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:
40 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
44 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,782 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 4 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #103

Jan 262015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact received notification of NHTSA recall 14V351000 (air bags) however, the parts were not available. The contact believed the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced the failure.

- Penscola , FL, USA

problem #102

Jan 142015

Accord 6-cyl

  • 215,000 miles
Had a major accident that totaled the car passenger air bag developed but driver side did not.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #101

Dec 162014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles
When I was sitting perfectly still parked in a parking lot, my driver side airbag and my passenger-side side airbag inflated. Nothing had hit me, and I hadn't hit anything. I have contacted Honda, and they will not return my calls, and are not being cooperative about fixing my car. There are multiple recalls for this exact thing happening.

- Prairieville, LA, USA

problem #100

Dec 012014

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles


2003 Honda Accord air bag safety recall. The consumer believed his vehicle was excluded from the recall, because of where the vehicle was purchased. Even though he no longer lives there.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #99

Nov 172014


  • 87,000 miles
I purchased my 2003 Accord brand new from a Honda dealership. In 2004 there was a recall to fix a defect with second gear in the transmission. My car was fixed under the recall (or so I thought). I have been having continuous problems with second gear slipping. In other words when the car is in second gear it feels like its in neutral because you step on the gas and the car does not move. You have to wait for the car to shift again. You never know when or where it will happen. On 11/17/14 I was trying to get on the highway. I made a left turn to enter the highway when the second gear slipped. My car was stuck under a traffic light when the traffic light changed from green to red. Oncoming traffic was approaching my vehicle at 65-70mph. I was almost broad sided. Honda knows about this defect and will not replace the transmission in my car. There have been several class action lawsuits against Honda for this problem. I believe this is a serious safety issue not just for me because I own the car, but for anyone who is operating a vehicle on the roadways. Honda should be held accountable for this defect. I also have a takata airbag which is not subject to the recall. So I have 2 problems, the defect with the transmission puts me at a higher risk for getting into and accident. If I am in an accident and the airbag goes off, I could be injured and/or killed by the airbag. How can Honda get away with this?

- Marlborough, CT, USA

problem #98

Sep 222014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact received NHTSA campaign number: 14V351000 (air bags). The contact stated that the part needed to remedy the vehicle was unavailable. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Waipahu , HI, USA

problem #97

Dec 172013


  • 67,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated that the driver's side air bag needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact was made aware of recall NHTSA campaign id number: 14V351000 (air bags). However, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #96

Apr 302014


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag light illuminated. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the air bag needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V351000 (air bags). However, the parts needed for the repairs were unavailable. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Naples , FL, USA

problem #95

Nov 072014


  • 128,890 miles
I submitted a complaint over the phone already #[xxx] with NHTSA rep "[xxx]." [xxx] refused to specifically detail what I explained to him, which was very disconcerting and a huge waste of time, so I am submitting a separate complaint in writing. I am concerned that the takata airbag recall notice is not being properly communicated to the public. The media reporting based on NHTSA's recall notices strongly suggest that the recall only affected vehicles in 13 southern states with high heat and humidity. I bought the vehicle in Colorado and currently reside and drive in California. Neither of those states is on the list of 13. I contacted Honda, because NHTSA's notice was not clear, and the vehicle is subject to the recall. I am concerned that the NHTSA recall information has resulted in a cycle of news reporting that misleads the public into believing that their vehicle is fine and not subject to the recall unless their vehicle is in one of the 13 states. This needs to be clarified to a much greater degree. Thank you. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Venice, CA, USA

problem #94

Oct 302014

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
Honda wrote you a letter, which I have a copy of from your website, on June 14, 2014 confirming discussion with you about looking into problems with the 2003 Honda Accord driver's airbag. They have only recalled the passenger side airbag. I do not feel safe in driving my Honda with the current driver airbag. What is the status of the recall for the driver's airbag for the 2003 Honda Accord?

- Camp Hill, PA, USA

problem #93

Oct 302014

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles


There is a recall of the passenger side airbag inflator but Honda has not sent letters to owners to inform us. Honda has told me that these letters will not be sent out until parts are available. Clearly, owners need to be informed as soon as possible to decide if they want to continue to drive their vehicles. And, secondly, parts are now available and we are still not being notified. Is it legal for them to withhold notification letters?

- Camp Hill, PA, USA

problem #92

Sep 012014


  • 152,000 miles
Called american Honda today on a different matter. My concern was if the air bags in my car were manufactured by the company that is presently in the news. The case manager, [xxx], assured me that the air bags in my Accord were not subject to recall. However he was unable to advise the manufacturer of the air bag. Furthermore he did advise that media reports and information from nhtsb were not totally accurate and erroneous. I did ask him to send me a written correspondence that my air bags were not subject to recall and would not explode by accident. He declined to do so.I guess Honda does not want to place itself in a product liability issue with me. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- West Sayville, NY, USA

problem #91

Oct 272014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the part was not available to service the vehicle under NHTSA campaign number: 14V349000 (air bags). The manufacturer was notified of the delay. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Bloomfield, NJ, USA

problem #90

Jul 052008


  • miles
In 2008 I was driving my 2003 Honda Accord. I had a terrible front in crash with another car. My front end was crushed and my front passenger head cracked the windshield. My passenger airbag did not deploy. Every one I called gave me the run around. I didn't know who to contact. My repairs cost me $3800. We didn't have medical insurance so we declined to go to the doctor. The body shop that repaired my car said the airbag should have deployed.

- New Albany, MS, USA

problem #89

Oct 112014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
My daughter had just left the house, she was maybe 1/4 mile from the house and she said it felt like her steering wheel locked up so she started hitting the brakes. She was headed into a curve but the car would not turn so she crashed into an embankment which slung the passenger side of the car into a tree. Both airbags deployed. She had 5 staples in her head, a concussion, a bruised lung, and some pelvic bleeding. She is still recovering from the concussion. I believe it was the air bag that caused the most physical damage to her head. But I can not understand what cut the gash in her head.

- Chester, SC, USA

problem #88

Oct 212014


  • 100,000 miles
I'm complaining about how slow your web site is.

- Wattsburg, PA, USA

problem #87

Sep 242014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 204,635 miles
I owned a 2003 Honda Accord LX. I was stopped when another vehicle rear ended me doing approximately 50 mph. There were no skid marks & I was pushed more than a car length past were I was stopped. No air bag deployed, not one. I suffered hand, wrist, neck, head & face injuries from being slammed into the steering wheel. I also have back, knee, hip & foot injuries. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police were on scene & a report was filed. My car sustained heavy damage & was totaled out by their insurance co. My car had 204,635 miles on it. I am still out of work due to the head injury.

- Rochester, NH, USA

problem #86

Aug 202009


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving at an unknown speed, the contact crashed into another vehicle and the brakes became disengaged. The other vehicle pulled out in front of the contact's vehicle, which resulted in a crash. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact and the front passenger were injured. The driver of the other vehicle was also injured. Medical attention was not received. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 76,000. Updated 2/3/15

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #85

Aug 232014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 114,260 miles
Front end collision into the driver side of another car (4-door Honda Accord) that ran through a red light. Impact was at approximately 40 mph. Driver side air bag in my vehicle did not deploy. The passenger side air bag in my vehicle did deploy, however, no one was sitting in the passenger seat. Passenger side air bag also caused the windshield to shatter. A concentric shatter pattern was evident directly above where the air bag emerges from the dashboard.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #84

Aug 052014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 137,775 miles
As I was driving to work the car started slipping, then as I arrived to my destination the car wouldn't go into gear at all. The car was overheating, as I called for service after work I tried starting the car again and it did go into gear. I drove it to the place for service but having to stop and let car cool down a couple times on the way there. They told me it's the transmission and will need a new one, or have it repaired. Now I'm aware of many 2003 Accord with the same problem, there should be a recall on this! I've owned 4 Honda cars and all from brand new vehicles and never a problem like this before. I have had this problem one other time of not going into gear, but it came out of it after it was cooled and sitting for a few hours, so never had that problem again until now. We don't drive this car very much as I work from my home, so it didn't go out until now. I'm told we must drive it little, which is true, and not hard on our vehicles at all, because this would have happened much earlier if we had. Also the air bag lights come on randomly with no reason, we had it tested and they said it was fine, humidity? that's another one to be recalled! Honda, you need to help us and recall the faults that you know are an issue if you want us to continue buying your vehicles! a used to be loyal Honda owner for all my life.

- Sauk Rapids, MN, USA

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