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:
97,333 miles
Total Complaints:
27 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. have honda paint my car (20 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
  3. repaint car (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Oct 302007

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,500 miles


My paint peeling is an obvious manufacturing problem. I have tried for years for Honda to own up but they never have. It's no surprise though; I had a recall item repaired that I was never given notice on. My mechanic told me about it!

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #6

Oct 152010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

This problem occurred last year and since i wasn't aware this is a common problem, i haven't reported it until now when i realized how expensive it would be to paint a car that is running absolutely fine. Dealerships won't help because they say its out of warranty but looking at so many customers complaining about the same thing, i think either honda should fix the problem or someone should take the matter to consumer court.

- , Eagan, MN, USA

problem #5

Jun 202007

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,495 miles

Paying cash for my NEW honda in 2003 was my first big mistake, since I bought a LEMON I can't even make lemonade. Excuses, excuses, excuses is all I get from the dealership. My problem is THE PAINT, it started with white patches which progressed to peeling, chipping and now the clear coat has DISAPPEARED OUT INTO THE WILD BLUE YONDER and I am now down to gray metal and this started within 4 yrs of purchasing Fred Flintstone's car. I take very good care of my car, all required service checks, oil changes, recalls YOU NAME IT and I DID IT. But not anymore since the dealership's service dept tech's reasoning as to why the paint is graying like the roots on my head, I now go elsewhere for service. I have been given these ignorant explanations over the past several years: IT'S HOT IN THE SOUTH!!!!, DO I PARK IN THE DIRECT SUN!!!!!,I WASH IT TO MUCH--I WASH IT TO LITTLE!!! I WAX IT TO MUCH---I WAX IT TO LITTLE, DO I PARK UNDER TREES, BIRD POOP, ACORNS, what ????? Are you kidding me??? Honda should step up to the plate and take care of their customers. Stop the excuses and pussy footing around and FIX THE PROBLEM. I am embarrassed to drive my car. The interior is leather and has held up to my expectations of a Honda but the outside looks like I've owned it for 50 yrs. On a daily basis, out on the road with NO exaggeration what-so-ever I see 2/3 cars just like mine AND THEY ARE ALL HONDA'S. I have and will continue to tell anyone and everyone whom should ask, DO NOT BUY A HONDA--just take a look at mine. Just remember big shot Honda corporate executives we simple people work hard for our money and hope that our money is well spent. Make one customer happy and they may tell a friend or two BUT make a customer mad and they will tell EVERYONE.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #4

Aug 022010

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


As many other Honda owners can attest to, the paint job on the vehicles does not stand thru the test of time. The clear coat and paint have been gradually disappearing on the hood and roof of the vehicle. It seems unique to Honda as I have a Lexus of equal age, use, and abuse, that still has an intact coat of paint.

- , Doral, FL, USA

problem #3

Sep 012007

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling off my car paint is peeling off my car paint is peeling off my car paint is peeling off my car paint is peeling off my car paint is peeling off my car

I am an owner of a 2003 2D Black Honda Accord and my complaint is about how the car's paint has been peeling of the vehicle for the past four years. After reading Honda Problem's article, I must express my disappointment on the level of careless on how Honda has handled this situation. Since 2007 the presentation of my vehicle has been impacted and I never was informed that was due to a manufacturing defect. Therefore, I expect that Honda can take care of this by painting my car entirely free of charge. Not following my request will result to another brand consideration in my next vehicle purchase. In addition, I will make sure to let all my acquaintances knows of this defect and how unfairly was managed.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #2

Aug 082003

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles

Shortly after I purchased my Accord I noticed that if it got a scratch or chip, the paint would peal a little around it. I've had my car 7 years and the paint did not hold up very well. I can't fault Honda for the scratches I put into it or the dings I got from other vehicle's doors hitting my car, but I have had other cars from other makers and never had paint that seems like it is not adhering to the metal. For the most part, I have had a solid made dependable car, but I was not happy with the paint from very early on.

- , Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #1

May 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


I am very disappoint in Honda's product. My car is a 2003 Honda accord and the paint is coming off the top of the hood, the truck and now, spots are all over the car. It's a fact the Honda's made in 2003 have a bad paint job. I would hope Honda would pick up the tab on a new paint job for the customers that are having this problem. I really like my Honda, but I would never buy another Honda if Honda doesn't provide me a new paint job. It's embarrassing to drive this car around the way the paint looks on it.

- , Hillsborough, NJ, USA

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