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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,644 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #41

May 252015

Accord

  • 95,000 miles

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

Hi! as you can see, I am an owner of a Honda Accord 2003. I have recently taken it for a replacement of the passenger airbag. While I was doing some research, I found that this specific year and model, had some other issues or recalls too. For example, the transmission system. His caught my attention since I think I do have a problem probably related to it. I bought this car in may last year, from an acquaintance, and soon after, I noticed a shaking in the gas pedal, every time I was accelerating between 25 to 35 mph (city and highway). The shaking always go away when I stop speeding it for a second, and then continue to accelerate. It happens again and again. It first, and because the check engine turn on, I took it to the mechanic, and I was told that I needed to replace the catalytic. Well, I did it and...the problem persisted. Am I in danger here?. ok, I will wait for your response. In the meantime, as might understand, I will document this request, just in case something happens. Thank you for your time and attention!!!

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #40

May 122014

Accord

  • miles
The condenser as been ruptured twice due to debris on the street which as caused 500 dollars in repairs. Ruptured again two weeks after that was repaired. This issued needs to be addressed, have had several cases never experienced a issues such as this. However it's causing a uncomfortable driving experience and a lot of money that I don't have to repair a unnecessary repair. This needs to be recalled because it is clearly a design flaw that Honda has to know about.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #39

Dec 302013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
A/C compressor leaked freon (all of it).

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #38

Dec 082013

Accord

  • 183,000 miles

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

I bought my car used and granted it has almost 200,000 miles on it but I trusted in Honda that it was a good car now my transmission has gone out and I haven't had my car a year yet granted I'm disappointed in Honda bc I have read several forums about 2003 Accord have transmission issues with way less mileage than mine Honda really needs to investigate this issue. It's christmas time and I'm out a car I would fix the transmission on this vehicle but it's no point in doing 3000 dollars worth of work on a car when I owe more than that on it and I have already had to replace engine mounts, thermostat, crank shaft pulley.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #37

Feb 212013

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle repairs and seeks reimbursement. The consumer stated within the past year, the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, transmission, heater valve, transmission mounts, power steering pump, dash and steering links were all replaced.

- Ottumwa, IA, USA

problem #36

Apr 082012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 60 miles
Starting the car from a stopping point and slowly increasing the speed to 40 will result in slight jerks in the car. As the speed increase beyond 45 into the 60 the car will jerk repeatedly and try to shift down. RPM revs into the 5 or 6 zone, near redlining while only going 40 mph. Sometimes the car will shift down while on the highway causing car to jerk driver forward. Could lead to major car wreck. This car model already had a defective transmission, which was fixed by Honda, yet it seems to have another transmission issue now.

- Mansfield, TX, USA

problem #35

Apr 142012

Accord

  • miles

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

Honda Accord just stopped while my daughter was driving. Made a grinding sound when tried to restart. Fortunate that this happened on our court.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #34

Mar 192012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 142,800 miles
The very first thing I noticed was approximately 3 months ago. When parked, the rpms would suddenly jump to 2000 without pressing on the gas, then it would go back to normal. My malfunction indicator lamp came on briefly about a month ago, and then went off. The maintenance required light came on a week after the malfunction indicator lamp, and now blinks everytime I turn my car on. I was driving for approximately 15 minutes at a range of speed between 0 to 50mph. Very suddenly, the rpms shot up to 6000, and it violently jerked as though I was slamming on the brakes. There was a burnt rubber smell right afterwards. The longer I drove, the more frequently it happened. If I didn't have my seatbelt on, my head would have smacked the steering wheel. I was almost hit from behind several times. Now even when I am driving for a short distance and time, the rpms are higher than normal, and then the violent jerking begins.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #33

Jan 142012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 106,990 miles
I was driving at approximately 45 mph when the engine suddenly revved up and lost all power. It did this several times. I pulled off the road into a parking lot, I could not get the car to go into reverse or drive. Towed to Honda dealer. They "could not replicate the problem". recommended transmission fluid change, which was done. Fluid reportedly "dirty". (had been changed last time at 90,000 miles). I drove it approx 5 more weeks. At that time problem became consistent. Occasionally smelled "burning odor". engine revved up, no power. Would not go into reverse - clanked very hard into gear when shifting. Had great difficulty going up hills. Went back to Honda dealer - confirmed transmission failure.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #32

Jan 122012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 109,819 miles
I was driving approximately 30mph on a long straight road when for no reason the car started downshifting on it's own. The vehicle lurched. I came to a stop and while I was braking, the car suddenly stopped on it's own as if I slammed on the brakes. I stopped at a light, and then turned onto a side road. I was driving approximately 20mph when the car started downshifting on it's own again. I pulled over to the side of the road and once again, the car stopped suddenly as if I slammed on the brakes. After a few days at a personal mechanic, it was decided that the vehicle should be taken to a Honda dealership. Personal mechanic stated he at one point took my vehicle out on a side road where the vehicle suddenly went into a neutral speed and lost power. While on the freeway driving around 50mph to the dealership, car downshifted on it's own causing me to almost get rear ended. I pulled off freeway and came to a stop on the side of the road. Once again, the car came to a quick sudden stop as if I slammed on the brakes. Once at the Honda dealership, test were ran and it was decided the vehicle had transmission failure and the transmission needed to be replaced. They quoted me $4500 for repairs. Ended up calling Honda customer service, they were willing to only cover $1100. I ended up with a total bill of $3406.26.

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #31

Jan 052012

Accord

  • 108,000 miles

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

2003 Honda Accord. First transmission began to slip at 50,000 miles. Took to dealer for evaluation and was told nothing was wrong. About a week later, driving on West side highway going from brooklyn to home in NJ. Transmission failed and finally got it into first gear. Brought to dealer and transmission replaced at 50,000 miles. It was still under warranty at this time and did not have to pay anything. At 108,000 miles again I felt the transmission start to slip. Again, brought to Mahwah Honda and told that there was nothing wrong. One week later, driving on major highway in NJ (route 17 South) the transmission failed. Luckily, at cars going 60 mph around me I was able to coast into a parking lot and not get rear ended or in an accident. Car was flat bed trucked to dealer. When we discussed the issues we knew that Honda 2003 Accord/transmissions were having, they ignored the comments. This was now the third transmission for the car, the original, the replacement at 50,000 miles and the event that just occurred. They did not want to hear anything of it. In the end, the "deal" they gave was to pay close to $3000 for the transmission (they gave a 20% discount, how kind). The service was awful. As a life long Honda customer with at least 25 years of Honda cars, I will never go back. What a shame that Honda will not live up to their prior great reputation and back up the cars and obvious defect that could have killed me driving. Shame on Honda.

- Washington Township, NJ, USA

problem #30

Dec 012011

Accord

  • 150,000 miles
Transmission problems.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #29

Dec 262011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My 2003 Accord ex V6 completely failed. I was driving on the freeway at 65mph and the transmission went out with no prior warning and no warning lights. I was lucky and safely coasted off the freeway to the shoulder.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #28

Dec 162011

Accord

  • 102,000 miles
I was driving to work today and my car began to downshift into 1st gear when I was running about 45 miles per hour. It began jerking and after pulling over it would not go into reverse. If I had been on the freeway, this could have caused a serious accident. This is a major complaint with 2003 Honda Accord owners. Something needs to be done.

- Mcleansville, NC, USA

problem #27

Dec 092011

Accord

  • 95,000 miles
While driving at a constant speed, the engine suddenly started accelerating and then decelerating in quick succession causing the car to jerk back and forth uncontrollably. As I attempted to come to a stop on the side of the road, the car continued to accelerate/decelerate. Honda dealership diagnosis is transmission failure. Cost of repair is $3800. The car was just at the dealership in October for service and there were no issues then.

- Cave Creek, AZ, USA

problem #26

Nov 162011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
My transmission failed while driving on my way to work the morning of Nov. 16th with no warning whatsoever. Luckily I was not in an accident due to the fact I was unable to control the car because the RPM's were all over the place and the vehicle would only rev but not go any further. Therefore I immediately had to pull over in fear of causing an accident. I have researched the past few days how many other 2003 Honda Accord owners have had the same problem with their transmissions and there should really be a recall done by Honda. The transmission should not be going out at 76,000 miles. My car is currently being repaired at an independent transmission shop with an estimated cost of around $3400. I hope to recover some of that cost from Honda but further action needs to happen to ensure more people with similar year vehicles do not have to experience this as well.

- San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #25

Sep 012011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
I bought this car in June 2003 with 2 miles on it from jim coleman Honda in clarksville, md. I have only driven the car 88,000 miles and the transmission is dead. According to chryswel dealership in germantown md, the issue was not the transmission but the clutch pressure control which is responsible for shifting gears. That is what went bad which then caused debris in the transmission causing it to fail as well. The car runs fine when it is cold but once you dive it for about 20 minutes, it will automatically downshift to the 1st or 2nd gear and drop your speed for 60 to 20 or less with a big jolt on the passengers in the car. We are very close to getting into a major accident on the highway when it happened. The dealership quoted me $5000 to fix the transmission and also informed me that they have seen many other 03 Honda's with the same situation. I was really surprised that there has not been an official case against Honda to fix the issue or provide a recall. I am very disappointed with the service and support for Honda. This is one of the 4 Honda's I own but it will def be the last Honda I ever own. I have also submitted a complaint to Honda with the issue. I would appreciate any follow up on this issue. Thank you

- Boyds, MD, USA

problem #24

Oct 312011

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
My car seemed to drive fine when the transmission was cold, but when it warmed up after a few minutes of highway driving, the transmission would down-shift violently into first gear, regardless of the current speed.I could smell of burnt rubber in the car after such a forced down-shift. This seemed to be quite dangerous. Once this happened, the transmission would fail to shift into anything but first gear. It wouldn't go past 20mph on the freeway and almost caused an accident. When I tried calling the Honda corporate and dealership that said they had the oil jet kit looked at during the recall of 2004 but said there was nothing wrong with the transmission. There is obviously something wrong with the transmission because it shouldn't die this quickly. I know other people with the same car have had problems, which is very dangerous and nothing is being done about it. This is very disappointing. I guess it's ok to allow Honda come into this country, charge what they want and kill innocent lives. If they have made a mistake, instead of trying to cover their tracks, they should fix the problem. If you look online, thousands of people have this same problem with this year make (2003 Honda Accord V6) but nothing is being done about it.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #23

Oct 192011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
I was having problems shifting gears and it seemed my car couldn't shift into 3rd gear. It's an automatic and when it would reach 3rd gear, the engine would just rev. It would drive fine at first but as soon as the car warmed up, it progressively got worse. I had to have my battery replaced prematurely (after 3 years) last week and I mentioned the gear shifting problem to the Honda dealership. The gear shifting problem happened right around the same time my battery died so I thought it may be related. They told me the gear shifting problem would be fixed when I replaced my battery. They paid for 60% of the cost of the battery. Over the next few days it progressively got worse to where I couldn't even drive and I had to coast into a parking lot because the engine would rev and the car would jerk. It seemed to be dangerous. I then shut off the car and tried to restart it. I wasn't even able to reverse at all - like it had no reverse, just rev. I had to call a tow truck and have it towed to the dealership. I have a 2003 Honda Accord ex V6 with less than 100K miles - right around 97K - and the dealership told me I needed a new transmission and motor mount. A rebuilt transmission is $4500 and a new transmission is $6400. I bought a Honda because it was suppose to be a reliable car that would last years without expensive maintenance repairs. And now it's less than 10 years old and 100K miles on it and I have a huge repair. It seems many others have had the same problems with the 2003 Honda Accord.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #22

Oct 132011

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles
My transmission failed while driving today. Driving across the hwy the car suddenly downshifted violently. After that, the car would skip gears and downshift at will. I drove home with the car stuck in first gear. The car is an automatic.

- Marietta, GA, USA

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