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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,417 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 #6

Jul 132011


  • miles


Since the purchase Iżve experienced continual transmission problems. Upon speaking with the dealership I was assured all was fine. You can imagine my surprise when I received notice of the transmission recall (NHTSA 04V176000). Upon repair, in September 2004, I did not notice repair improvement, and continued to detect the rough grind of transmission shift and a whining sound. In 2009 I experienced a catastrophic transmission failure to which I had sought repair. In December 2010 I experienced another transmission failure. I have just now experienced my 3rd transmission failure, July 2011. My power steering pump had always had a faint whine, but Honda services never identified it as concerning. The problem progressively became worse until Honda finally suggested a repair, but informed me that the component was then out of warranty and would be a costly repair. I decided to delay repair until June 2011. Ac problems manifested in September 2005 and required replacement in April 2008. My center council clock and temperature display has been flickering, dimmed, and absent since 2009. The interlock stuck issue first materialized in 2008 and serviced in July 2010. My airbag warning light has been active since 2008 with an occasional but repetitive tcs alert; and my headlamp glass has been hazed since 2005. The paint deterioration is ridiculously embarrassing, the leather seating began showing wear 2 years in, my seatbelt doesnżT return to the original released position, head liner has water leak stains, cd player stopped working, exposed wiring is visible at the driver door hinge, Iżve gone through 3 batteries, countless tires, one cracked windshield, and I have always suffer from poor radio reception and occasional navigational signal roaming issues. In these times of thrift conscious fuel consumption, I utilize my nav tools to monitor my driving activity. IżM stunned to report I get a fuel economy of 24 mpg highway, not the 31 mpg as sticker reports.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #5

May 032011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
May 3rd, I was driving approx 70 mph when all of a sudden, my car felt like someone slammed on the brakes and I went flying forward. It happened 2 more times, then later, I couldn't go in reverse. I researched it and was shocked to find out this is an ongoing issue with the 2003 Honda Accord ex V6 model. Honda isn't calling it a recall because no one has been hurt yet. The next day I was in bad pain due to the jolts and seatbelt marks from them restraining me. I called american Honda and started a claim. I asked what if I need a new transmission. He said 'no problem, you're now with american Honda.' I took it in and my transmission failed on the way there too. While waiting the vip director came up to me telling me I'm a vip customer having bought Honda for 22 years. Shortly thereafter the svc manager came and told me yes, the transmission was gone and american Honda agreed to pay $900 out of the $4300 bill. I asked what about the known issues Honda has with this year and model" he said all they offered was $900. The vip manager told me he would never put $3400 in a sinking ship. I said 'sinking ship?' he said 'well it does have 89K miles on it.' I said 'it's a Honda...that's why I paid big bucks for a Honda because they are supposed to go for a long time.' When I called Honda America, they said I wasn't the owner. I said I am. I bought it 4 years and bring it brandon Honda for all my work. They still had the previous owner listed...after 4 years! I never received recalls because it went to the previous owner. The svc manager himself changed it that day to show me as the owner. All the times I'd gone to brandon Honda and bought it at crown Honda and they never put me as the owner, 4 years ago" incompetence. Like Toyota knew they had a brake problem but did nothing about till someone died.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #4

Mar 222011


  • 99,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph the traction control system engaged and he was unable to continue driving. The engine remained on but the vehicle would not move. He was able to restart the vehicle and drive home but the check engine lamp illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle identification number was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 99,500.

- Bonita, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 052010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


2003 Honda Accord LX 3.0 V6 transmission failure, transmission fluid burned, locked up causing inability to stop almost resulting in an accident 80,000 miles. Very high cost of repair estimated at 50% of blue book used vehicle price. High number of complaints about this problem are being filed all over the web and a recall should be issued with customers being reimbursed for repairs.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #2

Dec 262009


  • 91,000 miles
This issue is related to braking performance under raining condition. When driving under the rain, the brake performance is dramatically reduced. The car simply slip and hardly stop when pressing the brake.

- San Carlos, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 282009


  • 93,000 miles
Car slips out of gear at high speeds or low speed down shifts on its own wont shift out of first gear at all wont reverse.

- Pompano Bch , FL, USA

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