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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,510 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 #5

May 232004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


My daughter, tiphani gresham and her friend, malgorzata sweigot was driving down joe pombo pkwy about 35 miles per hour in tracy, California when she heard a loud bang and instantly her friend's(the passenger) head was on her shoulder. The side passenger air bag and seat bag had deployed without cause which caused considerable damage to the car and personal injury to the passengers. Normally a three year old rides with tiphani, which is her daughter.(hailey) this time hailey was not there, for which we are grateful! tiphani is now very scared to drive that car. What could have happened? obviously there is a defect and we want this investigated. Her car is a 2003 Honda, Accord. Please let us know what your findings are. Right now it is at the Honda dealership where it was purchased. Stockton Honda in stockton, California.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 012004

(reported on)

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
The consumer's wife hit a stone in the road which went under the vehicle striking the chassis. This caused the passenger side impact and the curtain air bag to deploy. The consumer requested that Honda should cover the expenses.

- Hamburg, NJ, USA

problem #3

Nov 242003


  • 10,000 miles
Without warning passenger's side air bag deployed when the driver hit a bump in the road going 35 mph.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #2

Oct 162003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 1,504 miles
Passenger's side side-impact airbag deployed without any contact to vehicle body. Admit a possibility that debris struck inside edge of right front wheel. Should not have resulted in SRS deployment. Vehicle speed was approximately 50 mph on freshly paved surface road. No alignment problem detected. Manufacturer admits no improper operation, refuses to repair / correct problem under warranty. 1504 miles on new vehicle at time of incident. Safety equipment malfunction= unacceptable.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #1

Apr 022003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 900 miles
New 2003 Honda Accord ex, with only 900 miles on it, hit at between 40 and 45 miles per hour on passenger side door. Neither front or side airbags were deployed. Neck injuries were the result of my head hitting the driver side window. I also had a 2002 Honda Accord ex, hit on driver's side passenger door at 35 miles per hour while parked and no airbags deployed either. Luckily I was not in the car when the 2002 Accord was hit.

- Troutdale, OR, USA

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