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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,660 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda Accord body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #8

Apr 152016


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. Upon exiting the vehicle, before the passenger exited the front passenger side, smoke appeared within the inner part of the front passenger side door and a fire erupted. The driver and the front passenger were able to extinguish the flames. A fire report was not filed. The dealer was notified. The passenger was burned and had to exit the vehicle through the front passenger side window, which required medical treatment. The failure mileage was not available. Updated 06/29/16

- Stephenville, TX, USA

problem #7

Jun 102008


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact experienced failures with the window motors, the front driver and passenger doors, and the rear passenger door. The dealer was notified and the front driver side door was repaired. The other two doors and window motors were not repaired. The failure continued to occur intermittently. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #6

Feb 212015


  • 150,000 miles
Chrome plating of interior door handle peeled back and created a thin sharp edge. When I reached for the handle, to open the door, I cut my middle finger on the raised chrome plating. I suffered a laceration that became infected and ultimately put me in the hospital. I received I.V. antibiotics for a week and will continue taking oral antibiotics for another week.

- Holbrook, MA, USA

problem #5

Jan 312003


  • 100 miles


Both driver and front passenger doors will not stay propped open. They are very heavy, and when pushed open to either the first or second 'catch', the doors invariably fall back and crush the legs of the person trying to exit the vehicle. Both rear doors stay open, catching and locking properly on either of the two 'catch' points. When we pointed out to Honda dealer while the car was in for a different recall issue, they offered to order a replacement part for over $100 without even looking at the latch mechanism. I believe this is an original flaw with the car that they should repair for free.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #4

Jan 062004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1.front brakes grind for the first 1-2 stops after sitting overnight or 1-2 hours. 2. rattle or creaking sound in the drivers side window and B column, unresolved after 3 trys by the dealer to fix.only present while driving on mildly coarse road surface.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #3

Mar 012004

Accord 4-cyl

  • 5,076 miles
The engine emitted a rotten egg smell. The driver heard a grinding noise. The vehicle also had a brake problem. The driver's seat was not stable. The vehicle has been taken to the dealer at least 9 times for multiple problems. Paint on the hood is flaking. Seat is not fixed. The door panel was fixed twice but problem still exists. Consumer confronted dealership about problem with vehicle but consumer was ignored. Consumer called american Honda to report issue with dealer.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 012003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 100 miles
2003 Accord LX manual transmission has a rattle inside the drivers and passenger doors in the area door lock post. The rattle appears when the car is in motion with windows up or down and doors locked or unlocked. I brought the car to a dealer 3 times to get it fixed however they still were unable to help me.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #1

Mar 252003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
Driver and passenger door make rattling sounds while driving, as well as the area by the seatbelt, and by driver side mirror in front of car.

- Orlando, FL, USA

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