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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Jun 202009


  • 47,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that she had to manipulate the gears in order for the vehicle to shift into reverse. While driving 55 mph, the rpms increased drastically and the vehicle began to jerk. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the transmission and power steering failed. The vehicle was repaired at the cost of $950. The manufacturer stated that no compensation would be provided because the vehicle was not under warranty. The failure mileage was 47,000.

- Duarte, CA, USA

problem #16

Aug 262008


  • 100,000 miles
I take my Honda to the dealership every 5,000 miles for maintenance. I was involved in an accident in August 2008 - someone hit my driver side rear. The wheel was bent and my steering wheel was turned 90 degrees. After it was repaired, I took my car to the dealership for the 5,000 mile checkup. They balanced and rotated the tires. That is when I found out the wheel was bent. Went to my mechanic and he told me the wheel was bent and that the steering rack was going out. I contacted the insurance company and they said that the steering rack problem was not caused by the accident. I need to know if Honda is going to take care of this problem since I have taken my car to the dealership everytime (maintenance) since I purchased it.

- Pendergrass, GA, USA

problem #15

Sep 112008


  • 82,359 miles
My 2003 Honda Accord has the same factory hose as described in the NHTSA campaign id number: 08V091000. The low temperature hose was exposed to heat which lead to cracking and leak in the high pressure power steering hose. The heat source is the exhaust manifold and directly below is the catalytic converter. The power steering fluid leaked onto the catalytic converter and after the catalytic converter reached operating temperature smoke billowed from the engine compartment. The smoke became overwhelming to the occupants of the car through the fresh air intake of the air conditioning system.

- Coppell, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 122006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles


I am experiencing a steering vibration during stops in my 2003 Honda Accord LX sedan with automatic transmission. I have contacted a Honda dealer and they were not able to provide a cause for this and said noting is wrong with my Honda. I have seen that there is a NHTSA id #10000990 tbs reported about the steering vibration issue. My car has only 33K miles on it. I believe Honda should fix the problem.

- Oviedo, FL, USA

problem #13

Nov 142006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 20 mph, the steering wheel locked up, causing the vehicle to hit two parked vehicles. The service dealer was unable to duplicate the issue to locate the problem. There was a police report taken, and no injuries were sustained. Updated 12/28/06.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #12

May 092003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20 miles
Vehicle drifts to the right. Dangerous on interstates when traveling @ 70mph. Must constantly hold vehicle in lane. Also problems with brakes grabbing when stopping. Dealer adjusted subframe and replaced brakes. Vehicle is still extremely sensitive to road crowning. Dealer said the drift is better but not perfect. I'm still concerned with safety of vehicle.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #11

Mar 242004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,600 miles


2003 Honda Accord (ex) consistently pulls to the right. Vehicle drifts at medium speed (35-45 mph) and is accompanined by vibration in the steering wheel. Steering is remarkably less responsive, particularly in right turns. All-wheel alignment and balancing of tires did not remedy the problem, and in fact has made the problem more noticeable. Loss of confidence in the reliability of the vehicles steering system brings into question its safety on the road. Giving the number of complaints, NHTSA should consider initiating an investigation into this vehicle's suitability for the raod. I feel as though my vehicle is an accident waiting to happen.

- Severn, MD, USA

problem #10

Jan 012004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,500 miles
Steering rack. I bough my car in October 2003, and have about 6000 miles now. Back in December, for couple of days in the morning, when it was really cold, ~18-20F, car's steering got tighter and once steering wheel was turned even a little, would not come back automatically back but I had to pull it back. Later in the day, when it got warmer, it got better(although not perfect). Again this happenened at higher sppeds as well. Couple of days later I was driving at about 50 miles an hour, steering wheel got extremely hard and I was not even able to change lanes which really scared me. When I took the car to the dealer, they agreed that at was a problem and put it up on a lift. When they noticed couple of scratches on the plastic nose skirt and plastic trims by the door, which got there due to minor pebbles etc. Striking the car when in motion. They told me that te problem was due to an accident, even though there is no other sign on the steering components or any other visible signs. I absolutely disagreed that it was due to an accident. Only remedy they told me was to get the steering rack changed. Well, they changed the steering rack and repalced it with a "Honda remanufactured steering rack" which they did not cover under any warranty, in addition they changed both the tie rod ends and some more smaller parts. The total was about $1400. I asked them to save the rack and when looked at it, obviously there was no visible damamge etc, but was told by the dealer that the damage is inside (the rack's metal pipe likage system?). I am 1000% sure that the steering rack has some manufacturing problem, and should have been replaced under warranty. I have saved the part and brough it home with me. I hope that the NHTSA folks would please help me with this issue. After the repair and a four wheel alignment, car still drifts slightly to left, but have been told by the dealer that it is normal.

- Mclean, VA, USA

problem #9

Feb 022003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 660 miles
I have a '03 Accord. At 776 mi noticed car pulling to the left. Penske Honda in Ontario, ca said it the front tire is bad. Had the tire replaced by a tire dealer. Came back at 2251 mi to report car pulling to the right. Penske Honda just adjusted all tire pressures. Went back at 2693 mi to complain rear wheels visibly misaligned and also vibration at the steering wheel when idling. Penske Honda performed 4 wheel alignment. Idle found normal. Came back at 3036 mi. Reporting difficulty keeping the car straight, either pulling left or right. Reported again vibration on the steering wheel when idling. Technician advised the car drove straight while idling adjusted to base idle. Dealership had the car all day and noticed that the car wasn't driven far enough as shown by the mileage out at 3038 mi. Had to request technician, ron campbell to ride with me to show the pulling on either side. Seen it, felt it but thinks its normal blaming it on the road although he took me to a good stretch of flat road. Nevertheless, he asked to leave the car for further test on Monday being late Saturday, mileage in at 3042. Had the car all day Monday, was advised late afternoon that they did the alignment check, drove the car some more, checked the ride height and everything is to spec. The only problem is, the alignment print-out was made @ 4:04 pm and was called by the service advisor at 5:40 pm. Which makes it apparent that they spent little time to test drive and look for the problem. Next visit is to take the service manager for a ride to experience the problem. Mileage out at 3047 mi and drove it home but the problem is still there. There are similar complaints reported by other consumer on this website about the steering problem, vibration at steering wheel when idling and the car pulling forward or reversing fast on its own with less or no pressure at the gas (ref 10039029). Are these things normal or design flaws waiting for accidents to happen? and we haven't heard from nhsta.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 242003

Accord 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20 miles
I purchased this Honda Accord 2003 in April 2003. From the very beginning I noticed a rambling noise on the engine, foul smell, vibration on the steering wheel and squeaking brakes. Also when I brake the car seems to accelerate like the idle is too fast. I reported it immediately to my Honda dealer and they told me to take it to any Honda dealer. I took it to Honda in gleandale and after inspecting it they told me there was nothing wrong with the car. However the problems continued to I kept taking the car to different Honda dealers but none could come up with a solution. When I asked them to replace the vehicle they told me that they all had the same problems and that I had to learn to live with it.! I feel totally frustrated by this situation and very unsafe driving this piece of crap.

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #7

Nov 132003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 1,000 miles


2003 Honda Accord pulls right/left during normal driving at 65 mph. The car is difficult to keep in line, wallows back and forth. The car only has 1000 miles on the odometer. Dealer claims that they have never hear of this problem.

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #6

Oct 152003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,300 miles
I was traveling on the interstate and my gas pedal locked, then my steering system, followed by the gas pedal. I was surrounded by huge trucks and was traveling with small children and was able to stop the car. I then repeatedly smashed the brake pedal and forced the steering to stir me to the side of the road the car went into the ditch and came to a fairly abrupt stop. When I arrived to the dealership, they told me that it was a problem with the alternator, but suggested that I should replaced the water pump. I asked for an engineer to look at the car and be given a statement of safety before I risked my life driving the car. They agreed when my brother-in-law asked but I was denied after he got off the phone and spoke with me although my car is 90 days old and under a full bumper to bumper warranty.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #5

Sep 162003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 660 miles
Reading complaints in your website will support my claim that I had experienced a sudden speed while on reverse without putting pressure on the gas pedal. I must have experienced it today thrice. The first two I ignored but the third one had me looking at your website. I can't wait to file a complaint since this is an urgent safety issue especially when you live where kids freely plays. I'm calling the dealership and manufacturer about this tomorrow. I also have issue that some consumers have experienced, the car pulling to the left. My car is barely a month with 731 mi. On it. I'd appreciate your advise.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 082003


  • miles
While driving, the steering failed which caused the consumer to lose control of the vehicle.

- Woodbine, MD, USA

problem #3

Jul 252003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased a brand new Honda Accord V6 on 4/26/03, since this date my car has been back into the dealership for a pulling to the right 5 times. I have filed a complaint with american Honda Corp, better business bureau, California bureau of automive repairs and spoke to a lemon law attorney. After reading all of the complaints on this web site for the same issue with these cars, I truely believe I bought a lemon!! the rep. From Honda sounded puzzled when I explained what my car was doing. I have had no resolution to the problem, the dealer's service dept. Has "tried everything they can" and "do not know what is causing the problem". I was told by another rep. At Honda that this is a common issue they are having with the new V6 Accord, and the dealer has done all they can do at this point, I need to wait until they come up with a solution and they will contact me. I just paid $25,000 for this car 4 months ago and they want me to wait!! my car has also had other issues, such as a a loud scraping noise in the gas pedal when first accelerating int he morning. I have also seen this problem listed in the complaints on this web site. I have been told on 3 occasions by the dealership that this is the anti-lock break system warming up! I would think that is a safty issue!!! my passenger side air bag also split open after having the car for 2 months and I was told that "it was from the heat" and "that it's just cosmetic" by the service dept at elk grove Honda in sacramento, ca.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 202003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle pulls to the right. I have taken car in for a wheel alignment a week after I bought it. Again, after 2 months since it was services, same problem arises.

- Bergenfield, NJ, USA

problem #1

Jun 052003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,981 miles
Consumer was having problems with the steering while driving, it caused a car accident. Manufacturer was not contacted at the time of this call. Dealer was contacted, and stated they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. The consumer's wife was driving the vehicle when suddenly the steering wheel could not be controlled, the vehicle had gone back and forth and caused her to hit the tires of the semi.

- Keizer, OR, USA

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