042012


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the keys became stuck in the ignition. The ignition would rotate forward to start but would not rotate to release the key from the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for repairs under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V364000 ( electrical system:ignition). The dealer stated that the vehicle had already been repaired under the recall. The vehicle was taken to a personal mechanic who informed the contact that the original recall had not been performed on the vehicle. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that the vehicle had already been repaired under the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and the current mileages were 130,000.

- Diboll, TX, USA

problem #21

Oct 152006


  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer states that her vehicle rolled into another vehicle when the key was taken out of the ignition. She had to pay to fix the other vehicle and would like to be reimbursed since there is a recall for this issue.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #20

Oct 192010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact received recall notice NHTSA#10V364000; electrical system, ignition regarding the ignition. There was no problem with the ignition before she received the recall notice; however, after the dealer performed the recall repair they were unable to remove the key out of the new ignition. The dealer had to install the old ignition back into the vehicle in order to start it. The vehicle began to stall and would not start after the recall repair was performed. The vehicle was towed twice to a local mechanic who was unable to diagnose the failure. The dealer was not contacted regarding the continuous failures. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Rockland, MA, USA

problem #19

Oct 012010


  • 138,000 miles


2003 Honda Accord ex the key cannot be removed from the ignition unless the car is forced hard into park. When running, if the car is placed in park, the car will not stay parked and begins to move forward. Placing the emergency brake on holds the car if the car tries to move while in park. The problem occurs one hundred percent of the time and has been occurring on my vehicle for two months.

- Burlington, WI, USA

problem #18

Aug 262009

Accord 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that after he parked his vehicle in the garage and removed the key out of the ignition, the vehicle rolled backwards and crashed into a tree. There were no injuries. There was extensive damaged to the rear bumper of the vehicle. The insurance company repaired the vehicle; however, the contact was responsible for the repair cost. The dealer stated that if he was able to take the key out of the ignition that there was no failure. The dealer did not call the contact regarding the failure; although, he had taken the vehicle back for other routine maintenance. NHTSA recall #10V364000, electrical system ignition dated August 04, 2010 was related to the failure and was not expected to begin until on or about September 29, 2010. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired by the dealer. The failure mileage was 65,000. Updated 11/05/10 updated 11/05/10.

- Windsor, CT, USA

problem #17

Feb 032010


  • 109,300 miles
Was able to remove car key from ignition while car still in "drive".

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #16

Jan 012010


  • 55,000 miles


Unable to remove key from ignition in 2003 Honda Accord during cold weather. The problem is my car could be stolen since I can't get my key out, therefore I can't lock my car. I am carrying a spare key, but anyone can look in my car and see my key in the ignition. All you need to do is break my window and drive away with my car.

- Strasburg, OH, USA

problem #15

Feb 292008

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles
I drive a 2003 Honda Accord with 71,000 miles. The ignition key is stuck at position 1 of 3 and cannot be returned to 0. I am unable to get the key out in any gear position (others have tried it as well) and am unable to retrieve the key.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #14

Dec 222006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
This problem has been occurring intermittently for 2.5 years, has never manifested itself while at the dealer. It all started with the yellow traction control triangle lighting up, right after we bought the car. No symptoms, just solid non-blinking light on dash. Dealer had no solution. The problem got worse when my wife noticed that the car's transmission seemed to "bog down". I never experienced it, just my wife. Dealer said this was just the traction control kicking in, no solution. Last July, 4 hours from home, the car suddenly bogged down on me, I immediately looked down at the dash... the car was traveling 70 mph, the speedometer was dead, the engine was dead, I happened to be at an exit ramp, so I coasted off the interstate to a stop. I called the dealer in the nearest city, and they said to restart the car, I did, and it ran. I took the car to auto zone where they said the code was "speed control sensor/short". dealer checked it, and said there was no problem with sensor. They blamed it on having too much transmission fluid in the transmission. A few times since July, the car has mysteriously gone dead in traffic, notably while in the turn lane. 2 weeks ago, the red brake light started coming on. An isolated and separate issue I think. Last week, I drove 1 hour to the airport. The traction control and check engine light came on, and every time I used the turn indicator, the car died. It restarted itself as soon as the turn indicator was released if moving fast on road. While looping around the airport terminal, it stalled several times as I tested to see if the turn signal still killed it, having to shift to neutral and restart, as the car was idling when it stalled this time. I turned the car off to load bags, and when I turned it back on, no symptoms, and it has not done it since last week. The dealer could not reproduce the problem, again no solution.

- Prairieville, LA, USA

problem #13

Jan 012003

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. The consumers vehicle only 3500 miles and has been serviced 5 times for the same ignition problem. The consumer was told nothing can be done and the consumer would have to live with the vehicle not starting. The cabinet door under the radio had to be replaced because it began vibrating audibly, the sunroof had to be re-greased and shimmied.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #12

Nov 012004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2003 Honda Accord coupe has hard starts. Will occasionally turn the key several times before engine will start.

- Lake Hiawatha, NJ, USA

problem #11

Jul 032004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Feel a grinding noise when moving the car forward (under 10 mph). The problem happens only when first starting the car and moving from park. It doesn't happen after the car runs and stops for red light.

- Lake Hiawatha, NJ, USA

problem #10

Feb 042004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,500 miles
Car does not start up immediately when I turn the key (particularly in cold weather). Turns over, but seems almost as if it is not going to start. Onda service manager tells me 10-15 seconds of crank time is considered normal. However, I don't think this is normal.

- Old Bridge, NJ, USA

problem #9

Dec 262003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,560 miles
I have a new 2003 Accord V6 less than 5,000 miles. The car has hard starts one out of every 5-10 times. There seems to be a growing trend and I am worried about the durability of my new car. The ignition turns over continuously but the car won't start.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #8

Oct 192003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
New 2003 Honda Accord V6 - about 1 out of every 5 times I start my car, it does not start smoothly. Usually takes a couple of seconds for the engine to turn over.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #7

Sep 252003


  • miles
I recently purchased a 2003 Honda Accord V6 6speed. Overall, I feel the car has been very nice but there are a few problems that I have noticed with the car. I seem to have a "hard" start problem every so often where the car will crank it just wont turn over. I also noticed a popping sound every time I start to go after the car has been sitting for a while. I'm very skeptical on the quality of the Accord now as I'm a former owner of a 2000 Accord.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #6

Aug 192003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74 miles
I have a 2003 Honda 4door Accord V6 and sometimes it won't start on the first crank.

- El Cerrito, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 132003


  • 900 miles
The vehicle was parked in the driveway with park brake engaged when the vehicle rolled out into the street due to a faulty ignition.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #4

Jul 102003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle has hard starts. Will occasionally turn the key several times before engine will start.

- Whitefish Bay, WI, USA

problem #3

Jul 212003

(reported on)


  • 0 miles
Intermittently vehicle will hesitate to start. It will have a hard start. Dealership cannot locate cause.

- Thiells, NY, USA

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