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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,687 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #17

Nov 102007

Accord 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles

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

My 2003 Honda Accord exl started to rust through the left rear wheel well lip this past winter. The car has been meticulously maintained with the records to prove so. The car was damaged at the back edge of the left rear door and repaired at the body shop both joyce Honda and grecco auto body are subsidiaries of the grecco auto group selling & repairing Honda. The Honda factory rep. Said the rear quarter panel would have to be replaced but that the rust was due to the accident and subsequent repair and therefore Honda was not responsible. The Honda dealers body shop and state farm insur. Claims rep. Maintain that the rust was far behind the area that was repaired and was not due to the accident. Attached are photographs of the small dent by the door just above the body trim line and the rust at the very top of the wheel opening. In essence, the service manager of joyce Honda and the factory rep (who would not give me a business card or name) said the rust is a result of the repair and not their responsibility. While grecco auto body and the auto inspector for state farm insurance said the rust is far to the rear of the repaired area and not the result of the repair. I had the repair done at the dealers body shop to avoid a situation as this where no one is accepting responsibility to correct a problem. Thus the three entities of the same business, Honda motor co., joyce Honda dealership, and grecco auto body are blaming each other and my car continues to prematurely rust through. Attached are photographs of the rust, the car, and the itemized repair as well as contact information of parties involved. I am expecting Honda to honor the rust perforation warranty. The consumer stated the catalytic was replaced under warranty on July 10, 2009. Now less than a year later, the consumer was informed it needed to replaced again. The dealer informed the consumer Honda would not stand behind the replacement catalytic converter. Updated IVOQ 12/28/10

- Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #16

May 272008

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,446 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While attempting to pull out of a driveway, the contact depressed the accelerator pedal, but the vehicle failed to move. Suddenly, the vehicle shot backwards into the street at 45 mph. She then attempted to place the vehicle into drive once again, but it would not move. Suddenly, the vehicle sped forward. She heard a loud noise, but did not know the origin. The contact attempted to drive home, but the vehicle failed again on a main road with moderate to heavy traffic. She aimed the vehicle toward the nearest curb and restarted the vehicle. Pointed in the direction of a curb, she was able to move the vehicle towards the curb with one jerk. The previous week, the contact noticed the transmission banging into gear when shifting. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission), although the failures were similar. Other failures include the ABS sensor light, cd player, air compressor leakage, trunk release not functioning, and the catalytic converter. The vehicle was towed to the dealer as instructed by the manufacturer and a local mechanic also inspected the vehicle. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 60,446. Updated 07/29/08. Updated 08/05/08.

- Fairfield , CT, USA

problem #15

Jan 082004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
Since I bought my new 2003 Honda Accord at the end of the 2003 year, I smelled sulfur. I was told it was the battery and it would go away. It never did. I kept telling the dealer and service. The sulfur and rotten egg smell came from the ac, and the heat (both of which didn't work), sulfur from the rear and all over interior..I got sick with severe migraines and nauseous for 5-7 days with emergency room visits following medium to long drives with the air on and even if the air was not on...the sulfur smell was always present and service blamed me and told me the gas in NY was bad, and then told me I should be driving 50,000 miles per year and then there would be no sulfur smell. I kept falling asleep at the wheel. My doctor mentioned checking the carbon monoxide with a detector..it was positive...the fire department verified that I had carbon monoxide inside my car - deadly. I was being poisoned for two years with carbon monoxide poisoning fro two years by the exhaust coming into the car. The fire dept. Told me to not drive the car at all or to drive with all the windows wide open...even in the freezing winter.....my mother is elderly and I am disabled on chemotherapy also all this made our situation quite heinous. Still Honda did not help me and they kept hanging up on me. I would have died if I drove the amount that Honda told me to. I would have been poisoned. I do not want this car....I just want my life back and to feel safe with the car I drive. I will never feel safe with this car. Carbon monoxide inside the car is deadly and why no one has addressed this issue along with the catalytic converter is shocking. No one ever notified me of the catalytic converter even when I brought the car in. Even with at least two tsb's why did Honda not know to address the problem and why didn't they ever contact me. I just want this car out of my life forever. I have gotten very ill from the carbon monoxide poisoning and the long term effects are serious.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #14

Nov 202003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

Catalytic converter replaced at just over 3000 miles on my 2003 Honda Accord. I continue to get an extremely strong sulfar odor. The dealer has given several excuses as to why there is a smell. Also they have offered different suggestions to remedy the situation. None of which worked. Now I am having brake problems which they can't seem to fix either. Both problems seem severe enough that I would think Honda would stand up and take responsibility. I am frustrated and disappointed.

- Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #13

Jul 012004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,600 miles
Complaint received via E-mail. I purchased a brand new car, and since then I have been back to the dealership numerous amounts of times for many problems. First problem was my brakes needed to be replaced at 4600 miles, but weren't replaced until 7700 miles 3.5 months later due to back order. Currently, with 17,900 miles the brakes were grinding again. This is my 3rd Honda, and the worse one, yet likely my last. The second problem was that my right rear door was locked for 3 months. The dealer claimed that the problem was due to getting my windows tinted, but they attempted to fix three times, and was told the third time the problem only occurs if the temperature goes below 32 degrees. Since then the temperature has been over 32 degrees. I also have problems with sulfur odor coming from the exhaust, and was told that this was normal problem, would go away with time. But as time goes by the odor gets worse, and smells like rotten eggs. Another problem with the car is the alignment has been off since I bought the car. I have had my own mechanic look at the car, and he believes the car won't align correctly because of the axles. The final problem with my piece of crap Honda is the driver seat isn't secure, it slides very little back and forth and side to side.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #12

Mar 092004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 7,800 miles
Oil leak engine. Rotten egg smell from interior air vents after cranking cold engine.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #11

Dec 252003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles

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

My 2003 Honda Accord LX smells like rotten eggs. Thank you Honda!.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #10

Feb 242004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2003 Honda Accord ex V6 and it has had a rotten egg smell since the first day I purchased it (brand new at the time). I had called my local Honda service dept. To see what could be done about the smell. I was informed that since the car was new, it was still in the "break in" period and to wait until after 10,000-12,000 miles. I am now at 16,000 miles and the car still has the foul odor. I called Honda again and they told me to wait until the weather breaks and in the spring time if it still smells to bring it in. The smell is so bad that it smells not only on the outside of the car but on the inside too. I took the car in anyway, even though Honda recommended to wait a few more months. Needless to say, they did admit to finding a bulletin for the Honda Accord stating that the catalytic converters need to be changed and they need to seal leaks in the car. They have to now order the part and schedule another date to fix the problem.

- Milford, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jan 062004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Strong smell of hydrogen sulfide in car cabin first noticed at 1,000 miles most present when accelerating or when heat/ac is on. Smell can be so severe it causes headache and sore throat. I reported problem to toxic relase division of the epa. ( E-mail to: Tri.us@epa.gov).

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #8

Jan 012003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 483 miles
My 2003 Honda Accord has a really bad "rotten egg" smell almost immediately after I purchased the car in January of 2003. I was told Honda was investigating the problem. After 8 months and 10,000 miles the car still smells and Honda now says it is normal. This is not normal and I am very disapointed Honda is not going to correct the problem. I own 2 Honda and they will be my last. We are going to pursue lemon laws as a last alternative

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #7

Sep 192003

Accord

  • miles

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

Catalyic converter produces a foul smell which seeps through the ventilation.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #6

May 202003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Rotten egg smell when driving. 2003 Honda Accord LX.

- Aldan, PA, USA

problem #5

Aug 062003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2003 Honda Accord has a really bad "rotten egg" smell almost immediately after I purchased the car in October of 2002. I have already had the converter replaced at 3000 miles. I have switched brands of gasoline. Still have the smell. I was told all the sensors check out okay. Would like some closure to the smell. This is my first Honda. Just had the 10K mile service, car runs worse than before. Possibly my last Honda product unless I get the problem resolved.

- Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #4

Jul 212003

(reported on)

Accord

  • 0 miles
There is a strong fowl egg smell odor coming from the air vents. Cause unknown.

- Thiells, NY, USA

problem #3

Dec 242002

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles
My wife and I purchased a 2003 Honda Accord in December of 2002. Almost immediately the car put out this horrible (rotten egg smell). I know this is coming from the catalytic converter and I proceeded to tell the service people that this was the problem. I made an appointment so they could fix the problem. Their response was that the gas I was using had a high sulfur content and we must switch gas stations immediately to get rid of the smell. So I tried every gas station in the area and the problem got worse. The car started to shake and seemed to be drawing power from the engine. The idle would also rise and fall when this shaking is happening. The odor became worse when the shaking would start. This smell is giving me a big headache and who knows what other health problems. So I called Honda service to put the car in for service again. Honda did not even want to look at it again, but with much yelling I got an appointment. They had the car all day and when my wife called to see if they fixed the problem they said there was nothing wrong with the car. They continued to explain that it is (the nature of the beast) and all cars put off this smell to some degree. I also noticed the gas mileage is not what Honda stated it should be. So I called Honda directly to file a complaint and found out that Honda is aware of this problem, but has no solutions to fix it. Honda assures me that after 10,000 to 15,000 miles goes by that the smell will decrease and go away. This smell started at 50 miles and is getting much worse at 4,500 miles. I will never buy another Honda car or their products again as long as I live. I am also researching information about other 2003 Honda Accord with the same problems and found many with the same problem. I am going to get a lawyer involved to fight them. We the consumers should not let Honda take advantage of us. Honda should be ashamed to sell the consumers such a rotten egg.

- Blackwood, NJ, USA

problem #2

Nov 182002

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
My wife and I purchases a 2003 Honda Accord in November of 2002. Almost immediately the car emitted a rotten egg smell. I've been around cars for quite awhile and I knew right away it was a smell given off from a catalytic convertor. We took the car in within a month or so of the purchase to have it checked. They were unable to find any problem and could not recreate the problem. The primary the smell would occur was when entering the highway or accelerating from stoplight to stoplight. The car now haw almost 11K miles on it and the problem is getting worse. It is also not getting the same mileage that our previous 2000 Accord V6 got. The dealer was unable to find anything wrong in this area as well. This will be our last Honda since the problems are occurring with no obvious solution available.

- Madison, MS, USA

problem #1

Dec 102002

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased a 2003 Accord ex V6, in November of 2002. Since delivery, there has been an awful smell of rotten eggs. I contacted the dealer several times to fix the problem, they agreed to replace the catalytic converters, still smelled after I picked it up. Called their 800# and they said the smell will disappear after about 7,000-8,000 miles of driving. This was at 5,000 miles I currently have 11,000 and the smell is not disappearing. This is such a potent smell that it gives me a headache and I also get dizzy from these toxic fumes. This is not the type of problems I should be having for spending almost $30,000 for a brand new car. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.

- Waterbury , CT, USA

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