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:
28,048 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 - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #7

Jul 132011


  • miles


Since the purchase Iżve experienced continual transmission problems. Upon speaking with the dealership I was assured all was fine. You can imagine my surprise when I received notice of the transmission recall (NHTSA 04V176000). Upon repair, in September 2004, I did not notice repair improvement, and continued to detect the rough grind of transmission shift and a whining sound. In 2009 I experienced a catastrophic transmission failure to which I had sought repair. In December 2010 I experienced another transmission failure. I have just now experienced my 3rd transmission failure, July 2011. My power steering pump had always had a faint whine, but Honda services never identified it as concerning. The problem progressively became worse until Honda finally suggested a repair, but informed me that the component was then out of warranty and would be a costly repair. I decided to delay repair until June 2011. Ac problems manifested in September 2005 and required replacement in April 2008. My center council clock and temperature display has been flickering, dimmed, and absent since 2009. The interlock stuck issue first materialized in 2008 and serviced in July 2010. My airbag warning light has been active since 2008 with an occasional but repetitive tcs alert; and my headlamp glass has been hazed since 2005. The paint deterioration is ridiculously embarrassing, the leather seating began showing wear 2 years in, my seatbelt doesnżT return to the original released position, head liner has water leak stains, cd player stopped working, exposed wiring is visible at the driver door hinge, Iżve gone through 3 batteries, countless tires, one cracked windshield, and I have always suffer from poor radio reception and occasional navigational signal roaming issues. In these times of thrift conscious fuel consumption, I utilize my nav tools to monitor my driving activity. IżM stunned to report I get a fuel economy of 24 mpg highway, not the 31 mpg as sticker reports.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #6

Apr 232010


  • 79,000 miles
Stereo backlight died not allowing me to see radio, climate control, etc. This is a known issue with the radio circuit board. Took to authorized Honda dealer and was told of an extendwarranty, but I was not eligible for this warranty. Warranty is for 105,000 miles or 7 years. My mileage was 79K, but the car was 7 years and 4 months old. Car was repaired at my expense. Call Honda customer service but they would not reimburse for the repair. Honda felt that the extended warranty was sufficient.

- Clifton, VA, USA

problem #5

Aug 312009


  • miles
Hello I have a 2003 Honda Accord. The failure happened to my radio it will not operate. They only thing that works is the time. It was while driving my radio just turned off, never came back on......can you please look into the defect thanks...

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #4

Jan 242006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,500 miles


Audio-HVAC display module is dim or dark (as described by Honda service bulletin 04-027).

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 092005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,857 miles
The back light went out in center console display (radio, cd player, & A/C displayed there), making the console look like it was turned off. The dealership diagnosed the problem as being caused by the radio and it would need to be replaced. Thankfully my car is still under warranty, therefore the dealership made the repair at no cost to me when the part came in 1 week later. The center console display is now functioning correctly.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #2

Feb 212005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,900 miles
Purchased 2003 Accord ex V6 in 5/03. Had a few problems with car after purchase: Delay when shifting from reverse to drive (dealership said was normal), muffler sound like it has a leak (dealership could'nt find a problem), noise has gotten worse. My car has been out of warranty since 1/05. Went on vacation in 2/05, when I went to crank the car, put the key in the ignition and turned, all of the lights on dash and radio lit up, turned the key further to crank, once started the dash lights came back on, but the radio lights did'nt. The radio still worked, you just cant see the display. Called the dealership after we got home and they said it sounded like a bulb went out, they would replace it but I would have to pay $80 labor and they could'nt guarantee that was the problem. I took my car to a local automotive repair shop for them to change the bulb, they took out the radio and called the Honda dealership that I called and they told the mechanic there was no bulb in the radio. They put the radio back in and gave me the car back. I bought a new radio and took it back to the repair shop, they put the new radio in and the same problem as before, radio works, no lights. They put the old radio back in. I called the dealership again and this time I explained again about my radio lights, they suggest I contact Honda customer service and follow their suggestions, so I did, and explained the situation to them. They advised me there was a bulletin already on the problem with my radio, that the problem is due to faulty equipment. Told me I should take the car to the dealership, give them the bulletin number, let them diagnose my problem and if it is due to faulty equipment, get an estimate of how much it would cost to fix. Call customer service back and let them know how much the dealership would charge me and ask for goodwill assistance for financing the cost to fix faulty equipment that obviously is an ongoing problem with Honda, not the consumer.

- Thomson, GA, USA

problem #1

Jan 082003


  • 80 miles
While driving the ABS and traction control warning lights illuminated. Consumer took vehicle to dealer who advised that the anti-lock brake and traction control systems had failed. Dealer also advised corrective part is not in the United States and would not be able to obtain until possible 02/15/03.

- New Hyde Park, NY, USA

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