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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,334 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Jan 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles


Only three days after having purchased a new 2003 Accord, I noticed that the console was overheating. When I put my fingers under the console, it was so hot that it could blister skin. There was also a horrible intermittent burning smell. After the car makes this terrible burning smell, I get a headache. Upon my second visit, the dealership acknowledged the problem and replaced the console. On the way home, the new console overheated again. Also, the horrible intermittent burning smell is still present. Honda America has refused to replace my vehicle or give me a refund. The sales manager at the dealership, hendrick\\'s Honda cars of hickory, has given me misinformation about my state\\'s lemon law by telling me they are entitled to 10 repair attempts when the lemon law says they are only entitled to 4. the dealership now says that they are trying to reduplicate the problem. Further, even though three people at the dealership, including a mechanic, have witnessed the overheating and burning smell, the \\master mechanic\\ has told me that if something was burning or overheating that I would have equipment failure. This is not true and any good mechanic should know this. It appears to me that they are trying to deny that the problem still exists. The company claims that no one else has reported this problem. Your web page hit home with me because Honda certainly has trouble admitting that their cars have problems. I want to let everyone know that buying a Honda is a bad idea!

- Statesville, NC, USA

problem #7

Dec 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
They are selling me a lemon and fool me around with excuse. The engine light have been on six time during this two year. The first three time the engine light on, I did not have duplicatin code. Sum up the six time report, I have two times code 0700 and two times code 1705. I called Honda because they authorized this dealer to sell thie car, however, they told me since the dealer do the modification on the car (add the auto starter in the car), they don't responsible on any problem that related to autostarter, even they authorized tham to sell their car. Then I talk to the assistant manager, he is very sacratic, he ask me the detail how I use the autostarter, my answer was perfect, seem to be nothing wrong. As well as he told me the last engine light on was a year ago, I told me I have not use the autostarter for a year, because I decided to leave my baby with my mother-in-law, but I use the autostarter recently. Then he blame me, perhap it could be as simple as losing the gas cap, or you use pc or cellphone in the car trigger the engine light. Then I ask him what is the list of action I cannot do in the car, he told me he has the list, but he cannot find it. I ask the service rep can I have the summary to what you did for the past six time fixing, service rep told me that summary will not reflect the detail of what happen, only the date and your name. Here is the list of problems my car has: Check engine light on 6th time, Dec 2002, code 700 customer statres cd changer is inop, April 2002 balancing 2 tires on Dec 2001, miscommuncate check engine light on 5th time, Nov 2001, malfunction A/T sensor check engine light on 4th time, Sept 2001, code 1705 repaired rear bumper assembly, Nov 2001 check engine light on 3rd time, June 2001, code 0700, 1705 auto start doesn't work check engine light on 2nd time, March 2001, code 900 check engine light on 1st time, Jan 2001, code 1456

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #6

Dec 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
1. windshield area in front of driver creaks in cold, dry weather. Creak occurs on rough pavement and turns. 2. all side windows rattle on rough pavement. 3. excessive wind noise on front side windows when car is moving at 40mph or above.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #5

Sep 282003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,200 miles


This is my third Honda and after purchasing my 2003 Accord coupe ex manual, I don't know if I will ever purchase another Honda!! I bought it because my previous cars had no major problems, they only went to the mechanic for their suggested maintenance and oil and tire changes. With my new Accord, I have only experienced problems. It began with a rattling in the rear speakers, then the side speakers. Which the dealer tried to fix to no success. Then the trim on the windows was bubbling, which they were able to replace. Soon after I began noticing my breaks shudder and went to the dealer to be told that "well MA'am, the problem has to get worse before we can see what's going on"! great I have to break down on the side of the road before they can fix it. Lets not forget the recall on the intake air breather pipe. Then today, and this has sent me over the top, my car overheated. The temperature gauge was on the red-line for hot! I pulled over, opened the hood and noticed green fluid all over the engine. Called the dealer and they said they would have to tow it and take a look. I have owned the car since April (5 months) and been to the dealer 5 times. After reading the other complaints I am afraid of what might happen with the shuddering of the brakes...will they stop working not allowing me to stop and be the cause of a potentially fatal accident? I hope not!! Honda needs to do something about these problems asap!!

- Buford, GA, USA

problem #4

Nov 202002


  • miles
I have had my 2003 Accord ex in the dealer's shop well over 15 times for various reasons. The front windshield rattles and has been looked at 5 times and cannot be rectified. The cd player would not load cd's properly and have had the stereo replaced. Now the cover to the stereo will not stay in place. The stereo has been looked at 4 times and has to go back in a 5th time to have the cover replaced again. The brakes have been looked at 5 times, since the first week we bought the car. The first 3 times they could not find anything wrong. The 4th time, they had to resurface the rotors because they were warped. At this visit, there was only 9,000 miles on the car. The 5th time we took the car in, it had 12,000 miles and the rotors needed to be resurfaced again. Now the brakes are grinding and squealling again. This is now the 6th time we have had a problem with the brakes. The seal around the door gave way at around 5,000 miles. The door seal seems to be very thin and does not hold up very well. We purchased an after factory anti-theft device. My wife's fob failed to deactivate the device. I realize that this is an after factory installed device, but the Honda dealer should back what they sell.

- Clovis, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 252003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have had my 03 Accord for 5 months now and have had it to the dealers more then 10 times for various problems. The first problem I had was, the car was hesitating when I would start the engine. I would have to hold the key for more then 5 seconds. I brought my car in to the dealer and they said they ran tests and could not find anything wrong. Eventually they told me it was normal because if I had the air cond. Or heat on it would take a few seconds for it to start up. I also was having a bad rotten egg smell. Once again they said nothing was wrong and that it was the gas that I was getting, somethin about the water deposits in it. But I've tried different gas stations like they said and it still smells. I had my car in for creaking sounds in my dash board, and they actually found some pilliars loose and fixed that problem. The molding on my passenger and driver side windows was crinkling from the heat and the sun so those had to be replaced. A recent problem I have now is there is a leak in my power steering. I told my dealer I was contacting Honda and they said to deal w/ it thru my dealer and not get them involved, but this is ridiculous that I am having all these problems w/ a brand new car!!

- Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 062003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,200 miles
In the month of February I bought a Honda Accord, everything was fine until the end of may when I noticed a clicking noise coming from the front of the car every time the car stops, I took it to the Honda dealer where I bought it and after a few hours, I was told that the clicking of the car is characteristic of this car, I told them that it didn't have it when I bought, then I was given a print out where Honda talks about the "clicking or ticking at idle" for this type of car, I have asked other person with the same type of car and he doesn't have this noise, I have taken it to another dealer under Honda's customer service request and the dealer said that all cars have that noise, I know for a fact that none of my previous cars had that noise. Since this is not consider a defect or a problem by Honda, they offered me a free oil change as a "good will". this car is costing me over $27,000, Honda can call this noise anyway they want, but I did not buy a car to have some noise after only 4 months of having the car, they also admit is a problem in the bulletin when they say "characteristic problem", the honest thing from Honda since they knew this since December 2002 and I bought the car in February 2003, should have been to inform me about the possibility of having this noise in the car, and I would have made the decision of not buying the car, I have been to two dealers, called Honda customer service 3 times and I have only been offered a free oil change, I hope this Agency can help me to deal with Honda, I know this may not be a safety issue but I don't think Honda should get away with hiding information from potential customers and then when they get called just act like there is no problem. Thanks, ml I only see report defective equipment that was included with the vehicle at time of purchase but this noise wasn't there when I purchase the car.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 202002

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
Faulty speedometer/odometer when purchased new 2003 Honda Accord V6. American Honda would not help saying that since the pdi was done the part failed at the dealer site. The dealer, autopark Honda in cary, nc would not replace the car after my delivery because it doesn't fall under lemon law, even though I pointed the problem out to them within 18 hours of driving car home.

- Holly Springs, NC, USA

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