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.

9.3

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,711.00
Average Mileage:
97,479 miles
Total Complaints:
497 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace/rebuild transmission (344 reports)
  2. not sure (69 reports)
  3. Honda to pay cost as this transmission was a previous recall (45 reports)
  4. Honda assisted with replacement cost (25 reports)
  5. class action lawsuit (5 reports)
  6. transmission exchange (4 reports)
2003 Honda Accord transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 15 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #217

Mar 012010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,576 miles

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

I never thought I'd be saying horrible things about my precious Honda but ...I guess that's why they say..Never say Never....I was driving along in my car on Sunday with my girls in the back seat when suddenly, it felt as if someone had pressed their foot on top of mine on the gas. We started bucking like we were in a wild horse. My oldest daughter was frightened out of her mind and I was too. I pulled over to catch my breath and put my hazard lights on. After sitting there for a minute, I decided I had better make it home since Honda was closed on Sundays. On my very slow drive home, the car continued to buck and it never shifted gears. It sounded as if we were in 3rd or 4th but I was only going 25mph. Later that night, my brother drove my car and of course, nothing happened. I would learn later that the car had to be warmed up before the problem arose. The next morning, I got up to take my girls to school and myself to work. All was well until I was heading to my second drop off. I managed to get her to daycare and then I slowly drove to Honda, praying the car would be acting crazy long enough for the technician to drive it. Not only was it still acting crazy when I got there... It had totally lost its mind...He got in to drive it and it would not go in reverse. I thought I was going to scream. I knew then, I was going to need a new transmission. That's when I started my dreaded search for recalls or anything that had to do with the transmission. After finding a 2003 Honda Accord recall dealing with the transmission, I called Honda Corp only to be informed that my VIN number was not included in that recall. Hmmm, that sounds strange...I did not find out for sure until the close of the next business day that I needed a transmission. The dealership claimed they did everything in their power to try and save me from having to purchase a new transmission. In the meantime, I am waiting on Honda Corp to return my call so I can get some answers. I finally received a call from a representative who asked me some questions and told me he was going to call the dealership and give me a call back. He called right back and made me an offer to pay $2000 and they pay the balance. WHY?? Do you feel obligated to pay something? Why not all? Now I am hearing a different story about that old recall...My car was a part of it after all and it was repaired. Okay, which is it....? Of course, I have called back requesting more assistance. I cannot afford $2000...I am awaiting another phone call...tick tock...tick tock...

- , Jackson, TN, USA

problem #216

Nov 112009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,306 miles

I also had transmission failure with my 2003 Honda Accord Coupe. The worst thing about it is that I was driving on a very busy highway when I had no control over the vehicle. My car was going VERY slow and I barely made it to the exit. Its ridiculous that so many people are having this same problem and there is no recall. This is my 2nd Honda and I will never buy another one.

- , Dawson, GA, USA

problem #215

Aug 152008

Accord EX-V6 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I have the typical 2003 Accord transmission problem which started at 42,000 miles with periodic slipping out of gear on low speed shifts. I was told then it was not covered by my local Honda Dealership as is was beyond my 3 year 36,000 mile warranty.

Over the last 1 1/2 years the problem worsened so now it shifts out of gear every time, which mandates the transmission be replaced as advised by my local Honda Dealer. They offered to pay 1/2 of the $3,378 new transmission price, which I reluctantly accepted. My Accord now has 58,000 miles

I initially went to Westbrook Honda in CT and was quoted $4,000 and they (Honda) would 1/2. I obviously went with the lower quote which I received from Cardinal Honda in Groton, CT.

Westbrook Honda's service department were both rude in person and unresponsive to messages. They also gave me a quote handwritten on a slip of paper instead of a computer generated quote. I thought Westbrook Honda in Westbrook, CT was shady in their quoting process and unprofessional service. I filed a complaint with Honda about the Westbrook Dealership.

I don't want to pay my half of the $3,378 transmission repair, especially since I initially reported the problem at 42,000 and now only have 58,000 miles, but I have no other choice.

This is my last Honda. It's sad, as I like the Accord and have had only minor problems before or since the failed transmission.

- , Pawcatuck, CT, USA

problem #214

Jan 302010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

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

So my transmission just went out over the weekend. Good times. Honda dealership made it sound like a great deal that all I had to pay was $1,700. Lucky me. Like I'm the one who is getting the favor. The ironic part is that it happened at 82,000 miles. The reason I"m in an Accord is that my 2000/2001 Honda Civic transmission failed at 8,000 miles on the way to Las Vegas. Fixed under warranty. Then at 80,000 miles the check engine light came on and 14 miles later off the freeway my engine had caught fire and completely melted. There is obviously a problem they don't seem willing to recall and this will be my last Honda.

- , Valencia, CA, USA

problem #213

Jul 302009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

OH WHERE DO I BEGIN? MY 2003 HONDA ACCORD HAD 41,000 (YES 41,000) MILES ON IT WHEN THE TRANSMISSION FAILED. I WAS DRIVING HOME FROM WORK ON THE HIGHWAY WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THE CAR BEGAN VIOLENTLY JERKING BACK AND FORTH. THE RPM'S WENT UP TO AROUND 6500. I HAD TO DRIVE HOME IN SECOND GEAR. I LIVE IN ATLANTA AND THANK GOD I WORK LATE NIGHTS BECAUSE HAD THIS BEEN NORMAL DRIVING HOURS IT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE CAUSE ME TO CRASH INTO SOMEONE. I CONTACTED BOTH MY LOCAL DEALERSHIP AND THE MAIN OFFICE IN CALIFORNIA. AFTER MANY CALLS, MY LOCAL DEALERSHIP SAID IT WOULD COST AROUND $3600. I SAID I WOULD GO TO AN INDEPENDENT TRANSMISSION SPECIALIST. THEY SAID THEY COULD TO IT FOR AROUND $2300. AFTER CALLING MY LOCAL DEALERSHIP THEY SAID THEY WOULD PAY $1000 AND I WOULD PAY $2600. I SAID THAT WAS NOT RIGHT SEEING THAT MY HONDA ONLY HAS 41,000 MILES ON IT!!!!!!!!!

I BOUGHT THE CAR FOR THE DEPENDABILITY. I HAVE RESEARCHED THIS PROBLEM AND AM AMAZED THAT THE NHTSA WONT ENFORCE HONDA TO RECALL AND FIX THE PROBLEM. MY MECHANIC SAID THAT A CHEAP FILTER CAUSED THE TRANSMISSION FLUID TO FAIL, CAUSING THE TRANSMISSION TO FAIL, CAUSING THE TORQUE CONVERTER TO FAIL, CAUSING AND EXTRA $800 TO REPLACE.

HONDA NEEDS TO TAKE ACTION AND FIX THIS PROBLEM AND GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK. I HAVE WRITTEN MY STATE REPS. TO NO ACTION. SPREAD THE WORD TO OTHER HONDA OWNERS AND LETS BEAT HONDA AND GET WHAT WE PAID FOR!!!!! A RELIABLE CAR

- , Chamblee, GA, USA

problem #212

Dec 162009

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,005 miles

All I can say is don't do business @ Scoville-Meno of Oneonta NY. I actually brought my accord to them while it was under warranty and they said there was nothing wrong. Of course it wasn't long before it failed completely. When I complained to the manager Dave Walsh he said, well you didn't buy the vehicle here. I know that doesn't matter they should have honored the warranty anyway. I will never buy a Honda again. Honda motor company told me the same thing they told alot of people that they would do 25% of the cost. That's not good enough, maybe if I hadn't already brought it to Honda under warranty only to get turned away it might be different. I used to love Honda but now have a very bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. The thing is they're not cheap cars to begin with. If you pay a premium price yopu should get a premium product. Never buy one again.

- , Cooperstown, NY, USA

problem #211

Jan 122010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,400 miles

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

I am experiencing the same problem everyone else has. Took the car to Honda and barely made it up the drive way as it slipped out of gear as I entered the dealership. I read a lot of these posts before taking it in and was expecting the worst. Told the service rep everything and he said they would look at it and let me know. They called me and told me the internal bearings were bad and the fluid burnt and the transmission needed replacing and that it would run $4000. Told him that would be impossible and he said they could try for a used one. I said that would still be at least $2000, right? He said yeah and that labor was $1000 by itself. So I asked about a goodwill repair. He said well since you mentioned that let me get with my service manager and see what we can do for you. Got a call the following morning and he said they would submit the request and that all they could ask for is 50% max. I got a call back and they said Honda would only do 20% off. Which I am in no position to afford. And they don't do payment plans so I am stuck now and don't know what to do.

- , Roseville, CA, USA

problem #210

Feb 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Well no need to go into details the transmission failer on the 2003 accord is more of an epidemic. The true failure is on the part of Honda USA. They know this is a problem but they hide behind a 2004 recall that has nothing to do with it. Needless to say if this many people are online screaming about this issue think how many not web savvy folks are out their taking it in the short at their dealership or AAMCO. I encourage everyone to make a stink when they have to pony up the cash to fix their Honda. From my experience there is not much help out there. This is just one of those cases where we are left with no option but to fix our cars.

I will note that the law firm listed below is NOT taking the case:

DO NOT CALL (212) 566-4356. Stamell & Schager Law Firm

Maybe someone else is. Good luck to everyone else that is facing this uphill battle.

- , Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #209

Jan 062010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

'03 Honda Accord EX, my 4th Honda I've owned, and what a waste of money. I bought the car with 78k on it. Being a Honda, I thought nothing of high mileage. Now I am without a car because the tranny went out at 103k. Estimated repair cost $3,200. That's the cheapest estimate!

Honda won't pay any of the repair costs because I don't have service records, from a Honda dealership, for the past 7 years. I've only owned the car for 2 years.

After reading all the complaints here, I am frustrated beyond belief! How would service at a Honda dealership keep the faulty transmission from dying? Humble up, people!!

I will never buy another Honda. Ever.

- , Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #208

Dec 182009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

I am telling my story as I found the other very stories very helpful & this helped me to decide to pursue a "good will" repair. Total transmission failure at 134 K miles. All service work done according to Honda service advice. I was quoted $3600 for a new transmission. After 1 month of going back & fourth with Honda of America, HOnda agreed to pay 70 % of the repair & I paid 30 % . So far, so good. It is worth pursuing.

Thanks

- , Reading, MA, USA

problem #207

Jan 112010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

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

Another Accord v6 transmission failure.The reason I bought a Honda was reliability and durability.This is really frustrating 114k miles and complete transmission failure ae you kidding me. I am definitely not buying another Honda.

- , El Sobrante, CA, USA

problem #206

Dec 162009

Accord SX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

My car was making unusual sounds and whenever I took Honda to dealership for oil change and inspection, it was always other issues that they would address but never the sounds. When driving it seemed as if the gears weren't changing properly, took a while before car would go into 2nd and 3rd shift. The gears started slipping, then when driving the car just stop pulling. When pushing the gas, the engine would rev up but it would not go into drive or reverse. When I pulled over and turned car off and back on, it would work for a few more minutes but then the car stop pulling. When I checked the transmission fluid was totally black. After calling Honda for help, they said their service department closed in 10 minutes and basically nothing they could do. I attempted to drive the car a little further to get assistance and car would either jerk (my head forward towards steering wheel) or pull would stop. So I had to have a transmission specialist tow me and when they put the car on the machine to see what the problem was, basically the transmission overheated, slippage of gears...excessive chipping ( discoloration of the fluid was a sign of this), After $2700 and a rebuilt transmission later, I realized that this was also the same problem that the 2004 Recall was supposed to fix. I am not a mechanic but I can't understand how an OIL JET KIT would fix a TRANSMISSION issue, but evidently it didn't work. So I contact Honda's # for recalls and spoke with someone about my complaint. They claim they cannot assist me because the transmission was fixed by another agent. I suggested they contact that agent for ALL of the details including the bad parts...but they wouldn't even buge. I am waiting on Supervisor to call back. I will never get another honda again.

- , Lithia Springs, GA, USA

problem #205

Dec 232009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

Count me in for another 2003 Accord V6 Automatic Trans failure - 129,000 miles. Dealer quoted $3700, local shop quoted $2000. Fought with Honda on the phone to no avail. I have three Honda's, this was the first one purchased. So much for Honda reliability - I'll definitely look at domestic cars in the future. Honda just lost my business and many of my friends and neighbors. All were shocked by this incident.

- , Holland, MI, USA

problem #204

Dec 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,500 miles

My complaint is much similar to the one precedes me (#203 in Transmission category). I have a well maintained 2003 Accord which underwent all required oil changes and miles services. I took the car for 90K mile service. The service personnel gave it a clean bill of health. Two days later as I enter the highway, the car refused to shift to higher gears and had to travel at 5000 RPM and 30 mi/hr for over 30 mins to reach the Honda Service. The service person knew the problem right away and gave 50% off the service cost even before I requested!

I called Honda a few days later and expected them to pick up the rest of that cost. The case manager was polite, but refused. After I stated that this is my 5th Honda, he took additional 2 days and then rejected my claim! If only 200+ of their million-customer base are unhappy, why should they care. All they lost is just one more loyal customer. I saw a open letter to the Attorney general. I plan to sign that to bring this to his/her attention, hoping other Honda buyers would benefit. I am done with Honda cars.

- , Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #203

Nov 252009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

First - I would like to thank everyone who posted their story. I googled my problem when my transmission failed and through reading the other complaints, I was mad, but better prepared to address the probelm with Honda.

Same story as others - 91k miles, transmission fails in 2nd and 3rd gear. Car becomes undrivable. A month before - all dash lights went on (which Honda fixed when I took it in a month earlier for $1200). Then a 40 days later, the transmission fails.

Went to the dealer - had this site printed out and in hand. They got the point and said most likley Honda America would pitch in 25%, the dealer 25%, and me 50%. I had no choice but to proceed. In the end, it didn't go down this way. The first offer was 25% Honda America - 75% me. I founght that by emailing my situation and that this was a Honda problem and not my problem. I'm out of warrenty on time, but under 100k - no luck. After more debates, the dealer went back to Honda America and got them to pick up 40%. The Honda dealer picked up nothing (although they supposedly fought with Honda to get the 40%). I picked up the 60% which came out to $2200 (out of pocket) $4100 for the whole job quoted. This doesn't include my earlier visit 40 days earlier. They replaced with a remanufactured transmission and said there was a 36 month warrenty on it.

I am going to call the law firm noted below and 'get on the list'. I will never buy another Honda. Honda would not pick up any % if they didn't know this was an issue. But at the end of the day, they not taking responsibility for their faulty transmission, they basically said "screw you customer".

For thoses reading this, my sincire regrets you are in this same situation. Be stong and use this site for facts and positioning.

Update from Apr 7, 2010: Update 4-10-2009. The NY law office mentioned in other posts doesn't return calls and never seems to be there. My refurbashed transmission has lost all 'punch' the car once had. Very upsetting.

Your only recourse is to submit a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Submit your complaint at this web address. Maybe somday, they will take some action.

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

Good luck and don't buy another Honda - I never will and I'm telling anyone who will listen our story.

- , Danville, CA, USA

problem #202

Nov 232009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,800 miles

The transmission on my 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 failed and left me stranded at the side of the highway. Less than 80,000 miles on the car. All scheduled maintenance performed at the dealership. The dealership told me that Honda and the dealership paid 65% to replace the transmission. The total cost to me to replace the transmission was $1564. The cost of ownership of this car is way higher than advertised, and the reliability just isn't there.

I won't be buying another Honda in this lifetime. Honda will replace the radio display, because it just doesn't cost them much, but when it comes to a major system of the car, forget it. I called the law firm mentioned in the other posts and was told that they are not pursuing a class action. I asked for a reason, but got no comment. The icing on the cake for me is the fact that I replaced a bad transmission with yet another bad transmission. There is a three year, 36,000 mile warranty on the "new" transmission, which is lame. My next car will be from a company that stands behind their product.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #201

Oct 272009

Accord EX-V6 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,071 miles

First Honda -new 1989 Accord LXI, Replaced in 1991 with new Accord SE which was stolen in 1994 and replaced with new 1994 Accord EX. Added new Accord EX V6 in 2003. Bought last Honda we will ever own 2010 Accord EX V6 seven days before the transmission in the 2003 took a kamikazes. We were two miles from home traveling at 55 mpg when the engine red lined and the car jerked and lost speed. Fortunately we had just gotten off of NC 17 and the road we were on was deserted. I let the car slow until the transmission engaged and nursed the car to our home. In the morning I called our Honda dealer in Myrtle Beach SC told them what happen. They stated they believed the transmission was gone but they needed to see the car. It was delivered on a flat bed and they called to tell me the transmission was shot. Located this site and the NHTSA site with suggestions to contact Honda for a goodwill coverage of the transmission. Considering Honda had just finalized the 90 million dollar class action suit and recall of 2000 - 2002 Accords I thought they would welcome our loyalty of twenty years and pay for their engineering failure. The twit at Honda Corporate gave me a hissyfit. What did I expect? The car is out of warranty! You should be lucky Honda is even talking to you. You have the car with the best resale on the market. So what if it has to be towed forty five miles to the nearest Honda Dealer (who had just serviced the 2003 the day we picked up the 2010). A week later the twit gave an ultimatum. Honda will replace the transmission for $2800 and split the cost 50/50. Considering the dealer had quoted a cost of $3400 this was going to save us. Today 11/5/09 my half grew to $1525 and the car stinks like hell. It smells like someone was smoking a really bad cigar. The driver's rug and the door panel are covered with grease. So where do I go from here. Since the 2003 was purchased while I was a New York resident I will contact the NY Attorney General Andrew Como who has a reputation of protecting the consumer. I hope this will help to push the Class Action suit forward and or force Honda to issue a recall. Honda after two weeks has not provided me with the title papers for the 2010 so technically they still own it. I have asked the Honda Dealer to take it back. I'm too old to get killed by another sneak attack. I suspect the smelly cigar was there answer to my complaints.

- , Sunset Beach, NC, USA

problem #200

Nov 172009

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,700 miles

I bought a new 2003 Honda accord off show room floor and spent over 30k on it. The original transmission went out at 48789k miles with no warning lights etc. Honda did replace it at no charge. I have always serviced my car with the dealer and changed fluid at all the required mileages and now 42000k miles later it went again the exact same way it did the first time. I was told that the transmission failed and they found no codes to show why this happened again. This time I have to pay $700 to get replace and that this is more than fair since they owe nothing. Well I feel why should I be on the 3rd transmission on a car I take inpecitable care of. Who can I discuss this with future I have owed many cars with way more than 90k on them and never replaced the transmissions. This year car has had many problems with the tranys so why do I have to feel this is not a manufacturing problem and have to pay anything. Will complaining make them say so sad to bad we wont cover anything. Im not looking a gift horse in the mouth but this really is a problem with this year car so do i just eat it and shut up or speak up if it will do any good? Please someone give me an answer.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #199

Nov 162009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

How is it that Honda can send out a recall notice in the summer of 2004 for transmission problems and then claim that the problem is fixed by adding an oil jet kit to provide additional lubrication. Now 5 years later I have to have my transmission replaced!

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #198

May 012009

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Why is Honda doing nothing when so many people are experiencing a transmission problem on the V6 autos? Seriously, you would think they would step up and offer a solution as more and more complaints arise. The car has been good to this point but unless Honda does something for their customers with regard to this matter, I will never buy a Honda again.

- , Danbury, CT, USA

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