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.


hardly worth mentioning
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
89,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #1

Apr 302009

Accord EX W/NAV 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


When starting from cold, after a few seconds the engine begins a ticking sound. This goes away after about 45 seconds, apparently as the oil begins circulating.

Dealer says this is "piston slap" and is caused by oil not lubricating the rings for the first few seconds after starting. The pistons "slap" from side to side until there is a cushion of oil in the cylinder.

Honda says this is perfectly normal, offers no other explanation, and sent me on my way.

Seems to me that any kind of "slapping" noise in a cold engine is not a good thing and will diminish the life of the vehicle.

Anybody else have anything like this happen? And what was the result?

- , Mount Vernon, IA, USA

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