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 7 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #48

Jun 042011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 139,000 miles


I started the engine of my 2003 Honda Accord and the SRS airbag light came on and remained on. This has never happened before. The car was involved in a rear-end collision over two years ago, and no airbags were deployed. I took the car to the shop to be looked at about the SRS light, where two or three different diagnostic tests were run. I was told that the service tech's received a message from one of the tests indicating that the driver's side airbag was overcompressed. I was informed that airbags were considered a luxury item on a vehicle, and were not covered under the lifetime warranty like seatbelts are. I was also informed that if the car was involved in any crash while that light was on, that the airbags would not deploy. I do not understand why the airbag system would fail suddenly without being the result of an impact. I was told that with parts and labor, I would be charged almost one thousand dollars to have this part (the air bag inflater) replaced and installed. Air bags are common safety features on cars and should not be considered a luxury feature. I do not understand why this happened, and why I should have to pay to have it fixed.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #47

Sep 012010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord LX. The contact stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated and the vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician advised that the air bag sensor would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the air bag sensor replacement was not covered under warranty. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000. Updated 05/05/11 the consumer also stated after filling the gas tank, the needle would not go past 3/4. the dealer replaced the fuel sending unit and pump assembly. Updated 07/22/11

- Essex, MD, USA

problem #46

Jan 282011


  • 36,300 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While the contact was driving 25 mph, an opposing vehicle crashed into the front driver side. The significant impact caused the front driver side axle to fracture and the tire to position in an inward direction. During the crash, the air bags failed to deploy. The contact and front seat passenger sustained severe injuries to the head and suffered bruises. The vehicle was completely destroyed. The failure mileage was approximately 36,300.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #45

Dec 192010


  • 87,000 miles


The contact 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 55 mph the vehicle was involved in a crash in which only the passenger side air bag deployed. The contact was not sure if a police report was filed. The driver suffered injuries during the crash. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to an insurance lot. The vehicle did not have the failure diagnosed. The failure and current mileages were 87,000.

- Bourg, LA, USA

problem #44

Sep 122010


  • 105,008 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact was driving 3 mph from a traffic stop when her vehicle was struck from the driver side by a police vehicle. The left side and front of the contacts vehicle was severely damaged. The vehicle was destroyed. A police report was available. A passenger sustained injuries to the head, elbow, knee, back, and neck. Another passenger sustained a small cut to her forearm. The contact stated that the air bag did not deploy. The failure mileage was 105,008.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #43

Dec 212009


  • 90,000 miles
SRS light turns on and off on the dash. I took my 2003 Honda Accord ex- V6 to the dealer and the diagnostics codes were 53-31, 61-10, F1-11, F3-11. After the dealer calling Honda, Honda recommended to replace the control unit. However, reviews indicate that the airbag warning light may come on due to a defective occupant position detection sensor requiring its replacement. Honda decided to recall the 2004 models for the same airbag issue, but left out the 2003 models.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #42

Sep 292010


  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact was driving approximately 30-35 mph when the air bag inadvertently deployed and knocked the contact unconscious, causing the vehicle to crash into a mailbox and tree. The contact sustained body bruises and injury to the nose. The contact was transported to the hospital. A police report was filed. The vehicle sustained severe damages and was towed to a collision center. The contact's insurance company was notified of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was approximately 35,000.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #41

Sep 292010


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact was driving approximately 25 mph when the air bag deployed independently, resulting in the contact crashing into a tree. A police report was filed and the driver was reported injured. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a salvage lot. The vehicle was not examined for the cause of failure and was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 25,000.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #40

Apr 152010


  • 105,000 miles
Air bag light randomly turns on and off.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #39

Jun 012009


  • 65,000 miles
Airbag light comes on randomly.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #38

Feb 012010


  • 90,000 miles


I own a 2003 Honda Accord ex. Starting few months ago, the airbag warning light comes on at random times. I restart the car, the warning light goes off most times. I am concerned that the airbag may not deploy in an accident.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #37

May 012010


  • 130,000 miles
2003 Honda Accord (VIN [xxx] ) has an airbag warning light coming on after 30 minutes of driving. A Honda dealer says the car needs new airbag control module for $525. There is a campaign # 07V001000 for 2004 & 2005 models airbags recall. This recall should include 2003 Honda Accord. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #36

Apr 012010


  • miles
I have a 2003 Honda Accord ex with an erratic SRS light. I've had it to the dealership three times for repair. 1st time: Couldn't find a problem because the light went out. 2nd time: They had the car 2 days and replaced the driver's side seat belt tensioner. Thought it was fixed but then the light came on again. This time they said it showed SRS codes 22-8 (a short) and 51-2. they ruled out the short and are saying by the process of elimination the SRS unit has to be replaced for $411. I don't think I should have to pay for this based on what I've read about this issue. What can I do now?

- Jeffersonville, IN, USA

problem #35

Apr 082010


  • 98,711 miles
My airbag light came on in my 2003 Honda Accord. The dealership told me that this was due to an open circuit in the driver's side airbag inflater as well as a the drivers side seat belt buckle switch. I had these fixed and the light came on again on my way home. The dealership checked again and could not find out what was wrong and sent me home after resetting the light. The light came on the next day that I drove my car and when I called the dealership wants to charge me for another diagnostic fee. American Honda said that there is no recall on my model, although there are recalls on other years for the same problem. P.S. the model number for the equipment is not in the dropdown menu, but on my paperwork it has 06788-sda-A82. Once I started writing 0 in the field it automatically picked something else beginning with a 0.

- Deland, FL, USA

problem #34

Jan 172010


  • miles
We own a 2003 Honda Accord in good condition. Four times since Jan., 2010, our air bag indicator light on dashboard has come on and remained on until engine is shut off. Apparently it re-set itself each time. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for this sporadic occurrence. We have discussed the problem with our Honda dealer who claimed to know nothing about the problem, except to tell us that when the light is on, the air bag system will not work. The manual instructs the owner to take the car to the dealer to determine the cause of the problem. The dealer said to bring the car in for diagnosis which will cost $95. Is this a safety issue" have there been any other complaints on this matter? shouldn't a Honda dealer be responsible for a factory installed air bag system"

- Havertown, PA, USA

problem #33

Mar 052010


  • 49,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The air bag light came on upon starting the ignition, the light stays on consistently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, no repairs have been made. The failure mileage was 49000. The current mileage was 49500.

- Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #32

Feb 122010


  • 111,700 miles
I have a 2003 Honda Accord LX that was recently involved in a head on accident, where the car was traveling between 45 and 55mph when it slid on ice and went head on into a snow bank/ditch. There was only the driver inthe vehicle and approximately 90% of the front bumper was shattered due to the collision. The passenger airbag deployed with no passenger in the seat, and the driver's airbag failed to deploy. The seat belt on the driver's side locked, but the seat belt on the passenger's side (with the deployed airbag) did not. The car was not disabled from the airbag deployment and is still able to be driven at this time. I contacted price Honda in dover, Delaware where I purchased the car and they informed me that they were unable to explain why the air bag did not deploy on the driver's side, nor were they able to explain why the car's safety features did not work properly following the accident. I was also told that if I do get the vehicle repaired, there was no way to ensure the air bag system's efficiency and they could not guarantee that if in another accident that the air bag would deploy or not.

- Dover, DE, USA

problem #31

Nov 072009


  • 149,540 miles
SRS light comes on intermittently while driving. Talked with the dealer he told me to get the SRS module replaced. I think this is a manufacturers fault not installing proper SRS sensor module into Honda Accord ex model cars. I truly believe this is a safety issue.

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #30

Jul 012008


  • 63,000 miles
The airbag warning light on my 2003 Honda Accord ex comes on at random times. I will turn off the car and restart and the warning light will go off. It may be a few days or a few weeks before the airbag warning light comes on again. I am concerned that the airbag may not deploy in an accident.

- Great Lakes, IL, USA

problem #29

Aug 132009

Accord 6-cyl

  • 51,612 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 25 mph, the contact noticed that the SRS light had illuminated on the dashboard. The dealer stated that the air bag needed to be replaced. There were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 51612. Updated 10/13/09. Updated 10/15/09.

- Tallahasse, FL, USA

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