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 24 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Nov 162007

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

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

So I have a 2003 V6 Accord Coupe. I purchased her used (only 1 year old) with 15k miles and with the intention most Honda buyers have… to have her last almost a lifetime. Over the past 3 years I commuted to work for over an hour for the first year and a half and only a half our for the last)… I now have just over 91,000 miles on the car. Story: Day 1 (Friday night) So I’m driving a couple hours south to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving. About 40 minutes into the drive, my car starts with the same signs mentioned below… sudden jerking as if I slammed on my brakes and then floored the throttle… then the RPM’s revved up past 5-6 and I was only going 30 mph. After I pulled off the highway and received some advice to turn back and see a mechanic… I was unable to go in reverse. After I got a push from the station attendant I headed back north with my flashers never going over 30 mph. Day 2 (Saturday) Since my Honda Dealership was not open and I had hopes of heading home for the holiday week, I took it to Meinieke (the only open mechanic shop I could find). Even after dropping it off at 9 am… they were unable to figure out the problem before they closed. Day 3 (Monday) Meinieke: Diagnostic, flushing my transmission, diagnostic, checking electrical communication, repairing a sensor, diagnostic, deciding the transmission needs to be replaced… ~$900 Honda Corporate: After reading numerous message blogs about this situation call the 1-800-999-1009 number for Corporate Service. I speak with someone and plead my case. I am informed that I need to bring my car to a Honda Dealership and have them identify the issue for them to consider it. I contact my local dealership (I have received 1 service at) and they are pretty busy given the shorter week and most likely won’t get to it till Friday). Day 4 (Tuesday) Pick up car from Meineke and drive 20 mph to drop off at Miller Honda. Take a 7 and a half hour bus ride to my parents for something that normally takes 3 hours. Day 5 (Wednesday) Miller Honda calls and believes the Transmission definitely needs to be replaced. They still haven’t heard from Honda Corporate. I call Honda Corporate to investigate the situation. They claim they have not been contacted by Miller Honda. The representative is kind enough to have me give Miller Honda their number and have the ball start rolling. I also inform them of my prior services at Rossi Honda (when I lived in NJ). Day 7 (Friday) Miller Honda calls and said the case is moving. He has spoken with the rep at corporate. Honda Corporate Calls and said they are reviewing the case but I am beyond my warranty extension period and the case will be solely based on “goodwill”. Day 11 (Tuesday) I receive a call from Miller Honda who had been working with Corporate. While Corporate seemed reluctant, Miller informed me they had a strong relationship with the area rep and was adamant on providing me with this transmission at a discount. I had missed one service to have my transmission flushed and Miller was kind enough to insist it could be covered by the one done at Meineke. He informed me that Honda would be covering 100% of the cost of a re-built transmission ($3,900) but I would have to cover the labor for the installation. I was ecstatic. Sadly the labor and the initial diagnostic came to almost $800. Bringing my total to almost $1,700. Much much better then $5,600. Day 14 (Friday) 2 weeks later I picked up my car with the re-built transmission that HONDA COVERED FOR FREE!!!!!

Moral of the Story: As much as you feel it is expensive to have your car serviced at a Honda Dealership, the goodwill return of the company is WELL WORTH IT.

When working with a dealership and corporate, STAY ON TOP OF THE SITUATION. Don’t wait for them… keep the ball rolling.

*Even if your dealership isn’t open on weekend, wait till Monday, I would have saved myself a lot of money by skipping the Meineike part.

Thank you Miller Honda!

- , Johnson City, NY, USA

problem #36

May 182007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

I have just finished my 60K tune up. I have kept up with all the maintenance, oil change, ...... One week after my 60K, out of the blue when I was driving. I experience a slight shake from the car. Then it didn't happened. I was so close to house, I thought it would be fine. The next day I drove to work when I exiting the highway, all of sudden, there was another knock. This time was more serious. I called the bought that to to machine. On the way, it was almost a complete stop on the highway for a second. My safety belt pulled me back. Then the car went again. I was few blocks form the shop.

The problem is my transmission was in the recall list and Honda didn't do anything to replace it. It said that it was fine after examine the transmission at 30K.

I still believe the Transmission is defected. However, I know why they don't want to replace the transmission $$$$$$$$$

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #35

Nov 122007

Accord EX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is a follow up on my complaint form November 12th 2007.

We purchased our 2003 Honda Accord brand new from Schroeder Honda in Benton Harbor, MI and that is where the car was always maintained. I contacted the GM, sales rep and service rep and I hit a stone wall. Doug in service advised me that the car has 120K on it and it is not their responsibility to help in this situation. Apparently, all this time that we were advising Rick in service on the jerking issue between the 2nd and 3rd gear, it was never noted in their system and basically told us to get lost. The sales rep advised me to contact Honda myself but on his end there was nothing that they could do. I never heard from the GM.

I took the car to Fox Honda in Grand Rapids, MI. Pat in service told me that her manager, Brian Davidson, will contact Honda USA directly and get back to us to see if there is anything Honda can do for me. 24 hours later, Pat called me back and advised me that Honda USA will cover 75% of the cost of the transmission and labor and the new transmission will carry a warranty for 36, 000 miles. Total out of pocket $600 only.

I am very impressed that Fox Honda went out of their way to help me out while Shroeder Honda left me hanging dry. This is what I call service. Thank you Fox Honda and Honda USA.

Fox Honda: you just gained my business.

Shroeder Honda: My car will never be serviced at your dealership again and my next purchase will definitely not be from your dealership

Honda USA: I am very happy that you are taking care of your customers. We'll keep being loyal to the Honda/Acura brand.

It was a disappointment that tranny went out at 120, 000 miles but Honda made it right and I am a happy customer.

- , Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #34

Oct 212007

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,700 miles

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

This is a follow up on my original complaint. My Honda dealer replaced the transmission in my 03 Accord and covered 90% of the cost. All was well for the first week then the indicator light on the dash that let's you know what gear you're in would start to flash when in DRIVE. No matter what gear you shifted to the DRIVE light would continue flashing until you shut the car off and restarted. One day no indicator lights came on. The next day the traction control light came on and stayed on.

I took it back to the dealer and they said it was just a loose connection. I'm not so sure and I'm not taking any chances. I pick up my new Nissan Maxima tonight.

Good bye Honda, never again.

- , Hamilton, NJ, USA

problem #33

Nov 122007

Accord EX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

We purchased our Accord brand new. It currently has 120, 000 miles, mostly highway since I commute 120 miles a day. All the recommended maintenance was done by the Honda dealership and the car was in great shape till the transmission gave up.

About a year ago, I noticed that the transmission was slipping between the 2nd and the 3rd gear. It started with a slight dip/jerk when the car was shifting from the 2nd to the 3rd gear. Each time the car goes into service, we advised the dealer to check on the issue but the Honda service dept could not locate anything wrong with the car. Last Monday, the transmission really took a turn for the worst. It was stuck in a gear and the RPM was hitting 6000 while the car was only going 40 mph. I would put the car in reverse and it would not move. It was as if the car was not even in gear. Once the car was shut off for 10 mins, it would reset itself but the same behavior would re-occur. I dropped off the car at the Honda dealership and unfortunately, it sounds like I need a need tranny. Cost of replacement: $3117.50. I am dumbfounded. Aren't these cars supposed to last forever or at least 200, 000 miles?

Anyway, the dealership is cooking a "deal" for me and I am waiting on the verdict. I also contacted Honda USA and advised them of the situation. I pleaded my case and looking for a goodwill from Honda. A case manager will be contacting me in 2 business days to let me know if Honda thinks I have a legit case.

It is very disappointing that the tranny went out on a car that has been dealer maintained since purchased. I love my Accord and I am hoping that Honda will do me right by covering most of the cost of the repairs since it seems to be a known issue. Time will tell....

- , Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #32

Nov 062007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I have had my 2003 Honda Accord for only 8 months I brought it used. I thought I was getting a great car since Honda were suppose to be the best out there.My boyfriend thought my transmission was slipping 3 months After I had brought it, but when I drove the car I never felt it slipping because far as i could tell the car drove good. But to make a long story short my transmission went out 5 months later. I took it to the Honda dealership for the recall that I never knew about until I read this site and the man told me that the transmission had burnt out and it wasn't because of the recall. So they would not fix it and i had to pay out of my pocket. I believe that my transmission did burn out because of the recall on the second gear. I owned a 2001 Honda Accord before this one and i never had problems with it. The display light on the radio on the 2003 Honda Accord keeps gong out and this will be my third time replacing it. The next time I buy a car it wont be a Honda.

- , St. Matthews, SC, USA

problem #31

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,350 miles

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

Well, I just had my car serviced at Honda for its 55000 mile check up. Went in working fine and now 350 miles later the transmission completely slipped. I thought at first when I first heard the revving that I was imagining things as I just had it serviced. They gave it a transmission flush and a new throttle body. Well, wish I hadn't had it serviced because it left me sitting in a parking lot. Now I have a big bill coming.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #30

Nov 022007

(reported on)

Accord ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

The extended warranty company added 10 days to the repair process.

I had to pay for 15 days of rental fees, the warranty co. paid for 5 days.

They did pay for a rebuild transmission to be installed.

Honda warranty covered up to 50000 miles. It took several days to hear where the noise was coming from, by the time I got to the dealer it had aprox 51000 miles.

I trust no car to last for ever, and that is the reason why I purchased the waranty for the Honda.

From now on I will only purchase the Manufacturers extended warranty.

- , Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #29

Oct 242007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,700 miles

My wife first reported something wrong with our Accord about a month ago. She didn't describe it very well so I used the car the next two days and nothing seemed wrong.I had taken the car back for the 2004 quick fix recall and hadn't given it a second thought.

We just got back from a two week vacation on Friday, had driven about three thousand miles without a problem.

Last Sunday night on the NJ Turnpike in heavy stop and go traffic we had a problem. I would step on the gas to accelerate and the engine would rev and go nowhere. It would then slam into gear almost putting your face in the windshield. I managed to get home but it was definitely a scary ride.

I called for a service appointment on Monday morning and then Googled Honda Transmission Problems. I had no idea the problem was so wide spread.

I found a Honda Contact number on this or another website and gave it a call. I explained my problem and said I didn't think it would be fair for me to pay for any necessary repairs since Honda is well aware the problem exists. The woman I spoke with was very nice and said she would contact a regional service rep and have him contact the dealer and then get back to me.

I dropped the car off this morning and just got a call this afternoon saying, yes, I need a new transmission and Honda will pay 90% of the cost. My cost will be $269.00. I think that's a pretty fair deal.

I would urge anyone having the same transmission problem to call the 800 number and calmly explain your situation. It can't hurt.

- , Hamilton, NJ, USA

problem #28

Aug 272007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,487 miles

Car started revving high while I was driving at 80kph (50 mph). Problem stopped after turning engine off and letting it cool. This was on a Saturday. The car's performance profile had changed and it was dragging when I stepped on the accelerator. Took it to Honda on Wednesday and they could not find anything wrong. Honda asked that I return the next morning to show them how the car performed when the engine was hot. That evening my wife drove the car to the chiropractor. On her way home the car started "acting up" and jerked her neck. She is still in pain. Took the car to Honda the next morning (Thursday) and it had the check engine light on. Halfway to the shop the drive light started flashing and the car started jerking like a bumper car. Asked Honda to replace the transmission on warranty because it had just passed warranty by 7000 km (4349 miles). Furthermore, there had been a recall on the transmission which MAY have required a replacement. However, Honda added a pump instead of replacing the transmission. I contacted Honda head office because a transmission failing with such low mileage is ridiculous. I have been without a car since Thursday and the dealership has not made any attempt to provide a complimentary vehicle although I have asked several times. The service rep thought the problem was a failed solenoid that was stuck open. Really now? They replaced it and the vehicle was still not working. The cost was $500 and they claim that I must pay for the item. Really? How about replacing my original part seeing that there is nothing wrong with it and only charging me the $100 for the diagnostic labour? The service rep started offering an used transmission. I stopped him and asked for the price of a new one because this on is on Honda. It will take a week to get the new transmission from Japan and 12 hours to install the transmission. The cost is approximately $6000CDN (5500USD)

I notice that there are no transmission complaints on this site for the 2004 Honda Accords... hmmm. It looks like a case of bad engineering on the first batch for the new model which debuted in 2003.

- , Brampton, ON, Canada

problem #27

Oct 132007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,430 miles

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

my wife and I bought a 2003 honda accord V6 fully loaded with NAV etc. We bought it with 69,000 miles a now a year and a half later at 99,430 miles the transmission failed. So we have to pay over $2500 to replace the whole unit. If honda toke so much so called pride in their cars they would have a longer warranty. It's such a shame! As far as I'm concerned the car is trash, I will never buy a used or new honda again.

- , Lake Geneva, WI, USA

problem #26

Sep 102007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,500 miles

I bought my Honda based on the thought it would be reliable. Well have I been wrong! My transmission went out at 75500 miles right after the standard warranty expired. Luckily, I was able to get a REBUILT transmission through Honda (with some out of pocket expenses of course). That transmission went out within about 5 months!! What a piece of crap. We have had other problems with this vehicle as well (radio backlight and gas tank leak, which we have to pay for out of pocket, $400 and $1600) Needless to say we are not happy with this vehicle.

- , Hanford, CA, USA

problem #25

Sep 072007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

My wife went to Philadelphia for a class in CT, and the transmission went out leaving her stranded on the turnpike at 11:30PM. After towing it to the dealer, we were told that the transmission needs to be replaced and that would cost $4000. She has to rent a car until this is settled. Does anyone know what position Honda takes on this? This was supposed to be a great car that lasts 200,000 miles. We took good care of it. This is my first foreign car, and expected better than this from Honda, but after reading the reports, they should issue a recall. I think a lady stranded on the turnpike at 11;30 at night is a safety concern.

- , Blountville, TN, USA

problem #24

Sep 062007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I read the messages as well as others on other sites. There was one comment on this site that listed everything, small and major that happened to my car I felt like i wrote the comment my self. My car is the EX 03 Honda Accord Coupe V6. It is no coincidence that all of the same cars, same years with low mileage are having the same problem. Honda has this Rep to be the best car you can buy. They last so long people all say. In 2003 they made a whole line of cars with bad transmissions. Every one that has bought a car was always told that a transmission problem is the worse thing that could happen to a car. If Honda would have done a national recall on all of these cars their REPUTATION would have been out the window. So what they did was recall the cars for what they called was a product update to the transmission this was to prevent this problem from happening. What it really did was prolong the problem so that the transmission would at least last through out the 36,000 mile or three year warranty. Now, the warranties are going out and within less than 5 year but longer than 3 the TRANSMISSIONS are completely failing. Something is not right....... My mileage is at 59,000 and I got my fluids change as per the recommendation of the HONDA service Techs. Two days later my car is jerking not going in reverse, getting stuck in the 2nd gear and slipping out of the 3rd gear without notice. This is very dangerous when traveling the highways of Houston. Honda needs to be exposed they would rather risks their customers lives and peoples financial stability than risk and ruin there REP for selling GOOD and LONG LASTING cars. WHAT A JOKE!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #23

Sep 062007

(reported on)

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I was with my wife and went to pull out into traffic. The car lurched forward then just reved but there was no transmission. The oncoming cars had to slam on their brakes. We were almost hit! I had to roll back off the road. Then at a stop sign I could not proceed. The engine would rev up but the car acted like it was in neutral.

I took the car to a Honda dealer, and opened a case with American Honda asking for a "goodwill coverage". They are paying about $600 and I am stuck paying $2000 out of my pocket.

There is no recall on these transmissions as there is no safety issue. I guess me and my wife getting killed is ok with Honda.

- , Cromwell, CT, USA

problem #22

Jun 112007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,700 miles

My 88,700 mile 2003 EX V6 Automatic Transmission Accord started experiencing violent transmission problems, identical to many of problems described by others.

This started off as very rough shifting into third gear where the car would accelerate through second, the RPMs would flare to 5,000+ and then it would jerk and shake into 3rd gear. When in 3rd, the car would shudder as it accelerated.

The problem grew to shuddering and terrible shifting both into and out of third gear and then spread to all gears.

The worst point came when I was on the highway, cruising at a steady 65mph and the car downshifted several gears. The deceleration was so dramatic that my tires screeched and I was jerked forward, almost into the steering wheel. Thankfully, nobody was behind me, because if they were, they would've definitely hit me.

All of this happened in two days, over the weekend while I was driving to my destination, then home and on the way to the dealer. Prior to this, my car has been performing flawlessly and I had previously had a transmission fluid change around 42,000.

While I was experiencing these problems, I added SHICK 50 transmission treatment--this helped for 30 minutes. Then the next day I added 2 quarts of Transmission Fluid, this helped for a short while.

I was fortunate enough to have the problem reproduce itself when the service rep went for a ride with me. He felt the shuddering and violent downshift. With that alone, they were able to conclude that the trans was shot. The one comment the service rep did have is that when you turn off the car and turn it on again, you restart the computer which helps with the rough shifting. This is true. The car did perform better for the remaining 45 seconds that we rode together. Nonetheless, the problem would have likely come back had we driven around for a few more minutes.

Honda first offered to split the cost of the repair 50/50, but with only a small bit of negotiating, Honda agreed to pay for the entire transmission replacement. The replacement is a "RE-MANUFACTURED" transmission in which all parts are new, with the exception of the case. This comes with a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty on parts and labor.

Overall, I'm disappointed at the quality of the transmission. I NEVER thought I'd have trans issues with my Honda. Nonetheless, they made up for it with their quality service.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #21

Jun 212007

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I bought my Honda Accord Coupe V6 used from a dealer it had a clean title one owner and was a previous lease vehicle. I have had it less than 90 days when the transmission began to slip. I immediately took it to a certified mechanic who diagnosed the transmission as being bad and in need of a replacement. I then found out about the recall on the '03 Accord V6 transmissions. When I phoned Honda customer service about the recall they told me the vehicle's transmission had been serviced once before but not replaced due to this they said they were not able to cover any other repairs due on the transmission. I find this absurd due to the fact that Honda has recognized the transmission to be faulty and publicly issued a recall. The transmission should be replaced at the expense of Honda due to their faulty transmission. If any one else has had the same experience please contact me at bonnidee2002@yahoo.com thank you.

- , Seaside, CA, USA

problem #20

Jun 242007

(reported on)

Accord EX 2DR 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

bought the car through private party (big mistake) i thought i wouldn't have problem due to the history i've had with Honda's. owned two previous 1=212,000k, 2=220,000 and both of them i beat to crap and still asking "what else you got?!?" i did my research on the car before buying and didn't find any problems. After purchasing it the previous owner pulled the records to show me that the vehicle was maintain for it's whole life @ a Honda Dealership and was purchased as a certified used honda by him as well. after driving for A DAY i get off the highway and the car down shifted and jerked hard as if i slammed on the brakes while coming to a stop light. It was stuck in 1st gear and wouldn't shift out of it even when putting the selector into 1-2-d- or OD (automatic). after parking it, it wouldn't shift into reverse and thats when i knew for sure the tranny was shot. I had it towed into honda and needed to replace tranny for $3,300.00!! Honda of course says they never heard of this problem. i go home and type in "2003 honda accord transmission problems" and find this website. its too bad that you can only find this website when typing in those words because i know i will never feel secure with this car when the last thing you expect to break in a car is the tranny especially in a HONDA with 60k on it, i'm sure that a KIA would last longer. It may die after 100k but at lease it made it to 100k not much to say for the lemon i bought. very angry and Honda should feel embarrassed for putting such crap on the market, i wish i could put a '06 tranny in or something because there is an obvious prob with the '03-'04.

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #19

Jul 102007

(reported on)

Accord EX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles

Total transmission failure. What is scary to me is this happens with no notice. Car worked fine for 80k then the next thing you know the engine RPM Jumps to 5-6k and the car jumps in and out of gear. Luckily I was about 4 mi from the honda dealership. It made it there then died, no fwd or reverse. Extended care is picking up the whole thing.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #18

Jul 112007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 198,000 miles

I guess I can join the crowd. Purchased the accord due to quality rep.... Had to have the first transmission replace under warranty at 32,000 miles. I travel on the road for a living, and after 160,000 miles on the "second" transmission; it failed and left me stranded in the middle of the mountains in TN. I was nearly run over by an 18 wheeler. They are quoting me $3200 to replace it, and are having problems finding a transmission. Does that tell you something??? No replacement parts to go around. Will never buy a Honda again. Do you think I'll have any luck w/Honda on some reimbursements???

- , Greer, SC, USA

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