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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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
75,247 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #50

Aug 222012


  • 99,000 miles


I went to put the key in to start my vehicle and the key totally fell apart in my hand. It was dark and I had no way to start my car. I tried putting the key portion without the enclosure into the ignition but it would not work to start the car. I then tried to reassemble the key in the enclosure and try to turn the car on so I could at least get home...it did catch long enough to start the car and I had to hold it to get home. Since then both of my keys have fallen completely apart and I had had to use gorilla glue to hold it together but because of the glue the auto lock does not work....and the key is very wobbly in the enclosure. This is a major safety factor which I have seen written about on the complaint websites. I have also called and reported it only to find out that this is not a safety factor.

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #49

Jun 012012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
I purchased my Honda in al in 2006. In 2012, I received a recall notice on the power steering feed hose. Only 1 dealership where I live. I took my car to have them inspect and replace the existing power steering feed hose until the new hoses could be made. A young man to my info and I sat next to my car. This man said; "your power steering pump is shot and everything is going to need to be replaced over $600. This man looked at another man and said;¿this woman is difficult.. the other man took the papers, opened my hood and did see the steering fluid leaking and said the part was not in and they did not have any replacement parts for the temporary fix but assured me I would be next in line. Never happened! I called corporate to issue a complaint. I told customer service to note in my records, "I will never go back to them because they lie. But know, when the part does come in, they will charge corporate. A few months later, I called corporate back their records show they did in fact charge for a repair to my automobile that never took place. I was told by corporate that there was no one that could do the repair but the dealership. I said; "I have someone who I know is honest and has worked on Honda automobiles for over 20 years. Would you just send me the new part and let him replace it? she said; "no! we will have an arbitrator work with you and the dealership. No way! I am demanding to receive a free power-steering feed hose repair kit. Of course with the year of driving I will now have to have the power steering pump replaced.. I just read another recall is issued on the passenger air bag.

- Makawao, HI, USA

problem #48

Jul 012014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 72,186 miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to power steering feed hose leak recall and seeks reimbursement.

- North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #47

Mar 012014


  • 129,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the power steering hose was leaking fluid and there was an abnormal winding noise from the steering wheel. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 12V222000 (steering) the following day and the vehicle was taken to the dealer where the power steering hose was replaced. The contact stated that the abnormal noise persisted even after the recall repairs were performed. The vehicle was then taken to the contact?S independent mechanic where it was advised that the power steering pump had also failed as a result of lack of fluid. The mechanic stated that the initial power steering hose failure was the cause of the power steering pump failing. The dealer was also contacted and advised the contact that the repair would not be covered under the recall and any further repairs to the power steering component would be at his expense. The manufacturer was also contacted and confirmed that they would take no liability for the power steering pump failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 129,000. The VIN was not available.

- Canton, MA, USA

problem #46

Mar 242014


  • 129 miles
Someone please help me!!!!!!!!!!!! on the above date, I started my car & proceeded to clean rain water from the windshield. The wipers would not come on, nor would the radio. This is just a couple of ongoing things that I've experienced with this car, since I've purchased it. My mechanic says the wipers are factory defects. Whew, not again!!!! ugh! when's it going to end. I'm one of those people who depend on my car fro everything because of my college student so, I'm anal on the maintenance. We just put in new ball joints and he tells me the suspension is faulty so, it will cause me to replace the joints again in the future. I opted for the lesser of the two because, it's a factory issue. I've received a couple of recall notices however, upon taking the car to the dealer, once they kept it& claimed to fix the steering issues however, they still exist. I took it a second time, they had the car all of 20 mins. And told me that this issue was fixed previously. I'm continuously having issues with the steering whining, no matter how many times I service the fluids. My radio & electrical systems in the car, is constantly on the blink or not working. Now the passenger window decides not to go up. One day, as I was exiting the vehicle (turned off!) it decided to roll backwards.luckily both feet were not out the car and I could catch it! I've invested so much money in keeping this car running until my mechanic knows what going wrong before the recalls come out. He's serviced so many "03" Accord, until he's thinking of becoming a specialist for Honda. I just want Honda to correct all recalls on my vehicle. My student depends on it.! how are these car manufacturers allowed to keep robbing its customers"?" my address has changed since my last complaint. See below.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #45

Dec 022013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Around December 2012 I started noticing a loud whining noise coming from the power steering pump on a cold start along with a whining noise when slightly rocking the steering wheel back and forth. After a couple of minutes of the car warming up the noise goes away. Now I have received a recall letter NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 just recalling the power steering hose to be replaced. (letter received on 3/12/2014) I immediately took my vehicle to the dealer on 3/13/2014 and had the hose replaced under the recall and also paid for them to go ahead and replace the O-ring in the other hose to see if that was the cause of the problem also. They stated without a diagnostic test they wouldn't know for sure if it is the steering pump or not (understandable), but when my car was finished, the service tech informed me that the mechanic discovered my rack and pinion are now leaking fluid and want to charge me $1,220 plus tax to fix and not to mention that I still do not know yet if the power steering pump has now gone bad because of this. I find this totally unacceptable and I believe the whole power steering system is faulty and should be covered under recall.

- Jacksonville , FL, USA

problem #44

Jan 172014


  • 186,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that after having the vehicle serviced under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 (steering), the vehicle caught on fire from under the hood without warning. A police report was filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was scheduled for an inspection to determine the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 186,000.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #43

May 062013


  • miles
I received a letter in the mail for a recall. I called to get in and get fixed. I drove my car in there perfectly fine. When I received my car back there was no power steering. I couldn't even put my car into a parking spot. The first thing the employee said to me that gave me my car was, "something is wrong, you need to make sure that they fix this." [xxx]the owner/manager laughed in my face and told me there was nothing they could do for me. He left me there stranded. I am a young woman with a young child (under a year old). They wanted to charge me around $800 for something I didn't do and couldn't even "guarantee to fix it." They didn't turn the wheel to get the oxygen out when replacing the power steering hose. They just wanted to scam me and get my money.. now I am left with a huge knick in my driver's side door that was not there the morning I dropped my vehicle off. They are unwilling to help resolve the issue. The manager has no heart and has no problem leaving a young woman stranded at their location unless they sign a paper saying they will pay hundreds of dollars, then puts a knick in your car and says there's nothing I can do and there's no way to prove it. I asked for a copy of the walk around inspection and that scratch was not on there. I advised immediately when I saw it that night and [xxx] keeps saying there is nothing he can do for me. My husband just got a new VW sportwagen, I have been looking at the Pilot and new Accord for a while now and I will tell you I will never again by a Honda after the way I was treated and now no one will fix the situation. I can't believe you are letting this man represent your brand. If I would have attempted to pull out in the busy intersection with the way they gave my car back to me it would have been a huge liability issue. I would have been so badly hurt and/or injured. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bolingbrook , IL, USA

problem #42

Jan 042013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 275,000 miles
As a result of the recall on the power steering hose deteriorating, my power steering pump went out. I paid $700 getting it fixed in January 2013. I was told by Honda of tiffany springs that my power steering pump going out had nothing to do with the hose deteriorating. I trusted them and had it fixed and paid in full. I took my car to another very trusted mechanic and was told otherwise. Since then, dealing with Honda of tiffany springs has been a nightmare! about two weeks ago my steering started making a really weird noise. Low and behold, Honda of tiffany springs told me my power steering pump was out again. Another $700 to fix it...they show no records of ever replacing my power steering pump, therefore there is no warranty. I have contacted an attorney about Honda of tiffany springs. Not only have they lied about my power steering and stolen money from me on parts that were clearly under recall or warranty, they have stripped my oil pan plug for the second time and my car was leaking oil all over my garage. I paid my trusted mechanic to fix that problem not once but twice, which Honda of tiffany springs should pay me back for. I am sick of Honda of tiffany springs!!! ever since[xxx] got sick & passed away, that place has gone downhill. I am ready to buy a new car, but not from there!! I will never take my car there again! I love the service manager, [xxx], and I do understand that his hands are tied when it comes to hiring and firing the losers in the service department. I have purchased cars from there since 1989. That has come to an end. I love Honda's, but this nightmare has left me no other choice than to buy a Ford. Words that I thought I would never say. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Platte City, MO, USA

problem #41

Apr 052013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 164,700 miles
My vehicle was subject to NHTSA recall #12V222000 which recalled steering:hydraulic power assist:hose, piping, and connections. I initially was informed of the recall by a cnn article and research on the Honda website on October 1, 2012. I began noticing leaking power steering fluid and subsequent power steering issues in November 2012. I was informed in a letter from Honda that I would receive notice that parts were available February 2013 and that my particular recall could not be completed until the parts were in stock. I received notice on March 19, 2013 that parts were available and had the hose replaced on April 5, 2013. During the repair process, I was informed that due to the defective part, the power steering pump would need replaced as it has cracked and leaked power steering fluid. I lost all power steering and had the pump replaced on April 5, 2013. This part is not covered under the recall but for the defective hose, the problem would not have occurred. I am seeking to file a complaint against Honda to reimburse my cost of parts and include the power steering pump as a part of the recall.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #40

Feb 202013


  • miles


Honda had a recall on the power steering hose but by the time they contacted me to go in my power steering pump started making severe noise. Now no one will cover it.

- Hartford, WI, USA

problem #39

Nov 072012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord ex. The contact stated that he received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 (steering) six months ago however, the dealer had not yet been able to make the recall repairs to the vehicle. The contact mentioned that although the vehicle was not experiencing the failure, he believed it was safety hazard to be driving a vehicle with a defective steering hose. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The current mileage was 119,535.

- Hubbard, OH, USA

problem #38

Feb 142013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Honda Accord 2003 power steering hose recall. Went to dealer and was told the both power steering hose and pump are leaking. The recall covers hose but was charged $600 for the pump replacement. I noticed smoke or burnt smell yesterday.

- Hanover, MD, USA

problem #37

Oct 302012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
I am the first owner of 2003 Accord, ex. My car has 113,000 miles on it. Its a well maintained car I kept for years. I must say that this car is excellent, however, there are signs that some parts are not functioning really well lately. For the past few months, I noticed my tcs sign on the dashboard comes on and off together with the triangle sign in orange. It started coming on after I turned off the ignition to my first destination and after just like 10-15 minutes and start my engine again, it will come on after driving for next 5-10 minutes. Also, just two weeks ago I noticed that the gear gets stuck on "park" mode and I have to press the handle before it gets released. I am not sure if the gear has something to do with the tcs and triangle showing on the dashboard. Also, I noticed my car has an issue with brakes when driving while raining. I have to step on the brakes a few times when its slippery to be able to come to a full stop. It's so scary that I almost hit the car in front of me a few times. I am lodging my complain so the manufacturer would take a look on this issue as I found all the complaints on tcs issue on 2003 Honda Accord ex online when I was trying to look for a solution on the same issue for my car.

- El Segundo, CA, USA

problem #36

Oct 242012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
Signs of leakage on hose, pump making noise steering pulling to one side.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #35

Nov 122012

Accord 4-cyl

  • 137,473 miles
First noticed difficult steering and noise. Mechanic found power steering hose leaking and replaced it ($400 parts & labor). Later same day, mechanic found power steering pump was also leaking and replaced it (another $400 parts & labor). Steering still difficult and still making noise, so brought car back to mechanic a couple of days later. Mechanic replaced rack & pinion (an additional $800 parts & labor). It appears the 4 cylinder Accord (2003) are not a part of the current Honda recall for power steering hose leaks, but looks like they should be. Also, note the additional parts failures (and financial costs) as a result of the leaking hose.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #34

Nov 162012


  • 141,000 miles
As per NHTSA recall 12V-222 this vehicle was taken to kings Honda in cincinnati, oh on Nov 6 2012 and repaired according to this recall. One power steering hose was replaced and fluid was added, however several different hoses were leaking and it was noted by the mechanic that fluid was leaking at the power steering rack and pump. Both Honda America and kings Honda refuse to replace these parts under this recall because it only requires them to replace the one C-hose. This situation is still a danger and power steering fluid is still leaking in the engine compartment.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #33

Sep 272012


  • 155,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the contact was making a turn and the steering wheel was extremely difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis and they detected the power steering fluid was leaking from the power steering hose. The vehicle was not repaired. The power steering pump was replaced previously by the dealer. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number 12V222000 (steering: Hydraulic power assist: Hose, piping, and connections); however the VIN was included. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 155,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #32

Aug 022012


  • 112,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that power steering fluid was leaking from the reservoir. The contact stated the steering wheel was hard to move from left to right and the humming sound was coming from the steering wheel. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer or a mechanic. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign I.D. number: 12V222000 (steering:hydraulic power assist:hose, piping, and connections) and called the manufacturer. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in the recall. The failure mileage was 112,700.

- Opelousas, LA, USA

problem #31

Sep 102012


  • 180,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While parked, the contact noticed a burning oil smell. After inspecting the vehicle the contact noticed power steering fluid leaking from under the vehicle. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 (steering:hydraulic power assist:hose, piping, and connections) that could have been related to the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in a recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 180,000.

- Highland, CA, USA

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