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 8 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #28

Aug 122009


  • 80,000 miles


The SRS warning indicator comes on when the vehicle is started and is occasionally staying on. Research online shows that this is a common problem with older Honda Accord, and an extended warranty was issued by Honda to warranty the opds system which controls the airbags and seat belt tensioning system. My Accord, 2003, is not covered by this extended warranty. This is a safety issue, as the airbags are disabled when the SRS warning light is on, and I am astonished at the treatment Honda has given me. They are unwilling to cover this, even though there is a history of complaints.

- Longmeadow, MA, USA

problem #27

May 252009


  • miles
The air bag light in my 2003 Honda Accord sometimes stays on during the time the car is on and if I turn the engine off and on again sometimes is off I took the car to a dealer and I was inform that I need to pay so they can look a the problem im concern if a accident happens I'm not sure if the airbags will deploy.

- La Habra, CA, USA

problem #26

Dec 012008


  • miles
I have a 2003 Honda Accord LX 4 dr sedan. The SRS light is always on for the past 6 months. A dealer told me that it has to be repaired, but at my own expense. I am wondering if Honda is responsible for the repair like the safety belts?

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #25

Mar 012008


  • miles


Airbag light (SRS light) turns on intermittently. Problem since I bought the car. Has been replaced one time a week after I purchase the car new and now (4 years later) it is on again.

- Highland, CA, USA

problem #24

Nov 282008


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 45 mph at night, the contact's vehicle was struck on the front driver's side by another vehicle. The front driver's side and rear door were damaged. The air bags failed to deploy, but there were no injuries. There were no warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The police was called to the scene and a report was filed. The vehicle was taken to a collision center for repair. The contact was concerned of the safety risk involved. The failure and current mileages were 89,000.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #23

Jul 012006


  • 15,000 miles
The airbag sensor warning light has been going on and off for the last 3 years on my 2003 Honda Accord sedan. The dealer says that if it is not caused by a seat belt defect, the repair is not covered by Honda. The same defect was the subject of a recall for the 2004 Accord but not the 2003. I believe it is the identical problem.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #22

Jan 152006


  • 65,000 miles


It appears my airbags are not functioning on my 2003 Honda Accord. The airbag dashboard warning light has been going on and off for a while. Lately it stays on continuously. The Honda dealer (most recently Honda marysville in marysville, oh) took various steps to address it but nothing worked. The second to last step taken was to replace the car battery but the problem still exists. Most recently, on September 10, 2008, the Honda dealer ran tests, spoke with Honda manufacturing, and said that the problem may be with the SRS unit and recommended that it be replaced at a cost of $475. There is no assurance, however, that this will fix the problem. Honda manufacturing disclaims any responsibility for paying for this problem, despite the fact that this problem has been ongoing for quite a while and despite the fact that this pertains to a very critical safety device for the vehicle.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #21

Nov 182007

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,694 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While preparing to make a turn, the contact's vehicle was struck by another vehicle. The contact sustained a back injury, whiplash, a lump on her forehead, and three lumps in her breast from being knocked into the steering wheel. The driver's side air bag failed to deploy. Six months prior to the failure, there was an incident in which the driver's side air bag did not deploy, but the passenger side air bag deployed. At that time, the contact was taken to the hospital. She sustained head injuries. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and repaired. There was also a diagnostic test performed, which stated that the air bags will now operate correctly. A police report was filed. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was 37,500 and failure mileage was 36,694. Updated 11/20/15

- Uniontown, OH, USA

problem #20

Jan 012007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On 01/01/07, I was driving with my mother on I-95 (northbound) (left most lane) around 3 pm from East greenwich, ri to providence, ri. Between exits 13 and 15, a car, possibly an SUV, tried to change lanes from the middle lane to the left lane and hit us in the rear end, causing us to collide into the dividing wall. After which, the car spun and was hit by another oncoming car, causing another spin and another collision. In short, the car was hit on all four sides. However, none of the airbags in the car deployed. My mother got bruised on her right side, and I got bruises on my left side as well as cuts on my face. In addition, I also got a concussion and had to be taken to the hospital and kept under observation. The car was towed away, and the insurance company is looking into the accident.

- Providence, RI, USA

problem #19

Sep 192006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
: the contact stated while approaching a crossroad at 3 mph, the on coming vehicle did not yield crashing into the contacts vehicle on the passenger side because neither had a stop sign. The air bags did not deploy. The passenger sustained minor injuries and a police report was taken. The vehicle was towed to an independent repair shop. The dealer was not contacted.

- La Jolla, CA, USA

problem #18

Apr 242006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles


I was on I-285 going about 40 mph when a truck carrying tree limbs and branches pulled off the median directly in front of me. My 2003 Honda Accord ex coupe rear ended the truck. The front passenger air bag deployed breaking the windshield but the driver's side air bag did not deploy. The driver's seat belt did not retract. Damage was confined to the hood, bumper and several components under the hood (compressor, radiator, etc). The vehicle was towed to my local Honda dealer who is making all the necessary repairs. The dealer informed me that Honda recommends the seat belt buckle be replaced when the seat belt needs to be replaced. The dealer ordered the seat belt buckle but noticed it was the wrong part when they went to install it. They contacted Honda North America on May 4 and again on May 12 regarding this and as of May 13 the dealer still has had no response from Honda North America. The car was scheduled to be ready on May 12 and now the dealer can't give me a completion date because of Honda North America's refusal to contact the dealer regarding the seat belt buckle. In the meantime, I am still having to pay a portion of my rental car and the maximum allowed by my insurance company will max out this coming week.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #17

Dec 192005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
SRS light in Honda Accord ex won't turn off. Airbags are useless. Dealer can't fix.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #16

Dec 172004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Air bags never deployed in my 2003 Honda Accord. Severe head and neck injuries from side and front impact. Honda did nothing.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #15

Feb 152005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Driver air bags did not work in crash on highway. I hit Hummer in the rain, from the back. Hummer stoped, I was doing 65-70 mph, hit brakes, hit Hummer in back doing 25-35 mph. None of the airbags came out.

- Meridian, MS, USA

problem #14

Jun 162004

Accord 6-cyl

  • 4,100 miles
Vehicle's passenger side air bag deployed inadvertently and the seat belt retracted.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #13

May 232004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving 55 mph air bag light appeared on the dashboard and remained on. Consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle, and drove it to the dealer for inspection. Mechanic dettermine dthat the clock spring needed to be replaced.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #12

Apr 272004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,500 miles
Driving home from work on paved 2 lane road at 45 miles per hour. Driver's side curtain airbag and side airbag activated/inflated without warning or apparent cause. Regained control of the car, barely avoiding a head-on collision. Doctor's visit 4/28/04 resulted in a diagonsis of post traumatic stress related issues (foggy head, unable to Focus, headache, etc...). car dealer (service dept) phone call 4/28/04 stated that incident is not covered under warranty, as the air bag sensor was tripped by something that struck the car from underneath. Car dealer (service dept) also stated that a sudden decrease in speed would have also been needed to cause the airbags to release. The cost of repair is approx. $3000 - insurance estimators are to evaluate today. The car's owner's manual as well as supplemental literature supplied at the time of purchase state that the side air bags offer protection during "moderate to severe side impact".

- Thornton, CO, USA

problem #11

Jul 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
July 17, 2003 1847 hillmont way roseville, ca 95661 (916) 786-6696 dear Agency, a potentially lethal defect may exist on the redesigned 2003 Honda Accord, and Honda Motors is attempting to sweep it under the carpet. Without your immediate involvement, they might get away with it. On July 1, 2003 my wife was driving our 2003 Honda Accord, with 17000 miles, with a passenger. The driving conditions were excellent, skies were clear, roads were dry and temperatures were moderate. While traveling at about 55 mph, two of the side airbags deployed apparently without provocation. Two sensors activated two separate airbags: The side-curtain airbag and the seat-cushion airbag. Fortunately, neither occupant was hurt but my wife immediately pulled off onto a side street. They surveyed the area and noticed that there were no potholes or rocks in the road and apparently there was nothing else that they could have collided with. They also looked for damage to the car. There was none. Coincidentally, I was calling my wife as she was pulling the car onto the side street. She asked what she should do. I said that I would make some phone calls and get back to her. After several calls to both auto West Honda and Honda Motors, I was informed that an airbag deployment was not considered a warrantee problem and therefore towing would be our responsibility. In fact, I was advised that Honda had never had an airbag deploy without being in a collision. The dealer?S representative, john davis, advised me that, with the exception of having no airbag restraints, the car was safe to drive. We elected to have my wife drive it in to auto West. On July 3rd Honda had not been able to determine if the deployment was caused by a collision. I personally visited auto West and talked with the service manager, joe tabarracci, and was advised that as far as he and his service technicians could tell, there were no visible signs of a collision.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 262004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While merging onto interstate, car slipped on icy patch of road and spun around twice ending up crashing into guard rail on left side of highway. None of the air bags deployed. The right front tie rod also failed.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #9

Dec 122003


  • 14,000 miles
While driving 35 mph the dual airbags deployed inadvertently.

- Manchester, CT, USA

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