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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,755 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

problem #9

May 012015


  • 62,000 miles


On 7/21/15 I took my Honda to the dealer at 9213 harford road, 21234, for safety recall 15V-320 & 370, and it was repaired. The SRS light came on intermittently and they scanned for code and said that the SRS unit was malfunctioning and was not covered under the recall. A repair price was quoted of $735. After further investigation, I found out that many other Honda owners had the same problem and were quite upset over this safety malfunction. I wrote a letter to Honda customer service asking for their assistance in covering the cost of repair or "lifetime" warranty coverage. This is definitely a safety issue and nothing to do with the maintenance of my vehicle which has only 64,000 miles. A rep responded by phone and said there was nothing they could do because the car was "old." Whether the car is older or new, this is still a "safety" problem that many owners are experiencing and should be addressed by the Honda company or the NHTSA. The dealer did not give me a code number after the scan so I don't even know if it was correct. I request your assistance in checking out the safety issue on the SRS units in the Honda Accord. I don't know if anyone has been hurt because of this malfunction, but it could happen. I would appreciate a recall and assistance in replacing the unit, if that is the cause. I purchased this vehicle new and have not had many problems outside of a few recalls. I plan to keep it as it is not in my budget to acquire a new vehicle at this time. Safety of Honda vehicle or any vehicle is of utmost importance in their marketing.

- Perry Hall, MD, USA

problem #8

Jun 022014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while operating the vehicle, the air bag light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the driver side seat belt and the passenger side air bag were faulty and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Washington , DC, USA

problem #7

Dec 032014

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 35 mph, the seat belt warning indicator illuminated continuously. The failure recurred on a daily basis. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic to be diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was unavailable. Mailed out 01/13/15 updated 03/04/15 the consumer stated the refused to check why the air bag light was still own, after by servicing the air bag per the recall. Updated 03/26/15

- Tequesta, FL, USA

problem #6

Sep 262011


  • miles


Intermittently the air bag light turns on when starting car and remains on. May stay off for a month or just a few days and then it goes on again. The problem is attributed to the seat belt latch which is the only part covered under lifetime warranty. My concern is that this happened to a close acquaintance with same make, model, & year vehicle (purchased in same state but different dealer). Too coincidental that it is not a larger problem.

- East Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #5

Apr 012010


  • miles
I have a 2003 Honda Accord ex with an erratic SRS light. I've had it to the dealership three times for repair. 1st time: Couldn't find a problem because the light went out. 2nd time: They had the car 2 days and replaced the driver's side seat belt tensioner. Thought it was fixed but then the light came on again. This time they said it showed SRS codes 22-8 (a short) and 51-2. they ruled out the short and are saying by the process of elimination the SRS unit has to be replaced for $411. I don't think I should have to pay for this based on what I've read about this issue. What can I do now?

- Jeffersonville, IN, USA

problem #4

Oct 102008


  • 63,000 miles
The car was traveling 25mph and was stuck head on directly on the driver side. Car was totaled. Driver side airbag didn't deploy and driver side seat belt did not hold. The passenger side airbag deployed. This is a major flaw in the car design.

- Garfield, NJ, USA

problem #3

May 092007


  • 36,694 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While attempting to turn the vehicle at 50 mph, it was struck by another vehicle. The contact sustained injuries to her back, forehead, knees, and chest due to being thrown into the steering wheel from impact. The driver's side air bag failed to deploy. The driver's side seat belt came out of the buckle latch and was thrown to the passenger side of the vehicle. Six months later, the contact was involved in another incident in which the driver's side air bag did not deploy again. The passenger side air bag deployed. The contact sustained head injuries and was transported to the hospital. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and repaired. A diagnostic test was performed, which indicated that the air bags would now operate correctly. A police report was filed. The current mileage was 37,500 and failure mileage was 36,694.

- Union Town, OH, USA

problem #2

Jun 162004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,100 miles
Incident: On June 16th, around 10 am, we were traveling from fort wayne Indiana, to the cincinnati area for a visit with our daughter. Driving along I-75 in Ohio, at about 65 mph, the right side or passenger airbags deployed and the right front seat (occupied) belt retracted. Upon arrival at our destination I called performance Honda in fairfield Ohio, the dealer nearest our destination, and relayed what had happened. I was instructed to bring the car in the next morning, Thursday June 17, so the dealership could inspect the car and attempt to determine why the side air bags and seat belt deployed while driving straight down the road. By Tuesday, June 22 we were told we would know what Honda would do and we could come in and pick up the car. When we arrived at the dealership we were advised that Honda engineers believed we had struck something, based on a very small scratch in the undercoating on the bottom of the car, and that caused the deployment of the airbags. We picked up the car and returned home to fort wayne on Wednesday. Thursday morning, June 24 we spoke in person with the general manager of don ayres Honda where we had purchased the vehicle. We expressed our position that the airbags and seat belt should not have deployed and Honda should make all repairs under warranty. Complaint: Side air bags should not deploy in a vehicle traveling in a straight line at 65 mph. From the owner's manual page 47 and again on page 48: "in a moderate to severe side impact, the sensors will detect rapid deceleration and signal the control unit to instantly inflate either the driver's or the passenger's side airbag. Only one airbag will deploy during a side impact. If the impact is on the passenger's side, the passenger's side airbag will deploy even if there is no passenger." There was no impact, side or otherwise and certainly none that could be considered "moderate to severe"!

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #1

Mar 252003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
Driver and passenger door make rattling sounds while driving, as well as the area by the seatbelt, and by driver side mirror in front of car.

- Orlando, FL, USA

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