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 1 of 2)

problem #27

Jan 012011

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


After seeing online photos of body paint fading in patches on other similar Hondas, I am registering my problem here. We were unsure what caused this and were disheartened to learn it may have been a problem with Honda's primer/paint from the time period the cars were made. Like others, I believe the company should cover repairs for what otherwise has been a stellar vehicle.

- , Huntington, US

problem #26

Jun 012015

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

It's an ugly mess of blotches of paint that started on the roof and hood a few years ago. The paint is so bad now that people are always asking me what's wrong with my car. It's an embarrassment to drive, but still runs and is a good car otherwise.

- , Syracuse, US

problem #25

Jul 082015

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

I am very displeased with the peeling paint situation on my car. Once the problem started, it progressed very quickly on all areas (front, trunk, roof). I take great pride in keeping my car clean and looking its best. I believe that the reason this occurred was the lack of qualify control in the factory where/when my car was manufactured. They must have used inferior paint or finishing products for this to have happened. I have heard from various sources that this is unfortunately a fairly common occurrence with certain Honda models, including mine. I feel that Honda should reimburse those of us who have had to pay out of pocket for repairs, since this is an unnecessary and costly expense.

When it comes time to replace my car, I will most likely not purchase another Honda, due to uncertainty about quality control.

- , Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #24

Aug 292008

Accord EX 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


My paint looks horrible and has for the last 9 years. I don't understand how Honda gets away with this stuff. I didn't know what to do, I thought it was normal. But then I began to see many Honda's like that and by the time I was able to contact Honda, it was too late, they said something about a recall or some underhanded resolution that I wasn't able to take advantage of.

- , Santa Paula, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 012011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

This car was garaged until 2013 - and waxed at least 2x year. When I'm driving and see a car with peeling paint, know it's a Honda! Sad testimony!

Update from Jun 20, 2016: Tamer on Honda in Birmingham, AL said the paint was normal wear and tear and that it is not covered under any warranty or recall. The peeling and blistering df the paint continues to expand and look worse with each passing month.

- , Waynesville, NJ, USA

problem #22

May 022009

Accord LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

My Honda still runs good; however, it looks terrible! The fading paint has progressively gotten worst over the years! It is apparent from all the Hondas that I see on the road with the same paint condition that this is a Honda company issue not environmental. Years ago I began taking photos of Honda Accords with the same paint condition. It became overwhelming!

There were so many Hondas! It's definitely disappointing to hear that Honda is not accepting accountability for this paint issue with Honda Accords. Needless to say, Honda should be ashamed of themselves! Honda needs to man up and do the right thing! Honda needs to show their Honda Accord owners the same courtesy that they extended to their Honda Civic owners with a new paint job to their auto! At this point I would "never" buy another Honda vehicle and it's time for me to buy a new car.

- , Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #21

Aug 012012

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


This is a fairly common problem with 2002-2007 Accords but Honda does not cover it saying that it is normal wear and tear. There was a lawsuit against Honda regarding the paint peeling off including the clear coat but nothing came of it either. So I was left with the bill for the paint job. It was either I paint the car or wait for it to rust all over.

- , York, PA, USA

problem #20

May 292009

Accord EE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

I want Honda Corporation to paint my 2003 Honda Accord now.

- , Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 012014

Accord LX 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Apparently pretty common in this model. Paint peeling off the roof in front just above the windshield and at the back - above the rear window and on the trunk. Tried to spray paint it but it's peeling off around it. Google says I should sand-paper the car and repaint it or get it done professionally. I'm not going to keep the car for that long so not worth it. But letting people know that this happens with this model.

- , East Setauket, NY, USA

problem #18

Aug 012012

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I have owned this car since 2005. I bought it from a lease return and have all the records. It was immaculate.

The car has been well taken care of and meticulously maintained. I first noticed the paint pealing under the trunk lid by the license plate. Now it is peeling around the rear window and on the hood and roof. It is coming off in dollar bill sized flakes. I am so pissed as I love my car but it is looking worse than my 1973 Impala that has been sitting in the field for 20 years.

Honda really should address the problem with their crappy paint.

- , Centerville, UT, USA

problem #17

Oct 312013

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 199,999 miles


I own a 2003 Honda Accord. I have always loved Honda and would always love to keep one. NOT NOW!!! WAY TOO MANY RECALLS!! The fact that I am not the only one who is driving a car that looks ridiculous because of the paint concern makes me furious.

I went to the local dealership to get a recent recall repaired. What a shock, right!! While there I discussed that I see cars everyday, same year, make and model, that have the exact same paint issues. He replied by telling me the only paint recall Honda has right now is the "overwhelming recall on the Civic." I felt like saying, "you need to have an overwhelming recall for the Accord!!!" I received an estimate for the paint job- 1,258.00.

This should be Honda's responsibility! I will never purchase a Honda again. I am clearly NOT alone in this! I have performed research and found many, many complaints about this paint issue!

- , Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #16

Aug 082013

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Paint started to chip on roof and upper door, started in white circles and started to spread. I always took care of this car, washing and waxing nicely. Was hoping to give this car to my now 15 year old.

- , Palm Harbor, FL, USA

problem #15

May 012012

Accord EX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I have had three estimates on a paint job. The average cost is $3000.00. My car is embarrassing to drive because it looks run down. I don't have $3000 to spend on a paint job and yet if I don't get it done, the resale price drastically drops due to the current condition.

One body shop was able to recognize that it was a bad paint job. I got the car brand new with 6 miles on it, so unless the car was repainted in that 6 miles, it was a bad factory paint job. Considering how much this car cost, and the reputation of a Honda, there is NO excuse for this!

- , Chagrin Falls, OH, USA

problem #14

May 152013

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I noticed the paint on my 2003 Accord peeling, when I went online for a solution, I found out that this is happening to hundreds if not thousands of Honda owners, yet Honda refuses to acknowledge or remedy the problem. I always thought I would be a honda owner for life, but now I will no longer buy a honda

- , Monsey, NY, US

problem #13

Feb 252009

Accord E 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

As there are 100s of complaints, on the web, regarding this issue - Honda should be fixing the problem and they are not. I have purchased nothing but Hondas (mostly Accord EXs) since 1978 and always had them serviced by the same dealer.

My current 2008 CRV, which has a paint issue recall, might be my last Honda.

- , Manchester, NJ, USA

problem #12

Nov 012012

Accord LX 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

the paint is really horrible..i really wonder how come Honda has such kind of low quality body paint

- , Cypress, TX, US

problem #11

Oct 102004

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The is my second Honda Accord. The paint is white and has been coming off almost immediately after purchase, BADLY! There is rust on the roof in two places. Not sure what the fix is other than re-paint the entire car and replace the roof which would be extremely expensive for a 10yr old car.

- , Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 062009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,890 miles

I've been a loyal Honda customer all of my life. Honda needs to reprint all vehicles at no cost to the customer.

- , Evans, GA, USA

problem #9

Jan 022011

Accord LX 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Paint peeling, radio also stopped working years ago. Was told that my model car had some defects as far as the radio goes, but my specific car does not qualify for a recall.

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #8

Mar 012011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I paid 20,000 dollars for this car and 4 years later the paint started peeling off of the trunk then as the year went by it started coming off the front and back of the roof also. My beautiful Honda is now the most ugliest car on the block :(

- , Wakefield, RI, USA

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