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:
44,208 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 #4

Dec 272010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 70,300 miles


I have owned a 2003 Honda Accord since new and now have 71,000 miles on it and twice I was notified by letter from Honda of potential problems. I have one of the stated problems now but not covered by the warranty that was extended if it occurred. The display does not work for the radio/HVAC system. The local dealer from whom I bought the car said to do some research about the problem. I have. I am not competent to do the work and the problem is expensive to remedy. I will not be able to reset the code for this device to operate should the battery need to be disconnected because the led display does not work.

- Narragansett, RI, USA

problem #3

Dec 212010


  • 65,130 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord ex. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph when the audio HVAC display module failed. The contact stated that the windows became foggy and visibility was very restrained. The contact called the manufacturer but was offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 65,130.

- Spring Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Oct 092003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,400 miles
Honda 2003 Accord is equipped with a design defect of costly and potentially harmful, from a safety standpoint, defect. The lower grill on the front bumper is designed in such a way that any road debris smaller than a 16" X 8" concrete block can enter and damage a fully-exposed and unprotected air conditioning (ac) condenser. It is clearly unprotected from the harsh outside elements. The ac is an integral part of the safety of this automobile in that to clear the windshield from any moisture on the inner surface, the ac must be acting in proper fashion. If a car's inside glasses fog-up with moisture, the only solution is to turn on the moisture wringing ac unit, regardless of the temp of the air, the dehumidifier effect of the ac conditioned air is an absolute necessity. The current design of the grill/condenser leaves it vulnerable to be easily damaged by a bit of gravel as small as a bb pellet. There is not any screen or deflector in place forward of the condenser to prohibit any errant road missiles from damaging the condenser thereby creating the safety hazard of a fogged windshield and more. A simple screen or deflector could and should be installed to protect the safety of this car.

- Alabaster, AL, USA

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