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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Honda Accord:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 9)

problem #168

Feb 022015


  • 110,000 miles


First, when I started typing in this field, the page reset and I had to re-enter the VIN. So, please fix your webpage, so that it does not clear unless a submit button is deliberately pressed. The airbag malfunction light on my Honda Accord comes on, at the start of some engine runs, before the vehicle is set in motion, and stays on for the duration of the run. At other times, when the light does not come on at the onset of a run, it comes on when the seatbelt is unbuckled, and remains on for the remainder of the run. Though I would rather that the airbag system be permanently disarmed, I am concerned that the light will come on during the annual safety inspection and cause my vehicle to fail the inspection.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #167

Jul 152009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While approaching a stop light, another vehicle crashed into the driver's side of the contact's vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained back and neck injuries that required medical attention. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and the body damage was repaired. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V320000 (air bags). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Victorville, CA, USA

problem #166

Oct 012016


  • 97,746 miles
My 2003 Honda Accord LX crashed on 10/01/2016 about about 18 months after I had my airbag serviced at a local Honda dealer 4/7/2015. When I got my car back from the dealer, the driver door had no power and could not be opened remotely or with the power lock control on the driver door. More importantly, no safety signals came on when the car started. I called the dealer and they told me I had to pay $80 to have it checked; I then called american Honda customer service, who only documented the complaint and took no action to remedy mechanical mistake by Honda dealer. I was driving on a downhill curve on a wet road after a rain. When I saw a slower car ahead of me, I gently applied the brake to maintain a constant following distance. The car drifted to the left toward oncoming traffic. But when I tried steer to get back to the right lane and tried to press on the brake, it locked up, then the car went into neutral and I had no brake and steering resistance was completely lax. My car went off road and crashed into the woods. The airbag did not deploy. I was confined in bed with pain one whole day. My transmission had locked up, then went into neutral, twice before on 1/14/2015 in the middle of traffic, and on 9/15/2016 in my driveway. We never received a letter from Honda for the transmission recall; however, we did receive letters regarding the airbag recall, the ignition switch recall, and the wiper motor recall. A year ago, the recalls came up using my VIN#. the database now shows no recall for my vehicle at all. After my car crash, I had it towed to Honda dealership on 10/4/2016 for repair estimate. I left my car and title with dealership; less than 48 hours later I called to get car back for crash investigation and lawsuit, the car had been destroyed by Honda dealer closing all further inquiries. American Honda took no responsibility when I contacted them.

- Derwood, MD, USA

problem #165

Oct 032016


  • 147 miles


There was a recall on my airbag inflator's and I went to the dealership they said that they took care of it and then a few weeks later I was in a car accident I was hit in the front of my car and the airbags did not deploy I feel like this is very unsafe Honda is the brand that I trusted and they failed

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #164

Oct 052016


  • 78,000 miles
My son was driving on turnpike ramp. Wheel seemed to lock up and he lost control of the vehicle. Car was going about 15-20 mph. He hit guard rail and both airbags deployed. The damage was not extensive enough (no hood damage, some bumper damage, no lights cracked). I had called and spoke with a service man named george who said they are overwhelmed and they do not have the passenger side airbag parts in my recall and he would call me. He did not and this accident occurred. Now I am at risk of them totaling the car due to airbags deploying that they should have resolved in the first place. Not a happy camper with no relief from coggin Honda - who could have killed my son in this accident.

- St Cloud, FL, USA

problem #163

Sep 092016


  • miles
Traveling on the freeway approximately 35 mph. 5 car pile up, me being the last car hit the person in front of me. My airbag didn't deploy however the passenger side did.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #162

Jul 252016


  • 145,657 miles


The air bags light came on two weeks ago and goes away and returns specially after driving the vehicle in a full day of driving the light comes up and will not go away. I took vehicle to the Honda dealer where I purchased it and was advised that the computer for the airbags is dying down and needs to be replaced but Honda will not fix problem. I was also advised that if vehicle is involved in a front end accident the air bags will not work. I advised them that this is a safety issue and Honda should replace at no cost but the representative just said if you want it fixed you will need to pay $ $541 and turned around and requested for my car to be returned back to me. I am really disappointed at Honda and its personnel because they just don't care about the public like they say in there tv commercials.

- West Covina, CA, USA

problem #161

Dec 162015


  • 163,314 miles
Takata recall - driver's side was completed at lia Honda, albany NY on 12/16/15. Passenger side was not fixed - "unable to do recall. Passenger side door will not open. Customer is aware..." fixing the passenger side front door to open is not a viable option - too costly. Passenger side rear door does open and the front passenger side seat could be removed. This would provide access to the passenger side dash/airbag. What are my options for having the passenger side airbag recall completed? my call to american Honda (909-664-9134) was not particularly helpful - if I fixed the door to provide access, the recall could be completed - but I did receive a case # 04385255. The title to the car is in my wife's name, susan hitchcock, but I, richard bopp, am the primary driver at this time and so I am handling the recall.

- Albany, NY, USA

problem #160

Jun 302016


  • miles
Takata recall this is my college student daughter's car and we are very concerned. Her airbag light is on and we recently read there was an airbag recall on this model that can lead to serious injury or death!!!. when we called curry Honda, Sierra said her VIN number was not in the recall. I want clarification on this asap. Are all 2003 Honda in danger? since her VIN couldn't be "located" on the recall list, we want Honda to pay for a diagnosis since her car fall in this category. She has an automatic (not a stick shift) 2003 Honda coupe

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #159

Apr 222016


  • miles
Takata recall--our family owns an 2003 Honda Acura and the driver side front airbag has been recalled. We have called Acura client services 4 times.(1-844-758-9235) each time we were promised a call back for an appointment to have the airbag replaced. As of today, we have never received a call back. The last call to Acura was made on Friday, April 22. I asked to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor's name was brett. He guaranteed me someone would call us back by Monday evening on Apr. 25. we have not received a call yet. Please help us! thank you

- Mohawk, NY, USA

problem #158

Apr 132016


  • miles


Takata recall. I live in Texas. I purchased the vehicle in Texas. My vehicle is registered in Texas. My 2003 Honda Accord is listed in a document entitled annex a as a priority group 1 recall for both hah and non-hah. I contacted Honda and they referred me to dealership. The dealership, vandergriff Honda (817-299-2048) refused to replace the air bag and told me the vehicle was not on the list and the air bag was perfectly safe.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #157

Apr 112016

Accord 4-cyl

  • 190,500 miles
I was driving my 2003 Honda Accord when I had to stop on hunters creek blvd traffic light to make left on john young pkwy I was the first car facing the traffic camera after waiting the light to turn green for more then one minute when my passenger airbag decide to explode breaking down my windshield and release gas on my car.thank god no one got I took the car to Honda dealer which they advised me to contact american Honda which I did and they issues a case for the incident (case number 04601451) and he told me somebody would contact me in 24 hours and nobody did so I called them and they told me that the manager case will call me back, so when he called me back he was still acting like he doesn't care about what happened to me and he told me that he has a lot of cases before me and L have to wait. I don't feel safe driving this car I got a feeling the driver airbag going to blow up on my face when I'm driving and can cost me my life or my family.please help me and my family be safe. Thank you so much [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #156

Mar 192016

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
"takata recall" hi we got the recall done. But the dealer tried to say that we needed $ 1400 in other repairs"?" according to your customer service agents, they are not supposed to do this practice during recalls...... the dealer's name was: Dick hannah Honda 321 ne automall drive vancouver Washington 98668 phone: 360-944-3399 the work on our car was performed on 3/19/2016 at their dealership. Just thought you should know thank you [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #155

Jan 022016


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving 30 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated. The contact stated that the air bag light dimmed temporarily when the seat belt buckle was jiggled. The vehicle did not experience any issues until after it was repaired for an air bag recall. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The NHTSA campaign number was unknown. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #154

Jan 192016


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 20 mph, the air bags deployed independently and caused the vehicle to crash into a pole. A police report was filed. The contact sustained broken ribs and injuries to the chest, both arms, and both shoulders that required medical attention. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a junkyard. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V700000 (air bags), 15V320000 (air bags), and 15V370000 (air bags). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000. The VIN was not provided.

- Rogersville, TN, USA

problem #153

Apr 072014


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 25-30 mph, the air bag erroneously deployed without impact. The contact also stated that shrapnel ejected from the air bag and caused injuries to the driver. The driver was knocked unconscious and remained unresponsiveness until an emergency medical technician began removing her from the vehicle. The driver sustained injuries to the wrist, knees, right hand, abrasions to the stomach, and the torso area, which required medical attention. The vehicle was towed from the scene and a police report was filed. The vehicle was diagnosed by an independent mechanic who confirmed that the air bags had erroneously deployed prematurely. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 200,000. The VIN was not available.

- Westchester, OH, USA

problem #152

Jan 312016


  • miles
Takata recall my car was bought in Florida and is in priority group 1. however, it has not been recalled. How do I get Honda to recall the car and replace the airbags?

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #151

Jan 252016


  • 175,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While accelerating from a stop light, the contact's vehicle was struck on the front driver side fender by another vehicle. The front driver side air bag failed to deploy. A police report was filed. The contact sustained a neck injury, which did not require medical attention. The vehicle was previously remedied under NHTSA campaign number: 15V320000 (air bags). The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 175,000.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #150

Jan 192016


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While the contact's son was driving on an icy road at an unknown speed, the vehicle slid off the highway, over an embankment, and crashed into a tree. The contact stated that the crash was weather related and involved a lot of vehicles on the highway. The contact stated that only the passenger side air bag deployed. A police report was not filed. The driver sustained only minor scrapes that did not require medical attention. The contact called the insurance company who declared the vehicle as destroyed and towed it away. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. Prior to the crash, the vehicle was repaired under a recall for the air bags. The failure mileage was approximately 170,000. Updated 03/18/16

- Walnut Shade, MO, USA

problem #149

Dec 242015


  • 55,000 miles
Takata recall: An indicator light on the dash periodically indicates a possible problem with the airbag system. I never know when it's going to light up and it does eventually turn off. My vehicle is not on a recall list for takata airbags, while I believe I have takata airbags. This happens rather in motion or stationary and seems to happen more often in warmer weather.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?