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:
15 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,447 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Honda Accord:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 29)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #556

Jul 172011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


My 2003 Honda Accord staring making a "noise" unfamiliar to me. After getting my car checked out it was determined to be the transmission.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #555

Aug 022011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I was driving approximately 35 mph when I went to accelerate, the transmission slips and engine revs high while car downshifts into what felt like first gear and violently slows down. This almost put me through the windshield. Any attempts I made to speed up or maintain speed just cause the transmission to slip and lag until finally the car just acts like its in neutral. I turn off the car and start it up again, it drives fine all the way to the dealership. They find nothing wrong with it and charge the $100 diagnostic fee. I drive it off the lot and it immediately starts slipping between 2-3 gears and downshifting; so I drive it right back into the shop and they say the transmission needs replaced. Transmission replacement run roughly $5000. Car is at 85,000 miles, all maintenances and 3000-mile oil changes performed, car has required many visits to the shop for malfunctioning electrical systems and problematic brakes. Honda claims all recalls have been performed, including a recall for a defective transmission part they never replaced with a working part. The technician informs me I am able to drive home granted I can deal with some slippage of gears, if this had happened on the highway, I would be dead right now, and I do a lot of highway driving. Nothing has been done yet to correct this failure, I believe Honda should do the right thing and replace these dangerously faulty parts in all of its vehicles.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #554

Jul 242011


  • 78,000 miles
The transmission was slipping, and did not allow me to accelerate in an intersection. Near collision by 2 cars caused an incredibly unsafe and hazardous situation.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #553

Jul 182011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


My 2003 Honda Accord has just reached 95K. I was accelerating to get onto interstate 81 when the car lost almost all power and RPM dial went down. The car the jerked violently forward, the RPM dial jumped up, and the car sped up. I had a friend in the car, and she joked that I was trying to kill her! I, of course, I didn't cause the car to do this! a few weeks went by and I was driving on I481 South when the vehicle lost most of its power. I couldn't do anything but try to get it to the next gear. As I did this, it violently jerked again, sending the shocked person in the car behind me to speed up, just to get around me! I was so scared, that I pulled over, and had my fiance come and drive the car to our mechanic. He could only go about 35-40mph on the highway the rest of the way, if not, it jerked on him as well. Upon parking at the mechanics, he couldn't get it in reverse. After two different certified mechanics scratched their heads about my car, I had my transmission fluid changed. It did nothing to fix it. I am picking up the car from a Honda dealership, who have told me that the only fix is a new/rebuilt transmission at the price of $3800! there are no diagnostic codes that are being read, and no lights on the dashboard come on, except for traction control once in a while. This car is worthless to me! I cannot believe that Honda will do nothing for us, and that there hasn't been a recall for this problem. We need to keep complaining to them! I believe that as more of this make and model gets into having higher mileage on them, the more complaints they will have! I will keep on complaining about this until something is done! I urge others to do the same. Hopefully, nobody gets hurt or killed in the process of them doing nothing in the meantime!

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #552

Jul 252011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
Driving at 50 mph the car suddenly downshifted into 2nd gear without any warning.

- Monroe, OH, USA

problem #551

Jun 122011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
The transmission on my 2003 Honda Accord ex completely is shot now. When I try to speed up my car will go into first gear and then I have to put my foot down on the gas pedal for it to actually go and skip and move into third gear.I have contacted Honda to try and get the problem addressed with them and they politely said that they cant compensate me at all because the problem had already been addressed back in 2009 its is now 2011 and the same problem with the transmission is now occurring again.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #550

Jul 242011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 53,500 miles


I own a 2003 Honda Accord, ex V6 4 door sedan. I was driving on the bqe expressway in brooklyn yesterday when the transmission started slipping and lurched. It almost cause a rear end accident, and I had my 16 moth old baby in the back seat. The car then wouldn't go into a drive gear, nor would go into reverse. I restarted the car and the car limped the 1 mile home - but transmission was still slipping. This is an extremely dangerous condition. Websites listing identical failures are full and plentiful. When does someone have to die to get this remedied?

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #549

Jul 202011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I was turning left into a store parking lot when my car unexpectedly downshifts violently causing my car to hesitate before it ever took off, leaving me setting in the middle of the road with a car headed right towards mine, lucky for me the car was able to slow down enough to swerve to avoid plowing into my car and the side of the vehicle my 3 year old daughter was setting at! now my car jerks extremely violently when driving randomly down the road at any given time. Took the car to my mechanic, transmission is shot, needs replacement immediately, too bad I am a student and single mom who does not have the kind of money to get this replaced. Only good thing that I can say about my almost accident was that no one was hurt, this time. Too scared to drive car anywhere else. Count my blessings since I did make it home, not without driving 25 mph in slow lane of interstate with emergency flashers on!

- Wilkesboro, NC, USA

problem #548

Jul 162011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 125,400 miles
Driving the car no problem till recently in July when my transmission decide it wont go into gear every once in a while. Give me sudden stops while driving on the highway. Almost causing accidents, since the last stop I have stopped driving it and started researching only to find it is a common problem with the vehicle. Knowingly producing inadequate unsafe products. Thanks alot Honda

- Haltom City, TX, USA

problem #547

Oct 022010

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to safety recall and transmission issues the consumer stated when the vehicle shifted to second gear, the transmission would lock up to the point that the vehicle would almost stop. The consumer is seeking reimbursement due to the recall being issued.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #546

Jun 302011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 158,000 miles


I just bought a used 2003 Honda Accord ex V6. The transmission seems to have problem. The second gear does not shift smoothly.

- Caledonia, MI, USA

problem #545

Jul 132011


  • miles
Since the purchase Iżve experienced continual transmission problems. Upon speaking with the dealership I was assured all was fine. You can imagine my surprise when I received notice of the transmission recall (NHTSA 04V176000). Upon repair, in September 2004, I did not notice repair improvement, and continued to detect the rough grind of transmission shift and a whining sound. In 2009 I experienced a catastrophic transmission failure to which I had sought repair. In December 2010 I experienced another transmission failure. I have just now experienced my 3rd transmission failure, July 2011. My power steering pump had always had a faint whine, but Honda services never identified it as concerning. The problem progressively became worse until Honda finally suggested a repair, but informed me that the component was then out of warranty and would be a costly repair. I decided to delay repair until June 2011. Ac problems manifested in September 2005 and required replacement in April 2008. My center council clock and temperature display has been flickering, dimmed, and absent since 2009. The interlock stuck issue first materialized in 2008 and serviced in July 2010. My airbag warning light has been active since 2008 with an occasional but repetitive tcs alert; and my headlamp glass has been hazed since 2005. The paint deterioration is ridiculously embarrassing, the leather seating began showing wear 2 years in, my seatbelt doesnżT return to the original released position, head liner has water leak stains, cd player stopped working, exposed wiring is visible at the driver door hinge, Iżve gone through 3 batteries, countless tires, one cracked windshield, and I have always suffer from poor radio reception and occasional navigational signal roaming issues. In these times of thrift conscious fuel consumption, I utilize my nav tools to monitor my driving activity. IżM stunned to report I get a fuel economy of 24 mpg highway, not the 31 mpg as sticker reports.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #544

Jul 072011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Failure of transmission. Was driving 70mph on highway and took the off ramp to go home. I stopped at the red light near home and proceeded to go on the green light. The car would not go over 40mph and would not accelerate like usual. At the next red light I could not go over 5mph. Engine light came on. Transmission shift light flashed green. I barely got home. Dealership said the transmission died with only 79K miles on it. There was no previous indication that the transmission was going bad.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #543

Jun 242011


  • 78,400 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle hesitated before accelerating further. The vehicle resumed normal acceleration after a brief hesitation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified, and the contact was waiting to be informed if the vehicle was or was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 78,400.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #542

Jul 072011


  • 130,000 miles
All was normal when suddenly my transmission lost its gear. The rev count went all the way up and my car wasn't moving. The only way the car will slip back into gear is I turn off the car and start it back up. Then it still loses gear randomly~

- Hacienda Heights, CA, USA

problem #541

Jan 042011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
At normal acceleration and at random, violent gear shift from low to high. Sometimes from 2 to 3, other times from 3 and up. Transmission remains in same gear (2 or 3) close to (6000rpm) then violently slams into next gear!! seem some scary moments. Effects started at 110K miles; got to dangerous at 122K miles. Auto repair shop declared transmission failure. Replaced transmission.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #540

May 242011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
My car started jerking several weeks ago and took it into our trusted auto mechanic and they diagnosed transmission failure. They told me that this happens frequently with this year of Honda and to take it to a Honda dealer since common knowledge that transmission has defective parts. They also told me to contact Honda customer care. The mechanics who work on my car were originally Honda certified repair tech's. did all of that starting on May 24, 2011 and after several weeks of waiting Honda said it would cost around $3700 for a rebuilt transmission of which I must pay around $2200. I have appealed again because everyone, including the Honda dealership, has admitted it is defective parts. Plus I made some calls to several transmission rebuild outfits and the general consensus it would cost me $2100 for a complete rebuild as well as the information about defective Honda transmissions for Honda running from 2001 to 2005. My argument is that Honda knows this is a defective transmission, I have provided the proof that this car has been well-maintained throughout its life and that everyone else?S rebuild quotes $2100. They argue that I am not the original owner but one reason we bought the car from the original owner (my mother-in-law) is for Honda"S ?well-known" reliability and how they stand behind their cars.

- Toledo, IA, USA

problem #539

Jun 182011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
The vehicle jerked violently and than would not accelerate safely. The vehicle was not safe to operate and I was almost rear ended because the car dropped from 75 to 35 in just a few seconds.

- Greenbelt, MD, USA

problem #538

Jun 212011

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,258 miles
The 2003 Honda Accord ex V6 automatic transmission slips out of gear to neutral and then jerks the car and goes back into gear. This happens periodically without warning. The car has 97,258 miles. The Honda dealer said the transmission needs to be replaced at a cost of $4075.22 + taxes and alignment.

- Mandeville, LA, USA

problem #537

Jun 152011

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
2003 Accord V6 automatic transmission failure at 120,000 miles. 2004 recall ineffective.

- Dallas, TX, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?