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:
21 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
16 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,313 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 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Nov 172004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. On November 17, 2004 someone hit contact's vehicle head on at 60 mph. Upon impact, air bad did not deploy. The contact hit his head on the sun visor clamp. He was unconscious for a while. The police was called. The damage was to the front of the vehicle. He called Honda, and Honda sent someone to inspect the vehicle. The contact did not think there were any lights illuminated on the dashboard prior to the accident. The car had not been in an accident prior to this incident. The insurance company of the person who hit the contact paid for the damage done to vehicle. Updated 09/15/06.

- Yorbalinda, CA, USA

problem #13

Dec 282004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
I was forced off the road into a utility pole causing extensive front end damage to my 2003 Honda Accord. The airbags did not deploy. I and my passenger were saved from serious harm because we had our seat belts on. If the impact would have been greater I fear one or both of us could have had serious injuries or even been killed.

- Andover, MA, USA

problem #12

Sep 262004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving vehicle flipped in the air, hit a culvert and then hit a guard rail. No air bag was deployed. Consumer lost control of the vehicle and hit a guard rail, flipped over three times, and landed on top. Upon impact, both frontal air bags did not deploy. Driver and passenger sustained head a neck injuries, and were transported by ambulance to the hospital. Vehicle was towed and totaled by the insurance company.

- Bunker Hill, WV, USA

problem #11

Feb 202003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


While driving 55 mph, the passenger air bag deployed unexpectedly. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer for an inspection, however they were unable to determine why the air bag deployed without cause.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #10

Jun 302004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,158 miles
Our 2003 Honda Accord was involved in a collision -- we turned into another vehicle at an intersection. There was significant front end damage to our Honda, but the air bags did not deploy. It sure looks like they should have. Fortunately, there were no injuries. We have sent this information to Honda, but they have failed to respond.

- Orange Park, FL, USA

problem #9

Jul 312004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,500 miles
On July 31, we were involved in a collision in our 2003 Honda Accord LX. An SUV ran a stop sign, and we hit it. The impact was directly head-on for us (broadside for the SUV). We were traveling between 20 and 30 mph at the time. The front end of the Accord was accordianed. However, our front airbags did not deploy. All occupants were wearing seatbelts and were not injured. However, without the seatbelts, the front passengers would certainly have hit the windshield very hard. The airbags clearly should have deployed, and I am filing this report because they did not.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #8

Jun 012004


  • miles


2003 Honda Accord passenger air bag inadvertently deployed. The passenger side air bag inadvertently deployed while driving over a small bump on the highway. The service department told the consumer that there was nothing they could do about fixing the air bags and the part was not covered under warranty.

- Minden, LA, USA

problem #7

May 232004


  • 46,000 miles
While driving at 35 mph and with out warning driver side air bag deployed prematurely. Consumer claimed that the vehicle did not hit anything on the road.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #6

Mar 222004

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer rear ended another vehicle and the air bags never deployed

- Stone Mountain, GA, USA

problem #5

Jan 122003


  • miles
While driving at 40 mph vehicle in front of consumer's vehicle came to a complete stop. Causing consumer to rear end the vehicle. Upon impact, both frontal air bags did not deploy. The consumer had the vehicle towed to the dealer.

- Brentwood, NC, USA

problem #4

Jan 082004

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles


ABS lights came on while driving. This indicated brake failure on 3 separate occasions. Consumer ran a red light, hit a curb, and crashed into a building. Upon impact, frontal air bags failed to deploy. Consumer sustained arm and back injuries. Dealership did not locate the cause of the brake failure.

- Lake Charles, LA, USA

problem #3

Oct 152003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,500 miles
The ABS system seemed to "over reacted" during a panic stop situation, causing me to hit the car in front of me. It felt like the braking pressure was being significantly reduced even though I had my foot to the floor on the brake pedal. I feel that if the ABS system had not engaged and backed off the brakes, I would have stopped in time. Also, only the passenger side airbag went off, even though I hit the car in front of me at less than 5 mph. It should not have gone off, but if it "thought" that it was a severe crash, why didn't my airbag go off? I would like for you to check the ABS system to insure that this does not happen to anyone else. Please contact me asap to let me know if this is possible. Thank you.

- Syosset, NY, USA

problem #2

Aug 162003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,400 miles
Defective front airbags.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #1

Jan 072003

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer states while driving 25mph the drivers air bag deployed without impact. Please provide any additional information.

- Gracemont, OK, USA

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