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

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 3)

problem #57

Aug 042016


  • 220,000 miles


I was driving in heavy rain and my windshield wipers stopped working and I could not see a thing. I was lucky enough that other cars went around me on the highway. I called my local Honda dealership and they stated that their is not a recall on my vehicle and wanted to charge me an outrageous amount to replace the wiper motor. There is currently a recall on this for 2003 Honda Accord no. Q78 when the motor gets wet it stops working but for some reason it does not include my vehicle VIN number. Also I had a leak in my power steering and took it in for the recall and they said it was the pump and ended up charging me $500 to fix but it is still leaking.

- Los Lunas, NM, USA

problem #56

Apr 012016

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to power steering hose unit continues leaking fluid after repairs. Consumer has previous complaint with another vehicle in artemis.

- San Pablo, CA, USA

problem #55

Dec 032015


  • 97,888 miles
When I was at Honda dealer for front hook latch cable that needed to look at because it did not open unless two people do that. I went there to request for it to adjust but they advise me to replace new one! they should adjust tension as it is not broken yet. Second item, they advised is to replace the power steerling returning line due to leak and the estimate is $375! I denied their service until I checked the recall information at home. The information posted in 2012 saying that a group of Honda Accord 2003 has this part recall, however my VIN nbr was not on recall list. I request you to investigate because I was told by someone else with deep knowledge about Honda as he said that it is common that Honda Accord 2003 with V6 engine having that premature leaking. Therefore, I believe my hose is prematurely leak and needs to be replaced through recall immediately. For time being, I decided to go to non-Honda repair shop and they repair it for now, not replace for now. Because a group of Honda Accord 2003 with this problem was recalled in 2012, I request you to investigate demanding to have Honda recall my car. It made some type of noises. Please contact me asap as I am concerned about my safety.

- Auburn, NY, USA

problem #54

Sep 032015


  • 200,000 miles


I have a 2003 Honda Accord sedan. In Aug 2015, I had been noticing a wheezing, straining sound when I turned my car while driving. It became harder to turn as well. I checked the power steering fluid, and it was empty. I got the appropriate power steering fluid specifically for Honda and refilled it. In Sept 2015, on my way to work in the morning, I noticed smoke coming from under my hood. It is a 10 minute commute for me through the city streets. The smoke began when I was outside my work at a stoplight. I was able to get into the parking lot when I realized the underside of my hood had caught fire. (see attached photos) that day, I got it to the mechanic, and he told me that there were cracks in the power steering and fluid was everywhere under my hood, all over my engine. Doing some research online, I saw a recall for this exact problem, with my exact car: NHTSA campaign id# is: 12V222000; May 17, 2012. It states that "prolonged under hood and power steering fluid temperatures may cause the power steering hose to deteriorate prematurely, resoling in cracks and power steering fluid leakage. If this occurs, power steering fluid can lead onto a hot catalytic converter, leading to smoke and under hood fire." When I called into Honda customer service to confirm my car applied to this recall, they said it did not. I do not understand how this exact problem can exist for my car, but my car not be listed as effected. Regardless of what they say, my car caught on fire. My car caught on fire for the same reason Honda recalled 625,762 other vehicles for power steering defects. As I cannot afford to fix the power steering, I was however forced to replace the belt that is closest to the power steering fluid reservoir (see photos), because it had been burned and mangled. Nearly $200 just for the belt.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #53

Sep 062014


  • 165,000 miles
I noticed vibration in steering wheel when backing up, and rattling noise coming from serpentine belt. Took it to Honda service center, and they quoted me $940, and said it was my tensioner and idler pulleys as well as my alternator and serpentine belt. I didn't believe them about the alternator, so they charged me $50 for diagnosis and I drove back home. I decided to conduct the work myself. I replaced my tensioner and idler pulley, and new serpentine belt. Steering vibration was still there, but not as much vibration noise was coming from serpentine belt area. On March 10, 2015, I was driving 35 mph and lost power steering due to serpentine belt coming off pulleys. I put it back on, and it happened again on April 2, 2015, going 45mph. I again replaced tensioner and idler, and this time tugged at all pulleys after using a straightedge ruler against them to check for alignment. The 2 mounting bolts to the power steering pulley/pump were completely loose and the whole pump wiggled which was causing misalignment of serpentine belt and throwing it off. I torqued them down to spec. Serpentine belt no longer immediately rides to the outside edge of the tensioner pulley and will not slip off again. There is no more vibration in my steering, and no sound whatsoever. All of this is important, because the last people who touched my power steering hoses and pump was Honda, for a recall, before all this trouble began. If bolts are torqued per spec, they do not rattle loose. And Honda wanted to charge me for a new alternator when that was not the issue at all.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #52

Jan 162015


  • 164,224 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle as the power steering failed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was repaired but the repairs were unknown and the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering reservoir needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken a third time to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering pump needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V222000 (steering). The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 164,224. Djr

- Fogelsville , PA, USA

problem #51

Dec 112014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 118,500 miles


Power steering does not work properly at low speed or idle.

- Elyria, OH, USA

problem #50

Aug 222012

Accord 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
I went to put the key in to start my vehicle and the key totally fell apart in my hand. It was dark and I had no way to start my car. I tried putting the key portion without the enclosure into the ignition but it would not work to start the car. I then tried to reassemble the key in the enclosure and try to turn the car on so I could at least get did catch long enough to start the car and I had to hold it to get home. Since then both of my keys have fallen completely apart and I had to use gorilla glue to hold it together but because of the glue the auto lock does not work....and the key is very wobbly in the enclosure. This is a major safety factor which I have seen written about on the complaint websites. I have also called and reported it only to find out that this is not a safety factor.

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #49

Jun 012012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
I purchased my Honda in al in 2006. In 2012, I received a recall notice on the power steering feed hose. Only 1 dealership where I live. I took my car to have them inspect and replace the existing power steering feed hose until the new hoses could be made. A young man to my info and I sat next to my car. This man said; "your power steering pump is shot and everything is going to need to be replaced over $600. This man looked at another man and said;¿this woman is difficult.. the other man took the papers, opened my hood and did see the steering fluid leaking and said the part was not in and they did not have any replacement parts for the temporary fix but assured me I would be next in line. Never happened! I called corporate to issue a complaint. I told customer service to note in my records, "I will never go back to them because they lie. But know, when the part does come in, they will charge corporate. A few months later, I called corporate back their records show they did in fact charge for a repair to my automobile that never took place. I was told by corporate that there was no one that could do the repair but the dealership. I said; "I have someone who I know is honest and has worked on Honda automobiles for over 20 years. Would you just send me the new part and let him replace it? she said; "no! we will have an arbitrator work with you and the dealership. No way! I am demanding to receive a free power-steering feed hose repair kit. Of course with the year of driving I will now have to have the power steering pump replaced.. I just read another recall is issued on the passenger air bag.

- Makawao, HI, USA

problem #48

Jul 012014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 72,186 miles
2003 Honda Accord. Consumer writes in regards to power steering feed hose leak recall and seeks reimbursement.

- North Bergen, NJ, USA

problem #47

Mar 012014


  • 129,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the power steering hose was leaking fluid and there was an abnormal winding noise from the steering wheel. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 12V222000 (steering) the following day and the vehicle was taken to the dealer where the power steering hose was replaced. The contact stated that the abnormal noise persisted even after the recall repairs were performed. The vehicle was then taken to the contact?S independent mechanic where it was advised that the power steering pump had also failed as a result of lack of fluid. The mechanic stated that the initial power steering hose failure was the cause of the power steering pump failing. The dealer was also contacted and advised the contact that the repair would not be covered under the recall and any further repairs to the power steering component would be at his expense. The manufacturer was also contacted and confirmed that they would take no liability for the power steering pump failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 129,000. The VIN was not available.

- Canton, MA, USA

problem #46

Mar 242014


  • 129 miles
Someone please help me!!!!!!!!!!!! on the above date, I started my car & proceeded to clean rain water from the windshield. The wipers would not come on, nor would the radio. This is just a couple of ongoing things that I've experienced with this car, since I've purchased it. My mechanic says the wipers are factory defects. Whew, not again!!!! ugh! when's it going to end. I'm one of those people who depend on my car fro everything because of my college student so, I'm anal on the maintenance. We just put in new ball joints and he tells me the suspension is faulty so, it will cause me to replace the joints again in the future. I opted for the lesser of the two because, it's a factory issue. I've received a couple of recall notices however, upon taking the car to the dealer, once they kept it& claimed to fix the steering issues however, they still exist. I took it a second time, they had the car all of 20 mins. And told me that this issue was fixed previously. I'm continuously having issues with the steering whining, no matter how many times I service the fluids. My radio & electrical systems in the car, is constantly on the blink or not working. Now the passenger window decides not to go up. One day, as I was exiting the vehicle (turned off!) it decided to roll backwards.luckily both feet were not out the car and I could catch it! I've invested so much money in keeping this car running until my mechanic knows what going wrong before the recalls come out. He's serviced so many "03" Accord, until he's thinking of becoming a specialist for Honda. I just want Honda to correct all recalls on my vehicle. My student depends on it.! how are these car manufacturers allowed to keep robbing its customers"?" my address has changed since my last complaint. See below.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #45

Dec 022013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Around December 2012 I started noticing a loud whining noise coming from the power steering pump on a cold start along with a whining noise when slightly rocking the steering wheel back and forth. After a couple of minutes of the car warming up the noise goes away. Now I have received a recall letter NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 just recalling the power steering hose to be replaced. (letter received on 3/12/2014) I immediately took my vehicle to the dealer on 3/13/2014 and had the hose replaced under the recall and also paid for them to go ahead and replace the O-ring in the other hose to see if that was the cause of the problem also. They stated without a diagnostic test they wouldn't know for sure if it is the steering pump or not (understandable), but when my car was finished, the service tech informed me that the mechanic discovered my rack and pinion are now leaking fluid and want to charge me $1,220 plus tax to fix and not to mention that I still do not know yet if the power steering pump has now gone bad because of this. I find this totally unacceptable and I believe the whole power steering system is faulty and should be covered under recall.

- Jacksonville , FL, USA

problem #44

Jan 172014


  • 186,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that after having the vehicle serviced under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 (steering), the vehicle caught on fire from under the hood without warning. A police report was filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was scheduled for an inspection to determine the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 186,000.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #43

May 062013


  • miles
I received a letter in the mail for a recall. I called to get in and get fixed. I drove my car in there perfectly fine. When I received my car back there was no power steering. I couldn't even put my car into a parking spot. The first thing the employee said to me that gave me my car was, "something is wrong, you need to make sure that they fix this." [xxx]the owner/manager laughed in my face and told me there was nothing they could do for me. He left me there stranded. I am a young woman with a young child (under a year old). They wanted to charge me around $800 for something I didn't do and couldn't even "guarantee to fix it." They didn't turn the wheel to get the oxygen out when replacing the power steering hose. They just wanted to scam me and get my money.. now I am left with a huge knick in my driver's side door that was not there the morning I dropped my vehicle off. They are unwilling to help resolve the issue. The manager has no heart and has no problem leaving a young woman stranded at their location unless they sign a paper saying they will pay hundreds of dollars, then puts a knick in your car and says there's nothing I can do and there's no way to prove it. I asked for a copy of the walk around inspection and that scratch was not on there. I advised immediately when I saw it that night and [xxx] keeps saying there is nothing he can do for me. My husband just got a new VW sportwagen, I have been looking at the Pilot and new Accord for a while now and I will tell you I will never again by a Honda after the way I was treated and now no one will fix the situation. I can't believe you are letting this man represent your brand. If I would have attempted to pull out in the busy intersection with the way they gave my car back to me it would have been a huge liability issue. I would have been so badly hurt and/or injured. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bolingbrook , IL, USA

problem #42

Jan 042013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 275,000 miles
As a result of the recall on the power steering hose deteriorating, my power steering pump went out. I paid $700 getting it fixed in January 2013. I was told by Honda of tiffany springs that my power steering pump going out had nothing to do with the hose deteriorating. I trusted them and had it fixed and paid in full. I took my car to another very trusted mechanic and was told otherwise. Since then, dealing with Honda of tiffany springs has been a nightmare! about two weeks ago my steering started making a really weird noise. Low and behold, Honda of tiffany springs told me my power steering pump was out again. Another $700 to fix it...they show no records of ever replacing my power steering pump, therefore there is no warranty. I have contacted an attorney about Honda of tiffany springs. Not only have they lied about my power steering and stolen money from me on parts that were clearly under recall or warranty, they have stripped my oil pan plug for the second time and my car was leaking oil all over my garage. I paid my trusted mechanic to fix that problem not once but twice, which Honda of tiffany springs should pay me back for. I am sick of Honda of tiffany springs!!! ever since[xxx] got sick & passed away, that place has gone downhill. I am ready to buy a new car, but not from there!! I will never take my car there again! I love the service manager, [xxx], and I do understand that his hands are tied when it comes to hiring and firing the losers in the service department. I have purchased cars from there since 1989. That has come to an end. I love Honda's, but this nightmare has left me no other choice than to buy a Ford. Words that I thought I would never say. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Platte City, MO, USA

problem #41

Apr 052013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 164,700 miles
My vehicle was subject to NHTSA recall #12V222000 which recalled steering:hydraulic power assist:hose, piping, and connections. I initially was informed of the recall by a cnn article and research on the Honda website on October 1, 2012. I began noticing leaking power steering fluid and subsequent power steering issues in November 2012. I was informed in a letter from Honda that I would receive notice that parts were available February 2013 and that my particular recall could not be completed until the parts were in stock. I received notice on March 19, 2013 that parts were available and had the hose replaced on April 5, 2013. During the repair process, I was informed that due to the defective part, the power steering pump would need replaced as it has cracked and leaked power steering fluid. I lost all power steering and had the pump replaced on April 5, 2013. This part is not covered under the recall but for the defective hose, the problem would not have occurred. I am seeking to file a complaint against Honda to reimburse my cost of parts and include the power steering pump as a part of the recall.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #40

Feb 202013


  • miles
Honda had a recall on the power steering hose but by the time they contacted me to go in my power steering pump started making severe noise. Now no one will cover it.

- Hartford, WI, USA

problem #39

Nov 072012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord ex. The contact stated that he received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 12V222000 (steering) six months ago however, the dealer had not yet been able to make the recall repairs to the vehicle. The contact mentioned that although the vehicle was not experiencing the failure, he believed it was safety hazard to be driving a vehicle with a defective steering hose. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The current mileage was 119,535.

- Hubbard, OH, USA

problem #38

Feb 142013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Honda Accord 2003 power steering hose recall. Went to dealer and was told the both power steering hose and pump are leaking. The recall covers hose but was charged $600 for the pump replacement. I noticed smoke or burnt smell yesterday.

- Hanover, MD, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?