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.

7.7

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,949.00
Average Mileage:
108,836 miles
Total Complaints:
62 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (27 reports)
  2. check their oil level very often (21 reports)
  3. replaced engine (6 reports)
  4. replace piston ring (4 reports)
  5. add oil (2 reports)
  6. replaced timing chain (2 reports)
2003 Honda Accord engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

May 312010

Accord EX 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

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

My Honda oil consumption is at 1 liter every 1,000km. I've spent hours on the phone with Honda Canada Customer Service and they keep telling me that this normal to add 1 liter every 1500 km. What I would like to do is start a Class action suit for every owner with a 2003 Honda Accord with this problem? Can anybody help me in getting this started? We need to get the media involved to put pressure on Honda to address the problem. Let's all join forces and stop this injustice.

- , Montreal, Quebec, canada

problem #21

Nov 012008

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

My 2003 Honda Accord EX, 2.4 L, 4 cylinder engine starting burning oil at approximately 104,000 miles. My solenoid light came on 1,100 miles after the dealer had performed an oil change. I immediately checked my oil level and found that I was two quarts low. Up until that time, I had all of my oil changes performed by the Honda dealer. I contacted Honda USA and their lack of support was disappointing. The oil consumption slowly progressed to approximately 1 quart every 500 miles. Over time the engine failed and I had the long block replaced at my expense. I know of family and friends/acquaintances with the same problem.

- , Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #20

Mar 152011

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,900 miles

My 2003 Accord out of the blue started using oil. I change oil routinely and check it often so I realized the increased consumption. Local dealer rep said, "we've never had a problem with this particular engine." Engine is using a quart every 2,000 miles.

- , Abingdon, VA, USA

problem #19

Apr 192011

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,000 miles

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

I have owned my Honda for since I bought it new in 2003. Over the last year, the oil light comes at least once a month. I have the car serviced on a regular basis and the dealer is not able to figure out what the issue is.

- , Arvada, CO, USA

problem #18

Nov 302010

Accord 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 105,453 miles

Starting at 95000 miles I began burning through almost 1 liter of oil every 1000 miles. I bought this Honda (which is my second Honda Accord) with the expectation of getting at least 150,000 to 200,000 miles before having a serious issue.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #17

Apr 152010

Accord LX 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,954 miles

Did all my services as per Honda recommended service even changed the timing chain, serpentine belts, sparkplugs, etc and still didn't help the oil consumption is still almost a 1ltr / 1000km

- , Brampton, Ontario, canada

problem #16

Jun 012009

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

I have had this problem for more than a year, possibly two years. I change the oil regularly and began to notice that it was dropping low quite often. I especially notice that it is low if my car does not have any "pick up". I think I probably add a quart every 1000 miles. I told my brother in law who pointed me to this site. So I thought I add my comment since it seems like this is a common problem. I figure for every person who adds to this site, there are probably 200 other people who have not posted. My car has had two recalls on it in the last few years unrelated to the oil consumption. So what's going on here? I bought a Honda for it's dependability. And for the most part it's been a good car, but Honda should add this to it's recall list and fix it for us. In a time where we are trying to be greener, I really hate that we are all consuming oil like this!

- , Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #15

Mar 012010

Accord LX 2.4L V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 124,274 miles

Hi me too i hade the same probleme on my 2003 accord . i thoiugh it was only mine that he gaskets and all the stuff but i guess its really a hondas fault since so many people comlaints aboit it . its a good car loved it i just wish honda would do something about it cause is really dissapointing

- , Montreal, Quebec, Canada

problem #14

Aug 222010

(reported on)

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I am having the same oil burning problem as other posters on here. Below is a post I did on the Honda Accord Forum, along with a link. Bottom line is that my car has been burning oil from about the beginning of 2009, having to add a quart or two every other week or so. The only advice I found was to change the PVC, which I did, and it had no effect. Just wanted to add to the list of people with this same problem.

For over a year my oil has been consistently decreasing. Every few weeks I'll check and find its low (again). Its not leaking; that is to say, there is no obvious leak, no oil spots on my garage floor. I have discovered my oil to be very low a few times and naturally I'm concerned about what damage may have been done. Once, the oil light came on steady, and fortunately I was right by a gas station where I pulled over immedately. I checked and the oil level barely registered on the dip stick (really made me feel like an ass).

Three times in the last month or two the oil light has started to blink. The first time I immediately pulled over and checked the oil but it was full (I had just changed the oil two weeks prior). But yesterday when it starting blinking again, the oil level was just below the low-mark on the dip stick. All three times when it started blinking it stopped when the car was turned off and restarted. All three times I had just taken a quick turn.

I can't figure out if the disappearing oil has anything to do with the blinking light, or if the two are unrelated.

Anyone have a hunch as to a likely cause or what to check for the decreasing oil level? Does the computer log the cause of the bliking oil light? There must be a difference between comming on steady and blinking, so the car's computer knows something. If I go to AutoZone and they use the code reader would this show up with some more detailed info?

Thanks much for any input

- , Hampton, NJ, USA

problem #13

Jul 102010

Accord LX-G 2.5L I4

  • Manual transmission
  • 85,749 miles

Just found out today that my 2003 Honda Accord needs it timing chain replaced at a cost of $1100. Its my wife's car, so she mostly drive it to work and bring the kids around. She noticed that the Car was idling rough at stop lights and would even stall coming off the highway. When I took it to my Local Honda Dealership for inspection they said that the timing belt was worn and would need replacing. I asked about why this chain would prematurely age and they told me that it must have run low on oil at some time. Anyways thru my search I found that this is a known problem with these 4 cyl 2.5l Honda engines, they drink excessive amounts of oil. We have owned this car since it was new. Had all the service done at City Honda that Honda Canada recommended. The biggest piss off is that we purchased the extended comprehensive warranty that ran out only 25 days before this problem raised its head. We had the car inspected by Honda before the warranty ran out at a cost of $300 with no problems found. Now I have a accord that I thought would go to 250000 KM no problem, needing a new engine??? How is this reliable?? Honda has this claim out there and a reputation that there products are better than anyone else. How false is this? Any car, even the cheap ones would get more driving KM than this car and at a lower cost and the Honda is supposed to have the bullet proof engine. To say that any car burns 1 liter of oil per 1000km is crazy! If new consumers knew this then they would never sell these cars.

Anyways at the end of all this, City Honda also recommends that I get the cam shaft replaced and some other items at an additional cost of $1500-1800. This is crazy for a car that is 7 years old, 138K km and "A HONDA" Funny thing is that the low oil light never came on in this car, so how low was the oil?? But considering that the oil loss was great enough to cause damage to major engine components, I would consider this a major problem with these engines. Essentially, if you left the oil change long enough say 8000 KM between changes which is a normal range for other engines, this new HONDA engine would literally self destruct.

I am a long time Honda owner from Bike, Trike, Quads, Civics, Accords and now a CRV. I have to say that this is a sad day for Honda to come to this with their engines. Total Crap who ever designed and built this engine.

At least you think that Honda would have the balls to stand up and admit it is an engine that does not deserve the Honda name and replace it with a new one and fix the ones out there. Too many of us spelled out our hard earned cash for these cars , thinking it was a good buy. I guess not.

I haven't even bother to contact Honda Canada yet. That should be fun.

- , St John's, NL, Canada

problem #12

Mar 112010

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 113,711 miles

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

Attention all 2003 2.4L 4Cyl Honda Accord owners. If you have excessive oil consumption issues with your car you are not alone. There really needs to be class action suit that needs to be considered here as Honda refuses to to do anything about this.

How is it normal for a car to gobble up 1 liter of oil every 1000KM. That is just unheard of. They are shameless and arrogant on the phone when you call customer service at Honda Canada.

For that matter all car companies are assholes in my opinion. If you have this issue you really need to speak up about it as it should be Honda's responsibility to get this fixed.

Disappointed Honda Owner.

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #11

Jan 012010

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 140,000 miles

honda 2003 acord ex burning oil horrible. have to add oil everytime I fill the gas tank. I have brought in to the dealership: oil die test: negative, pcv: negative, oil consumption: inconclusive.

all roads keep leading to bad rings...which dealers do not do and it very expensive. do we think that there is a problem that happend in assembly line with bad rings to begin with? what happened to my car that i am supposed to get 300k out of?

- , Centerville, MN, USA

problem #10

Oct 012009

Accord EX 2.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Honda Accord 2003 EX started consuming excessive amounts of oil, 1 quart every 400 miles at 100,000 miles. Changed PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve and didn't help. I excepted to own this car for another 100,000 miles. This is a real pain to have to add oil every 800 miles.

- , Forest Lake, MN, USA

problem #9

Jun 152008

Accord EX 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Owners with this problem must make sure to check their oil level very often!!!! Here's why:

I''ve taken excellent care of this car and took it in to the dealership every 5K miles. I first noticed excessive oil consumption when I had around 70K miles on my coupe with 2.4L engine. I took it to two dealers. Same story as other posts here, the service dept said it's normal and within limits for a car with higher mileage to burn about 1 quart of oil every 1K miles. Both dealerships performed consumption tests and found the car to consume a quart every 700 miles. So that should mean they should check it out right? Nope. They then moved on to tell me that it's from normal wear and tear and if I want them to pull the engine apart it will cost me at least $1500 even though I purchased the extended Honda Care warranty which would cover the car to 100K miles. I argued with the service director to no avail.

Fast forward to the present. The car now has 106K miles. The extended warranty ran out 6K miles ago. This past weekend I was driving around and the car starting stalling out at stop lights. I somehow got it to the dealership (Ganley Honda in North Olmstead Ohio) - had to continuously keep my foot on the gas pedal. The dealer service dept. found that the car only had two quarts of oil even though I had added some about two weeks ago. Their diagnosis was that since the car had low oil the tensioner allowed the timing chain to slip. They wanted to charge me $2400 to re-machine the cylinder head, replace the timing chain, change the head gasket, and some misc. parts. They were not even going to address the root cause of the problem - excessive oil consumption. I also tried calling Honda of America and at first they pretended to care but in the end they said they couldn't do anything for me.

There is definately an oil consumption problem with the 2.4L engine, at least from the 2003 model year. Honda is not admitting to it but there should have been a recall or at least a TSB issued about this.

I'm opting to replace the engine with one from a newer model year accord and with less miles on it. It's gonna cost the same as the dealer fixing the current engine. Keeping my fingers crossed - this could open up a whole new can of worms.

Do yourself a favor and check your oil very often. My oil pressure light never went on this past weekend. The check engine light had come on and gone away a couple times but never the oil light. Good luck trying to get Honda to do something about this but until then check your oil every week!

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #8

Sep 182009

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,995 miles

Hello everyone! I have a 2003 Honda Accord EX 4 door sedan. I bought the car about 2 years and a half years ago. I've been told by MANY people that "You'd be stupid NOT to get a Honda. They're stylish and EXTREMELY cheap to work on. There are NO problems what's-so-ever on them!" So, took me a week to find the vehicle that I now have. I can't tell you how many vehicles that I looked at! The car had a few minor problems when I first purchased it (I bought it used Honda in Fife, WA as a certified car) But that's to be expected buying a used car, right? Well at around 88,500 miles, my car really started to act up. The car was kind of gutless. At 88,990 the RED "low oil" light came on. Now by then the car was 6,050 miles since it's last oil change with 5w20 in it. (GASP) I know I was 1,050 miles over due. Well, that was the first time that I neglected to have it changed it on time. I went into the Honda dealer, and they looked at it at no cost. Yep! I avoided the stupid automatic $80 "diagnosis charge" (I have a friend that works there). They told me that I was 3 QUARTS low. I was amazed! The car had NEVER lost a DROP of oil before that oil change. I am Extremely disappointed and concerned. I was excited about MANY people having so much success with their Hondas. Two of my friends have over 300,000 miles on their Hondas, and they still run great! I don't know what to do, other than grit my teeth and hope that the dealer forgot to put in the 3 quarts my last oil change. (More to come next oil change!)

- , Olympia, WA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012009

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 86,992 miles

Just want to add to the list of the same problem faced by other 2003 Honda Accord owners. The excessive oil consumption. I barely can make 1200 Km without adding one litre of oil. The odometer just turned 140,000 Km.

I complained to thre dealer and they handed me off to the customer care at Honda. The attitude of the person on the phone was in my opinion was deplorable.

The 2003 Honda was my third Honda purchase and I can certainly state that I will never buy another one.

I do believe that the engine has a flaw but the Honda won't admit to the problem. They are saying that it is within the acceptable limits of failure!!!!!!!!!! I wonder who sets the standards.

- , Dieppe, NB, Canada

problem #6

Jul 022009

Accord EX 2.4L 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Problem was first noticed around 50k miles when the low oil light started coming on between oil changes (which are done according to the manual - ALWAYS!). As stated by others - Honda refused to consider this an issue, stating on numerous occasions that consuming up to a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is considered normal! The engine has a 4 quart oil capacity - so it wouldn't make it to the 5k stated in the manual for an oil change without being bone dry!

Thankfully (???) I have an extended warranty (pre-owned certified) that covers the car to 100k. I am sitting in my Honda dealership right now for an oil consumption test at 86k. I have owned other Honda's, other vehicles, and know my way around engines and mechanics in general. The fact that 1 quart every 1,000 miles is considered acceptable by Honda has convinced me this is the last F&*!ing Honda I ever own - the reliability is just NOT there.

- , Wadsworth, OH, USA

problem #5

Apr 092008

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,371 miles

I HAVE A 2003 HONDA ACCORD EX WHICH BURN 1 LITER OF OIL AT 2000KM.WHEN I WENT TO DEALER AND THEY SUGGESTED THAT I GO TO BOTTLE OIL 5W20 INSTEAD OF USING THERE BULK OIL.ALL THE SERVICES FOR MY CAR WAS DONE BY THE AUTHORIZE DEALER.NOW IT BURN 1 LITER PER 3000KM.I CONTACTED HONDA CANADA PUBLIC RELATION EMPLOYEE AND WAS TOLD RUDELY THAT IS NORMAL FOR A HONDA TO BURN 1 LITER IN 1500 KM.NOBODY IN THERE RIGHT MIND WOULD PURCHASE A CAR UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES.THE LOCAL DEALER TELL ME THAT IT IS A RING PROBLEM AND ALSO SHOULD SWITCH TO 10 W 30 BOTTLE OIL.I LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT MY HONDA EXCEPT THIS PROBLEM WHICH HONDA CANADA HAS NO INTENTION OF FIXING THESE PROBLEM.I AM GOING TO PURCHASE A NEW CAR WITHIN THE NEXT MONTH OR SO AND IT WON'T BE A HONDA UNLESS SOMEONE TELL ME THAT HONDA HAS FIX THIS PROBLEM.ONE UNSATISFIED HONDA OWNER

- , Dieppe, N.B, Canada

problem #4

Mar 162008

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

My Honda consumes 2 quarts of oil every 900 miles. I have had the oil changed every 3000 miles . by the dealer. Yet there are no leaks. What I have found is that there are other 2003 Hondas out there with the same problem.

- , Manchester, NH, USA

problem #3

Jul 162007

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,502 miles

My wife and I notice and reported the problem at our dealer Gatineau Honda about the excessive oil consumption only to be told like Roger from Port Hope and Luc from St-Jean Richelieu that it is normal to burn .07 liter when doing 1,000km. After arguing the dealer suggested that we do an oil consumption test. So every 1,000km I brought the car in which took 30 minutes since they had to wait until the oil drops back in the oil pan to get a accurate test. This went one for 10 tests. I requested a copy of all the paperwork which they refused. Again after a argument they finally gave me a copy. The dealer kept the car for 4 days and basically told me and my wife (she is a witness) that they contacted the engineers at Honda Canada and they did some readjustment and now I have to do another 5 oil consumption tests. I ask what they mean by adjustment and they basically told me they could not answer this since in their computer its all various codes and when I wanted a copy for my files the said that they needed to close the complaint to be able to print a copy and if they do that then I accept the car the way it is. Now the engine is burning 1 liter of oil every 1,000km. Unfortunately when doing these 5 tests (which are not completed yet) the dealer personnel service department made an error on the paperwork and the dealer is all confuse with the paperwork which perhaps brings me back to square one! who knows. Interesting facts: they suggested that I change the PCV valve, perhaps its defective and this would improve the oil consumption but prior to my wife and I noticing the excessive oil consumption they did change the PCV valve and I have proof since during an oil change they told me that my PCV valve needed to be change. I did not question this. All maintenance are done at the dealer. So I believe that they knew the car had excessive oil consumption. We decided to by a HONDA because of their reliability and we did include everything, undercoating, extended warranty, etc. hell we even put $20,000 on the car.I am tired and just want to go and trade the car in. With that experience and with todays society, I believe that every consumer should RENT, then it wont matter if the car has nay problem. Never put cash down on a rented vehicle, you don't get the money back.

- , Gatineau, QUÉBEC, Canada

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