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 6 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #68

Jun 032013

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag warning light intermittently illuminated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #67

Dec 312012

Accord 4-cyl Diesel

  • 109,000 miles
Our airbag light keeps coming on. We are told that the airbags are inoperable when the light is on. We have had it in for repairs 6 times over the last 5 months. We have spent over $1,100 and still the airbag light comes back on. SRS code 32-80 - Honda dealer is unable to diagnose problem. We were told that american Honda motor company has record of multiple incidences of this code with no know resolution. This is dangerous and a serious safety issue. This is our primary car and we cannot afford to keep pouring money in with no results! we need our airbags to work!

- Purcellville, VA, USA

problem #66

Jun 032013

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to defective seat belt buckle recall notice. The SRS light illuminated, which prompted the replacement of the seat belt buckle. The dealer stated there was an internal failure within the SRS unit.

- North Garden, VA, USA

problem #65

Jun 022013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles


The passenger side air bag on our 2003 Honda Accord ex exploded as I was driving about 60 miles per hour on the freeway. Due to light traffic we did not have an accident but both of us were very frightened and very distracted. My wife was unable to hear for at least a minute. Her seat belt became very tight even restricting her breathing we were unable to loosen the belt and had to stop as soon as it was safe and have her sit in the back seat. This is a serious defect and could result in an accident. I will be interested to see how Honda handles this as it is inexcusable that a safety device used to prevent injury could in effect cause one.

- New Hope, MN, USA

problem #64

Apr 172013


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 24,000.

- Granville, OH, USA

problem #63

Jan 012013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 117,800 miles
Intermittent connection loss to the air bag due to bad wiring part commonly called "clock spring or Honda's name for it "cable reel" I called Honda to check for recalls and notified them of the problem, the report was filed and I was given a case number but there was no active recall on this. As another one of my vehicles of a different model had the same part replaced under a safety recall I knew it was important to report this to the NHTSA for review.

- Painesville Twp., OH, USA

problem #62

Feb 122003


  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the ignition was started and the air bag warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel continuously. The malfunction would also occur when driving at any speed. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic and the part needed for repairs was ordered. The name of the part was unknown. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000.

- Madison, VA, USA

problem #61

Sep 252012


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while traveling 35 mph the air bags deployed. The contact was able to merge to the side of the road where the housing for the front passenger side air bag caught on fire. The vehicle was towed to the contact's home and was later driven to the dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 94,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Blackwood, NJ, USA

problem #60

Oct 012012

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
Left frontal impact with another vehicle turning left in front of affected vehicle. After impact affected vehicle went off the roadway and over a curb before coming to rest. Drivers side airbag did not deploy. Passenger front airbag deployed even though the seat was unoccupied and not under any weight.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #59

Sep 252012

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, all of the air bags deployed erroneously. The contact stated that he did not hit any road bumps or crash into any object to initiate air bag deployment. The vehicle was inspected by a tech from Honda motor co. The tech found no damage to the exterior of the vehicle which could have caused all of the air bags to deploy. The manufacturer was notified immediately. They stated they would not fix the vehicle, because it was out of warranty. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 94,000. Updated 11/01/2012 updated 11/02/12

- Blackwood, NJ, USA

problem #58

Sep 012011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles


The air bag warning light (supplemental restraint system [SRS]) comes on and off randomly, but appears to be related to the front passenger seat.

- Owego, NY, USA

problem #57

Jun 152011


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag warning light constantly remained illuminated after the vehicle was turned on. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was advised that the air bag sensor needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 92,000 and the current mileage was 102,000.

- Fleshing , NY, USA

problem #56

Sep 242010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
The SRS airbag indicator light has come on almost daily since my purchase of my 2003 Honda Accord ex V6 in September 2010, indicating my airbags will not deploy when I need them most (in the event that I need them). This is a highly concerning common trend of this generation of Accord. This issue needs to be thoroughly investigated and a recall needs to result.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #55

May 302009

Accord 6-cyl

  • 65,843 miles
Airbag light is on on the dashboard. Honda service said that there is internal failure of SRS unit and this needs to be replaced.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #54

Sep 262011


  • miles
Intermittently the air bag light turns on when starting car and remains on. May stay off for a month or just a few days and then it goes on again. The problem is attributed to the seat belt latch which is the only part covered under lifetime warranty. My concern is that this happened to a close acquaintance with same make, model, & year vehicle (purchased in same state but different dealer). Too coincidental that it is not a larger problem.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #53

Jan 032012


  • miles
Honda has expanded a previously announced recall of certain 2001 through 2003 model-year Honda and Acura vehicles to replace the driver's airbag inflator originally installed in approximately 273,000 additional vehicles sold in the U.S. affected driver's airbag inflators may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality. My 2003 has the same faulty airbag light now coming on, but the VIN # is not currently part of the recall. How is this not covered by a dealer for repair?

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #52

Sep 012011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Side airbag light comes on most of the time indicating airbags are not working.

- Annandale, VA, USA

problem #51

Jun 272011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the air bag light was constantly illuminated on the instrument panel, rendering the airbags useless in the event of a crash. An authorized dealer was notified, but offered no assistance. The manufacturer was also notified and informed the contact that there were no recalls related to the failure. The contact was instructed to take the vehicle to a dealer to pay for repairs. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Potomac, MD, USA

problem #50

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 #49

Jun 202008


  • 61,795 miles
The SRS airbag light has come on at least 6 different times requiring a visit to the dealer each time. In each case the problem recurred within a few weeks to a few months for unknown reasons. No collisions were ever involved. No bags ever deployed prematurely. Each time we have taken the car to the Honda dealer. The first time they cleared the dtc code and test drove it. That was $90 plus tax. The light did not come back on again for some weeks later. We took the car back again on 11/14/2008 for the same problem. They replaced the driver seat belt at no charge under warranty. A month later the light came on again and we took the car back in on 12/12/2008. They cleared the code for another $90 plus tax. Back again on 12/03/2009; same problem. This time the blamed it on a seat belt tensioner and repaired under warranty. Back again on 5/31/2010. This time they replaced the drivers side seat buckle again under warranty. And finally back again on 6/20/2011, this time not only having this problem, but they say the transmission needs replacement at a cost of over $4000 plus tax. I've filed a separate complaint for that. I see online that there are a very large number of complaints for the SRS light, the transmission and many other problems. I see that the SRS and transmission problems have caused accidents and injuries. This is a very dangerous vehicle. We are no longer driving it. Please investigate asap.

- Mandeville, LA, USA

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