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
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
17,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #1

Jul 012003

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 17,000 miles


My wife and a passenger were traveling at 55 mph on a country highway in Northern Cal. (Highway 49) in our 2003 Honda Accord EX. For no apparent reason, two of the passenger side airbags deployed. Fortunately they were not hurt but the results could have been fatal. I called Honda Corp for advice. They referred me to my local Honda Dealer. They asked if I had the roadside service policy to cover towing. We do (plus we purchased the extended warranty - up to 100K). Unfortunately it is only good for up to a $100 tow which wouldn't cover us. Honda Care, Honda Corp and the Honda dealer (Auto West Roseville) refused to pay for the tow even though the car is obviously still under warranty. They told us this had never happened to a Honda Accord before and therefore my wife MUST have hit something. (Both my wife and the passenger were watching the road at the time of deployment and nothing was hit.) This would make it a collision and therefore it would be up to my insurance company to cover repairs.
When my wife got out of the vehicle there were no signs of damage. The air bags that deployed were seat and side only (not dash) and should have only deployed in a side-impact. They were on a two-lane highway... nothing could have hit them without them knowing. My wife elected to drive the car in to the dealer rather than pay for a tow (even though Honda wouldn't pay for it, they recommended a tow). They graciously consented to a one-day only rental in a cheesy Ford compact. We bought top-of-the-line Honda... all the extras (leather, chrome wheels, etc.) and I really feel like Honda is treating us terribly. My wife and passenger were left sitting on a country road traumatized by what could have been a drastic accident caused by an obvious factory defect. The best I could get out of them was, "I'm sorry that we weren't able to help you." This is our first Honda. I was lured over by the redesigned Accord. IS THIS HOW HONDA TREATS GOOD CUSTOMERS? I would be interested in hearing feedback from others as to how to get their attention. Honestly, my wife is reluctant to get back in the car.

- , Sacramento, CA, US

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