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:
176,539 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 #12

Dec 222016


  • 101,200 miles


Windshield wiper motor stopped working. Driving on interstate 5 in seattle. Dark and rainy, wipers just stopped working. Car already had a recall to prevent this from happening. But still it happened. Failed recall. Had to replace motor for windshield at dealership. I have the old part. This shouldn't have had to happen. Really scary going 60 mph at night, with rain fall to suddenly lose the car wipers. Thank you god im alive and keep my glass clean.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #11

Aug 042016


  • 220,000 miles
I was driving in heavy rain and my windshield wipers stopped working and I could not see a thing. I was lucky enough that other cars went around me on the highway. I called my local Honda dealership and they stated that their is not a recall on my vehicle and wanted to charge me an outrageous amount to replace the wiper motor. There is currently a recall on this for 2003 Honda Accord no. Q78 when the motor gets wet it stops working but for some reason it does not include my vehicle VIN number. Also I had a leak in my power steering and took it in for the recall and they said it was the pump and ended up charging me $500 to fix but it is still leaking.

- Los Lunas, NM, USA

problem #10

May 052015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the windshield wipers failed to activate. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the windshield wiper motor failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and informed that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 08V169000 (visibility). The failure mileage was unknown.

- Byram, MS, USA

problem #9

Apr 052015

Accord 4WD 4-cyl

  • miles


I have piece of crap people calls Honda I call today 04/07/2015 visibility problem windshield wiper and headlamps low I can't see night time during drive and transmission is skip but piece of crap(Honda) customer said you no have recall or warranty that's really mess I got mistake to buy piece of crap(Honda) please please please I suggest don't buy that like piece of crap( Honda) thanks

- Springfield , MA, USA

problem #8

Apr 162014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 199,000 miles
This is actually the second time that the wipers have stopped working. First time occurred over 2 years ago and had to have the wiper transmission changed. Again in middle of rain storm, wipers stopped. The motor was replaced last year because of recall, but they never replaced the wiper transmission. When the transmission was checked, the arm connection was off so the wipers would not work.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #7

Apr 152014


  • 1,130,000 miles
My wife was driving her 2003 Accord coupe to work today in heavy rain. All of a sudden the wipers did not work. My wife tried to adjust the speed from high to low and then intermittent but no luck. By the grace of god, she did get to work safely. I called Honda us and spoke to [xxx]. I was told that there was a recall for the wiper motor on the 4 door Accord, but not the coupe about the issue. I asked to speak to a supervisor in Honda customer service but I was told that there was no supervisor available and that someone will call me within 24 hours. I would like Honda to fix the issue. I went on Honda forums and a lot of people have complained about the exact same problem with no possible solution. My question is why is the coupe model excluded from the recall" if there's a different motor used, why wasn't the representative more informative about the situation" it sounded like the representative was in a hurry to get me off the phone. My wife's safety is off paramount importance and I need a resolution on this matter as soon as possible because we're expected to have more heavy rain over the next few weeks. Thank you. ┐parts of this document have been redacted to protect personally identifiable information pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).┐

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #6

Mar 242014


  • 129 miles


Someone please help me!!!!!!!!!!!! on the above date, I started my car & proceeded to clean rain water from the windshield. The wipers would not come on, nor would the radio. This is just a couple of ongoing things that I've experienced with this car, since I've purchased it. My mechanic says the wipers are factory defects. Whew, not again!!!! ugh! when's it going to end. I'm one of those people who depend on my car fro everything because of my college student so, I'm anal on the maintenance. We just put in new ball joints and he tells me the suspension is faulty so, it will cause me to replace the joints again in the future. I opted for the lesser of the two because, it's a factory issue. I've received a couple of recall notices however, upon taking the car to the dealer, once they kept it& claimed to fix the steering issues however, they still exist. I took it a second time, they had the car all of 20 mins. And told me that this issue was fixed previously. I'm continuously having issues with the steering whining, no matter how many times I service the fluids. My radio & electrical systems in the car, is constantly on the blink or not working. Now the passenger window decides not to go up. One day, as I was exiting the vehicle (turned off!) it decided to roll backwards.luckily both feet were not out the car and I could catch it! I've invested so much money in keeping this car running until my mechanic knows what going wrong before the recalls come out. He's serviced so many "03" Accord, until he's thinking of becoming a specialist for Honda. I just want Honda to correct all recalls on my vehicle. My student depends on it.! how are these car manufacturers allowed to keep robbing its customers"?" my address has changed since my last complaint. See below.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #5

Jan 012014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 136,135 miles
Over the last 4 months I have experienced intermittent windshield wiper stoppage but was able to restart. However, while traveling on the interstate from work, it was raining with 20 / 25 mph cross winds, after traveling 30 miles @ 70 mph the wipers stopped working and did not restart. I pulled over on the side of the interstate due to poor visibility and called for someone to come and pick me up. We picked up the car the next day (was not raining).

- Carthage, TN, USA

problem #4

Jan 022014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 75 mph, a loud explosion was heard from the roof. He open the sun roof portal and found that the sun roof glass had exploded and fractured. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure and current mileage was 58,000.

- Orem, UT, USA

problem #3

Apr 072013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
While driving in rain 60 mph wipers suddenly stopped, failure due to electrical circuit breaker inside motor housing from corrosion. Wipers completely inoperable. Very dangerous, had to wait until rain subsided to drive. Stayed on shoulder of road presenting a hazard. Motor replaced at Honda dealer cost to owner $265. Owner followed maintenance schedule diligently all to Honda dealer always requested all point inspection every visit.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #2

Jan 152013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the windshield wiper fluid failed to function properly when activated. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Redondo Beach , CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 122012


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving during inclement weather the windshield wipers stopped functioning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the motor was severely corroded and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in NHTSA camapign id number 08V169000 (visibility: Windshield wiper/washer: Motor). The failure and current mileage was approximately 140,000.

- Groveport, OH, USA

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