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:
72,795 miles
Total Complaints:
87 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (34 reports)
  2. Honda issued a recall - covered 100% for 7 years/100k miles (28 reports)
  3. replace the entire CD player radio (13 reports)
  4. call American Honda (1-800-999-1009), ask for goodwill repair (4 reports)
  5. call local honda dealer and mention service bulletin 04-027 (4 reports)
  6. radio removed, LCD replaced, radio re-installed (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #67

Jul 052010

Accord EX 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,240 miles


I have the same problem with the audio/climate controls backlight just stopped illuminating. I received the extended letter notice from Honda in 2007, but I have such a short commute to work, I don't rack up a lot of miles. So, the problem finally occurred in July of 2010. I remembered the letter, went to my local Honda dealership. I had only 95K miles but the warranty had expired in February. I was told there was nothing they could do but they told me to call Honda's customer service line. No luck! Ray, who is also the manager, was NO HELP! He basically told me Honda has done all they are going to do and they are aware of the problem. I even offered to pay half and he was still unwilling to budge. The repair cost about $650. At first I was going to just live with it but after two months, it's kind of annoying. Honda knows about the problem, they should definitely recall the item and fix it. They are doing nothing but losing customers!

- , Lynn, MA, US

problem #66

Sep 042010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Since I have owned the car since day one. I have had the trans replaced. Seat belt switch replaced, my window switch is shot on my drivers door. The window sometimes goes down and sometimes just clicks. Now the radio counsel lights went out. I have not contacted my Honda guy yet, but from reading all the won't be pretty.

This is my 3rd Honda since 1990. I have had more issues than the 2 prior. I used to LOVE Honda. Now I am thinking it may be time to LOVE another brand.

- , Cedarburg, WI, USA

problem #65

Oct 132009

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Circuit board blew out which is a known issue with this card. There is a service bulletin from Honda about it and they extended the warranty on the radio to cover this issue. It's not a recall so be sure to mention it to the dealer since they might try to make you pay for it.

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #64

Nov 102009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


i love my car but this is really annoying to deal with

- , Hartford, CT, USA

problem #63

Jun 092010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Radio back light went out and no longer covered under extended warranty (and they won't provide me with a good will repair). Honda dealer can't fix in-house because Honda WON'T provide them the part (circut board) if it is out of warranty. They suggested I either get a new radio or they could send out and would take ~4weeks to be repaired...I'm in my car about 2hrs a day and can't imagine being without a radio for 4 weeks. Rediculous! Honda makes a bum radio and their dealer's aren't able to fix if out of warranty.

Lucky me, was also hit by their bum transmission, which I had to replace at 100k miles. Used to be a loyal honda customer, but don't forsee another honda in my future...

- , New York, NY, USA

problem #62

Mar 152010

Accord EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Backlighting Audio system fails. Informed that it is covered under an extended warranty.

Took in to dealer for repair and informed after $42.00 inspection that it doesn't work and that because it was a model purchased in feb. 2003, and the warranty started

in April of 2003 it was out of the extended warranty.What kind of BS is that. Anyway they made a phone call and now it is only going to cost me half as much. This radio that honda uses appears to be a big problem that won't go away.

- , Dorris, CA, USA

problem #61

Jun 102009

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 96,431 miles


I contacted Honda and they said I have contacted them before. I explained to the rep that I am Active duty Military and I have been in and out of port and now have the time to repair. The rep from Honda not only said it was past the 7 year warranty but i could not get it fixed even if the my mileage was under the max that I could not get it fixed. I thought it was seven years or 106k miles. Is this not the case? I love Hondas and this is the first time i have had a problem out of Honda. I can not see my dashboard at all. I have to turn on my overhead light to turn on the heat, defroster.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, US

problem #60

Feb 142010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

This posting is to direct readers to contact more than one service provider for an evaluation. The local (Colorado Springs) Honda dealership, where I purchased the car new, were uncooperative indicating I would need to bring the car in for to inspect the problem. They also said the car was out of warranty and there were no open service bulletins without asking any qualifying questions. I called the next closet dealership (Pueblo) to get a second opinion. The service manager did not have an immediate answer for me so he took my name and number. He called back promptly. he had spoken with with a service tech and asked me for the mileage and VIN #. With that he was able to determine there were 2 open service bulletins. One for the backlight problem and one for a wiper motor. He ordered the parts will setup an appointment for the repairs when materials are in hand. He also indicated my car is under warranty for another 5 months. There are good dealerships and bad ones. Take the time to find a good one.

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #59

Nov 162009

Accord ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

The heat/air--stereo/cd display went so dim that it is unreadable. I cannot see if my defroster is on or if I have on the ac/heat. Also, you cannot tell what radio station or which cd is in, its just a real accident waiting to happen. Trying to drive down a country road that is curvy and crooked trying to figure out if the heat is on your feet or if the air conditioner is on. Constantly adjusting trying to find the right setting is dangerous to you and other persons on the road. I contacted the Dealership that I bought the car from, and he said it was covered as a factory defect and I could bring it to their dealership and they would order the part and all I have to do is drive back again to the dealership and get it repaired at no cost to me. However, I live 3 hrs from the dealership one way. We had a rock slide and now we have to detour an hour out of our way, so were talking about two 6 hr trips just driving to and from the dealership. That really does cost time/money. What a pain in the $@%.........

- , Murphy, NC, USA

problem #58

Jan 012009

Accord LX V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,000 miles

The backlight on the clock went out. I've searched online and found Service Bulletin 04-027. The original bulletin in 2004 stated ALL 2003 Honda Accords were affected. They've modified the bulleting three more times, and now MY VIN # is no longer "affected." I called Honda (800-999-1009) and was told that they could not help me because my VIN # is not listed on the Service Bulletin. I paid $1386 for an extended warranty-- but only the standard 3-yr would cover this OR their Service Bulletin. But after multiple revisions, I'm excluded even though I AM EXPERIENCING THE SAME PROBLEM AS REPORTED IN THE BULLETIN!

I bought a Honda for reliability-- now something this small won't even be repaired when they have documentation of this exact problem. Honestly, I don't know that I would ever buy another Honda considering how poorly they are handling this. I never used the extended warranty ($1386) and this fix is quoted around $600--- hello, Honda, you are not treating this in an ethical manner!

Update from May 30, 2012: Now I see the complaints and that they modified the bulletin and extended it to 100k mileage... does me now good now that I'm at 107k. Why didn't they send out a recall or a bulletin? I'm registered on their Honda website so they have my e-mail address. Would have the professional thing to do! Now my whole stereo system trips out... the clock flashes off, it starts and restarts itself, turns the radio on and off and the whole panel goes blank. Not just the backlighting like before. Argh! And I can't find a kit to mount a new stereo in the same location as the old one.

- , Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #57

Sep 292008

Accord 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,325 miles


I was complaint #8. Just wanted to let everyone know that I was able to go right to the dealer and they replaced the circuit board in my radio. They said it was under a recall and I didn't have to pay a dime. Took two hours. Been working great since.

- , Bryan, OH, USA

problem #56

Sep 302009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Back light on radio display went out. Can still see the display although dim during the day. Can not see it at night. Lights on the heat/ac/defrost controls also out. Called Honda after searching online to find out this is a recalled issue on 2003 Honda Accord. The dealer said the recall has been extended to 108K miles. I have to take the car in to the dealer for them to get some special number off the car to be able to order the correct circuit board. Inconvenience but no cash out of my pocket.

- , Westerville, OH, US

problem #55

Jul 252009

Accord EX-V6 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,342 miles

At 147000 kilometres, the radio/stereo/climate control digital display failed. After searching online, it looks like the dealer, nor Honda Canada will come good on a faulty product. I will post what we're told when my husband stops at our local dealer tomorrow to inquire.

- , Hanmer, Ontario, Canada

problem #54

Aug 012007

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Radio display went black. Recalled - it was fixed quickly.

- , Centreville, VA, USA

problem #53

Oct 312008

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Thank God for this website. I really thought that all of the problems I've had lately with my Honda were my fault--like maybe I just wasn't taking good enough care of it. I'm relieved to see there are others with the same problems. The lamest problem being the back light going out on my stereo. Lame, lame, lame Honda. Seriously. And who has time to drive out to the suburbs and wait 2 hours for it to get fixed?

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #52

Apr 202009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

We have an 03 AND an 04 Accord, and BoTH backlights went out within a month of each other. With this being such a rampant problem, Honda should recall the stereo. Instead, we have to dish out $500 each.

- , Saint Paul, MN, US

problem #51

Feb 082007

(reported on)

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

My light went out two days ago. After reading this forum I called Honda. The rep I spoke with took my VIN and stated that my car was on the list of those affected and that I should take it to the nearest dealership to have it fixed for free. She also said that I should have gotten a letter about the issue, but I never did. I took it to the dealership today where it remains for now. I spoke with one of the actual mechanics, not the service rep, and he told me that they get at least a car a day with the problem. He said that Honda is no longer replacing the radio. Instead, the dealerships have a kit that includes a replacement circuit board for the radio. The mechanic told me it takes about an hour to replace. He also confirmed that the problem is with the resistor placement and the new circuit board has been reconfigured to remove that issue. So if you have the problem I would call Honda first and confirm your VIN is on their list. Then when you go the dealership tell them that you have spoken to Honda and they sent you to them to have it repaired.

- , Hoover, AL, USA

problem #50

Dec 222006

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

The backlight on my stereo burned out. I could not have the dealership replace it because I was past my warranty; however, I did manage to find another Honda Accord V6 like mine that was in an accident and used the stereo/heater unit from it as a replacement - a new one costs a ton of money!!!

- , Ontario, ON, Canada

problem #49

Mar 232009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Back light for the radio/climate control just went out. Two local Honda dealerships told me that the circuit board needs to be replaced. This diagnosis matches the Honda service bulletin 04-027.

Since my car is beyond the 7 year/105K mile extended warranty, the dealerships told me I would have to pay for it out of pocket.

Dealership #1 wanted $225 (part) + $156 (labor) = $381

Dealership #2 wanted $230 (parts & labor)

So check around with different dealerships to get the best deal. Not sure what I am going to do with this huge inconvenience. Live with the inconvenience or fork out the dough?!

I will definitely think twice about buying another Honda since I just had my transmission replaced 6 months ago (luckily Honda paid a portion of that nice bill).

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #48

Jan 212009

Accord 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I went to the first Honda dealership for them to confirm the problem, only to be told that the part that would fix it had not been recalled as I thought (according to what I'd researched and found online). Oh, and I was told to fix it would cost over $900 between parts/labor! So, I took it to yet another Honda dealership, that was way out of my way, only to be told that it was the part I thought it was, and does have a recall on it, and that they needed to order the part, and I can call and confirm they've received it before I make the long trek out to see them, and then they should be able to fix it within a couple of hours. I'm due to take it back in a couple of days, so we'll see what the outcome is...Honda has me skeptical at the moment. I'll believe it's fixed, and for free, when I see it.

- , Pelham, AL, USA

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