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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,500 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 clutch problems

clutch problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 122005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles


Thumping noise when starting to move forward in first gear. First dealer to look at the problem said it was an apple under the drivers seat. The second dealer found the problem. A defective clutch master cylinder. Part was back ordered, took two weeks to find service bulletin 02-002, January 11, 2005. To diagnosis the problem: Have an assistant press the clutch pedal while you grasp the clutch line at the clutch master cylinder, and then at the slave cylinder. If you feel a vibration through the clutch line when you hear the noise or the noise stops, go to repair procedure. See like case number 10091042.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #1

Sep 112004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 9,000 miles
I have a 2003 Honda Accord ex with a manual transmission, with approximately 9,000 miles. By the way, I had the master clutch cylinder replaced about 4,000 miles ago. In any event, on the incident date, I was unable to shift the car in any gear, and had to have it towed to the dealer. The diagnosis is a defective O-ring in the clutch assembly, which caused the fluid to completely leak out. I view this as a serious problem, as if it happened on the road it could be a serious safety hazard, and if it happened in a remote spot, it could result in being stuck in the middle of nowhere. The Honda service attendant told me that the O-ring was on back order, which indicated to him that many other cars had suffered this same problem.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

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