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.

9.5

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$3,180.00
Average Mileage:
107,344 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. needs new engine (8 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. replace engine heads (1 reports)
  4. value replacement and head kit (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Honda Accord:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #12

Jul 012014

Accord ES 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

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

OK, so I have had many Honda's never had any problems with motors, 200-300k miles, never an issue. We buy this car brand new and at 162k we start burning oil, take it to dealer because check engine light is on and they say that the crank is bent and we must have run the oil low. Always had our oil changed, never went over on the miles. Everything else was fine except the stupid radio light not working at night, a pain…

So here we are, a Honda, regular maintenance, bought new, never a problem, and pow ,some crap about it being run hot and a crank shaft now bent, and loosing oil, where, we have no idea. Then it just stalls out and stops running. Honda not the same as it used to be… I see from this sight I am not the only one the dealer is BSing about a mysterious overheat and a bent crank shaft. Nice job Honda, way to slide the hand now we see it now we don't...

- , Woodstock, MD, USA

problem #11

Mar 172014

Accord

  • Manual transmission
  • 168,000 miles

AFTER I BOUGHT THE CAR I WAS TOLD 2003 HONDA ACCORD WERE HAVING PROBLEMS. NOW I KNOW WHY, I HAVE TO REPLACE THE WHOLE ENGINE.

- , Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 072013

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Had car in dealership to replace timing belt the prior week. Engine fails one week later for no known reason.

- , Arlington Heights, IL, USA

problem #9

Mar 052012

Accord EX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,400 miles

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

Like the other complaint, I have had my 2003 Accord EX serviced, maintained and I was stopped at a stop light, went to accelerate, all dash lights came on and pop, stopped. I tried to start, nothing, tried one more time, nothing. turned it off. Towed to Dealer. Diagnosis, only 1/2 qt low ( serviced Jan 12th.) Said very unusual upper crank shaft froze and I guess the timing belt stripped about 6 inches. Heads are bent, but I had timing belt changed at 89,500 miles. Does a timing belt go out at 35,000k? I am frustrated and so angry, I want someone to tell me why a car that has been serviced immaculately would lose an engine. Willey Honda said they can install an engine w 40,000k for about $4500.00. Do not have the funds and I tend my grandchildren. I need my car. The oil was perfectly clean and car was full. What can I do? Lkn

- , Bountiful, UT, USA

problem #8

Oct 292011

Accord EX

  • Manual transmission
  • 150,650 miles

i bought my 2003 honda brand new and have kept up the maintenance and oil changes since i have had the car. driving down the road and all of a sudden the oil light comes on and then the car cuts off. this was the first time the oil light had come on. when i had it towed to the honda dealer they said it did not have a drop of oil in it. i have never had any leaks and no smoking coming from the car. now they are telling me that it will cost a little over 5,000.00 to fix.i don't have that kind of money and do not want another car right now. if this was a ongoing problem then someone needs to pay for the damages. i have all of my invoices where my oil was changed when due and then my 02 sensor went out. this is my third honda and if this problem is not solved it will be the last. i need someone from the office of the CEO of honda to get in touch with me about this problem. my car is still at the dealer ship and i am in a courtesy car. i would like to get this solved as soon as possible.

- , Snellville, GA, USA

problem #7

Feb 072010

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I bought this Accord used from a private party 4 months ago. I purchased the car fax report and there was nothing on the report to indicate any thing was wrong with the car. No accidents and looked like regular maintenance was performed. Well, 3 months later the check engine light came on. I brought it to a local Honda dealer, I was told the oil had some sludge in it and needed to be changed as well as some sensor needed to be changed, all in all $500 in work. I thought this was not bad since I bought it used. A day later while driving to work the check engine light comes back on. I call the dealer to make another appointment for the next day. Unexpectedly the next day the light went out. I called the dealer and he said it probably just reset itself. I trusted the dealer, assuming, they should know their product. The cars drove fine, until 2 days ago I went out to start the car after it was parked all day, when I turned the key I had a hard time starting it and when it did, the engine sounded terrible and there was a lot of smoke coming from the tailpipe. I had it towed to the dealer only to find out that the engine was blown, and they recommend I replace it. No warning just like that...the "reliable" Honda engine was blown. 51000 miles on the engine!!! The dealer blamed the prior owner, I blame the dealer for not giving me a heads up after just having a full diagnostic engine check.. Ultimately, I had to spend $2800 for a used engine with 60000 miles. What a joke! I contacted Honda to complain, but they blame me for buying a car they said was not certified. I received horrible customer service from Honda as well, this was a big surprise and not what I expected! 51000 miles on the engine, need I say more. So don't belive the "reliable" Honda b.s. .....Oh just found out today my neighbors 2002 Honda Oddessy with 77000 miles, yes same thing happened, blown engine. I'm buying American next time. I'll keep you informed how my 'new' 60000 mile engine does.

- , Wethersfield, CT, USA

problem #6

Feb 042006

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

February 2006, My accord lost control on a slippery road (no apparent reason), which put me into a 360. As I was in the 360, the engine shut off. It was surprising that a normal, manic driving road during rush (Columbia, MD), that no one was around when this happened. I think God had them stopped at a light somewhere.

- , Centreville, VA, USA

problem #5

May 012009

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,800 miles

2003 Honda Accord sedan LX 2.4 44800 miles. My wife went out to start the car one morning and nothing just this weird noise. I had it towed to my mechanic. He tested it and the engine had no compression. He looked into it more and the timing chain had came off of the tensioner and caused engine damage. 4 values were bent. It was a real pain in the ass. It cost us $2000 to get this fixed and he said this is a known issue with those engines. So nothing broke, it is just a sh*tty engine.

I would like Honda to step up and pay for some of this repair. It is a Honda for god sake, 44000 miles it is just getting broken in. I am going to call Honda and open a case with them and be a real pain in there ass for a couple months until I get to talk to the right person and will make this right. If you need to do this here is the number to call 1-800-999-1009 and you will need the VIN# of the car you are calling about.

- , Pittsburgh, PA15237, USA

problem #4

Mar 212009

Accord DX 2.4L 4banger

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,276 miles

Well, I think the mileage and problem say it all. I bought a Honda because I wanted a car I could drive for 200,000 miles before getting another one. Something I could give to one of the kids at around 100k miles knowing they would have descent transportation for the next three or four years. Well, at 80k miles, I am looking at replacing the engine. I feel like I've been scammed by the "legendary dependability" propaganda that has become the accepted truth regarding Honda performance. Well, I for one no longer believe it. The strange thing is, I had no warning. I just started up the car, was about to pull out of my drive way and it stopped. There was no noise at all. No clunk or clank. No grinding sound. No tapping. Nothing. It just stopped dead as if it had been hit by an EMF or something. two different mechanics have told me the timing chain went and likely damaged the engine in the process but know one has actually opened it up to try to confirm the diagnosis. One said he will tear it down for $500 but I have to wonder if the timing chain could have broken w/o causing any collateral damage !!??? Anyway, it appears the going rate for replacing the engine is about $3,500. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm considering asking the shop to replace the timing chain and see what they find while they're in the process.

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #3

Dec 202008

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My 2003 went through 3 quarts in about 80 miles without signs of leaking or smoke and destroyed the motor. It had just turned 100,000 miles. It has lost about a quart in 1500 miles until then. It is at the dealer and since I am a mechanic I have no receipts for the oil changes which is something they requested.

- , Chesterfield, MI, USA

problem #2

Apr 142008

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

Dealer first replaced the thermostat and now they are telling me it is the engine. That the head is bent or messed up due to the car running hot. This car has only run hot one time about six months ago when a truck on the interstate dropped something that punctured by radiator and the dealer mechanic at that time said the only damage was I needed a new radiator and I concurred. Now, because of the dealer's inexperience my warranty has expired and I have to pay $3,000 for a new engine. I don't understand. I am confused, can this car run hot without the radiator loosing fluid and the temperature gauge not revealing it. What is it that the manufacture not telling the consumers.

- , New Bern, NC, USA

problem #1

Feb 262008

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I have been taking my Honda to piedmont Honda in Anderson sc for 3 years for all my service work.Just recently in January It was time for me to have major service done to and a oil change. I had that done and I also complained about that I've heard a knocking noise coming from my engine. The gentleman that wa the adviser had informed me that the noise came from low on oil and by putting oil in it fixed the problem. So in February exactly a month ago my car stop working and I had noticed just right before it cut off I heard the same exact knocking noise that I had informed the service department about. So I had it towed to a near by mechanic that fix on Hondas and they told me that I lost pressure so they told me that I need a new engine. So that pissed me off knowing that I never let anybody look or even touch my car except for the dealership despite that many people warned me of not taking it to the dealership.But I put my trust and hard earn money in to keeping my car up. By doing what I was advised to do by the dealership service department. So got my car told to the dealership cause I feel that they are responsible for the neglect of my car. And they confirmed that I need a new engine too. But I am pissed of because I had informed them of the noise I had heard and even to go a little further than that my records showed that prior to that visit the in August and September of last year that I was in there getting a oil change back to back and I had complained about that too cause of the 3 years I had been going there that was the first time that I had come in there to do an oil change. But of course I trusted them on what they advise because they are the experts not me. So I need help on getting some help for replacing my engine cause I am a single mother and going to school full time and I work full time. So that means that I can't afford to replace a engine. Thats why I was keeping the up keep on my car and getting anything that they had advised me on getting fix so I want have to come to a major problem where I can't afford. So basically I was DAMN if didn't and damn if I did.

Someone PLEASE HELP ME on this situation.

- , Anderson, SC, USA

Not what you are looking for?