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:
Average Mileage:
119,400 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace with an after market radio (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 012008

Accord DX 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


Also have radio that has a mind of its own. Also have problems with idiot lights - for example, the Air Bag problem light comes on when you take off your seat belt while moving... sometimes.

Also seems to go through batteries pretty quickly. Last time the engine would not turn over but I got a light show -- press the brake and the dome light goes on, dash lights flash...

- hapeman, Salem, WV, US

problem #4

Aug 012009

Accord LX 2.4L Vtec

  • Manual transmission
  • 73,000 miles

The stereo has turned on and off for YEARS now. Honda dealer told me it would be 150$ just to find the problem and now I find this is a consistent issue not just for me. The car computer was reset and that seemed to help a little but it still happens. After the car warms up and runs for a while it is better but I hate it it's a brain worm in my life that really makes me miserable. My family gives me a hard time about it. I think it sucks that they don't cover it. I will end up spending a lot of money for a third-party stereo now.

- jeremyva, Fairfax, VA, US

problem #3

Jun 032009

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

click to see larger images

stereo turns itself on and off

i called our local Honda dealer, and they acted like they never heard of this problem before. 3 out of 4 Hondas have the same problem, its a fact, they said i would have to spend about $150.00 before they tell me whats wrong or how much it would cost,

prepare to spend $$$ 450.00 on an after market radio....


- Happy H., Tampa, FL, US

problem #2

Apr 202007

(reported on)

Accord LX 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

Im pissed off at Honda. My husband bought both our cars in the same night can you imagine the quota the sales person got that night. both cars over 40,000 dollars. Now both cars are having radio problems my car the radio will come on after the car has been shut off no key in the ignition at all. Now let me tell you about my husbands car his radio doesnt play all the time it turn on when it wants to he has to turn the car on and off to get the radio to play. can we get any support from Honda ? NOOOO they want us to pay to find out whats wrong with there radios in there cars I feel like Honda owes us as customers to wave the fee and find out what the problem is. Come on now how can two cars same year just different in color have radio problems.

Update from May 5, 2009: Well Honda never did anything about this radio. But be prepared its only the beginning for your Honda owners I had to pay 300 bucks for a after market dash kit and 80 bucks for a after market radio because I couldnt afford a factory radio the amps are bad in these Honda radios. I have ny bill to prove it of course Honda never did anything for me good luck you Honda owners can't say I will ever buy a Honda again........

- Machelle R., Detriot, MI, US

problem #1

Sep 042008

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My radio makes all kinds of static y sounds. You never know when its going to happen. Its annoying. Its loud. The radio comes on when it wants to and goes off when it wants too.

- Kathleen W., Milton, DE, US

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