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:
45,691 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 (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Feb 252006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


I recently ran off the road and nearly wrecked my 2003 Honda Accord ex trying to read my clock and A/C lighting while driving. Normally, this would not be an issue. However, the known backlighting problem in this make and model of car is widespread and known by the manufacture. Furthermore, there is yet to be a recall. How many people die from driver distraction every year" the last thing we need is to add one more distraction to the road. Would you operate an airliner with cockpit lighting issues"

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #6

Aug 162005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The backlight for the radio/cd/envionmrntal controls has gone out. I have been informed the led taht provides this light is built into the radio and cannot be repaired. The Honda dealer states the radio must be replaced to solve the problem. This car is less than 3 years old but is over the milage alloment to be covered by warranty. So, in order for me to be able to set the controls for the heating/ac/defrost and/or cd/radio I will be required to pay $750 for a new radio, plus labor. Browsing the repair forum I see this appeasr to be a very common problem for the 2003 Honda Accord. There has been over 300 posts on this issue in the past 3 months. Because of flawed engineering by Honda, the consumer is required to pay over $750 for a $1.25 led that by design - comes attached to a brand new radio unit. Please note: All of the componenets: Ac/defrost/radio/etc, work just fine - you just can't see the controls to set them properly.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #5

Jun 202005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
Lcd display for cd/radio/environmentals/time is dark and barely visible. I am told the radio is malfunctioning and needs replaced. Radio was replaced 15 months ago. I was informed new radio would cost $990 plus labor.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #4

Jun 032005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,560 miles


While driving my 2003 Honda Accord ex V6, the display light for the radio panel went completely dark. I have owned this car for only 20 mos. And do not feel that this malfunction should occur on a new vehicle with less than 5 yrs. Ownership. I went to the dealership the next morning after the light went out and was told that they are beginning to see a higher number of complaints for this particular malfunction/defect. I was also told that I would have to pay between $500 and $600 for either a new radio unit or the tuner (initally told it was just a bulb but the service mgr told the other service person that the entire radio unit had to be replaced).

- Lanham, MD, USA

problem #3

May 252005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,450 miles
2003 Honda Accord ex V6. Backlight in display unit for radio and A/C has burned out. Display is dark. Car is out of warranty by 3500 miles but dealer wants to replace entire unit for about $900. I know of at least 10 other failures with 2003 Accord ex display units.

- Destin, FL, USA

problem #2

Mar 012005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,989 miles
Malfunction with bulb or illumination device. The light that illuminates the radio, time, and cd display had mysteriously gone out. Auto out of warranty by 7,000 miles. Dealer would pay for part but I would pay the labor of $156.

- Orange, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 012004


  • miles
Malfunction with bulb or illumination device. The light that illuminates the radio, time, and cd display had mysteriously gone out. The dealer informed the consumer they were unable to fix the problem and therefore the consumer would need a new radio at a cost of $750.

- North Waltham, MA, USA

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