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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,433 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 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #6

Oct 012006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles


Driver side lock did not work with keyless entry. Had to use key to unlock door. Took back to dealer and paid to get actuator fixed. Now the passenger side door lock does not open and I have to reach over to unlock. Cannot open from the outside.

- Sanford, FM, USA

problem #5

Mar 012005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
At first none of the windows rolled down. Currently, the door locks froze, and consumer was unable to access the vehicle that had a keyless entry system. Consumer had one lock on the door that the key went into and that lock also froze. At this time, the consumer had to leave the doors unlocked in order to gain access. This presented a safety hazard due to necessity of accessing auto after work in a dark parking structure at a city hospital. The dealership blew dry the inside door, but with Michigan winters, consumer foresee a high probability of recurrence. The right side windshield wiper insert started falling out and scratched the windshield. Reinstalled wiper insert.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #4

Jul 012004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,600 miles
Complaint received via E-mail. I purchased a brand new car, and since then I have been back to the dealership numerous amounts of times for many problems. First problem was my brakes needed to be replaced at 4600 miles, but weren't replaced until 7700 miles 3.5 months later due to back order. Currently, with 17,900 miles the brakes were grinding again. This is my 3rd Honda, and the worse one, yet likely my last. The second problem was that my right rear door was locked for 3 months. The dealer claimed that the problem was due to getting my windows tinted, but they attempted to fix three times, and was told the third time the problem only occurs if the temperature goes below 32 degrees. Since then the temperature has been over 32 degrees. I also have problems with sulfur odor coming from the exhaust, and was told that this was normal problem, would go away with time. But as time goes by the odor gets worse, and smells like rotten eggs. Another problem with the car is the alignment has been off since I bought the car. I have had my own mechanic look at the car, and he believes the car won't align correctly because of the axles. The final problem with my piece of crap Honda is the driver seat isn't secure, it slides very little back and forth and side to side.

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #3

Sep 012004

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles


Upon using the security key for the vehicle, the consumer found that the secured key actually opened other Honda vehicles. She used her key on a car that was not hers and someone used their key on hers. The vehicle was taken to the dealer.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #2

Jan 042003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Accord ex-V6 makes rattling noises from inside the driver and passenger doors, the door posts and sometimes the dashboard. The rattle frequently appears when driving over rough pavement but it is intermittent. Dealer has tried to resolve the problem but without any success.

- Bothell, WA, USA

problem #1

Dec 122002

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
This 2003 Honda Accord has caused me a lot of problems since the beginning I bought it. Just after 2 weeks with around 500 miles all this rattling noises started coming from the doors and windows. I took it to the dealer, they fixed it, but the problem was back less than a week after. Today I have 14000 miles on my car and I have been to the dealer more then 20 times for this problem. They have replaced the run channels and other parts without any success. Also the interior is falling a part; the middle compartment is not working. The cd compartment gets stuck all the time. The engine is making a lot of noise, feels like its actually sitting in the passenger side next to me. I know this is not the quality Honda has, my wife has a 1996 Accord and it doesnT make as much noises as mine, and it also runs better. Honda needs to take quality seriously. And help me out with this lemon car.

- Northridge, CA, USA

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