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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
110,772 miles
Total Complaints:
14 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (3 reports)
  3. (1 reports)
  4. dealership offered me to replace it at $3600 (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #14

Oct 152013

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 199,199 miles


This is 2nd transmission I in put the original one last 96000 miles & this lasted till 199000

- , Ravenna, OH, USA

problem #13

Nov 082012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

My Honda Accord is the 2003 model, I’m the 3rd owner of this car, it has run

1, 16,000 miles. Yesterday when I was driving my car i found the Malfunction indicator is 'ON' and the drive light was blinking, and often i got a jerk from the car. I tool the car to Honda dealer he gave the code 'P0982 - SHIFT SOLENOID VALUE D LOW INPUT' and told he need further analysis to perform as the code 'P0982' returned back after update and clear code.

The dealer has asked me to come on Monday, now I’m worried if it can be a transmission issue if so I have to spend $4200 to fix it, does any one have faced the same problems? I'm really worried; any suggestions would be really help me...

- , Rockyhill, CT, USA

problem #12

Mar 052013

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 169,400 miles

Good morning. I was just doing research on the Honda Accord that I have owned since 2006. As of yesterday, my transmission has now failed me for the third time. The mileage on the car is 169,150 (give or take a few miles) but after yesterday I refuse to fix this issue again. After owning the car for about a year and a half, the transmission went out completely. Seeing that I purchased the car for $17,000 from the dealership, and still owed about 14,000 I didn’t have the option to purchase a new car or trade up as I didn't have the means to be upside down in a car loan. (seeing that I was already upside down in this loan, I couldn't stomach adding the balance to a new loan for this piece of crap…) I ended up having the transmission rebuilt for $2400.00 which I thought was a great deal!

I drove the car for about a year and almost a year to the day that the previous transmission went out, it failed me again. I was in the same predicament, I was upside down in my loan already and couldn't afford to trade the car in for another. After some persuading from my family, I decided to have the transmission fixed. And it was more expensive this time. Almost $4,000.(not to mention, I had already been car less for about 4 months as I had to save the money to fix the car, as well as continue to make my monthly payment.) I got the transmission fixed with a reputable shop whom stated to me that I should “Get another 100,000 miles out of the car and newly rebuilt transmission”.

About a week ago it started again. The car started shifting violently into gears and down shifting when I was coming to a stop. I thought it may be the oil as I was overdue for service by about a month. I turned the car off and allowed it to cool down, restarted the car and bam! It was working fine, or so I thought. Yesterday as I was on the 405 freeway, the car was driving fine at 65 mph until I hit a little traffic and needed to slow down. While braking, the car violently down shifted each gear, taking the RPM passed 4 and then back down to 1 fairly quickly with violent jolts at every gear. I quickly exited the freeway and attempted to make it home. (I was still about 15 miles away, but figured maybe I could handle the car on the streets instead of the freeway and possibly make it home.) I was a couple of miles off the freeway and still a good 12 miles from home when the green “D” on the dash board started blinking. I immediately pulled over and began to cry knowing that again for the third time in 6 years my transmission was going out on me.

I don’t know what to do. I want to file a formal complaint against Honda as I have spent about $6400.00 on the transmission alone, I finally paid the car off a couple of years ago, but now it's worth nothing with a shot transmission. I had spoken to a salesman at the dealership a few months ago as I was taking the car in to have them replace the power steering pump which was under recall, and he stated that this is an issue that Honda knows about but won't recognize as they don't want to pay for the recall. He stated that they failed to put a cooling system in the transmission which is causing it to overheat and the transmission to fail. (I don't know if this is the honest truth, but it makes sense seeing that it's happened to me 3 times.)

I don’t know how Honda can turn a blind eye to this issue that is obviously occurring with a lot of people whom own this vehicle. They have tarnished their good reputation by ignoring and turning a blind eye to this transmission problem. I will never buy a Honda again.

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 222011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles


I first noticed having a problem on Friday April 22, 2011. When cold my Honda drives fine but after a few minutes the engine revs up, but the car won't shift into gear or move. Also at high speed of about 50 mph, it suddenly down gears to one with a violent jerk.

The transmission won't even go into reverse.

therefore there isn't anything wrong with it. I should take it home and monitor it.

I have read that it could be a defective torque converter. I also heard that fixing torque converter can cost a lot of money.

I called Honda at 800-999-1009 on Tuesday, April 26, and someone by the name of Robert took my VIN number and my complaint and said all this information is now embedded in the VIN.

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #10

Dec 152010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Ok... I took my 03 Honda Accord in and paid the $2200 to have it fixed. They rebuilt the transmission and it hadn't even been a month and my transmission is shifting weird again and now the green drive light is flashing and my check engine light is on!!! I am going to take it back to the transmission place today to have them look at it again!!! This is soooo frustrating!

- , Gentry, AR, USA

problem #9

Oct 032010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

tramsmission problems started this summer 2010 I can not drive my car i concider its a life risk. I can believe Honda accords 2003 is known for this issues and Honda is not doing recall!

- , Waltham, MA, USA

problem #8

Sep 142010

Accord EXL 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles


i got same problem with my accord 03 v6....the transmission going crazy today ....i bring my car to the dealer ..they check it and give me cost for rebuild is 3400$ and for put new one is 6000$ ....holy...cry and then i look around and some shop give me cost cheaper 1700$ (sound good right ..but i"m so confusing about the quality) ...Honda what do you thing thing i gonna buy Honda again never ever buy honda again

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #7

May 232010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 203,000 miles

I bought the car a few months back at 201k miles and thought Honda is reliable and will last another 100k miles but it fails me at 203k miles while I was driving on the highway. The Malfunction Indicator light came on just secs before the engine died and smoke came out from the hood.

Dealership quoted me a $3600 to replace the tranny. It just happened on 23 May 2010(Sunday). I came across this website and tried to call Honda for a goodwill repair, but they won't do it provided the car is at 201k of mileage.

I am very helpless now and still do not know what to do yet.

- , Ames, IA, USA

problem #6

Mar 032010

Accord V6 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I Have the same problems as many people with the V6 automatic transmission. first it slipped 2nd or 3rd gear after some days the d4 light started flashing and when is flashing the transmission hardly go forward I'm waiting to have money to take it to a mechanic. hopefully somebody do something about this because the transmission is bad from factory. Honda should step right in front of this problem. I always recommend Honda to others, I never do that again, and of course this is my last Honda.

- , Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #5

Dec 042009

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Car would not get into the reverse gear and acts like it is in neutral. Also would not go into a higher gear from 1st or 2nd gear. Then engine light came on. Had to tow the car. Dealer quoted $4000 to fix it. Called American Honda and they said they will look into in and will call back. Waiting to here from them. Was considering buying a second car. Would never buy a Honda if this is not satisfactorily addressed, since this problem is clearly known and widespread.

- , Odenton, MD, USA

problem #4

Jun 202009

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,195 miles


I want a new one.this is a big problem of the quality

- , Perth, WA, Australia

problem #3

May 182009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

Wow, how many of us need to raise our voice before Honda owns their mistake? This is clearly a manufacturer-caused problem!

I had my 03 Accord at the dealer just last month after the check engine light came on, reported some minor shifting problems and they told me, get this: MY GAS CAP WASN'T SCREWED ON TIGHT. Then sold me $300 of battery terminal bull-excrement. (...edited my french)

Last Monday the bad stuff started. jerking at moderate speed, losing all power, lights back on including the drive indicator blinking. Limped to the dealer and this time, all of a sudden, the transmission fluid "smelled bad" and I would need the tranny replaced. They said give us a week.

Thursday morning they call and say its all done, good as new! Two Days to get a new tranny? I don't think so. I have called American Honda and gotten a case # so we'll see what happens now.

What happened to Honda?

- , Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #2

Oct 092008

Accord EX-L 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,080 miles

... After less than 100 miles and two days later I backed out of my driveway and as the car shifted from first to second gear the car started to roll but no power was being applied to the wheels. The check engine light stayed steady and the drive light (�D�) just kept flashing. I applied the brakes and turned the car off and sat there for a while stunned. I turned the car back on and the drive light just kept flashing. I tried to put in drive with no luck. I tried reverse with no luck. Luckily I was able to put it in neutral and just roll back down the hill. I tried reverse again with no luck so I just rolled further down the hill past my driveway and tried first gear again. There were a lot of RPMs but VERY little power but just enough to get back into the driveway.

I got a ride with a coworker and waited until mid-day and contacted the service manager who I had worked with on the original repair who had earlier explained that the original owner of the car was the sales manager (who really cares at this point). Anyhow I explained the problem that I was having and he explained that I needed to have the car brought in. I reminded him that I had just forked over a large amount of money on what I still believes is a Honda problem and he agreed to have the car picked up at their expense. The next business day I received a call and I was told that the replacement Transmission Sh*t Solenoid Valve had failed and that it would be covered under the 36000 mile warranty and that it would take them an additional day to repair.

At this point I have lost all faith that this car will last like my 92 Civic with over 200,000 miles or my 2001 Accord with over 150k miles. I am surprised that there have not been a lot of accidents caused by this known transmission issue which should have resulted in a class action lawsuit. I have been a Honda fan for quite some time but now knowing about this and also having a 2003 Odyssey that could also be affected I might have to make a switch.


- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #1

Jun 212008

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,512 miles

Unbelievable, i pick up my car with a "new" transmission and within 30 miles the drive indicator light is flashing which means there is a problem with the transmission and to see a Honda dealer immediately according to the owners manual. I had just picked up my car with the "new" transmission that same morning. I am so completely disgusted that i am pretty sure i will not buy another Honda. I have owned alot of Hondas and have ALWAYS preached about their reliability. When is Honda gonna step up and make things right with "loyal" Honda owners? Honda did replace my transmission free of charge under warranty but what good does that do if they put thew same junk transmission. I am going to forward this complaint to Honda with this website to look into why everyone with this vehicle explains the failure happening the same exact way.

- , Savannah, NY, USA

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