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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,518 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #8

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 #7

May 162011


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, he noticed that there was a loud noise from the front end of the vehicle. The vehicle was inspected by a non-mechanic and they advised him that the sway bar had fractured from the vehicle. The vehicle was then inspected by a dealer and they confirmed the failure and advised replacing the sway bar. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 20,000.

- Coopers Town, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 042004


  • 35,997 miles
Front end produces a loud knocking noise intermittently. The dealer cannot duplicate the problem.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #5

Jun 012004

Accord 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


Two front end alignments were performed and the tires were rotated. A technical service bulletin indicated that this problem occurred because the crate upon which the engine sits was not positioned correctly at the factory. The dealership positioned the crate correctly, but the problem recurred. The consumer noticed when he backed up the vehicle, a click would be heard as if the gear was not positioned correctly. The vehicle was pulling to the right. The consumer also felt something like a crate or tire axle would shift to one side. The consumer was told that was the way the vehicle was designed.

- Hesperia, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 262003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
My name is tracy messel and I purchased a 2003 Honda Accord coupe ex (2-door coupe) from the madison Honda dealer located in madison, NJ in April of 2003. A few months after I purchased my new car I realized that my car was pulling to the right side of the road. I took my car into Honda and they rotated my tires telling me that the problem wasn't an alignment issue but balancing of the tires. I drove my car and realized that is was pulling to the left side of the road, I took my car in again and they re-rotated and balanced my tires. After that, my car started pulling to the right side of the road. I then took my car in again stating that I wanted to have the tires checked out as it appeared that the problem followed the tires. They said the tires were fine and there was something off in my front suspension that they re-adjusted. I drove my car after the adjustment to discover that the car still pulled to the right side of the road. I took it in yet again and drove with a mechanic who told me that this was normal for all 2003 Accord to pull to the right side of the road and there was nothing more that they could do as my car was within their specifications. Not being satisfied I kept requesting to speak to more individuals within the Honda organization only to be told they would do nothing more, that pulling to the right is normal on all cars. I am not satisfied with the answer that Honda had given me and I wanted to raise this issue to the national security council as I think this is a very serious risk if my car is pulling to the right side of the road. I could be putting not only myself at danger but others on the road around me. Any response would be appreciated. Thanks!

- Madison, NJ, USA

problem #3

Dec 022003


  • miles
While driving at any speed vehicle pulls to the right.

- Oxford, GA, USA

problem #2

Jul 292003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150 miles
I purchased a 2003 Accord in June 2003. The day I drove it off the lot I noticed a vibration that can be felt in the steering wheel. I took it to the dealer, and they claimed that the vibration was caused by out of balance tires, and their solution was to balance all four wheels. After balancing the tires, the vibration still existed. I took my car back for an oil change and told them that the vibration was still present. I took the technician on a test drive and he confirmed the vibration, however when I returned to pick up my car it was indicated on the report that the vibration was a normal condition of the Honda Accord. Strong vibrations in the steering wheel are not normal, and Honda should take corrective action to fix this problem.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #1

Apr 112003

(reported on)

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
The vehicle pulled severely to the right, the dealer informed the consumer the vehicle was front wheel drive and it was normal.

- Tampa, FL, USA

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