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:
65,605 miles
Total Complaints:
23 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Install a new condenser (13 reports)
  2. Honda needs to redesign the exterior front air vent system (7 reports)
  3. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Jun 052004

(reported on)

Accord LX

  • 4,025 miles


I bought a brand new 2003 Honda Accord. After five months the Air Conditioning System quit working. I took the car to get repaired at Checkered Flag Honda in Virginia Beach, VA where the car was purchased. They claimed that they fixed the Air Conditioner problem, but refused to tell me what they found wrong or how they corrected it. I then spoke to the service department manager and he would not provide any information either. My brother was with me and he felt that the dealership was hiding something. At this point, I refused to take the car unless a mechanic looked over the car. The Service Manager sent their best mechanic with me and I instructed him to open the hood. When he opened the hood we noticed a big screwdriver laying on the engine beside a discarded mechanics rag. We also noticed that the refill caps for the Air Conditioning lines were not installed and we located them on the venting for the front windshield. We went back to the Service Manager and then he admitted to adding freon to the system. The dealership also refused to provide any paperwork covering the repairs. Within five months (four of which were during winter) the A/C failed again and the dealer quickly pointed to a leak in the A/C condenser and quoted me $800 to fix the car. The Manager said a small pebble hit the condenser and damaged it. Honda refused to pay for the repairs and I believe they found the leak during my earlier visit. The real problem is that the front venting system does not protect the A/C condenser from the smallest of pebbles or debris that may hit it. Honda knows about the venting system defect and the dealers are given a standard story to avoid any liability. Honda is confronted with an $800 recall problem for newer Honda Accords and they have chosen to cheat their customers rather than fix their product. The INTERNET is full of 2003 Honda Accord condenser failures on low mileage cars. The Automobile Transportation Safety Authority has received numerous complaints regarding 2003 Honda Accord condenser failures so they be able to force Honda to recall the cars, fix the defective air vent design, and pay any customers who have paid the $800 repair bills. This was my first new car and I cannot afford the $800 repair at this time. Maybe a class action suit will get their attention.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #2

Apr 272004

(reported on)

Accord LX

  • 23,800 miles

The AC condenser of the 2003 Honda Accord is located in the lower front air duct area which is very prone to be hit by small pebbles when travelling under normal condition in the freeway. The chance of the condenser tubing where the freon passes is very likely because the fins doesn't even protect it from pebbles. The condenser is designes that the tubing is exposed in front of the fins where it is likely to be hit. If you guys look under the front bumper, you will notice a lot of dents on your fins and one of these days a pebble will likely hit your freon tubing causing the freon to leak and you will lose AC cooling. This design has made the Accord's owner to be under a big chance to be changing their AC condenser a lot of times for the life a the car. I had mine hit already and lost my AC cooling and the dealer 's estimate is $726.00 for parts and labor, and they said it not under warranty. They never told me about this big chance of a hit in the condenser when I bought this car. I had owned a lot of cars before but never I had seen my condenser break down because a small pebble hit it. This will cost the consumer a lot of hard earned dollars to repair all the hits in the lifetime of this car. I will never buy or recommend a Honda ever again. Please let me know if you have the same problem as I had.

- , Corona, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 092003

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 3,975 miles

Design flaw! My Honda Accord is 6 months old! The A/C condenser was punctured from road damage - a rock must have hit and damaged the fins and caused a leak. Not covered under warranty, the condenser replacement cost me $700.

The location of the cooling system condenser is right behind the front grill and had lots of 'dings' from road damage. There is no protection! The service department said it was a freak accident but I feel it is a design flaw.

The next time you wash your car, look through the front grill. What you are looking at is the condenser. You can almost touch it- so can a rock!

- , Middle Village, NY, USA

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