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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
83,834 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace compressor (7 reports)
  2. not sure (6 reports)
  3. purchase an extended warranty (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #16

Jun 022008

Accord LX-V6 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


Really a problem, with a vehicle with so few miles.

- , El Paso, TX, US

problem #15

Jan 102014

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,500 miles

Freon was released into the atmosphere (all of it).

- , Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #14

Jun 112012


  • Manual transmission
  • 90,099 miles

I had the problem fixed and less than a year later the A/C went again.

- , Burton, New Brunswick, Canada

problem #13

Sep 102013

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


One day the AC just stopped blowing cold air. At first I thought it needed refilling. But I was told the compressor was shot.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #12

May 162014

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,500 miles

Honda cars are typically known for quality even after 100K miles but not this year and model. Quite disappointing. :(

- , Cypress, TX, US

problem #11

Oct 012012

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

This is bad. This is a $1,300 fix @ Firestone and @ the dealer, I don't even want to know.

- , Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #10

Sep 132011

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


This really sucks. I got a Honda because I thought it was a reliable car. But I've had most of the problems reported on this site including the AC compressor failure. Very disappointed in Honda, I will not buy this brand again.

- , Mamaroneck, NY, USA

problem #9

Jul 072010

Accord EX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

A/C compressor went out 4 years before my ford truck. Lasted 7 yr. my truck lasted over 11 yrs. Just goes to show you a ford truck is a better vehicle than a Honda.

- , Greenwell Springs, LA, US

problem #8

Jul 022010

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Having the same problems as everyone else. The air conditioner works when it wants to. I did buy the extended warranty, thank goodness! The air quit all together about a week and a half ago. I took it to the dealership and they diagnosed it as the compressor. Soooo a week and a half into my new compressor, and it's out again! I did get the air to work for about 2 hours today and it quit again. I've already called the warranty place and they want it back at the dealership. I only have a couple thousand miles left on my extended warranty so I'm hoping they'll keep covering it if it keeps doing the same thing. It's been 100+ degrees here in Arkansas and black leather seats don't help AT ALL! Tomorrow is my appt. so I will update.

Update from Aug 19, 2010: Okay so took the car back up there with the air not working. They called later that afternoon and said there was a loose connection to the compressor and it's fixed now. So I picked the car up and a week later it did the very same thing. Tokk it back to the dealership. They kept it over a week and called me to come and get it. They couldnt find anything wrong with it. So now it's at another dealership. They can't get it to quit working for them. I've been without my car for over 2 weeks now. But I told them to keep the damn thing till its fixed and don't call me till its diagnosed and fixed!

- , Center Ridge, AR, USA

problem #7

Jun 182009

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 103,000 miles

of course this happened 3 thousand miles after my extended warranty expired, and in the heat of a Texas Summer. The ac compressor will work fine after the car sits for a while and cools off, then after about 10 minutes..nothing. Nothing but hot air. I thought Hondas were dependable for a long time? guess not

- , Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 162008

Accord LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


I purchased this car in 2003 from Rick Case in Weston and have had nothing but problems with this car.

- , Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #5

Jun 102009

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I buy honda because they are usually great, year after year. This model has had numerous minor and major problems since I bought it. The Air conditioner going out was just the straw the broke my pocketbook. Besides going with out air conditioning for 7 months in South Georgia ( which by the way makes you sweaty and smelly by the time you get to work at 8am), the air system is part of the the whole belt system. so if the compressor had actually frozen up (luckily I found the problem before it did), the whole car would have shut down where ever I was. Bottom line, I like many buy Hondas to be good reliable cars, this one is not. Honda should do several more recalls, and six all the major problems this particular model has in order to save its good name. I can tell you, most of the names I have been calling them lately have not been very good.

- , Leesburg, GA, USA

problem #4

Jun 102008

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

I just read where another person was having the same problem...bought car new, the a/c just works when it wants to. I also have found that when I stop the car, turn off the ignition, and restart the engine, the a/c works! It also is a real pain, as it gets extremely hot here in Arkansas. The other person 'amended' his complaint the next day by saying that the compressor finally laid down. I cannot understand how restarting an engine will make the compressor work everytime. But I am not a Technician...I did call the dealer, and they obviously told me that they cannot diagnose the problem unless the a/c has quit when I bring it in, and that they have 'no idea' what it can be. Obviously there is a real problem when air compressors only last 43k! I would like to know if other people are having similar problems. I have owned 6 Hondas and have never had any a/c trouble before. I always have a GM product as well as the Honda cars, and have never replaced a compressor since the 60's. The sad part about this is that the 03 Hondas appear to have many other problems, and we were going to keep this one as we are getting to the age that we don't need two car payments. In the past we have actually never put many miles on our Hondas when we upgrade, but I know many people who drive them for 200k and never have a problem. Those days may be in the past for Honda...the Toyota Camry has a lot more bang for the buck! I imagine I will be driving one BEFORE my a/c lays completely down on the Honda. Again for the record, I have purchased approx. 23 new vehicles since 1970, and have replaced one compressor...a BMW.

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #3

Dec 292007

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,120 miles

Well, I am updating my complaint from yesterday. The A/C has now completely died. I guess my question has been answered. I hate this car. First, the sh*tty transmission that will probably break again and now this. Anybody know how much a new compressor is? Buy a Toyota from now on.

- , Durham, NC, US

problem #2

Dec 282007

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,120 miles

I was wondering if anyone else had this problem with their Accord. My A/C seems to have this annoying habit of working when it wants to. Usually, I start the car, turn on the air and everything works fine. Every once in a while though, I will turn my car on, turn the A/C on, and I get no cold air. It is especially annoying in the 115 degree temperatures of North Carolina. I bought this car new and this has happened quite a bit over the years. The only solution seems to be turning the car off, pulling the key out and starting it back up.

I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this, and whether their compressor eventually died as a result. Let me know.

- , Durham, NC, US

problem #1

Aug 022005

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 51,000 miles

The AC compressor failed, and it took TWO WEEKS to locate the required part. They were back ordered throughout the United States! Thank God I had a Honda Care Extended Warranty, (7 yrs. or 100,000 miles, "0" deductable). I would NEVER own a vehicle without and extended warranty. As soon and I get close to the 100,000 mile mark, this vehicle is "history"! ----- Will I purchase another Honda? ----- I don't know at this point in time! Outside of the waiting for the part, the warranty covered the entire repair.

- , Point Pleasant, NJ, USA

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