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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
75,319 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replaced door lock mechanism (both doors) (2 reports)
  3. replaced door lock actuator (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #7

Jul 162014

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles


I think this one is the last straw. I hope someone else has more patience for this lemon.

- , Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #6

Nov 022012

Accord EX 3.06

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,189 miles

Since the only means of locking/unlocking my vehicle is by using the automatic key (which is now useless) or manually locking/unlocking the driver's door (it's the only door that can be manually locked/unlocked), it's a real pain not being able to get in and out of the other doors. I just find the timing of so many things going wrong within a month's time ridiculous.

- , Eustis, FL, USA

problem #5

Oct 052009

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Honda would not cover this had to pay out of my own pocket

- , Great Bend, KS, US

problem #4

Oct 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


After having this car for a little over 2 years, the driverside lock no longer works. I took it in before my warranty lapsed, and they said that it would be $300 to fix the issue. I feel like this is ridiculous for an issue that is obviously caused by a malfunction of the computer system. I ended up speaking to a person who works at the dealership, and they said that it should have been covered, but i was already out of warranty. :(

- , San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 072006

Accord EX 3.0L V6 Sohc (Mfi)

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,043 miles

Cost of problem was $264.46 but I only had to pay the $50 deductible.

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 012006

Accord EX Coupe 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Driver's door wouldn't unlock when pressing keyless remote. Very inconvenient. Would have to use key to manually open door, then use unlock button to unlock other side. Dealer said it was a faulty door lock mechanism. Actual part cost $28 (looked it up online), but because they had to remove the top panel from the door, the total cost was $300 to repair. About year later, it happened to passenger door. Took it to area mechanic to save $100 bucks.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #1

Jun 162008

Accord DX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

About 3 months, ago I noticed that I was unable to unlock the driver's side front door. I have been entering my car from the passenger side since that time. Was told that it would cost about $125 to replace it, and I would then have to use 2 keys for the car - the original for the ignition and the new one for the doors. About 1 week ago, I began to have trouble getting the key to unlock the ignition switch. It takes a few tries to get it to engage so that I can start the car. I have not yet asked the dealer about this problem. Can't wait to hear their explanation and recommended fix.

I have owned and operated many cars in the past 50 years, and I have never had a problem starting any of them with the ignition key. Can it be that my Honda is a piece of crap? I bought the car because of the outstanding consumer rating in 2003. Has their quality gone to hell?

I am pissed. This is the first foreign car that I purchased, and it may be my last.

- , Andover, MA, USA

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