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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
100,950 miles
Total Complaints:
162 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the transmission (68 reports)
  2. not sure (53 reports)
  3. had the transmission rebuilt (17 reports)
  4. honda corp. will replace autotrans. as a good will service (8 reports)
  5. new transmission (8 reports)
  6. replace the torque converter solenoid (5 reports)
2003 Honda Accord transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 9)

problem #162

Aug 012014

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


Transmission mis-shifting started to become more frequent. I sold the vehicle disclosing the situation.

- Sergio D., El Paso, TX, US

problem #161

Apr 242017

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

My son saved for 2 years to purchase a 2003 Honda with low mileage. 2 weeks after he got the car he is unable to drive it. The car drives fine while it is cold but as soon as it warms up the shifting is erratic, it won't go into gear from park, and it downshifts erratically. The transmission shop said this was a common problem with Honda transmissions and it would need to be rebuilt. I'm very frustrated that this is seemingly a common problem. For a company with such a reputation for long lasting vehicles, it is extremely disheartening that I guided my son towards a honda.

- Brian F., Stafford, VA, US

problem #160

Nov 212016

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,361 miles

The car transmission was not shifting properly, kind of slow shifting and in the way home from Kitchener to London at about 100 Km/hour the car suddenly started hitching and stopped with a terrible shock. After that the transmission was completely gone.

- oprescu, London, ON, Canada

problem #159

Jan 012016

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles


Not sure what's going on yet. It is not shifting right mostly to second gear and have actually stalled a few times. Got to get it to shop but just spent $400 for 2 tires and brake job so I am hoping it not going to mean a new transmission.

- Monnie V., Jackson, TN, US

problem #158

Dec 282015

Accord EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

One day the car would not shift into Drive or Reverse after been service at the dealership for replacement of the timing belt and drive belt. Dealer said possible the transmission is gone. Cost for new transmission $3600. Find out on this website that the 03 Honda Accord V6 transmission is come failures for Honda. Will try to contact Honda of America to see if they can help. Car has only 63k, was driven by lady, and kept in good condition.

- huynhfl, Winter Haven, FL, US

problem #157

Nov 252015

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

I have a Honda Accord V6 w/ 157000 mi - Transmission just crapped out on me. Lower gears in particular. Spoke to good friends who have been working as Honda Mechanics for years, they say the early 00s models all have this problem and I'm lucky it went this long without happening. Dont feel lucky! Too bad Honda makes great cars for the most part, but the transmission problems are well known !!

- Andy G., Toluca Lake, US

problem #156

Mar 232015

Accord EX 3.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


Purchased Honda Accord 2003 in March 2015. I test drove the car and it drove very nicely so I purchased it for $4300. The next day when I get in the car, there is a check engine light on. The error is P7041. I've spoken to Honda and they will not help. The history shows that the transmission was repaired by a dealer with 26k miles. They told me to take it to a Honda dealer to have it diagnosed, dealer says I need a new transmission. No specifics as to exactly what is wrong.

I call Honda back and they said that if it were the same problem as before in the 2nd gear they would cover it. But the transmission would have to be 1 not running and 2 removed and inspected to see if its the 2nd gear. I am not able to pay a Honda service fee of $119 an hour to check so they can tell me its the 3rd gear and they won't cover it. Honda has had issues with there transmissions, in fact they lost a class action law suit and had a recall.

In my case after it was repaired by a Honda dealer at 26k miles and has failed again in only 75k miles Honda should cover the repair. not only mine but anyone with this transmission. I personally will never even think about purchasing another Honda new or used and I will tell my story every chance I get. Anyone talks about purchasing a vehicle and they will here my story.

- Albert T., Sunrise, FL, US

problem #155

Jun 252015

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

This car almost gave me a heart attack. I was driving on freeway and my car felt like I had slammed on the brakes. This scared me because I almost had an accident. My car did this three times, so I got off the freeway and went to work. I said to myself "I will take the streets 25 miles back home at 30 mph". The light was blinking green in drive. I made a stop at store before I got home and had to push my car out of parking space because the reverse was not working. Got home OK and parked my Honda in garage.

I Googled Honda transmission and found out a lot of people went through same thing and Honda had a recall on 2003 Accords transmissions that they will not honor. No way a car with less than 100,000 miles should have a transmission failure. If Honda does not honor this I will be a Toyota man. I have two Hondas the other a 2000 Accord with 176,000 and no problems and my other family member have Hondas with no problems, so I guess it is just the 2003 year.

- Daryl M., Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #154

May 072015

Accord EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

I have owned four Hondas and have never encountered or heard of issues like this before I bought my 2003 Honda Accord. I take very good care of my cars and do not drive them hard either. I bought my 03 Accord in 2010 and had no idea that I was driving what is tantamount to a ticking time bomb.

Roughly a month ago, my Tach started slipping and the car started jerking and clunking while I was driving it. The problems do not begin at a set amount of time behind the wheel. It starts I the lower gears and I can tell it is starting when I decrease my speed to a stop, at 10 miles per hour the car “shudders” and “clunks”. It progressively gets worse and the higher gears become affected.

I was on the freeway, on my way home from an appointment in the middle lane. I was traveling at roughly 55 – 60 miles per hour when the entire car violently jerked. It was enough to throw my head into the steering wheel. I immediately went to exit the highway when I noticed that my car was now in neutral. I babied the car home and checked the fluid. It was fine. The problem has gotten worse and I can no longer drive my car without being willing to be injured or worse.

The cost of replacing or repairing the transmission is not a possibility. I now have a car that I cannot fix and cannot drive. It is unconscionable that a car company that is built on its reliability would not acknowledge and fix this problem. Does someone need to die first? I guess that I am unwilling to risk getting behind the wheel of a Honda again. The scariest part of this whole situation was that I was going to put my 16 year old daughter in this car. Something needs to be done…NOW

- pbcanfield, Tenino, WA, US

problem #153

Oct 012013

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Purchased my 2003 Honda Accord brand new. In 2004 was advised of a recall to fix a problem with the second gear in the transmission. Recall was fixed in 2004 by an authorized Honda dealership. Now having problems with the second gear. Problems happen almost everyday. Most significant was when I was in a busy intersection and the car wouldn't go into third gear. The car wouldn't move. Couldn't get out of the intersection. I sat in my car watching traffic coming towards me at 65-70mph. I was almost broad sided. Brought the car back to the dealership. Told them about the incident. They shrugged their shoulders and laughed. Told me to have the transmission rebuilt if I'm that concerned about it. The dealership continues to tell me they can't find a problem with the car. They also stated even if they found a problem the dealership nor Honda would help cover the costs. I bought this car based on Honda's reputation for safety and that Honda vehicles last a long time. I will never buy another Honda. It's not worth putting your life at risk.

- piper01, Marlborough, CT, US

problem #152

Sep 052006

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


Had just bought the car only a few months earlier. Since the car was a Certified Used Car, Honda replaced the failed transmission with a rebuilt one for free (except they didn't cover my rental car cost of some $300 while they worked on the repairs).

- Greg W., Corona, CA, US

problem #151

Jul 192014

Accord EX 2.4L Vtec

  • Automatic transmission
  • 184,000 miles

First i just want to say that Honda makes a really beautiful car but as for the quality they really are terrible. I was on my way home last night and it was only about 72 degrees out but anyways, as I'm driving, the car acted like it went in neutral and started ti high rev on me. I got to a stop sign and it wouldn't move in any gear. I had to get car off road and sit until it cooled down(trans temp) bout 10-15 mins or so. I started up and it went in gear but was shifting hard but not even 2/10 of a mile it did the whole no gear thing to me again. Wow how scary as i was turning left on a green light and almost was hit broad side. This is really dangerous and it will sure end up causing deaths if honda doesn't get itself together. Just look at what GM is going through! There needs to be a lawsuit on this transmission before a lot of lives are lost for poor quality design or sub standard parts used in these transmissions. I'm calling honda tomorrow but I'm thinking I'm wasting my breath. If a class action lawsuit happens I hope to be included as I was almost wrecked because of this problem and my life and my child's life is worth way more than the cost to replace these junk transmissions.

- Charles F., Chillicothe, OH, US

problem #150

Feb 022012

Accord EX 3.2L V Tec V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,123 miles


- braddajr, Kapolei, HI, US

problem #149

Jun 052014

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,700 miles

The car only has 87K miles and the transmission went bad. I purchased the Honda thinking of Honda reliability, was not expecting the transmission to go bad on a 30K car. Honda refuses to cover anything, I am a single mom with 2 children and cannot afford 6K to put a new transmission. Will never buy a Honda again...

- Anita A., Fairfax, VA, US

problem #148

May 272014

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

Daughter bought the car. The next day, engine light came on. still was running alright. Every day got worse. Fluid is black, shifts like crap. Took to transmission shop. Said it would cost $3200 to replace with a rebuild. Daughter has made 1 payment on the car. Doesn't even have the tag yet. 30 days and need a transmission. That's BS!!!

Never buy a Honda again!!!! Also TCS light is on and brake light stays on. Unplugged brake light. Piss Poor Quality from Honda!!!

- Jeff L., Columbia, SC, US

problem #147

Feb 122014

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Bought the car during the winter holiday season from my uncle in Florida. Knowing that he takes excellent care of his cars and partnered with the fact that it is a Honda and a southern car with low miles, I jumped right in without much research. BIG mistake!

Two thousand miles later I was having some slipping during the 2-3 shift. At first it would happen occasionally and I thought maybe I am just not accustom to the shift points. Slowly over the next few weeks I would have so much slipping that I would have to let off the gas to allow the car to shift. The problem became worse the longer I drove. At that point I started doing some research and boy was I surprised. Second most complaint about car in the history of!!!!!!!

I read that some people had luck with goodwill service from their Honda dealers. I went to talk to my service rep and he claimed that the transmission is not a common problem to his knowledge. Right! The quote for a re-manufactured transmission was $5500 but he could probably get it down to $5200. Thanks for the help. Ended up getting it rebuilt by a highly recommended local transmission specialist. He knew exactly what was happening as soon as he looked at the car I was driving. I didn't even say a word. $2700 dollars later it feels like a new car. Let's just hope it lasts.

*EDIT: The recall from 2004 to add the oil jet was performed as soon as the recall was issued. Doesn't appear to make a bit of difference except to keep the damage from occurring until the warranty has expired. Glad Honda was able to save some money.

- John B., Jenison, MI, US

problem #146

Jan 272014

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

I have had my honda since 2003, brought it brand new. Just like everyone else I felt something was wrong with my car after all the recalls they had dealing with transmission, but never replaced it. Recently I started having issues with shifting and I have an automatic. I took to one mechanic couldn't find the issue suggested getting transmission fluid flushed since it was dirty. OK. after that drove for a day still same issue took to HONDA had them do a multi point check when engine light was on but they still came back saying transmission fine nothing with transmission might be the computer going out reason for check engine light coming on and also gave me a list of things that should be taken care of which was already done. Issue kept going on for a few days till I took to a Transmission specialist which educated me and provided me with knowledge about transmissions and how they work. Ended up getting Transmission rebuilt since it was something internal 1700. Honda should be responsible for everyones transmission seems like the 2003 models are trash. Granted I have 175,000 miles but I still should not have to pay out of pocket for an issue that was destined to happened no matter how many miles you have.

- lrca, Long Beach, CA, US

problem #145

Jan 012013

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Transmission struggled to shift between gears, would sometimes skip third gear, clunked into gear at lower speeds. Was told by driveline mechanic this is all one problem and common to Hondas of this model and year. Had it rebuilt at cost to me of $2800.

- Katherine S., Keene, NH, US

problem #144

Mar 112008

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Five years old, and the transmission needs to be replaced...ridiculous! Still had 5 years of extended warranty but since it's a new transmission we lose 3 of the 5 years left on the warranty

- Debbie O., San Jose, CA, US

problem #143

Nov 212011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

i was so shocked to find out my Honda, a car I was told was so wonderful, needed a transmission. After the fact I researched it and to my surprise lots of transmission problems in that year. Some of my interior is falling down on top of this. As I am writing this my car won't start now, wires or starter, don't know.

I bought this in 2007- no more Honda's!

- happynot, Jackson, MS, US

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