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 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
82,947 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Oct 302012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


I am the first owner of 2003 Accord, ex. My car has 113,000 miles on it. Its a well maintained car I kept for years. I must say that this car is excellent, however, there are signs that some parts are not functioning really well lately. For the past few months, I noticed my tcs sign on the dashboard comes on and off together with the triangle sign in orange. It started coming on after I turned off the ignition to my first destination and after just like 10-15 minutes and start my engine again, it will come on after driving for next 5-10 minutes. Also, just two weeks ago I noticed that the gear gets stuck on "park" mode and I have to press the handle before it gets released. I am not sure if the gear has something to do with the tcs and triangle showing on the dashboard. Also, I noticed my car has an issue with brakes when driving while raining. I have to step on the brakes a few times when its slippery to be able to come to a full stop. It's so scary that I almost hit the car in front of me a few times. I am lodging my complain so the manufacturer would take a look on this issue as I found all the complaints on tcs issue on 2003 Honda Accord ex online when I was trying to look for a solution on the same issue for my car.

- El Segundo, CA, USA

problem #36

Oct 242012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
Signs of leakage on hose, pump making noise steering pulling to one side.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #35

Nov 122012

Accord 4-cyl

  • 137,473 miles
First noticed difficult steering and noise. Mechanic found power steering hose leaking and replaced it ($400 parts & labor). Later same day, mechanic found power steering pump was also leaking and replaced it (another $400 parts & labor). Steering still difficult and still making noise, so brought car back to mechanic a couple of days later. Mechanic replaced rack & pinion (an additional $800 parts & labor). It appears the 4 cylinder Accord (2003) are not a part of the current Honda recall for power steering hose leaks, but looks like they should be. Also, note the additional parts failures (and financial costs) as a result of the leaking hose.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #34

Nov 162012


  • 141,000 miles


As per NHTSA recall 12V-222 this vehicle was taken to kings Honda in cincinnati, oh on Nov 6 2012 and repaired according to this recall. One power steering hose was replaced and fluid was added, however several different hoses were leaking and it was noted by the mechanic that fluid was leaking at the power steering rack and pump. Both Honda America and kings Honda refuse to replace these parts under this recall because it only requires them to replace the one C-hose. This situation is still a danger and power steering fluid is still leaking in the engine compartment.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #33

Sep 272012


  • 155,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the contact was making a turn and the steering wheel was extremely difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis and they detected the power steering fluid was leaking from the power steering hose. The vehicle was not repaired. The power steering pump was replaced previously by the dealer. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number 12V222000 (steering: Hydraulic power assist: Hose, piping, and connections); however the VIN was included. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 155,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #32

Aug 022012


  • 112,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that power steering fluid was leaking from the reservoir. The contact stated the steering wheel was hard to move from left to right and the humming sound was coming from the steering wheel. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer or a mechanic. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign I.D. number: 12V222000 (steering:hydraulic power assist:hose, piping, and connections) and called the manufacturer. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in the recall. The failure mileage was 112,700.

- Opelousas, LA, USA

problem #31

Sep 102012


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While parked, the contact noticed a burning oil smell. After inspecting the vehicle the contact noticed power steering fluid leaking from under the vehicle. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 (steering:hydraulic power assist:hose, piping, and connections) that could have been related to the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in a recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 180,000.

- Highland, CA, USA

problem #30

Jun 182011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 88,642 miles
Leaking power steering high pressure line, fluid on exhaust.

- Eagle, ID, USA

problem #29

Oct 262011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 88,897 miles
Power steering high pressure hose failure and leak.

- Eagle, ID, USA

problem #28

Dec 282011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Accord had a transmission failure at 52,000 miles. Car also diagnosed with power steering rack failure. Car has been serviced exclusively at the dealership where it was purchased. All maintenance done at recommended intervals. Service department has been given carte blanche to repair/replace any part over the last 8 years. This should not happen. Very disappointing.

- Cooper City, FL, USA

problem #27

Jul 132011


  • miles


Since the purchase Iżve experienced continual transmission problems. Upon speaking with the dealership I was assured all was fine. You can imagine my surprise when I received notice of the transmission recall (NHTSA 04V176000). Upon repair, in September 2004, I did not notice repair improvement, and continued to detect the rough grind of transmission shift and a whining sound. In 2009 I experienced a catastrophic transmission failure to which I had sought repair. In December 2010 I experienced another transmission failure. I have just now experienced my 3rd transmission failure, July 2011. My power steering pump had always had a faint whine, but Honda services never identified it as concerning. The problem progressively became worse until Honda finally suggested a repair, but informed me that the component was then out of warranty and would be a costly repair. I decided to delay repair until June 2011. Ac problems manifested in September 2005 and required replacement in April 2008. My center council clock and temperature display has been flickering, dimmed, and absent since 2009. The interlock stuck issue first materialized in 2008 and serviced in July 2010. My airbag warning light has been active since 2008 with an occasional but repetitive tcs alert; and my headlamp glass has been hazed since 2005. The paint deterioration is ridiculously embarrassing, the leather seating began showing wear 2 years in, my seatbelt doesnżT return to the original released position, head liner has water leak stains, cd player stopped working, exposed wiring is visible at the driver door hinge, Iżve gone through 3 batteries, countless tires, one cracked windshield, and I have always suffer from poor radio reception and occasional navigational signal roaming issues. In these times of thrift conscious fuel consumption, I utilize my nav tools to monitor my driving activity. IżM stunned to report I get a fuel economy of 24 mpg highway, not the 31 mpg as sticker reports.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #26

May 052011


  • 20,700 miles
Low-mileage Honda Accord's front end front end anti-sway bar's link connectors broke and sway bar was disconnected from the wheels creating a dangerous driving condition; especially normal driving into turns and curves! american Honda refused to discuss the safety issues and only stated my car was "out-of-warranty". this problem of the losses of both anti-sway bar connectors is difficult to detect; only a soft scraping noise warned me of the danger. I purchased this Accord new and have driven it carefully for the 20,700 miles. I am concerned about the general public's awareness of this hidden Honda Accord problem before their front end wheels snap or bend causing accidents and/or fatalities!

- Cooperstown, NY, USA

problem #25

May 232011


  • 104,819 miles
After parking the car in the driveway, the smell of burning oil was detected. This event occurred roughly a week after an oil change and was initially thought to be residual spillage of oil. The burning smell continued to get worse over the next couple of days. The smell was mostly noticeable when the vehicle was stopped, and the air had to be placed on recirculate, which muted the smell. About 4 days after first detecting the smell while getting off the freeway and waiting at the light, smoke was observed coming from under the passenger side of the hood near the windshield. The vehicle was immediately taken to the Honda dealership. The service advisor immediately identified the problem as a leaking high pressure power steering hose from under the rubber bushing/support over the rear engine exhaust manifold. When asked if it needed to be fixed right away, the advisor stated that the power steering fluid was dripping directly down onto the catalytic converter and could start a fire. He stated that he has seen cars come in for repair that were smoking a lot or had been on fire for this same problem. The hose was replaced, and the final diagnosis by the Honda mechanic confirmed the advisor's initial diagnosis - there was a leak in the high pressure fitting that was housed in the support bracket. Cost to replace was $412. Other complaints about this exact same problem were also identified on the NHTSA complaint website - and that's only from the people who reported (or knew to report) the problem.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #24

Jun 162010


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the vehicle made a very loud noise from under the hood when it was started. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who stated that the power steering pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 85,000.

- Martinsville, VA, USA

problem #23

Nov 142010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that when starting the vehicle he would hear a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle. When leaving the driveway and driving approximately 5 mph, the steering would exhibit a loud grinding sound and the wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who informed the contact that he would need to replace the steering assembly or he would not be able to move the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. : updated 02/23/11 updated 12/01/2011

- Martinsville, VA, USA

problem #22

Nov 112010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Whining noise upon engine startup, very prominent when turning the steering wheel. Recall O-ring fix only helped for a few weeks. Had to replace the power steering pump.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #21

Nov 072010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 290,000 miles
I was informed by my local Honda dealership's service dept. That there is a leak in my '03 Honda Accord ex-V6 power steering line. It is to my knowledge that power steering fluid is flammable and could cause a fire. Since this poses a great safety concern I am somewhat worried and would like for it to be looked into.

- Murrells Inlet, SC, USA

problem #20

Oct 092010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
While driving our 2003 Honda Accord ex-V6 on freeway, my wife smelled smoke in the car. She had to turn of the air and open the windows. I checked the car at home and found the power steering pressure hose leaking badly from the rubber hose portion (on top of the engine), fluid dropping down on exhaust and causing heavy smoke from burning fluid. I had the hose replaced by my mechanic. American Honda issued recalls for same problem on some of their Acura tsx and TL cars, but not on the Honda cars.

- La Habra, CA, USA

problem #19

Aug 262010


  • 113,000 miles
Hello, I am writing this letter to formally lodge a complaint regarding my Honda Accord. I bought a certified Honda Accord from a Honda dealer (mcgrath city Honda, 6720 w. grand avenue, Chicago, il 60707) in 2007. Last week, on Thursday evening (August 26, 2010), my wife was driving the car back from her work alone and while taking a left turn suddenly the steering got stuck. She couldn't move the car at all and barely escaped an accident with the on-coming traffic which was coming at a very high speed. She somehow managed to move out of the way. We towed the car to the mechanic and it was found out that the power steering pressure hose was broken. The power steering pressure hose was replaced to fix this and it took 3 days for the part to reach the mechanic after the order was placed as this is such a rare incident. I had to rent a car for the whole weekend. Now this is something that is not due to normal wear and tear and this could have happened at a higher speed and the consequence could have been worse. This shouldn't happen to a certified Honda. In fact this should not happen to any car at any time. I am making a formal complaint to the american Honda and would like you to follow up on this matter with the dealer. [xxx] date: August 31, 2010 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #18

Nov 302007


  • 140,000 miles
Similar to the recent Acura tsx recall, my 2003 Honda Accord has the same similarities with the power steering hose. I was told by an Honda dealership that a hole has developed on my power steering hose. Any time I turn the car there is a noise that the car makes, this is extremely noticeable in cooler weather. Due to the high quote my Honda dealership quoted me on, I have yet to fix the problem that my car has had for the past two years. In addition they told me, I would need a new power steering pump, hose, and fluid.

- Murrells Inlet, SC, USA

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