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:
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

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 29)

problem #576

Jun 292012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 122,355 miles

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

Automatic transmission problems.

- Fayettevielle, GA, USA

problem #575

Apr 062010

Accord

  • 62,000 miles
NHTSA recall #04V!76000 car was evaluated oil jet kit installed. No proof that the gears were actually discolored; which would have required a replacement tranny. Quite a money saver.for Honda. Transmissions are expensive. Honda replaced the tranny cost to me 2,100. I still have car; running fine at 88,000 oil jet kit was installed 4/2004. The failure at 62,000 miles, with the fix is still pre-mature tranny failure.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #574

Feb 212013

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle repairs and seeks reimbursement. The consumer stated within the past year, the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, transmission, heater valve, transmission mounts, power steering pump, dash and steering links were all replaced.

- Ottumwa, IA, USA

problem #573

Nov 072012

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,892 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 25 mph, the transmission began to slip gears and then failed to respond. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road where the engine was turned off. The vehicle was able to resume in operation after waiting for one hour. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who advised the contact that the transmission would need to be replaced due to internal damage. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 99,892. The manufacturer would not assist the consumer with replacing the transmission, because she was not the original owner. Updated 03/21/13

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #572

Aug 212012

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,300 miles
Vehicle transmission shifted from ~3rd-4th gear while driving at a constant 40 miles per hour in traffic to 1st gear causing very rapid de acceleration (sufficient to cause items on rear deck to fly forward, seat belts to lock, and driver to hit steering wheel) and causing other drivers to brake to avoid collision. Dry pavement prevented loss of control. Action by trailing drivers (spacing and braking) prevented collision. Following incident, transmission remained locked in first gear. Transmission first locked into first gear (as above) on August 18, 2012. On August 21, 2012 the dealer returned the vehicle after asserted the transmission had not failed and required only flushing and changing transmission fluid (transmission fluid had been flushed and changed in 2010 as scheduled maintenance less than 12,000 miles of this failure). Dealer charged more than $250 for this service and stated vehicle was fully repaired. Second dangerous failure occurred within 5 miles. Honda dealer refused to refund the cost of work resulting from faulty diagnosis which placed a dangerous functioning transmission back into use. Transmission recalled in 2004 and modified by dealer pursuant to transmission lubrication problems. Honda dealer provided all state inspections and periodic maintenance. Honda North America refused to replace defective and dangerously functioning transmission. The dealer has agreed to replace the transmission with a re-manufactured transmission for $2500. The owner believes this failure is related to the previous recall. Vehicle has only been used for light duty, has never been used for towing, and all scheduled maintenance has been performed by dealer. The mode of failure was very dangerous. A recall should be considered and transmissions with this mode of failure replaced by manufacturer. Investigation is requested.

- Dover, NH, USA

problem #571

Apr 202012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving approximately 40 miles an hour in 45 mph zone. When I attempted to accelerate to 45 mph, transmission slipped out of gear. Vehicle came to complete stop. I had turn off vehicle. Restarted engine and carefully and slowly accelerated to 30 mph and drove 2 miles home. Next day I drove vehicle to Honda dealer. Vehicle slipped out of gear twice, each time when attempting to accelerate to higher speed limits. Honda dealer has called to tell me it needs a new transmission. Will receive price quote on 4/23/12.

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #570

Apr 022012

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

2003 Honda Accord. Consumer states problem with vehicle automatic transmission in April 2004, a recall was issued for the automatic transmission. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer, where they performed a revision to the oil cooler return line. The consumer stated there is now a problem with the transmission slipping and not going into gear. The problem occurred while going into 2nd gear which is exactly what the recall was for in 2004. The consumer believed the fix that was done, was just a temporary fix and the transmission should have been replaced.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #569

Dec 192011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 122,013 miles
I have to replace the transmission on my Honda Accord. I was on my way to work when the car just started shifting into neutral during acceleration after every stop. I was almost hit in the rear at one point. Terrifying!!!! I purchased the car in 2004 from pohanka Honda in temple hills, md. The same dealership has been responsible for servicing my vehicle since the purchase. I purchased a Honda for the dependability, my car has not reached it's 10th birthday and I'm faced with a huge cost to replace the transmission.

- Temple Hills, MD, USA

problem #568

Nov 142011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 141,000 miles
The transmission periodically fails to shift properly and failed to propel the car suddenly on the interstate in heavy traffic at high speed. Was forced to the side of the road in a very unsafe manner. This transmission is a safety hazard and of faulty manufacture as a transmission should last the life of a vehicle 300K or be replaced by the manufacturer.

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #567

Nov 272011

Accord

  • 261,420 miles
After exiting the interstate after a 3-hour drive the car violently down shifted to the point the car behind me almost rear ended me. It then had trouble shifting into second and third gear and finally locking into second gear. I was able to get to where I was going through busy city streets. It was nerve wracking. If this happens on the interstate... engine light came on and the green light on the D indicator of the shifter started to blink on and off. I understand this is an engineering flaw in the transmission cooling design.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #566

Sep 012011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles

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

At around 107,000 miles, I noticed my transmission leaking fluid very rapidly. In addition, the front end of the car started vibrating violently between 50mph and 60mph.

- Paterson, NJ, USA

problem #565

Sep 022011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Second owner of the 2003 Honda Accord V6, bought it on 2009 first found out this issue after taking my brother to jfk airport and on my way back home, some weirdo sounds clunking while car stopped on traffic and accelerate onward.(lucky didn't get self and my wife killed/crashed) took the car to auto repair and they told me it's transmission failure, dashboard is blinking as well. Transmission slips out of gear. Shifts roughly. Won't go into gear. Drive indicator light flashing on dash. High pitched whining noise from transmission. Clunking into gear. Shifts violently at low speed after highway driving. Not shifting properly.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #564

Sep 022010

Accord

  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The automatic transmission would not shift into third gear while driving 65 mph and the speed would will suddenly decrease to 55 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer multiple times who was unable to diagnose the failure; however, they have made several attempts to repair the vehicle but the failure continued to occur. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and offered a half price discount off of the repair cost. The failure mileage was 79,000.

- Larkstur, CO, USA

problem #563

Jul 222011

Accord

  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The vehicle was previously included in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission) and was repaired. After the repairs, the contact was driving approximately 45 mph when the tcs and brake warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics where the technician stated the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 125,000.

- Colonia, NJ, USA

problem #562

Aug 172011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 160,600 miles
Driving on the highway in traffic, my 2003 Honda Accord V6 suddenly dropped into first gear suddenly slowing my travel from 55 mph to 35 mph. I narrowly avoided being hit by the vehicle behind me by turning off onto the shoulder. The Accord then downshifted and continued to jump suddenly between second and third gears. The Accord showed no dashboard indications that something was wrong but continued to drive changing gears sporadically. My car was taken to a local Honda dealer where I was told the transmission needed to be replaced entirely but would cost more than the vehicle was worth.

- Hopkins, MN, USA

problem #561

Dec 152008

Accord

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the vehicle was included in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the repairs were performed. After the recall repairs were performed, the vehicle stalled while driving approximately 45 mph. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostics, where the technicians stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The transmission was replaced, but the failure continued. The transmission was replaced a second time and the vehicle continued to stall. The vehicle was not repaired a third. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000. The VIN was not available.

- Loveland, OH, USA

problem #560

Nov 192009

Accord

  • 105,000 miles
I own a 2003 Honda Accord. Out of the blue about 1 1/2 years ago, I could not place the car into drive after being in reverse in the middle of a busy street. I stood there with cards screeching all around me until finally it went into drive and I was above to drive away. The very next day there was a loud crashing sound under my car and it became undriveable bucking and stopping as I drove. I went to repair shop and paid $3000 for a new transmission.

- Manalapan, NJ, USA

problem #559

Aug 102010

Accord

  • 103,209 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the transmission would slip into second gear and jerk. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that the vehicle was repaired, by a previous owner, under the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The failure mileage was 103,209.

- Piscatawayd, NJ, USA

problem #558

Mar 182011

Accord

  • 99,216 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the transmission stopped responding and the vehicle stalled as a result. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 99,216 and the current mileage was 103,000.

- Mobile , AL, USA

problem #557

Jul 292011

Accord

  • 91,605 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the engine began to rev, but the vehicle would not accelerate beyond 30 mph. The check engine light also began to illuminate on the instrument panel during the failure. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer denied assistance with the repair. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 91,605 and the current mileage was 91,700.

- Saing Cambridge, MA, USA

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