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:
44 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
48 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,032 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 5 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #88

Oct 212014


  • 100,000 miles


I'm complaining about how slow your web site is.

- Wattsburg, PA, USA

problem #87

Sep 242014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 204,635 miles
I owned a 2003 Honda Accord LX. I was stopped when another vehicle rear ended me doing approximately 50 mph. There were no skid marks & I was pushed more than a car length past were I was stopped. No air bag deployed, not one. I suffered hand, wrist, neck, head & face injuries from being slammed into the steering wheel. I also have back, knee, hip & foot injuries. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police were on scene & a report was filed. My car sustained heavy damage & was totaled out by their insurance co. My car had 204,635 miles on it. I am still out of work due to the head injury.

- Rochester, NH, USA

problem #86

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 #85

Aug 232014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 114,260 miles


Front end collision into the driver side of another car (4-door Honda Accord) that ran through a red light. Impact was at approximately 40 mph. Driver side air bag in my vehicle did not deploy. The passenger side air bag in my vehicle did deploy, however, no one was sitting in the passenger seat. Passenger side air bag also caused the windshield to shatter. A concentric shatter pattern was evident directly above where the air bag emerges from the dashboard.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #84

Aug 052014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 137,775 miles
As I was driving to work the car started slipping, then as I arrived to my destination the car wouldn't go into gear at all. The car was overheating, as I called for service after work I tried starting the car again and it did go into gear. I drove it to the place for service but having to stop and let car cool down a couple times on the way there. They told me it's the transmission and will need a new one, or have it repaired. Now I'm aware of many 2003 Accord with the same problem, there should be a recall on this! I've owned 4 Honda cars and all from brand new vehicles and never a problem like this before. I have had this problem one other time of not going into gear, but it came out of it after it was cooled and sitting for a few hours, so never had that problem again until now. We don't drive this car very much as I work from my home, so it didn't go out until now. I'm told we must drive it little, which is true, and not hard on our vehicles at all, because this would have happened much earlier if we had. Also the air bag lights come on randomly with no reason, we had it tested and they said it was fine, humidity? that's another one to be recalled! Honda, you need to help us and recall the faults that you know are an issue if you want us to continue buying your vehicles! a used to be loyal Honda owner for all my life.

- Sauk Rapids, MN, USA

problem #83

Jun 012012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
I purchased my Honda in al in 2006. In 2012, I received a recall notice on the power steering feed hose. Only 1 dealership where I live. I took my car to have them inspect and replace the existing power steering feed hose until the new hoses could be made. A young man to my info and I sat next to my car. This man said; "your power steering pump is shot and everything is going to need to be replaced over $600. This man looked at another man and said;¿this woman is difficult.. the other man took the papers, opened my hood and did see the steering fluid leaking and said the part was not in and they did not have any replacement parts for the temporary fix but assured me I would be next in line. Never happened! I called corporate to issue a complaint. I told customer service to note in my records, "I will never go back to them because they lie. But know, when the part does come in, they will charge corporate. A few months later, I called corporate back their records show they did in fact charge for a repair to my automobile that never took place. I was told by corporate that there was no one that could do the repair but the dealership. I said; "I have someone who I know is honest and has worked on Honda automobiles for over 20 years. Would you just send me the new part and let him replace it? she said; "no! we will have an arbitrator work with you and the dealership. No way! I am demanding to receive a free power-steering feed hose repair kit. Of course with the year of driving I will now have to have the power steering pump replaced.. I just read another recall is issued on the passenger air bag.

- Makawao, HI, USA

problem #82

Jul 012014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag sensor illuminated intermittently. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer were able to confirm if the VIN was included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V353000 (air bags) and 14V351000 (air bags). The vehicle was not repaired. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Briarwood, NY, USA

problem #81

Dec 152013


  • 140,000 miles
When the vehicle is started the airbag light in the dash doesn't always go out. This is intermittent, occurs more often on rainy days, and when serviced mechanic said it was probably the sensor, but when put on diagnostic machine, said nothing was wrong. Now there's a recall but only in humid states(?). what on earth is rain but high humidity? additionally I bought all of my Honda (3) used so I don't know if they were originally sold in a "known humid state".

- Uniondale, NY, USA

problem #80

Jun 132012

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
Air bag warning light stays on.

- Selma , NC, USA

problem #79

Jun 082014

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
The 2003 Honda Accord ex rear-ended a GMC 2005 GMC Envoy going at what the driver estimates is 35 miles per hour. The Accord's passenger airbag deployed but the driver's airbag did not. Driver was wearing seatbelt at the time. Driver does not recall anything occurring directly after the accident but was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #78

May 282014


  • miles


Warning light for air bag came on. I took it to a caa recommended garage who determined it was a defective "front drivers seat belt buckle switch" he has had several other Honda cars come in with the same problem. Honda says there is a 5 year warranty for this part. I believe that his part should be warranted for a much longer time as it is a important protection for the driver, should there be an accident before the part could be replaced.. Honda says they might review a possibility in paying me a portion of the cost of repair if I pay a Honda dealer to assess, at my expense, this problem, which I refused. I am a Canadian, but wanted you to know of this problem. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Montreal, Quebec , Canada, NY, USA

problem #77

Apr 192014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
I was driving at night approx 9pm on a dark intersated when the trailer being pulled in front me slowed down but because there was no tail lights I was unable to slow down enough and I hit the trailer with my vehicle. My passenger air bag deployed but my drivers did not and I hit the steering wheel with my face. From the impact I received a concussion and a loose tooth.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #76

Apr 072014


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the driver was traveling approximately 25 mph when the driver's side air bag suddenly deployed and caused the driver to crash into the preceding vehicle. The driver suffered injuries to the abdomen, right hand, and lacerations to the face. The front passenger of the other vehicle suffered a neck injury. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 200,000.

- Cincinnatti, OH, USA

problem #75

Jan 132014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 133,500 miles
During a recent snow storm, my wife and I decided to carpool to work in our Subaru as it has 4 wheel drive. During that storm time we left our 2003 Honda Accord in the garage for about 5 days. Around day three or four, we heard a loud notice in the garage but cold not find the cause. The next week, after the snow had melted, my wife drove the car to work and called me stating that something was hanging from the passenger seat and that the stitching was all ripped out on the passenger side of the passenger seat. When she got home I discovered that the thing hanging out of the seat was the SRS side curtain airbag. The car has not been in an accident and there is no sign of any damage to the car. We have had an independent insurance adjuster and a Honda dealership inspect the car. No one can figure out why the air bag "spontaneously deployed" or how it could have happened. To date, the insurance company has denied to cover the damage under our comprehensive plan and Honda of America is trying to avoid financial for replacing the defective system.

- Superior, CO, USA

problem #74

Oct 232013


  • 119,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the technician diagnosed that the drivers seat restraint system was defective. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 119,000.

- Katonah, NY, USA

problem #73

Sep 262013


  • 130,980 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the driver's side air bag inadvertently deployed. Once fully inflated, the air bag then exploded and with sparks and shards of material. The contact sustained injuries to the face, hands and chest due to the material being spewed from the air bag. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where the mechanic stated that tie rod ends were bent and a there was a dent on the pan. The contact was not advised as to why the air bags had deployed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 130,980.

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #72

Jul 012013

Accord 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
My supplemental restraint system (SRS) warning light comes on intermittently.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #71

Jun 172013

Accord 4-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
I rear ended the car in front of me while applying the brakes. The passenger airbag deployed but the driver's airbag failed to deploy. There were no injuries involved.

- Gallant, AL, USA

problem #70

Dec 212012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 163,000 miles
Other driver was driving reckless!!!!! ran a red light at 60 miles an hour 20 miles over speed limit, side impact, air bags did not work!!!!!!! major brain injury as a result!!!!!

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #69

Jun 012013


  • 185,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while traveling 60 mph, the side curtain air bags deployed inadvertently. The contact had only traveled 1.5 miles and was not involved in a crash. There was no impact to the vehicle. The contact sustained a nonstop ringing in the ears. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and pictures were taken, but the vehicle was not repaired. The information was sent to the manufacturer for further inspection. The VIN was not available. The failure and the current mileages were 185,000.

- Carmel, IN, USA

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