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:
39,550 miles
Total Complaints:
47 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. replaced all rotors and brake pads (7 reports)
  3. replace Honda with any other car! (6 reports)
  4. replace front brakes (5 reports)
  5. dealer resurfaced the rotors (4 reports)
  6. replace brake pads with aftermarket replacements (4 reports)
2003 Honda Accord brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #47

Dec 012013

Accord EX Coupe 6 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles


This was the first time I had the brakes fixed. At the same time the clutch would not go into gear and I was told it was related

- Susan E., Bettendorf, IA, US

problem #46

Jun 292012

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,129 miles

I'm upset because I bought this car for a significant amount of money, and being a mom, and full time college student I'm unable to afford repairs right away since I just barely purchased this vehicle and bought it knowing the excellent reputation of honda's, I felt it was a solid investment to make so I would save money on gas and repairs. Disappointed to say the least. With Honda and Fremont Toyota in Lander WY, for not correcting these issues.

- Abigail P., Riverton, WY, US

problem #45

May 292008

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,499 miles

1st set of brakes and rotors, front and back at 62000 miles in 2008, had them checked because of squeaking and alot of brake dust a year later ,2 times. Finally the repair shop replaced the front brakes. Rear brakes replaced 10/11. Front brakes were good at the time 4/21/12 while getting new tires the repair shop calls and tells me the calipers seized , over heated rotors and glazed pads. WTF? I'm so disappointed in this car and all it's issues. Honda may have made great cars before 2003 (which is why we bought this car) but the 2003 Honda Accord EX sucks dirt. Honda will not get positive advertising from my family. The amount of money to fix the issues this car carries could be a great down payment for a new non-Honda.

- papp, Wilmington, DE, US

problem #44

Jul 012003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,300 miles


Took car into Honda dealership at around 8,300 miles to complain of pulsating brakes. Rotors were resurfaced and new front brake pads put on. Since then they have resurfaced the front rotors 4 times and replaced the pads. Still having a problem. Honda has refused to replace the rotors.

- Paul B., Dublin, CA, US

problem #43

Jun 012003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,300 miles

Warped rotors started at around 8,300 miles on my new 03 Accord. Honda resurfaced the rotors and replaced the front brake pads. I have had a total of 4 resurfaces on the front rotors and the problem is still not fixed. I have never had this kind of problem before and I am not a heavy braker. Now Honda is refusing to do anything else including a request to "replace" the rotors instead of resurfacing again.

- Paul B., Dublin, CA, US

problem #42

Jun 142011

Accord EX-L 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I've replaced the rotors and the brakes with a mechanics supervision, within the next month the problem returned and I've had pulsating braking. Even after the repairs the solution only seems to return and even fast yet. I've even replaced the brake calipers on both sides of the front of the vehicle, money down the drain....

- Keon R., Delta, OH, US

problem #41

Sep 232010

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles


the brakes on this car have always been noisy the dealership said because dirt gets in them

- damador, Great Bend, KS, US

problem #40

Mar 012005

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

At the one year service mark (15,000 miles) it was found that the front brakes needed to be replaced and the rotors were so worn they needed to be machined. 15,000 miles!!

- tuzo, Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #39

Aug 012004

Accord EX 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

I have owned 6 honda's over a 25 year period and this is the first time that the Honda Dealer has not been able nor care whether the problem with the brakes and rotors are fixed. I have been told by the dealer that I am braking wrong and that the car is not made to go into the mountains. I live in Denver for god sakes! Honda needs to fix this problem. They have the same problem that Toyota has. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER HONDA PRODUCT.

- Susan B., Lone Tree, CO, US

problem #38

Mar 012010

Accord LX 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Brakes squeaking like crazy. Honda needs to fix these issues.

- shantaramboys67, La, CA, US

problem #37

Nov 112009

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 53,000 miles


After replacing rear at 46k miles I started experiencing pulsation on front so a friend replaced both rotors and pads for $140 vs having the dealer perform the work. Complaining to the dealer suggested a $45 service every 15k miles where the tech would lube, clean dirt and free up operation of the calipers with the intent of extending brake life. Got the impression there is a problem of the caliper hanging up and prematurely wearing the pads, overheating the rotors causing warping, causing pulsation.

Honda has a problem they won't admit and the dealers are laboring to appease complaining customers. Honda is NOT the car it used to be.

- gorm50, Ada, MI, US

problem #36

Aug 052009

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 46,000 miles

Couldn't believe the rear brakes pads were gone at 46k miles. Figured pads must have been dragging to wear out so quickly usually front pads precede rear 2:1.

Honda told me 60% of braking occurs on rear on disc brake systems.

Was cheaper to have friend replace rotors and pads than resurface rotors.

- gorm50, Ada, MI, US

problem #35

Mar 012008

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Brakes went bad at about 40-50k, though i had pads replaced when ever recommended. From about 60k i tried to have these brakes NUMEROUS times, they were never fixed right. Like all other posts they always try to make you feel like it is normal or like it is our maniacal driving causing that. After a looooooooong rant at Brown's Honda in Glenburnie, MD. It was finally fixed after machining all rotors and replacing all pads. (i did attempt changing all rotors and pads before and the problem came back soon). I must mention that i had to replace the master cylinder also because the sensor was sending a wrong signal that would turn the light on the dashboard.

also my disc player display is gone. And recently the transmission is gone at 119000. So these are the know problems with this honda and it is just unacceptable that Honda would treat this matter on such unprofessional manner.

- Sridhar G., Odenton, MD, US

problem #34

Jun 182009

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I swear I had my front brakes fixed within the last 30,000 miles, but here they are squeaking and grinding again. I am a huge fan of Honda and hate to complain about my car because I love it, but I expect more from this car maker. After seeing everyone else's complaints about the brakes, I'm glad to see it's not just me.

I have warranty coverage until October 2009 so hopefully my dealer will work with me on this. Schlossman's Honda City was very good about replacing my transmission for free a year ago so hopefully they will pull through again. If so, they will have a loyal customer for life. If not, I will seriously consider a different brand of car in the future.

- dwecker, Milwaukee, WI, US

problem #33

Jun 112009

Accord ES 4 Cyclinders

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles

I just used my 2003 Honda Accord, 4 cylinder, automatic, leather, etc. fully loaded for short trips and golfing. I never ride my brakes, actually I coast to stop signs and signals. So I was shocked to find out that the squeaking problem I had for about 1 year was the rear brakes were down to 0%. The dealer never found it about 9 months ago. I'm fairly sure my cars I owned in the past (Accura, Mercury Coment, Chevy Nova II, Toyota Corolla) didn't need brakes for at least 60,000 miles. Maybe I'm wrong, but I know I don't use my Honda brakes much. Gary at ""

- Gary L., El Sobrante, CA, US

problem #32

Jan 062004

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,321 miles

Brakes on 2003 Accord suck!

Bought brand new Accord, after only 15,000 KM, the brakes were pulsating a lot.

Only after 40,000 KM, had to replace front brakes due to premature wear. My car has currently 100,000 KM and the brakes are once again pulsating.

Not happy with this car and Honda service at all.

- dereks, Kitchener, ON, Canada

problem #31

Apr 192004

Accord EX 3.0L V6 Sohc (Mfi)

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,633 miles

Honda replaced the front brake pads & resurfaced the rotors as a 1 time goodwill.

- onieleeblue, Long Beach, CA, US

problem #30

Sep 122004

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

Honda does not use a good quality metal/alloy for their brake rotors. They can't take the heat especially in heavy traffic situations. I had major pulsing/pulling all over the place. Frankly, I found it quite dangerous.

In summary, I could not find any relief with swapping out Honda parts for more Honda parts to end up with the same issue again. I ended up going out and replacing the rotors and pads with another brand/flavor.

All was good for at least 50k miles until I got rid of the car.

My parents bought a newer accord and ran into the same brake problems. They took it back to the dealer, Honda parts for Honda parts changed out, to only end up with the same issues again and again. My dad happened to mention the issue to me and told him what I did. He followed the same course and was fine since.

- quantumknot, Pittstown, NJ, US

problem #29

Jul 252004

Accord EX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

I've replaced the brakes 4 times in 6 years owning the car. I only have 84,000 miles and it seems like I keep having to replace them.

- Melissa C., Napa, CA, US

problem #28

May 262004

Accord V6 3.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 13,670 miles

same as the rest of the comments. GRIND GRIND GRIND! I guess you cant put a price on safety............See the size of the braking system! My alloy rims look like dirty ashtrays all the time................This car is worse than dating a Sorority girl............"HIGH FUKN MAINTENANCE" there is not enough time in a week just to do the schedule maintenance for the car........change filters every month to avoid smell, Brakes every 20k. oil every 5k, weekly Dealer phone calls to find out if anything else has been recalled. monthly carpooling to work because courtesy car not given during repairs. and once you give her the maintenance there is something bigger that she needs!

- vibewell, Napanee, Ontario, Canada

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