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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

May 012010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


Went to local Honda dealer , who told me it was a problem for the district manager , which in turn said , he had to contact the regional mgr. who never responded. There is no way to contact anyone in CA. ( home office). Honda will never hear the end of this!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Hanover, PA, USA

problem #7

Sep 172009

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I bought my Candy Apple Red Honda Accord LX in 2005. It is barely paid for, and the paint is already peeling on the both the trunk and roof. I REALLY LOVED my car,and was so excited when I bought it, so can you just imagine how much this bothers. It is becoming so unsightly that I don't even like looking at it! I bought my car because of it reputation for reliability, I never even thought that this would be something that would give me "car problems." My husband recently read somewhere that Honda's are KNOWN for having bad paint jobs, which is really a shame since they are such goods cars. Really, who wants a reliable, ugly car? And from what I have been reading during my research on Honda paint job, this is more common than I realized. I can't believe the number of people who are having the same problem, on the same general area (I read quite a bit of trunk and roof complaints). At first, I believed it was my fault because my car may not have been waxed/buffed enough, but after reading several consumer complaints, I realize this paint problem was inevitable, too bad I didn't know this BEFORE I bought the car! I may have gone with the red Toyota Solara I almost purchased. Also, to read about the lame excuses the dealerships offer when consumers come complaining, like acid rain, sap, and birds, is even more discouraging because apparently these dealers have been trained to give this response, considering how many people I read were told this. Wow Honda, why not go all the way and have a flawless reputation? Why not be known for having a NICE, reliable car where EVERYTHING is lasting! Everyone knows excited I was about my Honda, and how I loved it, and now look at it! Not a good look Honda!

- , St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #6

Aug 022010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,500 miles

Just within the last three months, my 2003 Honda Accord V-6 started to have three places on the roof where the clear coat was failing. Considering I've had the car professionally detailed by the Honda certified shop, I would not have expected this major failing of the coating to happen. A technician at Honda said if only I had waxed the car it would not have happened. When I mentioned that I had the car detailed by his shop several times during my ownership, he got very quiet.

What is the solution? Will Honda make this right.

- , Germantown, MD, USA

problem #5

Dec 312010

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


i have always owned a honda and have been very happy. until now, i have a 2003 honda accord, love the car. never any problems with it. but now in the last year the clear coat has started to come off of the front fender, trunk and roof. it looks like crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i did call honda corp. but they told me there was nothing that they could do. i also called where i got the car and they told me to call HONDA CORP. well back to square one. i really don't think that i would every buy another honda again. car is like new, i have keep up with it and people can't believe the age of the car. i loved it but don't anymore. i am embarresed to drive around in it. any suggestions?

- , Flagtown, NJ, USA

problem #4

Oct 012009

Accord V4

  • Manual transmission
  • 95,000 miles

It is amazing in this day and age you cannot send email to the higher-ups in the Honda corporate chain. I really enjoyed this car until this problem started.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #3

Jun 012005

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

Clearcoat on my 2003 Honda Accord (purch 06/2003) began failing about 2 years after purchase. Dealer repainted the roof only and zone would not approve other areas showing problems. Paint is completely failing now and looks like hell. It should be green but has large areas of white where the problem shows. My 1998 Dakota has better paint than this car.

- , Ambler, PA, USA

problem #2

Jun 012007

Accord EX 3.0L V6 Sohc (Mfi)

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,200 miles

On the hood and the top of the car the clear coat is wearing off rather fast in my opinion for a car that is only 6 years old. 3 of those years the car was parked underground in a apartment parking lot.

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 152007

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My green 4 year old Honda Accord started having issues with the clear coat on the roof of the car. It started with a small spot and eventually spread to the entire rear part of the roof. The dealer where I purchased the car readily agreed to paint the roof. One year later (the car is now 5 years old), the same problem is occurring on my trunk and hood. I have been in contact with the dealer and Honda Customer Service. Honda has offered me $250 towards the price of $1,000 to have the trunk and hood repainted and they act as if they are doing me a favor by offering this money to me. I have been told by collision experts that when the problem first arose, Honda should have repainted all flat surfaces of the car. I don't feel I should have to pay or incur such an expense to paint a car that is only 5 years old. I will also have to rent a car while it is being fixed. I have searched on the internet and found that other individuals with green Honda Accords have had the same problem (1997 Honda reported problem in 2002). I will never buy another Honda and will not recommend a Honda to anyone. Besides this issue, I have had other querky problems that has made me question the reliability of Honda cars.

- , Coatesville, PA, USA

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