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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
27,330 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda Accord AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Honda Accord:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #12

Sep 162008

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,853 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The vehicle would not start and was towed to the dealer. The dealer discovered that the air conditioning drain was clogged and water entered into the electrical circuit, which damaged the computer. The vehicle was repaired at the cost of $917.01. The dealer advised the contact to check the air conditioner every six months. The failure and current mileages were 53,853. Updated 10/27/08. Updated 10/27/08.

- Elicott City, MD, USA

problem #11

Jun 192007

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,600 miles
The air conditioning unit on my 2003 Honda Accord suddenly stopped blowing cool air. I assumed it was in need of coolant since I just recently reached the 60,000 miles mark. But when I went to have the ac serviced, I was told the compressor had gone bad and needs to be replaced. I know the dependability of Honda. So, I was baffled that the compressor would "go out" in just four years of ownership.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 222007

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
The backlighting on the center console went out. No fuses were blown. Radio and A/C are operation but you cannot see the status. You cannot control the heat or the defroster. Without knowing the status of this equipment, an accident is almost assured..fogged front window.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #9

Aug 032006


  • 44,600 miles


Air conditioner failed to cool the car. Compressor needed to be replaced along with coils.

- Stone Mountain, GA, USA

problem #8

Jul 032006

Accord 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
Air conditioning hose failure. I manage a commercial hvacr operation. I have access to suitable leak detection repair tools, etc. I own a 2003 Honda Accord that has lost its R134A charge through what I believe is defective / improper hose crimping, that is where the leak is. Is this a complaint that occurs with any frequency or do I own the one bad hose set produced?

- Wayne, PA, USA

problem #7

Jun 042004

(reported on)


  • miles
Condensor is leaking refrigerant on vehicle.

- Indiana, PA, USA

problem #6

Apr 252004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,821 miles


I'm complaining about the design flaw on the A/C condenser of my 2003 Honda Accord. The placement of the condenser is flawed because it is located in the lower front of the vehicle that is always prone to be hit by small pebbles when driving normally on the highway. There is no protection on the freon coils on the condenser and any small peblle could hit it and damaged the coils and the freon would leak. This makes the owner always financially at risk that the coils could be damaged under normal driving condition because of the design. The fins on the condenser doesn't even protect the coils and only after driving the car a couple of months, I have seen a lot of pebble damage on the condenser. Yesterday a pebble hit one of the coils and the freon escaped, rendering my A/C inoperable. The service advisor seems to pinpoint right away the cause by pointing to me the pebble damage on the consender in only 10 seconds. Does this mean they have a lot of complaints on this kind of problem". they say it's not covered by warranty even though the design has subjected the condenser to be hits by small pebbles when driving normally. Does the consumer have to pay for this flaw. If I had them change the condenser today and it got hit again tomorrow, and next month, etc, etc, when will this financial problem stop for the consumer"

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 162004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I had my other Honda for over 10 years and I liked it so much I bought another one. Now I am having all kinds of trouble with it. 1. the ac condenser has holes on it. It was working when I bought it. I noticed it not working when I tried to use it recently. I brought it to the dealer, I was told there are holes in condenser. It is not under warranty and it would cost me $500 to replace it. They charged me $110 for telling me what is wrong. I called Honda America customer services and asked for assistance, I was told it was my own fault and there is nothing they can do. Period. 2. the body is rusting. The paint is coming off the car and the underneath metal is rusting. Again the dealer told me they don't paint. I have to go to the body shop to repaint it. The cost is not covered under warranty. Honda America again denied any wrong design and help I requested. 3. wind noise as of the door/window is not closed properly. Dealer claims could not find anything wrong and they didn't have time to have a test drive with me. 4. clicking noise when I shift gear from reverse to drive. I thought it was too minor to mention to the dealer 5. don't forget the recalls for in-take breath pipe and no-reverse condition besides a flimsy product, the dealer and Honda America customer services is no help at all. Is there anything we can do to make them responsible? this will be the last Honda that I own

- White Plains, NY, USA

problem #4

Aug 082003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,500 miles
2003 Honda Accord ex sedan with 4 cylinder. Car has developed high idle 1800 RPM when cold. Car will accelerate (actually jumps) to 20 mph with foot off the accelerator. Takes over +5 minutes before it reduces to a normal idle (approximately 2 miles worth of driving). This is a really dangerous situation. Also experiencing the rotten egg smell entering into the drivers compartment. The air conditioner (A/C) has a serious vibration when coming on that has had several passengers ask me what the noise and vibration were. It's a shame since I have been to the dealer 3 times for these problems and came away with them making me feel guilty and that I'm the only one with these problem. I guess I'm glad that sites like this exist...thanks.

- Orchard Park, NY, USA

problem #3

Nov 042003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,500 miles
A very small pebble (quarter of the size of a dime) in form of road debris, punctured the air conditioner (ac) condenser. Honda said that they would not cover the repairs under warranty. The dealer informed me that other people also have had this problem. Honda needs to design a shield for the condenser or build stronger condensers. Cost of repairs was almost $500!! the car is almost brand new, only 7500 miles.

- Cedar Hill, TX, USA

problem #2

Aug 152003


  • miles
Hole in air conditioner condensor. A hissing noise and odor were coming from the front of the car on 8/7. took auto in to service deparment that day and they could not find problem. Went back 4 days later (8/11) because air was not working and was told that there was a hole in the condesor which caused the vehicle not to hold freon. Service deparment had part in stock at the time, but I had to wait to have it repaired so that I could file a claim with insurance. Claim was approved 2 days later, so I took car back to service center. I was told part was on national back-order and it could be 1-2 weeks before it came in, they were given no eta. Car is 7 months old and I am currently driving in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #1

May 222003

(reported on)


  • 80 miles
The vehicle had a strong rotten egg odor coming from the air vents which made the occupants sick.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

Not what you are looking for?