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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,850 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 #10

Aug 292013


  • 160,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the rear passenger and driver's side interior doors failed to release whenever being accessed. The doors were not locked. The vehicle was neither diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 160,000.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #9

Jun 012011


  • 150,000 miles
Last year, I was driving my 2003 Honda Accord, and I locked my car as I was riding. Upon reaching my home I tried to unlock my car and it would not unlock manually, by pushing the bottom, or with the keyless entry. When I tried to use the interior button to unlock the car, it locked all of the doors and the driver door would not unlock manually, however, I was finally able to get a passenger door unlocked manually. It seemed like I was in a horror movie because the passenger doors would appear to unlock, but they would instantly relock. This happened more than a few times and I was terrified to drive in fear of a accident as well as the fact that I had to leave my car unlocked when I went out in public. Today, the issue started again. I tried to hold the keyless entry down so that the windows would roll down and I could gain access that way, but it was to no avail. I tried using the key, but that did not work. I just so happen that while trying to unlock it with the key I turn it (the key) in the opposite direction and held it and the windows rolled down which allowed me to unlock a passenger door manually and climb in to my car. I still can not unlock the driver side door regardless of method.

- Gurnee, IL, USA

problem #8

May 152010


  • 60,908 miles
Door locks are not working. They are broken. Front door locks for my Honda Accord have to be unlocked manually. The driver side with key. The passenger side by hand. The car has only 60,908 miles. I don't understand why the locks are going bad. I feel this is a safety issue. You cannot get into your car very quickly if you need to. To have them fixed will be very expense. I was told only the drivers side for the part would be over $225, not including labor. Have other owners had this problem" I think the locks are defective and Honda should pay to have them replaced. The drivers lock went out in March and now the other went out today. When will the other locks go out"

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #7

Jan 062010


  • miles


2003 Honda Accord - left rear door lock actuator problem - (while standing outside the car) the door would stay in the locked position. It would not open using the key or by putting the key in the door. The key would go in but I wasn't able to turn the locks either direction. I finally kept pressing the button on the key & eventually 3 of the doors unlocked. Another day, I pressed the key to unlock & the lock would go up & down immediately. It would unlock & lock again so quickly I didn't have time to open the door. I finally got in the car with the help of my daughter. She pressed the unlock button on the key & I grabbed the door quickly to open - that's how we got in the car that day. Several times I was unable to get my passengers in & out of the car because the door would not open. It was truly frightening driving the car at that time for fear of an emergency that we/passengers wouldn't be able to get out of the car. Another time my passenger was in the back passengers side seat and she couldn't get out of the car at all. I leaned over to try to unlock that door (that time that was the only door that wouldn't open). I tried to unlock the door with my hands & the door wouldn't unlock at all! my passenger had to go out the other door. Thank god I had another door that was working. I am a mom. I also carpool the neighborhood children. Not only was this door with the problem endangering myself. It was endangering my passengers too. I took it to the Honda dealership and they replaced the left rear door lock actuator. $281.24 later the door appears to be fixed at this time. I should not have had to pay $281.24 of my money for such a safety hazard. I'm bringing this to your attention so hopefully I would be preventing a future tragedy.

- East Providence, RI, USA

problem #6

Jun 062009


  • 73,121 miles
I could not open the unlocked driver's door from the inside using the internal door handle. Corrective action was replacement of the inner handle cable (part # 72171-sda-A01) which had severed. Such a failure could be life threatening in an accident, water submerged or fire.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #5

Feb 282009


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the door latches were inoperative. As a consequence, he could not use the key fob to lock or unlock the doors. The doors had to be locked/unlocked manually. The dealer stated that the actuator and the internal fuse box failed and were replaced. A complaint was filed with the manufacturer. The failure and current mileages were 48,000.

- Tamaqua, PA, USA

problem #4

Jan 312003


  • 100 miles


Both driver and front passenger doors will not stay propped open. They are very heavy, and when pushed open to either the first or second 'catch', the doors invariably fall back and crush the legs of the person trying to exit the vehicle. Both rear doors stay open, catching and locking properly on either of the two 'catch' points. When we pointed out to Honda dealer while the car was in for a different recall issue, they offered to order a replacement part for over $100 without even looking at the latch mechanism. I believe this is an original flaw with the car that they should repair for free.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #3

Oct 102008


  • 100,000 miles
Inside door handles of my 2003 Honda Accord LX are peeling and I have cut my fingers several times while I was opening my door from the inside of my car.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #2

Jun 122007


  • miles
First, my cd player stops working out of nowhere, which I later come to find out that they had installed an internal defective cd player. A couple of weeks after the cd player broke, my drive side door would not lock with the keyless entry or power locks. Then, a couple of weeks ago my driver side headlight went out. I got someone to change both so that one wouldn't be bright than the other, but after they were both I changed, the drive side headlight still refused to work.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #1

Dec 202007

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,369 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that when he turns off the engine, all of the doors lock and prevent anyone from exiting or entering the vehicle for approximately three minutes. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure; however, they discovered error code number B1006. The code was reset and not repaired. The manufacturer did not assist. The failure mileage was 46,369 and current mileage was 47,000. Updated 02-13-08 the consumer stated vehicle parked rear passenger door dented. The door was repaired. The consumer stated the dealer replaced actuator and rewired doors, however the problem still persists. Updated 02/13/08

- Bound Brook, NJ, USA

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