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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,894 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 #20

Jun 272016


  • 111,680 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving 45 mph, the vehicle shook violently. The contact coasted the vehicle to the side of the road. The vehicle was driven to the contact's residence and taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the front passenger side axle connected to the transmission and wheels were corroded. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 111,680.

- Cutler Bay, FL, USA

problem #19

Mar 112015

Accord 4-cyl

  • 142,918 miles
The right front axle suddenly failed while making a left turn at slow speed. The axle cracked in half at mid shaft at the location of the axle damper under which the axle had corroded evidently resulting in its failure. This suggests that water (and salt in our climate) can collect under the axle damper leading to corrosion and potentially catastrophic failure.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #18

Apr 252014

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,183 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that upon inspection by the dealer, it was found that the suspension compliance bushings had failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 55,183. Updated 06/09/14 updated 06/13/14

- Burin, WA, USA

problem #17

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 #16

Sep 012011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
At around 107,000 miles, I noticed my transmission leaking fluid very rapidly. In addition, the front end of the car started vibrating violently between 50mph and 60mph.

- Paterson, NJ, USA

problem #15

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 #14

Dec 012009

Accord 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles


Honda Accord ex V6 pulling to the right. I had my car aligned 6 times in tire kingdom. When I called regal Honda lakeland Florida about the problem. They said they need to do an alignment again. I told them I have done it 6 times. And the car is not safe to drive. They are not willing to fix the problem.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #13

May 012009

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 40 mph on normal road conditions, the automatic transmission hesitated intermittently. There were no warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and they stated that there were mechanical failures in the transmission. The dealer recommended that the transmission be replaced at the cost of $ 3,000. The vehicle is in the process of being repaired. The failure and current mileages were 122,000. Updated 06/09/09. The consumer stated the vehicle slammed into gear while driving. The dealer informed the consumer the vehicle had internal transmission failure. Also, the lower control arm bushings and front struts needed to be replaced. Updated 06/10/09.

- Monroe, NC, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Mar 022004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
1. car was sold as a white Honda Accord, all bumpers are eggshell, dealer told me that is the color on all white Honda vehicals. 2. car pulls to the right at all speeds, dealer told me that is the way all new Honda are built to vere off the road rather then oncoming traffic. 3. brakes make a loud clicking noise after in reverse to drive, dealer said that was the brakes resetting.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Sep 062003

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,591 miles
(1) a. window being scratched by something in panel. Both driver and passanger window. B. at about 16000 miles it was noticed that the transmission was leaking so badly I couldn't drive out of the dealership. ( I believe the car may have been leaking since purchase. New with only 36 miles.) C. trunk liner sagging. D. when making left hand turns if you have the sunvisor out it can swing and hit you in the head. E. passenger door latch not activated. Could not open door from inside. (dealer forgot to install this on window repair.) F. motor mounts not installed correctly. G. belt tensioner needed replacement. H. car pulling to the right. F. black seal around door frame warping. (2) no consequences from any of these failures. Except loss time having to leave car overnight for several days. Who know what longterm effects of a leaky transmission, belt tensioner, and improper motormounts have on the car. (3) under warranty the dealer corrected every problem. Mosts times more then one repair for the same problem was needed to correct the problem. For the tranmsission the dealer tried to stop the leaks with hondabond. The next morning I had leaks in the drive way. They had my car for a whole week on the first fix attempt. Finally Honda replaced the transmission with a new one. Nothing was done about the visor because the dealer said if they install a new one it will do the same. My windows are still being scratched by the felt lining in the window panel.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #8

Apr 192004


  • miles
Consumer purchased a 2003 Honda Accord brand new, and since then it has been rattling. Consumer took vehicle back to the dealer, and dealer replaced a few things. But had not fixed the problem. Consumer did not know where the sound was coming from.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 012004

Accord 4-cyl

  • 5,076 miles
The engine emitted a rotten egg smell. The driver heard a grinding noise. The vehicle also had a brake problem. The driver's seat was not stable. The vehicle has been taken to the dealer at least 9 times for multiple problems. Paint on the hood is flaking. Seat is not fixed. The door panel was fixed twice but problem still exists. Consumer confronted dealership about problem with vehicle but consumer was ignored. Consumer called american Honda to report issue with dealer.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #6

Sep 292003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14 miles
I test drove 03 Accord that tracked straight and some that did not. The car I picked pulled to the right, but the salesperson assured me that the car could be corrected by an alignment. Before I took delivery of my car, I asked they do an alignment, but when I drove the car upon delivery it still pulled to the right. So I took it back for a second alignment that again did not fix the problem. On my third try to do an alignment, they found a service bulletin that said that my Accord needed to have its subframe adjusted. They did the subframe adjustment and it made the situation better, but was still misaligned. On my fourth attempt at the dealer to get the alignment right they said that my car was within spec because it did not drift out of its lane in under 6 seconds. They said that alignments could not always be right on new cars and I should accept the car because it was within spec. But it is unacceptable that even when the road slopes slightly down on the left of the road, the car still drifts to the right. Out of frustration, I went to an independent wheel and brake shop for alignment (which Honda will not pay for, so it was $60 out of my pocket.) they where able make the car track straighter than before, but it still drifts to the right, even on road completely flat or sloping slightly down on the left. They found that the springs of my car made the right front tire on my car ride 1/4" lower than the left front tire. They think this creates a slight problem that cannot be completely compensated for. I am currently in the process of trying to get the customer service representative from american Honda Corp. To try to fix the situation, but I might be out of luck. They keep saying car is "within spec". my case # at Honda is N012003-09-0500462. The representative is anthony hill.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 222003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75 miles
I purchased a new 2003 Honda Accord ex-V6 sedan on 7/22/03 and immediately noticed that the car pulled to the right. I returned to the dealer for installation of upgraded wheels (Honda 16" expense). Despite changing the wheels, the symptom still existed. I then returned to the dealer and they performed a front end alignment. Afterwards, the car still pulled to the right. I contacted american Honda, and they assigned case no. N012003-09-05-01198. They acknowledged that they had received other similar complaints, but advised that no "service bulletin" had been issued. This condition affects the safety of the vehicle. I want Honda to take responsibility for correcting this hazzardous defect on my vehicle and all others with similar defect. Let's not wait for fatalities!

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 232002

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 482 miles
Purchased my new Accord 9/02, two days later took car in to dealer. Car pulls to the right. Have taken my car in total of 5 time in last 9 months, still pulls. Manufactures says I will have to learn to live with it that way. Car is unsafe for me and my children to ride in.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 192003

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
Vehicle alignment problems. Vehicle has been at the original purchase dealer four different times, tires were rotated, and the vehicle was aligned. Vehicle was taken to a different dealer, and they stated that vehicle had serious problems with the frame. Manufacturer was contacted, and has told the consumer that he will need to meet with somebody from the manufacturer so the can recheck vehicle, but no solution has been found so far.

- Hazleton, PA, USA

problem #2

Dec 122002


  • miles
Vehicle had an alignment problem. It constantly pulled to the right.

- York , PA, USA

problem #1

Mar 252003


  • miles
The vehicle drifted to the side.

- Tampa, FL, USA

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