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 5 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #417

Nov 102012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

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

Transmission began acting up a few days ago. Had transmission service done right away, which we thought solved the problem, then a couple days later my girlfriend is driving the car and it starts jerking violently while she's on the freeway. Luckily she was able to pull over but things could have ended up much worse.

Will likely have to replace the transmission, and car doesn't even have 80K miles on it yet. It's a true safety hazard that Honda needs to address. You don't become the #2 worst car on this site for no reason...

- , San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #416

Sep 072012

Accord EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Same story as everyone else here. The transmission failed in my 2003 V6 Accord with 109,000 miles, the Honda dealer wants $4,400 to repair it; they also say it needs two engine mounts which is another $900.

I've spent time on the phone with Honda customer service in hopes of a goodwill repair but without any success so far. This is frustrating, the reason I'm willing to pay more for a Honda is because I expect it to last forever.

My family and I have been loyal Honda owners for many years, every other Honda we've owned has lasted to at least 200,000 miles without any major problems. After this experience my next car will be a Toyota product...

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #415

Jul 062012

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 166,000 miles

Honda knew in 2003 that the transmission had a design problem and tried to add a cooling line to fix it. For some it worked for a short time for me a long time but the transmission still failed long before I would expect a Honda to fail. Honda's response to my request for financial assistance with replacing the transmission was a loud NO.

- , Lakeville, MN, USA

problem #414

Oct 082012

Accord EX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

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

less than 10,000 miles had accrued on this 32,000 + dollar auto received a auto trans recall took it to Honda of asheboro n.c. For recall they said recall was performed that the trans was just fine and did not exhibit any bluing of trans 2nd to 3rd gear cluster due to lack of proper lubrication! Honda assured my wife and I that the recall would completely and safely repair any problems with the autotrans .Appears that is not the case at all! We purchased this car in completely good faith and took their word that everything was just was normal.Since then the pcb radio, display had to be replace,also the brakes front and rear plus all 4 rotors had to be replace due to defected pads/ rotor noises, the windshield wiper motor had to have a recall performed on it, the power steering hose has had to have another recall performed, that to prevent possible fire, the key start assembly has had recall performed to prevent vehicle rollaway and or ignition key fall out during driving! When is enough Considered To more than enough? Do people's lives have to be wastefully lost before something is done ? HONDA OF AMERICA PLEASE RESPOND ASAP Sincerely Dana M. Everhart

Update from Nov 3, 2012: Transmission violently downshifted from 66 mph to low gear, almost wrecked car. Took to vann York Honda ,which they kept car for two weeks first claimed they could not duplicate failure,then service manager called me back said fluid was dirty and needed to change it, i granted this then he drove the vehicle for a couple of days and got the trans to slip, but could not determine what caused the trans to downshift, I made him sign the invoice and initial that his technicians and him could not verify complaint, he just recommended that the trans needed to be replaced at the cost of $4200+. Took vehicle to trans shop in high point nc completely, rebuilt trans and repaired all issues, which incuded re-bushing the case due to IMPROPER LUBRICATION which was first recall @ less than 8000 miles. THIS really pisses me Off!!!!!

- , Thomasville, NC, USA

problem #413

Dec 022011

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

This is my fourth Honda. I have never had any problems before.There was a previous recall on the transmission and it had the "update" and now with 63k miles it has failed. To replace the transmission costs $4000. I probably won't be buying another Honda.

- , El Dorado Hills, CA, USA

problem #412

Apr 012008

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

Just 4,000 miles outside of the extended warranty the transmission fails. I called Honda dealer and they said they would not repair the vehicle. I called American Honda and explained the issues I had and they asked me to take the car to the dealership to have it repaired. Once I took the car to the dealer they asked me to pay $500.00 and they would put me a re-manufactured transmission into the vehicle and give me a 3 year 36,000 mile warranty with the vehicle. I was impressed and thought this was not a bad deal because they really didn't have to offer any type of repairs. I was okay with this decision and thought that Honda was willing to help repair their damaged reputation.

- , Williamston, SC, USA

problem #411

Aug 202012

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 164,000 miles

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

This is the second issue I have had with the transmission on my Accord. When I purchased this car, I thought I am purchasing a Honda so that I can get a vehicle that will last for 200,000 plus miles. I have 164,000 miles on this car only 60,000 miles on this transmission. I am at a point where I am not sure if I want to spend the money transmission number 3? Honda assisted with the first replacement and is not willing to offer any assistance with this replacement. You would think that with all the issues surrounding this model year accord, someone would have a better solution than just keep replacing or repairing the transmission. I informed Honda today that I have purchased my last Honda vehicle.

- , Williamston, SC, USA

problem #410

Aug 192012

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

Same story as the rest of them, out of the blue my seemingly reliable Honda Accord's transmission failed. While I've been figuring out whether its worth fixing or not my father in law was nice enough to allow me to use his Toyota Camry with 300,000 mile on it, no major issues ever on that one. Never again Honda, we're done. The big 3 and Korea have bypassed you and a lot of people like myself that grew up with Honda's will never look at one again.

- , Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #409

Jul 012012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,600 miles

TOTALLY LOST 3RD GEAR! Known clutch disc Honda problem. Material prematurely fails and ruins transmission..

- , Asheville, NC, USA

problem #408

Oct 172003

Accord EXV6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I am quite upset that a manufacturer like Honda isn't stepping up to take care of this problem. I have always admired the Japanese for building customer trust and reliability. I can't understand why after taking 20yrs to build a solid reputation, (that's what got me), would let the bottom fall out like this. It's common knowledge that Honda has had a problem with this particular vehicle, and reputation for not building a great automatic transmission. However, they make a great standard trans, snickety snick. The deal is this - I have to look at this car and drive it and wonder when it will strand me as with all the other complaints. The solution was to keep fresh fluid in this car way before the recall in 2004. The Acura that I had before this car was also a 3.0 V6 but only 200HP and a four speed auto instead of the five. Was quite shocked when less than 12,000 miles on my Acura, the transmission shuddered and slipped in and out of gear. Brought it to Acura dealer and was told by service manager that he wouldn't look at it unless I purchased the $149 Bilstein flush. I was so mad that I took the car home and changed it myself. This trans has no filter/drier, only a small magnet on drain bolt, which was loaded with metal (lint). After throwing some BG atf conditioner and 2qts. of Mercon3, I realized that this thing is doomed for failure. My Acura shifted perfect after that but I took note that this car only has about 2 and a half qts. of fluid, (big design flaw, as the fluid drives the car). When I bought my Accord, I made it a priority to change ATF every oil change, this 5speed is a much better transmission than the Acura's, when it comes to performance, shifting and mileage. While most people wouldn't realize how an ATF works, it's common sense to keep the fluid clean because the torque converter which uses the minute amount of fluid to drive the car, also degrades this fluid enough destroy the rest of the trans -valve body, seals and sensors. This is common knowledge, as Honda has just recently changed it's fluid for the newer models, going with a new synthetic, (more costly). Bottom line, change fluid at least every other oil change -30,000mi. Every time I change the ATF the fluid looks great (nice and red). No odor of burning, the car sh*ts beautifully for 70,000mi. There is no whine, (thickened contaminated fluid being squirted through the converter). The big question that I have and have been losing sleep over is this -Did all of the people that have had trans failure at 90,000mi. change the ATF as I have???

- , The Villages, FL, USA

problem #407

Jul 142010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

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

Out of the blue (no pun intended), the vehicle began to unpredictably shift abnormally into lower gear with not-normal loud clunking sound. Then vehicle would not shift higher past 2nd gear. Vehicle would behave as a bucking bull. First transmission was replaced at Amaco. It survived to the end of that warranty and quit again. 2nd transmission was replaced by a local service shop. It has passed it's warranty period with this one and is again, showing signs and symptoms of another potential failing transmission. Most of the signs and symptoms as others have posted have also transpired with my vehicle including the shifter knob falling off after the 2nd replacement. My family have owned other Honda makes and models with none having the mechanical problems as this one.

- , Lake Wales, FL, USA

problem #406

Sep 092011

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

This was my 4th Honda. The transmission began to fail late last year. It started with rough shifting (up and down) and has gotten progressively worse. I had it checked out by a Honda technician, who did identify it as a transmission problem and suggested I would need a new transmission ($3000+ dollars). I spoke with a Honda dealer, who acknowledged that Honda knows it has a problem with this make/model/year (transmissions start to give out at around 85,000 miles), but said that Honda couldn't offer any assistance. I spoke with a Honda North America representative, and nothing was offered other than to suggest I have the car checked out by Honda, and I could deduct the cost of the diagnosis from the cost of whatever I had to have done. I am still able to drive the car, but I make sure I don't go too far from home. I feel luckier than two other people I know of with the same car - they had their transmissions completely fail all at once. Hondas have always had the reputation of being able to run for 200,000+ without any problem. My transmission should not have started to fail at 95,000 miles. I understand that sometimes, in some years, a car maker will release a car that ends up having a certain problem. I'm more disappointed in how Honda decided not to handle it. I'm shopping for another car now, and it definitely won't be a Honda.

- , Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #405

Jun 202012

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,076 miles

MY COMPLAINT IS SIMPLY, ONE DAY THE CAR WAS WORKING FINE AND THE NEXT DAY WE HAD MAJOR TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS ( OUT OF THE BLUE). WITH NO INDICATION THAT THIS WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. OF COURSE HONDA DID NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ME BEING LAID OFF FROM MY JOB AND BEING OUT OF WORK FOR OVER 2 YEARS. I NEED AS MUCH HELP AS I CAN POSSIBLY RECEIVE FROM HONDA. PLEASE HELP. I ALSO NEED A NEW JOB BUT HONDA PROBABLY CAN'T HELP ME THERE. MY HONDA DEALERSHIP (HARDIN HONDA ANAHEIM,CA) TELLS ME THAT IT IS PAST THE WARRANTY AND THAT THEY CAN NOT HELP. HONDA AMERICA TELLS ME THE SAME THING. I HAVE KEPT UP TO DATE WITH THE REGULAR MAINTENANCE THAT IS REQUIRED FOR THE VEHICLE ONLY TO BE BLINDSIDED WITH THIS $2866 BOMB. PLEASE HELP.

THANK YOU

FRANK DEQUARDO

- , Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #404

Jul 242012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Same story as everyone else - 135K miles transmission started slipping. Immediately drove it to an independent (trusted) shop and was diagnosed as "internal failure." When I called they said they've had a lot of 2002-2003 Honda transmission failures and that it was a "known problem." Apparently it's known to everyone else but Honda. I spoke with Honda Customer Care today, their answer was that "the car is out of warranty and therefore the repair is at the owners expense." The lady I spoke to said it is not a "known" problem and that they "don't go off what's posted on line. We only assess manufacturer responsibility based on complaints files with them." She would not tell me how many similar complaints they had. Everyone in this forum is spot on - Honda is choosing to ignore a massive safety issue with their vehicles. My new lease in life is to campaign against Honda! I will be "off loading" our under-engineered P.O.S. ASAP and writing to the NTSB. Good luck everyone!

- , Hugo, MN, USA

problem #403

May 022012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

I purchased this 2003 Honda Accord EXV6 new in 2003. I started to notice the transmissions slipping at around 70,000 miles, then intermittent jolting at about 80,000. Over the next 15,000+ miles the jolting got much worse (I went through a period of Honda owner's denial, but my bad back didn't appreciate the jolting one bit). At about 97000 miles the trouble light went on at which time my mechanic did a computer check and found that the transmission was close to failure. I got off easier than most; I found an excellent transmission guy who did a full rebuild for 1800 dollars. So far the transmission seems to be fine (I'm only at 99000 miles now, though), but since he rebuilt to 2003 standards I'm concerned this may happen again and even sooner. Until now I thought my experience might be an isolated incident, but in searching for a dependable car for my wife I discovered that this problem was more a plague than a "bug." I've sworn by Honda for years and now I'm finding that their "200,000 mile" reputation is a thing of the distant past. Honda needs to understand that the only reason that consumers like myself pay extra for this car vs. other cars in its class is dependability, and that by producing a substandard car and then (far worse) not admitting the company's responsibility and liability for this defect will cause loyal customers like myself to disavow our lifelong loyalty just as a spouse would divorce a cheating partner.

Hopefully either Honda will take responsibility for this defect or admit that their cars are no better than any other manufacturer and that their "200,000 mile" car is actually a "90,000" mile vehicle. Sooner or later their high resale values will drop considerably.

- , Lapeer, MI, USA

problem #402

Jul 032012

Accord EX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,159 miles

OMG! am disgusted and devastated after reading all the complaints, thought i had the best car ever until yesterday. Same symptoms as everyone else. Never had any problems suddenly down shifts, rpms going crazy as if in neutral but not having foot on gas. Inching along trying to get to work, then nothing no gear at all. Turn it off wait a minute get another half a mile down the road repeating till getting to work. Husband got it home the same way. Bought it in 08 from the dealer, no one mentioned any of these issues when we bought it, they actually praised the car and the good deal we got because it only had 50,000 miles on it and how the previous owner had just traded it back to them and had all service thru them etc... still owe a year on it...don't know what to do. The dealer was closed today(4th of July) so started surfing and found all of this, I think I need a stiff drink! Does anyone know of any resolutions on this issue?

- , Diboll, TX, USA

problem #401

Jun 052012

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

Bought brand new from dealer w 13 miles on it. Transmission quit at 43K. Honda replaced under warranty. Just over 100K later, transmission #2 has failed. Will not shift into gear at all. Will not put money into a new transmission bc they should last plenty longer than 100K. Will not buy a Honda again.

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #400

Jun 012012

Accord EX-L 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else, problems shifting from 2nd to 3rd, violent shifting, all indications that this transmission is ready to fail. Instead of waiting for an accident to happen (as many report here that when failure happens, it can lead to an accident), I have resorted to stop driving the car until I can take it to a dealer. I had hopes this car would last me a long time. This is not the Honda reliability I was expecting.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #399

Jul 012012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,798 miles

Our 2003 Accord has been running relatively smoothly until the past week. Initially, it was minor lurching while accelerating so we thought nothing of it. But in the past couple days, the car has had some more violent halting while accelerating. It was particularly alarming since we had two young kids in the car. Also, the car doesn't go into reverse sometimes unless we turn the engine off and back on again. I looked at the transmission fluid and it looks fine. We've been calling around to all the Honda dealerships to get a service appointment but nothing available until 9 days from now--a major inconvenience and added cost since we'll have to rent a car. I have called the central Honda customer service number--the woman took down my info and stated we'd be working with a case manager. I'm not optimistic about Honda covering any substantial portion of the repair costs given what I've read about others' experiences with attempting to address the same issue with Honda. It appears that it's a well known and prevalent problem that should be more definitively addressed with a recall. Will contribute to this hopeful outcome by lodging my complaint with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This issue has really tarnished the Honda brand in my view--I doubt we'll buy from them again. And if they continue along this line it could be a death by a thousand cuts.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #398

Oct 282011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

This was my third Honda I have owned. Came from a family of Honda's. We always meticulously maintained them inside and out, all fluids change at proper intervals, timing belts always done, etc. Never had had ANY issues until the 2003 gems came out. Had my transmission replaced @ 134,000 miles after I almost crashed and burned on the highway. I slowed down from 65 going off the off ramp when the car started to buck and violently shake. pulled over and had it towed. The dealership and the Honda customer support where rude, basically telling me I could file for a goodwill adjustment if I faxed all the information to their HQ, but that the odds where slim to non, or none actually, and the guy on the phone laughed, that they would help cover repairs. I work in a huge complex with over 6000 people. a few people have had similar problems with Honda. I'm proud to say my family and I have switched to Toyotas. 2009 Camry's are very reliable.

- , Manchester, NH, USA

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