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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,332 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

problem #4

Nov 182010


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the vehicle was shifting in and out of gear. In addition, when first entering the vehicle the contact was unable to switch gears. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages was 130,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #3

Aug 092010


  • 95,000 miles
Honda 2003 Accord exv6 automatic. Complete transmission failure. Began slipping out of gear on Aug 9 2010. Vehicle slipped out of gear rev but vehicle would not move finally slipped back in gear. Extremely concerned I was going to be hit while stalled in intersection. Second time after going to dealership engine did the same thing but on the freeway and had to pull off to emergency lane.

- San Juan Capistrano, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 242010


  • 102,750 miles
I own 2003 Honda Accord, which I just recently discovered has history of transmissions problems, but did not know that at the time of purchase. I was driving the vehicle on busy highway about 45 miles per hour and without any warning whatsoever the vehicle felt like it had been hit in the rear and then rapidly decelerated. I maintained control of the car and managed to get it off the side of the road, but was quite fortunate that there was no vehicles immediately following me otherwise it could quite likely have resulted in an accident. Since this initial incident, it has occurred, though infrequently until quite recently. I am quite concerned that one of these times I will be less fortunate and will be involved in an accident of one or more vehicles. After the first experience of this nature, I brought the 2003 Honda Accord in at a local dealership for its most recent oil change. I asked them if they had any other reports of similar incidents that involve a "hit" feeling along with rapid deceleration. They of course said no but would check into it while going through the standard oil change and inspections. After waiting a considerable length of time, the dealership service representative told me that the transmission needed to be replaced, and they would be in contact with Honda corporate to see what type of compensation they as a dealership could get. I was just informed yesterday that Honda estimates the replacement cost for the transmission to be over $3000 and they have offered to compensate about $1000 leaving the balance an out of pocket expense to myself as the owner. I suspect at this point Honda does not fully understand the safety hazard this is causing myself and the passenger of the vehicle. Only to make matters worse, I have my daughter driving also a 2003 Honda Accord, nearly the identical vehicle, and she just informed me that her Accord which she has at college has been building engine rpms and then jerking through gear changes.

- Orange Park, FL, USA

problem #1

Dec 192005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 29,580 miles
Car will not engage into second gear when cold, other times shifting into second is notching. Honda states that car is per their specifications.

- Asheville, NC, USA

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