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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
114,128 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #8

Feb 112015


  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving 65 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle. The failure occurred twice. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the brakes needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000.

- Lake Elnisore, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 022015


  • 144,021 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 70 mph, the front wheel brake pads failed. The failure recurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the brake drum failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 144,021. The VIN was unavailable.

- Thomasville, FL, USA

problem #6

Jan 162015

Accord 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle approximately 2 years ago. Since I bought it, the brakes have been "soft." In order to come to a complete stop I have to press the brake pedal to the floor. It feels squishy. While I am stopped, the car wants to creep forward if I release the pedal even the smallest amount from the floor. I have had the brakes bled once with no improvement. This has been going on for as long as I have owned the vehicle.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #5

Aug 202009


  • 76,000 miles


The contact owned a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving at an unknown speed, the contact crashed into another vehicle and the brakes became disengaged. The other vehicle pulled out in front of the contact's vehicle, which resulted in a crash. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact and the front passenger were injured. The driver of the other vehicle was also injured. Medical attention was not received. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 76,000. Updated 2/3/15

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #4

Oct 152013


  • 151,000 miles
Naples, fl airport road and davis blvd. I was leaving a meeting and headed northbound on airport road at 3:55pm on Tuesday, October 15th. I was approaching the stoplight at the intersection on airport road and davis blvd. When I tried to break, the RPM's on my Honda Accord rose from 1000 to 2000 to 3000 and I noticed as I continued to break the RPM's kept increasing and the car kept rolling even though I was pressing on the break as hard as I could, I was literally standing on the break. Finally I was so afraid I was going to hit the person in front of me that I pulled the emergency break on and then the RPM's went up to 5000. The car finally stopped and I immediately shut it off, I was inches from the bumper in front of me. I waited about five seconds and turned the car back on and it went right up to 5000 RPM's. I then jumped out of the car and asked the person behind me to help me. He turned the car on again and again it revved up to 5000 RPM's. he kept pushing the gas pedal with the car in park and eventually it came "unstuck." I have never experienced this in my 18 years of driving, not sure what to do except I know I need to take it to the dealership tomorrow. I am terrified to drive this vehicle and terrified someone will get hurt if this happens again. This needs to be recalled immediately and something needs to be done, this is extremely unsafe, please do something.

- Bonita Springs, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 222013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Problem started : about a week ago. Engine would stall if either left or right turn signal was/were activated. At the present, engine dies when the brake pedal is depressed..american Honda told us that they had never heard of this complaint before. ( problem also occurs when 4 way flashers are activated). Car is unsafe and not drivable without turn signals and brake lights. I would like to know if any other Honda owners have or have had this problem, and also what was done or required to repair this issue.

- Jasper, AL, USA

problem #2

Nov 102012


  • 107,000 miles
I bought my Honda from the dealership 06/23/12, 1 owner completely serviced through the dealership then traded in at same dealership. When bought it had 101,793 miles, timing belt was done at 90K and power steering pump. Not even month later I had to replace throttle body. I've always felt something wrong with the transmission after bought car. On 11/10/2012 out of no where when I was getting off the freeway my car started to down shift really hard, was jerking while driving and then was stuck in first gear, luckily I was less than a mile from my house so I drove home then parked it and no indicator lights on. The next morning (today) called a friend who works on Honda and he looked at it and said the transmission fluid was very dirty and practically gone. Drove around the block twice and transmission was working fine. Then later drove about 8 miles and started hard down shifting and was stuck in first gear. Then parked and tried to put my car in reverse and it not move acted like was in neutral. Put it in park, turned it off then started it again and put it into reverse, reverse now worked. After that I had my friend look under the hood at the transmission fluid and it was practically empty again. So I went to the store got more transmission fluid and put some in and tried to drive back home. Everything seemed fine for about another 8 miles then it started to hard down shift all over again. After another 3 miles the car completely freaked out check engine light finally came on along with the ABS, tsc, and the light showing I was in drive started flashing. So I pulled over and put the car in park and everything was still doing the same thing, including the light indicating I was in drive even thought I was in park and the park gear light was on. So I turned off my car, sat for a min then restarted. Driving slow needed to stop and brakes started to go out.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #1

Sep 082011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
According to New York times recent report, the newer Honda Accord or Acura TL has the problem with ebd (electronic brake distribution) when working with its ABS, the problem is excessive brake pad wear. They were recalled. But I believe the older Honda Accord like my 2003 Honda Accord LX V6 also suffered from the similar problem, my model Accord has the ebd and ABS, it first was found the rear brake pad completely gone at 52K miles on June of 2008 while the front brake pads were still in the good condition. It further suffered from the rear brake caliper (driver-side) failure at around 80K miles. So my vintage of Honda Accord should be subjected to investigate and possible recall as well.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

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