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:
97,989 miles
Total Complaints:
68 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. Honda should fix it (34 reports)
  2. needs repainted (26 reports)
  3. not sure (8 reports)
2003 Honda Accord body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #48

Jan 312014

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles


Started as two very small areas where the clear coat was disappearing - on top of the rear window and on top of the trunk. Within six months it looks like the car has leprosy! This is my first and probably last, Honda.

I've never had this problem with any other cars that I've owned in over 45 years of driving.

- , New Providence, nj, USA

problem #47

Feb 122014

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles

The front edge of the hood, front edge of the trunk lid, and around the tire wells has started to rust and bubble out.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #46

Oct 102011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

There is a significant amount of clear coating coming off, this makes the car look terrible! I just want it fixed.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #45

May 242008

Accord EXV6 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles


My Accord is a 2003 and has had this clear coat problem for many years. I had the roof redone myself but the paint/clearcoat continues to peel on the front wheel panels, all along the edges, all over the vehicle, and on part of the hood. The dealership never told me it could be covered, and now, the warranty is up. I feel Honda should cover this, because it seems to be a common problem with Honda paint.

- , Niagara Falls, Ontario, canada

problem #44

Nov 012009

Accord EX 3,0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

honda clear coat and paint coming off on the whole car

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #43

Dec 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Clear coat continuously peels off of the trunk and roof panels. The car was washed and waxed 2-3x a year for ten year and meticulously kept up. Now the car looks horrible and fairly embarrassing. Previously, I had a 1991 Honda Accord EX. It lasted for 300k miles and about 17 years until it was stolen. That car held up much, much better than this one and at the 17 year mark it looked much nicer than this was does after 11 years. No more Hondas for me.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #42

Oct 312011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,483 miles


I have a 2003 Honda Accord EX, black and the clear coat is coming off from the top of the roof and the hood of the car. It looks horrible and I believe Honda should repaint it for free.

Update from Dec 31, 2013: The car is kept in a carport and out of the sun. I do not use harsh soaps or waxes when cleaning it.

- , Tyler, TX, USA

problem #41

Sep 162011

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 234,000 miles

Honda should recall !! Clear coat is gone and paint is wearing away.

- , East Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #40

Sep 122013

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

2003 Honda Accord LX midnight blue 4-door. Paint turning gray in multiple areas

- , Collierville, TN, USA

problem #39

Jan 012011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Please fix. The clear coat is coming off my car and it looks horrible

- , Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #38

Sep 012012

Accord EX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


My clear coat began to splotch in September of 2012. It is now a year later and the roof is nearly white with clear coat damage. I heard from mechanics at my shop that Honda opted to buy cheap clear coat the year my car came out (2003) and I'm supposed to pay for it now for a repaint which, estimated, will be 1,800 for the roof alone. The estimate also mentions that it's only a matter of time before the hood and back panel will need repainting, but that is not included in the estimate.

Update from Sep 18, 2013: This was a shortcut Honda took, but I bought this car because of Honda's reputation for longevity with its cars. I have had Hondas before. I owned a Civic for over 11 years and NEVER had this problem with the paint job. This is unfair and Honda needs to compensate its loyal customers.

- , Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #37

Mar 212012

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 199,630 miles

Clear coat continues to come off. off the roof, both front and back hoods, fenders. making what was a nice looking car dull and ugly. looks like steal wool was used on it!

- , Conneaut, OH, USA

problem #36

Mar 202012

Accord LX 4 cyl 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I noticed white splotches on the roof and trunk. I can see the clear coat peeling away. I took it to a body shop and they told me it would be 1100 dollars to repaint those parts. I am afraid it is going to start happening to other parts of the car. I have always taken good care of my car and keep it in the garage.

- , Pickerington, OH, USA

problem #35

Feb 012009

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Clearcoat is peeling and getting worse every day. Obviously Im not the only customer with this issue. This makes it easy to never even consider purchasing another Honda. Made sure my friends, family and coworkers see the car and understand the poor Honda quality now.

- , San Jose, CA, US

problem #34

Jun 012012

Accord EX L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

click to see larger images

clear coat coming off clear coat coming off clear coat coming off clear coat coming off

I have a 2003 Red Honda Accord Coupe, I noticed the paint was turning white on the trunk spoiler roof, I took it to the Bodyshop & they told me it was called clearcoat delamination. The service writer said that there was a problem with the paint, Honda knew about it & there will most likely be a class action lawsuit brought up against Honda. He advised me to contact American Honda & speak with customer service.

I knew someone in a similar situation who had a 2008 Honda Civic Black who had numerous communications with the body shop in her town & she had to jump through hoops before they finally reached an agreement for repairs.

- , Charlotte, NC, US

problem #33

Apr 012013

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

We noticed the paint job on our car starting to peel and fade in spots around the rear driver side door. the car is way to young to be showing wear and tear with the paint job.

- , Fairfield, CT, USA

problem #32

May 022011

Accord LX 4 Cycl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

A little over a year ago I noticed that there were some spots on the green paint on my 2003 Honda Accord, which I had purchased new in 2003 and have maintained ever since. As the months passed the spots got larger and did not respond to buffing, wax or polishing. Then I noticed that they were spreading and getting very dull, and that the clear coat paint was actually disappearing from the car. Originally I thought that it was possible acid from bird droppings, however it was starting to lift in areas where there had never been any bird droppings. It has now spread to almost the entire top of the car, parts of the hood, and many areas of the trunk.

Earlier today I decided to check the web to see if any other people had reported a similar problem with their 2003 Honda. To my surprise I found that literally hundreds of people are experiencing this very same problem, some as early as the late 1990s and reporting that Honda, although knowing about the problem, denies it has anything to do with their paint, and completely ignores customer complaints regarding this problem. I plan on trading the car in the near future, and feel that this problem has significantly lowered my trade in value - one of the original reasons for purchasing a Honda in the first place. I will never, ever, even consider purchasing a Honda product in the future.

- , Fremont, OH, USA

problem #31

Dec 102011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,186 miles

The clear coat is peeling off. This is ugly...the white spots look as if it has leprosy or a fungal disease. It should be a blemish to Honda. God forbid if they ever admit there is a problem. Honda has such a uppity attitude. It shows every time you have something to gripe about, enter their showroom or have a chronic problem (like brakes). Come on Honda...why don't you just fess up?!? I've been faithful but I'm seriously thinking of having an affair with some other car that isn't diseased.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #30

Dec 112010

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

About two years ago I noticed some fading of the paint...the car now looks as if someone took an electric sander to it. I brought the car into our local Honda dealership (Ebersole, Inc., 1900 Cumberland Street, Lebanon, PA) to discuss this problem and was initially told that Honda should take care of it, but that they would have to wait until a Honda representative could inspect the car. He look at the pictures we had taken of the car and said that there was nothing they could do as the warranty ran out and I could have the car repainted at a cost of three thousand dollars.

Upon further investigation I discovered that there is a federal class action lawsuit against Honda claiming its 2003-2007 Accords and Civics have defective paint that delaminates, causing the vehicle to appear faded or to have peeling paint which leaves vehicle owners with a vehicle of unacceptable appearance. In addition, the delamination of the paint from the vehicle's body panels exposes the car surface to enhanced erosion. Automobile paint is expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle and an owner should not expect to have to spend three thousand dollars to have the car repainted.

- , Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #29

Apr 302011

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

click to see larger images

clear coat coming off clear coat coming off clear coat coming off clear coat coming off clear coat coming off

I have a 2003 Honda accord. The paint color is green Or supposed to be green. The vehicle currently has 94,000 miles on it. About two years ago I noticed the color on the hood starting to fade. The slowly turned into the entire job Peeling from the car. I contacted the dealership Commonwealth motors in Lawrence mass where the vehicle was purchased. I notified them of the severity of the paint problem. They essentially told me it was my own fault and was caused by washing my car too much. Needless to say this caused extreme outrage on my half. As of this point I will never purchase another Honda again and have never seen a company not stand by their product like Honda has. See the attached photos and you'll understand my aggravation. On a sidenote last year I purchased a brand-new 2012 Camry as a result of Honda losing my business. Toyota has shown already more concern my business than Honda ever has. So long Honda.

- , Haverhill, MA, US

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