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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
12,500 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

problem #2

Jun 012004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The following is what happened to my daughter: While traveling in rush hour(5-10mph) traffic on I80 in new jeresy on her first day to a new job, her radio stopped playing. While pressing buttons to try to find another station, she realized that there was white smoke coming from under the hood. Other motorists noticing this beckoned her to move out of the lane that she was in to go to the shoulder. As she was doing this, she realized that she had no brakes. She proceeded to drive to the shoulder & then had to apply the emergency brake to stop the car, then turned off the ignition. While sitting in the car calling her boyfriend for help, she was hearing yelling from the other motorists to get out of the car. Not understanding what was going on, she opened her door to the screams of people telling her that her car was shooting sparks from the front & below. At that moment she started to get scared & got out. She saw the sparks & took a step back & heard a yell from someone to get away from the car. She started to walk away when a loud explosion was heard. Her brand new car had 15 ft. Flames coming from under the hood. Needless to say, she was devistated. Everyone at the scene, state police, mechanic, & fire dept. Concluded that this was electrical related.after 3 weeks of constantly calling Honda, waiting for an answer, naturally Honda disagrees. They said that the "probable cause"....was due to a "non- Honda" oil filter. At this site alone I found numerous complaints regarding heat related issues with the dashboard, etc.. my daughter had mentioned to Honda city in levittown, NY that the "check engine" light wouldn't go off. She was told it's "nothing". please contact us at: for all electrically related issues signed, a mom.

- Hicksville, NY, USA

problem #1

Dec 062003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
The fire wall or insulation under the hood the cowl wall caught on fire and they have no answer as to why. We have had two Accord at the dealership I work for in the last 6 months. The ironic part is this is my personal car an 2003 with 25000 miles on it. And we had a 2004 V6 that Honda bought back from our dealership because we did not want to have to disclose to a customer which by law we would have to do. Any time there is a fire I would think it would cause a recall of some kind. They feel that the car did not play a role in the fire but they are unable to tell me what caused it in the first place. My concern is you never know when this is going to occur like I said my car was already a year old and then we had an 04 with very few miles. I am getting a run around from the very company that I have worked for the last 8.5 years. And am not sure what to do. Now they want me to include my insurance company which is ridiculous because this is a Honda issue. I have not heard anything that would satisfy anyone. Would you feel comfortable putting your family in my car? my understanding is that they wont recall or campaign until they have enough cases and they are saying that there are only 10 or 20 cases in the us. I don't care I am one of those cases and I want satisfaction. Thanks for your time.

- Covington, KY, USA

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