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:
$2,714.00
Average Mileage:
97,372 miles
Total Complaints:
496 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace/rebuild transmission (343 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 1 of 25)

problem #496

Mar 312016

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

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

Transmission started making slight noises over the past four years - especially during times of winter. The noises gradually progressed fro soft whirling sounds to a loud sound that sounded like a mix between a machine gun being fired and a beached whale.

- , Potomac, MD, USA

problem #495

Feb 082016

Accord EX-VL W/ Navi V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

I'm original owner of 2003 coupe, and like most of you, when we received recall, we took it in to have it fixed. Now with 153000 miles, transmission has failed, and even though this is the only trouble we've had with the car, it's disappointing that Honda knows there's a problem but won't fix it correctly. Called local Honda dealership, and they say Honda won't help fix it, but they hear/see the problem all the time with this year Hondas. We tried calling Honda customer service anyway, and as expected, they were very rude, said it was taken care of in 2004 and not under warranty now.

If class action lawsuit is started, we'd be happy to be involved. I saw online about several class action lawsuits against Honda, but not one for this particular issue yet.

- , Smithville, MS, USA

problem #494

Feb 262016

Accord EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Sorry but after this 2003 Honda Accord EXL ( yes FULLY LOADED ) blew the transmission today, I will not buy another Honda.

It is sad day, like losing a friend. Particularly, since we have three Hondas in the family. Survirors include a 2002 Accord and a 2003 CRV. The 02 Accord and 03 CRV each have over 200,000 miles on them and have had no serious problems including a rock solid original engine and transmission.

For a Honda transmission to 'self destruct' with only 110,000 miles is a problem. We pay more for Honda quality and expect more from Honda. In my case, I ignored the 2003 Honda complaints thinking it was a fluke, which is a bad mistake that I hope you will not make.

And sadly, you can not trust Hondas to the point where you pay more for a Honda than any of the other brand. So the morale of the story is that 'you' must add Honda to the list of vendors that you MUST use a 'buyer beware' approach. Do your homework, delay the purchase and shop around.

- , Coppell, TX, USA

problem #493

Feb 132016

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

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

My 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 has 110K miles on it. I was driving on HWY 280 and it felt as if I had slammed on the breaks and or downshifted to first from 4th. Car jerked twice. I immediately got off the freeway and the car's service light came on and the D light was flashing.

I found the information on the internet about the Transmission issue and called Honda first thing on Monday am. I was told to have the car towed to a Honda dealer and have them do a transmission inspection which was 150.00 once this was done I would need to contact Honda again who would assign the case to a case manager who would make a determination whether it would be covered as a "2nd Recall Request”

The service manager at Stevens Creek Honda called me and said there was never an issue or a recall with the transmission in these cars. Really? It is all over the internet. I told him that I had spoken with American Honda directly and that he needed to do the diagnostic and contact them. He agreed, yesterday the Service Manager called me and said that the Torque converter was burned out and that the transmission fluid was burn and had particles in it, indicating that the transmission would need to be replaced. He also stated that American Honda said they would not help with the repairs. But he would be happy to get me a quote on getting it replaced. I immediately called Honda again who told me they would have a case manager review and get back to me in a few days I also confirmed that my car had a new jet kit installed which in any one of these cases did not ultimately fix the issue.

I also spoke with a local transmission shop who told me that the only REAL way to fix the issue is to rebuild the transmission with aftermarket parts to fix the filter issue. A case manager at Honda called me today and said that they would not take care of this issue as it is not related to the transmission failure. Really? Also, she stated that the car was too old. So apparently Honda only expects their cars to last to 110k miles. Here I thought Hondas were supposed to be reliable and long lasting guess not. Next time I will buy a Chevy. I cannot believe that Honda would not get this taken care of. Just another corporation trying to take advantage of people!

The issues my car are experiencing are exactly the same as the recall. I am planning on taking them to court for their negligence and unwillingness to help fix their problem. I will keep everyone updated. If anyone has any information on getting Honda to pay, please let me know. Thank you.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #492

Nov 152014

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Transmission failed. Car completely died. Cost a fortune to replace.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #491

Oct 242012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,423 miles

Same 2nd gear problem everyone else had, slipping/flaring shifting into and out of 2nd gear. Luckily it failed slowly, nothing catastrophic. Original owner, so I had the recall inspection/installation of the new oil jet done on time. Maybe that delayed things a bit, helped it fail later, at 96k miles. I brought it back to the original dealer's service department and they knocked 1k off of a 5k rebuilt transmission (back in 2012). Only 4 grand?!?! Thanks Honda! About $500 more than a local shop wanted to charge to rebuild it, but it came with a 3 year warranty vs 2 year, so what the hell. Warranty just expired after 3 years, and I have another 24k miles on it, so I need to trade in this POS now! I would normally sell to a third party for more money, but what a moral dilemma. Drop this POS on another unsuspecting soul and hope they forget where I live or trade it in for less money to a dealer, then that person at least has a limited warranty.

This along with all of the weird electrical problems this car had makes me never want to buy a Honda again. Very disappointed and disgusted with Honda and their dealers.

- , Dublin, CA, USA

problem #490

Jan 012016

Accord EX V6 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

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

Second transmission failure in this POS! No signs of failure except that it's cold outside and the wind is blowing south.

- , Holladay, UT, USA

problem #489

Jun 192015

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

My wife and I bought the car from Radley Acura in Falls Church VA 22041 thinking that a dealer would be trust worthy with their cars. Only to find out that they did not mention this car had transmissions recall problems. All we want from them is to make us whole on this recall.

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #488

Jun 152015

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,138 miles

I love my Honda and it breaks my heart and really makes me hate Honda that they wont fix the problem cause its obviously a defect. I called Honda and complained and got no where, I'm disabled and live off social security and cant afford to fix my car and it stinks I cant go no where and I need my car. I should of never bought a Honda but I thought they were such good cars, I guess I just got robbed. thanks Honda for nothing.

- , Frankford, DE, USA

problem #487

Nov 082015

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

Bought the car used. Drove it for a while and it felt great. Started to slowly notice that it would take a couple seconds for the car to actually shift into gear such as Drive or Reverse. Then one day it just completely failed on me. I was driving on a highway when the transmission started failing. After 10 minutes, the transmission started to fail completely and the engine light went off. It got so bad that the car felt like it was trying to rip itself apart. I had to pull off into a parking lot and leave the car there.

I really wish I had known that this car is ranked #2 Worst Car on here before purchasing it. The fact that I have seen numerous complaints on Honda's Twitter feed and Facebook wall tells me that there should've been a recall by now. I assumed since I was buying a Honda that I was buying the reliability it was known for as well but I guess I was wrong in this case. The cost to repair is of course ridiculously high so I can't have it repaired. Instead I'm sitting at home stewing in my own filth drowning in sorrow as girls roll past me laughing at my poor decision of buying a 2003 Honda Accord.

Update from Jul 7, 2016: UPDATE:

Finally took the car to a mechanics to get the transmission rebuilt vs having it swapped for another faulty Honda Accord transmission. The cost was pretty high at $2,832 but so far it seems to have been worth it. Will continue to update should any other problems arise but everything seems great so far.

- , Beacon, NY, USA

problem #486

Nov 202015

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,059 miles

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

Bought 03 Honda Accord from Carmax with 82,000 miles at first it was fine. Then about 60 days later it started to show signs of slipping transmission. I called Carmax. I'm out of warranty time so they couldn't do anything. I thought maybe I'm losing it and took it to get a service. It starts working fine again. Then I hit about 98,000 miles and again, I go get a transmission service and that's when everything went down hill. It started to slip every chance it could between 2nd and 3rd gear. Thought maybe they put the wrong fluid in. they didn't. I call around and these transmissions have had issues since the car was made. I call Honda of America and they act like they can't do anything. I have only had this car for a year and this is ridiculous. It's sitting a parking spot because it can't be moved. I submitted claims but have to wait to see if it will be covered. I'm fed up with speaking to people and complaining at this point I just want to call my lawyer and have them deal with it because Carmax knew this was an issue when they sold me the car this doesn't happen over night or even in a year.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #485

Aug 282015

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Second failure of transmission happened today. I wish that I had avoided this model.

- , Farmington, UT, USA

problem #484

Jan 032011

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

The transmission on my Accord failed once at 90,000 miles and then the rebuilt transmission failed today at 150,000 miles. I think I'm done polishing this turd.

- , Farmington, UT, USA

problem #483

Jun 012010

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

In addition to a failed transmission, I also had a failed AC system, a weird engine/computer problem that still nobody can figure out, a radio problem that drains the car's battery at night, and several other more minor problems. All of these major problems are very common and well documented on the internet, and well known by repair shops. I bought the car brand new for about $20K years ago, and the above-mentioned failures together cost me about another $10K.

2003 was a new model year for Honda Accord. I understand cars from new model years tend to have more problems. But what really pissed me off is that Honda knew of these problems (or they could have known if they care about their customers at all) and they never offered any remedies or recall. For any car company with the slightest care of their customers, they could have done a better job. Just look at the overwhelming number of complaints about 2003 Honda Accord on the internet or go talk to any transmission repair shop or car radio repair shop. I have a Toyota from the same year. It has run great with no major issues. They even recalled a dash board problem that is only cosmetic after 11 years. In contrast to my experience with Toyota, I feel completely cheated by Honda's reputation.

Now my Accord has a weird engine/computer problem that nobody can fix (I have been to 6 different shops including Honda dealer), it's time for me to get a new car. I will absolutely never buy a Honda again.

I never go on the internet to post anything. But thinking about my 12 years as a Honda owner, I am pissed off enough that I had to write this review.

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #482

Apr 042012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,555 miles

July 2003 my mother purchased 2003 Honda Accord with 157,000 kms (100,000 miles roughly). April 2012 she was driving when the transmission totally failed. She came to stop at a corner, then attempted to turn right. Attempted to accelerate and the car wouldn't even move, wouldn't go into any gear. She had it towed back to the Honda dealer where she purchased the car, they wouldn't do anything for her and ended charging her $4,500 to have the transmission rebuilt at a 3rd party company, also changed fluid, water pump, timing belt. I purchased the car from her in July 2014, thinking the rebuilt transmission would be fine now, and that the original was just a lemon. Now the car has 217,000 kms (135,000 miles), 60,000 additional kms, and the transmission is slipping horribly and now honda says they need to replace the transmission again with a rebuilt one. I now realize by completing some research, that these transmissions are notorious for failing and I'm furious. We've had 3 different Honda's in the family and will most definitely be switching car companies next time. I'm cannot believe there hasn't been a recall on these transmissions, its insanity. I would happily join a class action Lawsuit against Honda.

- , London, ON, Canada

problem #481

Jul 042015

Accord EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

I purchased my "Certified Pre-owned" 2003 Honda EX-L in 2010 with 50,000 miles on it and in impeccable condition. Like the preview owner, I kept up with scheduled maintenance, oil changes etc.

Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, out of nowhere the car refused to move when placed in reverse. This happened twice. Then while on the freeway, it dropped out of gear violently. I had to drive with the hazard lights on and was in fear for my life. I drove a short distance to the Transmission shop nearby the following Monday. They charged $1100 to take it out of the engine, and another $2,200 to rebuild it, after taxes it came out to $3,600. I called Honda today to express my concern and betrayal at the defective product. The operator claimed that since the car was over 12 years old, and no longer under warranty, Honda can't do anything. She brushed aside concerns when I said that it was only at 112,000 miles. She did inquire if I owned other Hondas. She offered no help, or condolences on behalf of Honda. She denied any knowledge of problems with this year and Model.

A friend who shared that her Honda dealer rebuilt her Civic transmission for free. But she owns 2 Hondas, one that was recently purchased at that particular dealer. I recently moved, the dealer I purchased my Honda from was in California. Based on this experience, I no longer have faith in the Honda brand or spirit of serve that they claim in their ads to promote.

- , Seattle, WA, USA

problem #480

Mar 182011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,092 miles

My transmission started slipping in 2011 with 153k miles and the dealer wanted over $4000 for a new transmission. I ended up having it rebuilt for $2350. Now my car has 200k miles and the green "D" light on the dashboard is blinking and will probably require more expensive repairs.

In my research on the blinking light I came across this site. Wish I had seen it before I had the repair. I might have raised a little more hell with Honda knowing that this is a common complaint about that particular model year. I thought it was because I do so much driving, although I have never had transmission problems on previously owned cars.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #479

May 152013

Accord LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Its a shame that you charge so much for the Honda and you have nothing but problems with the transmission which I had to replace going on my 2nd one, and the cd player quit working which was replaced once already by the Honda dealership WHY cant you make a decent car I will never own a Honda again nor will anyone in our family...

- , Garner, NC, USA

problem #478

Aug 262014

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

I started to use the Honda around 2008 for work. It's mileage was about 25000 miles due to the use of a second family car at the time. I have an extensive record of maintaining my Honda with a local Honda dealership since I purchased an extended warranty that expired in April 2014. I put a lot of maintenance money into the car to keep it running smoothly, trying to adhere to the mileage check up plans. I hoped that if I invested in my car continuously it will last me another 5 - 8 years when I would be in a better position to buy another car.

On Aug 26, 2014 I left my work to head to an evening class. The car started hesitating and the rpms would race without the car racing. I experienced that a week or two prior to the incident, but thought I had just hit the gas or something. As I got on the freeway, I realized this was not a safe situation and exited the freeway and drove home. When I arrived by my home 10 minutes later, the car stopped accelerating and I drifted into a parking space on the side of my house and had a family member straighten me out in neutral. I ended up towing the car to my local dealership who diagnosed it as the transmission. It cost $5000 to order a new one.

I was so disappointed in Honda cars when I heard the cost of the repair because I had taken so much time and effort to take care of it for 6 years. I got quotes on rebuilds, advice etc and realized a replacement was the proper way to go. I've had to find alternate transportation such as the bus, catching rides with others and finally a limited use of a loaner until I sell the lemon I have for parts or buy a $5000 transmission. The Honda was purchased brand new, I'm the only owner and it was bought because of it's reputation and quality at the time. I just couldn't believe that all the care I spent on it was futile. It sits in storage until I can resolve the problem. Others couldn't believe how well I cared for it and then it just failed on me. I'm so disappointed!!!!!!

- , Kapolei, HI, USA

problem #477

Aug 222013

Accord EX Coupe 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

Just want to begin with saying that this 03 Accord Coupe Auto Trans is a piece of SH*T!!! I bought this vehicle when I was 18 years old and had NO idea what I was getting myself into. I just wish I would have known about this website prior to me purchasing this vehicle.

The transmissions are JUNK and are RUBBERBANDS, point blank period. I wish people who spent their hard earned money could somehow get it back, for the SH*T this car has done to myself and others. As a full-time college student, I expected something reliable and comfortable. Instead I was sold JUNK hidden underneath a hood. I'm very skeptical about Hondas now and will forever be.

- , Morrisville, PA, USA

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