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 9 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #337

May 042011

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,500 miles

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

2003 Honda Accord Transmission failure, 64000 miles bought car.

- , El Paso, TX, USA

problem #336

Apr 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Screw Honda, transmission went out at 110000 miles, cost $3500 to get a remanufactured one from Honda, car now has 185000 on it and guess what happened again. Honda failed to do anything about the first one, and I am waiting to see if they will replace the second one. For a company that prides itself on customer service, long lasting cars and high resale value, they sure didn't seem to care about my situation or my business. The complaints are massive about the 2003 Accord, just do a recall and solve the problem already.

Complete BS, I still owe on the car and have no other option but to pay out another 3500 to have it fixed if they will not pay for it. Avoid this car and all other Honda's. You lost another customer, hope you're happy.

Update from Jul 12, 2011: Honda never did pay for the second transmission, had to bite the bullet and dump the car on a dealership and get another car. Stay Away from Honda and this car

- , Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #335

Mar 012011

Accord EX-L 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,500 miles

Was driving home the other night and transmission would NOT downshift and car seemed to be losing power. Stopped to get gas and restarted journey home. On the highway car bucked VIOLENTLY and had to pull off on the side of the road. Had to do this a few times but was able to barely make it home. Then in my driveway put the car into reverse and nothing would happen.

Called Honda and reported it, they are looking into it and seeing if they will help out any. Dealership says that transmission is shot and needs to be replaced along with the torque converter for $4600.00 !!!!

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #334

Apr 062011

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,167 miles

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

Well, here is another disappointed Honda owner. My wife and I purchased this top of the line Accord EX V6 new, had to order it from the factory and wait 6 weeks for it. We had planned to keep it for 2 more years and then purchase another new model 2013. Even after having the transmission fluid changed regularly the transmission still failed at 195,000 kms (120,000 miles) If this were a Ford or Gm at least I could have gotten a rebuild at a reasonable price but to pay import prices for SUB domestic build quality just doesn't make sense. Bottom line, HONDA TRANSMISSIONS SUCK!!!

- , Stephenvile, Newfoundland, canada

problem #333

Apr 282011

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,100 miles

Just like everyone else who had transmission failure with their 2003 Honda Accord V-6, mine just happened last week at 89,100 miles. Luckily for me, I detected the problem before I was put into a dangerous situation, but the same results as everyone else. The dealer said I needed a transmission replacement and quoted me $5600. Thanks to websites like this one, I was given the suggestion of seeking assistance from HondaAmerica. I'm not sure how much the discount actually was percentage-wise but they got the price down to $2950. I'm greatly upset because like everyone else, I paid more money to buy a Honda because I wanted that Honda dependability but apparently that stopped around 2001. I can't afford a new car so I'm stuck paying the price to get it fixed. I only hope this doesn't start a snowball effect.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #332

Jun 012010

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

My 2003 Honda Accord had complete transmission failure. It was not covered under warranty so the out of pocket costs was 3200.

- , Arvada, CO, USA

problem #331

May 012011

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

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

I guess you can add me to the list of people being screwed by Honda. I bought a used 2003 V6 accord almost exactly one month ago and now my mechanic is telling me that the transmission is shot. I was driving about 60mph on the freeway and the car slammed to almost a complete stop and the rpm's jumped to about 6000. Luckily no one was behind me or I could have easily been in a serious accident. I pulled over and shut off the car, thinking maybe that would help. When I tried to drive it again it did the exact same thing. I know you take your chances when you buy a used car, but you try to lessen those chances by buying a reliable car. Or so I thought.

I've call both the Honda dealership I bought it from and corporate, neither is will to admit any problem or assist with any repairs. My mechanic says its going to cost between 2500-3500 to repair.

- , Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #330

Apr 222011

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

I first noticed having a problem on Friday April 22, 2011. When cold my Honda drives fine but after a few minutes the engine revs up, but the car won't shift into gear or move. Also at high speed of about 30-50 mph, it suddenly down gears to one with a violent jerk.

The transmission won't even go into reverse.

therefore there isn't anything wrong with it. I should take it home and monitor it.

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #329

Apr 182011

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

I was driving my 2003 Honda Accord when all of a sudden it felt like it shifted in neutral. I was on a back road and cell phone did not work. I was terrified that I would not get home. I turned my car off and a few minutes later turned it back on. It went for a short distance and did the same thing again. It took three hrs. to get home from my destination. When the car violently stopped I was almost hit by a truck who was behind me. I could have been killed. I feel Honda is responsible to replace the tranny. at their cost. My car only has 95,000 miles on it. Since this occurrence I have had a problem with my neck from the jolt of the car. Recalls should have been done and the tranny fixed before this problem occurred. Honda new the problem and failed to recall these cars.

- , Warren, PA, USA

problem #328

Mar 102011

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I was driving in morning traffic when I tried to accelerate my accord begun to jolt and almost caused me to be rear ended by a huge cement truck. I was able to turn my car off and on again which allowed me to pull off the freeway. I bought my Honda because I thought it would live up to the Honda name for quality, but I was horridly wrong. my tourque converted failed causing catastrophic damage to my transmission. I like others was left stranded on the side if the road, holding keys to a now broken 2003 Honda accord ex and a huge repair bill. I tried calling Honda USA but my issue and request fell on deaf ears. Im completely taken back by Honda as a company after this and will never buy one of their products again!

- , El Cajon, CA, USA

problem #327

Dec 022010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

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

I HAVE A 2003 V6 HONDA ACCORD THAT HAS REACHED 100K THAT HAS A COMPLETELY FAILED TRANSMISSION. WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE FREEWAY TO WORK MY CAR VIOLENTLY DOWN SHIFTED IN WHICH I ALMOST LOST CONTROL. I IMMEDIATELY PULLED OVER AND CHECKED TO SEE IF MY CAR COULD SWITCH BETWEEN ALL THE GEARS. WHEN I FELT CONFIDENT I CONTINUED MY TRIP. THE CAR SEEMED TO DRIVE FINE TO MY DESTINATION SO AGAIN I FELT COMFORTABLE TO DRIVE IT HOME. I DECIDED TO TAKE SIDE STREETS HOME AND GOOD THING I DID. MY CAR AGAIN AFTER TRAVELING AROUND 40 MPH VIOLENTLY DROPPED TO FIRST GEAR. THE CAR SHOOK SO VIOLENTLY THAT MY SUNGLASSES FLEW OFF. AGAIN I PULLED OVER AND DOUBLE CHECKED SWITCHING BETWEEN GEARS. I THEN PROCEEDED TO HEAD HOME IN WHICH I TRAVELED CAREFULLY AT VERY A LOW SPEED IN WHICH NOW MY CAR JUST SITS.

I UNDERSTAND FAILURE HAPPENS BUT A CAR SHOULD NOT FAIL AFTER ONLY 100K MILES. I HAD AN EXTENDED WARRANTY ON THE CAR IN WHICH IT WAS REGULARLY MAINTENANCE, UNFORTUNATELY MY WARRANTY EXPIRED. IN 2004 THERE WAS A TRANSMISSION RECALL FOR MY CARS MODEL THAT WAS TO CORRECT A POSSIBLE FAILURE OF THE PART. ALTHOUGH THIS WAS SUPPOSEDLY CORRECTED, THERE WAS STILL A FAILURE OF THE TRANSMISSION. I THEN BROUGHT MY CAR TO A LOCAL HONDA DEALERSHIP THAT HAS MANY TIMES PERFORMED SERVICE MAINTENANCE ON MY VEHICLE FOR DIAGNOSIS. THEY THEN PROCEED TO TELL ME THAT I NEED TO REPLACE MY TRANSMISSION FOR A COST OF $4500. I WAS OUTRAGED THAT I WOULD NEED TO PAY THE AMOUNT FOR AN OBVIOUS FAULTY PART AND I LET THEM KNOW THAT. I WAS THEN TOLD THAT, "WELL, HOW LONG DO YOU THINK A TRANSMISSION IS SUPPOSED TO LAST?", WHICH FURTHER ENRAGED ME. MY COLLEGE CAR OF ANOTHER MAKE MADE IT TO 250K MILES, AND PROBABLY EVEN MORE, IF IT WASN'T DONATED TO CHARITY.

NOW I'M CURRENTLY DEALING WITH HONDA IN HOPES TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER. I'M HOPING THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THEIR FAULTY TRANSMISSION AND SALVAGE ANY RESPECT AND CONFIDENCE THAT ME AND MY FAMILY HAVE FOR HONDA VEHICLES.

UPDATE: ALTHOUGH I SENT HONDA WHAT THEY REQUESTED OF ME TO SHOW HOW WELL THE CARE WAS MAINTENANCE (A 35 PAGE MAINTENANCE RECORD) THEY ULTIMATELY TOLD ME THAT THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO AND THAT WAS IT. I THEN ASKED THE SOUTHWEST CUSTOMER SERVICE REP "BETTIE" WHY, AND SHE JUST SAID IT WAS BECAUSE OF MY MILEAGE. I'M VERY UPSET THAT HONDA WILL NOT HOLD ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR PRODUCT AND BECAUSE OF THIS I'M SPREADING THE WORD TO WARN ANYONE TO STAY CLEAR OF THEIR VEHICLES. I COME FROM A FAMILY THAT DRIVE 6 HONDA VEHICLES: 2000 ACURA TL, 2007 ACURA, 2006 TSX, 2005 ACCORD, 1999 ACCORD AND MY 2003 ACCORD. MY FATHER WITH HIS 2000 TL HAD A FAULTY TRANSMISSION THAT THEY HONORED A REPLACEMENT FOR BECAUSE HE WAS A COUPLE THOUSAND MILES OUTSIDE HIS 100K WARRANTY (HE HAD TO RAISE HELL).

BECAUSE OF THIS EXPERIENCE I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER HONDA PRODUCT AGAIN!

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #326

Mar 272011

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Similar to the other complaints regarding this model's transmission, ours failed as we were driving along - luckily just after leaving an expressway. All of a sudden the engine began to rev but the car was coasting. We were able to park the car and have it towed. Our mechanic has said the cost will be $3500 for the transmission from Honda plus $1200 labor. AND, if Honda is unable to use our old transmission for a rebuild, there will be an additional "Core charge" of $1,200 -- and they can't tell us that until they've had it for a couple of weeks. Ridiculous! I called Honda and received no assistance or satisfaction -- first the rep said they couldn't verify that the car had been serviced according to Honda guidelines. When I pointed out that all service to the car had been reported using the VIN number and she could look it up, the explanation changed to the car was too old and passed warranty. I challenged her about why a car wouldn't be covered until 100,000 miles and she had no explanation. She reported that the estimate we had been given was in the ball park. A dealer quoted me less, but it was off the top of his head with no questions about what had happened. An independent transmission repair place quoted $3200 - $3500. We loved this car, but Honda has probably lost a customer.

- , Oak Park, IL, USA

problem #325

Dec 082010

Accord EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

On the way to work yesterday going 60mph in a center lane of a 4 lane highway during rush hour traffic, tach all of a sudden nearly redlined, and I had no drivetrain power - like it was in neutral (like most other reports here.) Attempted quickly to manually downshift to 3rd then 2nd but it made no difference. Luckily found a hole in the lefthand lane and was able to "coast" to a stop. Once stopped, gears re-engaged for about 10 feet (luckily I was able to position the car off the very busy highway) Very very uncomfortable feeling and very dangerous obviously. Then no reverse, no forward gears - nothing, as if someone actually removed the transmission completely.

I've not had one single problem with this car other than regular maintenance (oil changes done myself but everything else by Honda dealer.) Car has been highway driven ~95% of it's mileage (work car and I work 30 miles from home - and it has NOT been driven hard.) Honda dealer has it now and waiting to hear back on what the damage is. I received a call from Honda Recall department this morning and he stated since it was not in a "lockup condition" IE - gear tooth chipped - and was instead "slipping" that it will go over to the "Courtesy" department - and we all know what that means - and had nothing to do with the previous 2nd gear heat problem recall in 04/05. Also had the nerve to tell me that "transmission failure is possible with any car" WHAT????!? He would not allow me to speak with his supervisor (said he was "out" but oddly also refused to give me his supervisor's extension) Filed NHTSA complaint soon after that call.

How this is not a forced recall is beyond me (and how someone has not been killed yet as well - or have they?) Imagine you're on a steep incline going uphill on a two-lane narrow road in California with no shoulder, a cliff on one side and a mountain on the other, and a semi roaring up behind you. Nope - obviously no danger there... Or you pull out at a stop sign to cross a non-stop highway and then have no power so you get broadsided by oncoming traffic, thinking you had plenty of room. No danger huh??

Last 3 cars have been Hondas/Acuras - Leased this one then purchased off lease, so have been paying a very long time for it and now this happens. However it ends up, I will be afraid to drive it. I'm sure everyone here knows that it's definately related to the heat/oil jet recall. I'm pretty sure I do. Honda apparently wants you to think it's just a "coincidence"... Wow.

- , Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #324

Mar 222011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,021 miles

click to see larger images

transmission failure transmission failure

Two years ago, I purchased this vehicle from a friend who had driven it since it was purchased new in 2003. At the time I purchased it, I took it to a Honda Dealership to make sure it was in working order. They gave me the 'ok' that it was. I purchased the car when it had 80,000 miles on the car. With the plan that this car would last me through medical school and residency. I did the typical 100k maintenance, the timing belt, water pump and all the other items that were recommended by Honda to be replaced. I spent $1600 on this service. At 110k miles I replaced the brakes, rotors, ball joints, CV boots and put on new tires. I spent $1750 on this service. Literally driving it home from that service I noticed that the car was not shifting to the next gear. I would give the car gas, but the car would just rev, and the RPM's would increase but the car would not move. I immediately called the service center, they told me to bring it in. After looking at the car they told me that it needed a new transmission. Because it was out of warranty, i would have to pay for the full cost, $4500. I contacted Honda North America and explained the situation and they said there was nothing they could do because of the age and mileage on the car. They said they would contact the service center to see if there was anything that they could do to help me. I am now awaiting a call back, but I am not hopeful it will result in any financial assistance.

- , Annandale, VA, USA

problem #323

Mar 182011

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I have the EXACT same problem as depicted in other posts. This is beyond frustrating! My car only has 63,000 miles-- way too soon to experience these kinds of problems. I can honestly say I will NEVER purchase another Honda! My transmission just failed yesterday, so I plan on contacting Honda, and possibly taking legal action.

- , Newport News, VA, USA

problem #322

Mar 192011

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I had absolutely no warning! One minute it was working and the next my car's coasting and the revs are bouncing off the limiter. Thankfully, I wasn't accelerating onto the highway or trying to merge into other fast-moving traffic. I would have been rundown!

- , Springfield, MO, USA

problem #321

Dec 022010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

Have loved my Accord from day 1. I purchased the car used, certified from a Honda dealer in 2006. I have since put over 100K miles on it, and the car has never even flinged. I regularly take care of the car. On my way to work, in rush hour traffic on I-70, the transmission just decided to die. One minute everything was perfect, the next no transmission. I had no other choice then to put on the hazzards and figure something out. I managed to turn off the car and put it back in gear. Managed to get it to the dealer, and they confirmed that the tranny was toast, and i needed a brand new one. All this for the low price of $4300.00.

My complaint is that I have had zero issues with the Honda and it's been rock solid, until this. Upon googling the error code, year , make model i stumbled upon this website which was very helpful. I hope that Honda will be able to cover at least part of the cost. I want to continue to be a Honda fan.

- , Lee's Summit, MO, USA

problem #320

Nov 292010

Accord

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I had no idea that transmission failure was such a big problem with the 2003 Accord. Like most of you, I relied on the assumption that Hondas were reliable. Big mistake!!! My wife was on the freeway with our 18 month old boy, when the transmission began to fail. She managed to pull over and then slowly drive to our home. When she got home she had trouble parking because the reverse gear would not engage. I then drove the car to a repair shop close by; was told it was a common Honda transmission failure.

I called the Honda dealer the same day, was told it would cost 4,300, but that he would call Honda to see if anything could be done. He could not give me a straight answer as to what Honda might do for me. Just asked me to bring the car in for a diagnostic check. This is BULLSH@T. A transmission failure at 92,000 Miles???

From the complaints on here, I see that Honda might only be able to pay for half or pay nothing at at. I'm sure I can take it to independent shop and repair it for 2,000. So why bother with a Honda dealer??

The problem is the torque converter that burns up the transmission fluid that then ruins the transmission. So even if I replace the transmission, the torque converter will eventually destroy the new transmission!!I

Buy another Honda?..Hell NO, Never again. I was just about to change the timing belt and water pump ($800) on this car too. I am so glad that I did not buy this car new (used-$12,000). Hope Honda reconsiders a recall. They sell a new car at over $24,000 with a very good chance that the transmission might fail at 50,000 Miles.

- , Salinas, CA, USA

problem #319

Mar 032011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,800 miles

Well, for one I am both angry and relieved. Angry about my problem and relieved to find out I am not the only one. My story is the same as everyone else. I am driving to work (I94 in Michigan). Mind you I drive over 60 miles a day. While I was on the express way while in the passing lane, my car just suddenly violently jerked. My body felt like it wanted to go through the steering wheel. I hear my engine revving and can tell that my automatic trans on my 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 is slipping and down shifting. Thankfully and surprisingly there was no one around me and I immediately get off of the expressway.

After the exit, I my car only wants to stay in first. I take side streets going 20 mph to a local transmission shop, had to leave it there as it would take them a while to get an opportunity to do a free transmission diagnosis on my car. Verdict, my transmission is dead and just like everyone else I am looking at upwards of $3000 in repair costs.

I haven't authorized the repair yet. First, I am just thankful that no one was around me. The average speed is 70+ in this area. This could have been potentially a very bad accident and thankfully I am a very confident and calm driver. I just could not understand, the car was fine the previous day. During the previous summer I had my timing belt, drive belt, and other associate maintenance items replaced including new brake pads.

I called Honda Customer Service today. Basically there is nothing that they can do, my car is out of warranty. I expected nothing less out of this overrated company. Just this past August my radio backlight went out. I was just slightly past 100k. Honda would not pay a dime and said my vehicles warranty ended in June of 2010. No goodwill repair, nothing. Thankfully the dealer paid for the core because they felt bad.

So back to this situation. I am looking at $3k plus in repair bills. I actually don't want this car repaired. After doing research, this year Honda Accord and engine type has so many problems. It's a cursed vehicle. I am not happy at all with Honda Customer service. They act like Honda can do nothing wrong. I will make another attempt tomorrow. I still owe $4200 on my car. I am thinking about biting the bullet, sell it for what I can get for it, and just get a new car. Of course it will not be another Honda. I will never buy a vehicle from this company again. They have left a very bad taste in my mouth; especially with their arrogance.

- , Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #318

Nov 252010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Well we bought the car from a personal owner in Texas ( we live in Arkansas). I noticed after about a week of driving it that it seemed to be shifting weird. I told my husband about it but he thought I was just being paranoid (typical woman right? Not) he rarely ever drives it because he has his truck. Well one day him and my 5 year old son decided to take it shopping and as they are driving probably 45 mph on the highway it stops accelerating and just wont go into gear! So we have to have it towed 30 miles back to our house! Then we take it to our local transmission shop and they have to get all the parts from Honda. Honda sent the wrong parts 3 times. So I was out of a car for almost 3 weeks and with two kids in school it was rough! I think Honda should step up and take responsibility!!

- , Gentry, AR, USA

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