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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
99,065 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #5

Jun 182016


  • 142,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving 62 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The vehicle lost power and the rpms increased. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the torque converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was previously repaired per NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train). The failure mileage was 142,000.

- Athens, GA, USA

problem #4

Dec 272011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 160,223 miles
The car wont shift out of first gear. Mechanic says torque converter is broken. This seems to be a problem with this car.

- Mansfield, MA, USA

problem #3

Oct 152010


  • 77,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 40 mph the vehicle made a noise and the transmission slipped. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic and he referred her to the dealer. The dealer advised her that there was a problem with the torque converter and that the transmission needed to be replaced. The dealer replaced the transmission at the owners expense. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 77,500 and the approximate current mileage was 78,000.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #2

Mar 022007

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
My Accord has 55K miles. Recently, I was coming to a stop light when my car began to shudder. After this happening 3 times within 15 minutes, it stalled. Now, whenever the vehicle is warm, in drive or reverse, and is idling, it will stall. I've taken it to the dealership and they tell me that there is something wrong with the transmission dealing with the torque converter. This is 2 weeks after I took it in for a recall on...a transmission part. No one has been hurt in this stalling. Honda is offering to get me a re-manufactured transmission for $600. I have owned 4 Honda's before this, 3 of which had more miles, and there have been no engine/tranny related issues. 19K miles out of warranty my transmission dies...

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #1

Oct 122006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,600 miles
I took my Honda Accord in to get fixed. The torque converter has gone bad and was replaced with transmission. Consulted with a Honda dealer on this matter. They told me that it would need diagnosed at my charge and could not be seen for 3 days. They told me there isn't a recall for this vehicle and since my warranty ran out, there is nothing that I can do to fix this and it will all come out of my pocket. I could not wait to get this fixed. I then got 2nd and 3rd opinions on my vehicle. I got the third opinion while I was driving it and had no choice due to the vehicle dying while it was driven. I took it to the nearest transmission representative that I could find. I was told that it was the torque converter after a free inspection. I was advised by this place that it would not be a good idea to drive any further to avoid more damage. Fixed at a total price of $2716. I am upset that a 3 year old vehicle has this problem. I did not purchase the extended warranty due to the fact that this vehicles name speaks for itself. I contacted Honda corporate directly to tell them of this problem and submitted a claim for them to check into this. I consulted with another Honda dealership on the other side of town to get their opinion. I told them I had this work done and it wasn't completed through Honda. The service manager said he could not believe that the other dealership advised me that way on this issue. He said he that he could have contacted Honda directly and something else could have been done even if the warranty expired. I was told that a new transmission would have been placed into my vehicle for approximately $500 minus labor. Had I had known this, I would have taken my Honda to this dealership in a heartbeat. I hope that there may be a recall on this so that other Honda owners will not have to go through what I have gone through this past week.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

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