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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
97,475 miles
Total Complaints:
498 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace/rebuild transmission (344 reports)
  2. not sure (70 reports)
  3. Honda to pay cost as this transmission was a previous recall (45 reports)
  4. Honda assisted with replacement cost (25 reports)
  5. class action lawsuit (5 reports)
  6. transmission exchange (4 reports)
2003 Honda Accord transmission problems

transmission 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 12 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #278

Sep 202010

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Check engine light did not go on to let us know that the transmission crashed.

- , Ontario, CA, US

problem #277

Sep 172010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,200 miles

My car only has over 40,000 miles in it and it has a transmission failure. I was driving on the freeway when it started jerking around. There could've been an accident! It'll cost over $2,000 to fix and i'm not made of money. I always thought Honda makes a quality product but that's far from the truth. This car has had so many problems even when being maintained properly. I refuse to buy a Honda again.

- , Cerritos, CA, USA

problem #276

Sep 012010

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

2003 Honda Accord LX V6 TRANSMISSIOM FAILURE. My Honda Accord transmission is shot. It won't shift into third gear and starts downshifting violently. Done some research and the cause is mainly from the torque converter failing which burns up the tranny fluid and eventually burns up the whole transmission. Honda did not send out a recall on this because according to the NHTSA this is not a safety issue. I don't see how it's not a safety issue when your car all of a sudden violently downshifts and someone can potentially ram you from behind. So NHTSA says it's not a safety issue so Honda is not required to pay for the repair. Then why did I find out that Honda gave Out-Of-Warrenty Compensation to SOME Accord owners for the same problem? If there are people out there with the same problem why would you fix some of them but not all? This is freakin rediculous. I'm not buying a Honda again.

- , Hayward, CA, USA

problem #275

Sep 132010

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles


To start off this will be the third transmission my Honda Accord has seen! The first time it happened I put the blame on my fiance not knowing there were hundreds of other people like me. The first go around I didn't make a big deal out of it because my soon to be father in law was kind enough to pay for it. After getting a $3000 quote I did a little research and found this site. I was surprized to see so many transmission complaints similar to mine.

This will be the last Honda I purchase! This is a sad time for me and my family because Honda has alway been our first choice.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #274

Sep 132010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

As my car began messing up I took it to a shop and they told me to check online to see if there were any recalls for the tourqe converter. As I did, no there are no recalls because it is not a "safety" issue however there is a ton of complaints. Not happy at all. Haven't we always heard, "Hondas run forever". I disagree

- , Trussville, AL, USA

problem #273

Aug 222010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,361 miles

Intermittent transmission problem that happened when the car was warm. e.g. after 10-25 minutes driving. When giving a little gas, the RPMs increased from 2000 to 4000+ with no power. When you took your foot off the gas the RPMs dropped suddenly and the car slowed down as if the brakes were engaged. When going up a hill you could feel the gears slipping as the car sputtered up the hill (under high RPM). Occasionally when stopped the car would come completely out of gear so that it could not be driven.

Honda dealer said they could not reproduce the problem but on the way home it happened again so I went back. I was told they can't do anything for a transmission except replace it and quoted me $6300 for a new one from Honda and that they couldn't help me in any financial way. Instead found another shop to rebuild the transmissions for $1900.

I'm very disappointed with Honda and will not be buying another Honda.

- , Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #272

Jun 112010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,814 miles


My car suddenly shut off by itseleve on the highway luckily i was on the far right lane other wise who know wether or not I'll still be here today tell my horror storty.

- , Phila, PA, USA

problem #271

Jul 222010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

Purchased the car about 7 months prior to the transmission failure. Did notice that shifting was kind of rough but did not think much of it. One day driving up a hill while on the throttle the car was revving but the car was going back down the hill. This problem happened again and again throughout the day then finally the reverse gear and 3rd gear gave out. Honda says that the problem will cost $3600+ to replace the transmission. They said that they are willing to pay $1000 to fix so I would be responsible for $2600 which is still ridiculous. I will never purchase a Honda again. There should have been a recall on this vehicle looking at the amount of complaints.

- , Hoover, AL, USA

problem #270

Aug 202010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

My transmission failed on August 21, 2010 while I was on my way to a friends wedding. As I was driving along as I accelerated the car jerked as is I had hit the brake very hard. I was shocked and scared; Continued driving to a gas station, it occurred 3 other times as I got off the freeway to check to see what was going on - I couldn't see what the matter was but thought it might have something to do with the transmission - based on information gathered through my blackberry. Since I was over 150 miles away from home, I thought I would attempt to keep a steady speed and utilize cruise control and as the car automatically accelerated to maintain speed it started to jerked as if I had hit the brake hard. It even did it as it decelerated - at that point I just pulled off the freeway and called AAA. They towed it all the way home and I had it towed to the dealership on Saturday. They stated that they wouldn't be able to look at it until Monday morning and it was then that they confirmed that it was the transmission. Prior to the confirmation I spoke with the agent who stated that Honda was aware of the problem and that his boss would need to contact the district manager to see what could be done. I asked for a quote and was told that for my model it could cost up to $4200. I obviously was not planning on this and couldn't believe that the car, with no known problems could just fail so unexpectedly. I received a call later that day stating that management had contacted Honda and that they had agreed to reduce the cost to a remanufactured transmission and the cost would be about $1850 -it will be guaranteed for 3 years or 36,000 miles --- which really sucks since now I can assume that this will happen again.

I am not at all happy with Honda and wish that there would be a recall for a KNOWN problem that they refuse to take responsibility for. I could have been seriously hurt if a trailer was behind me when the car was jerking. It is not acceptable that I have to take measures such as reporting it on a site in order to have solution for this problem.

- , Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #269

Aug 212010

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,500 miles

Recently driving down a roadway and I began to accelerate, when the transmission failed to engage when shifting into 3rd gear, was in heavy traffic and my abrupt failure to accelerate in with traffic (on a 3 lane congested road with a lot of traffic), could have caused an accident with the cars approaching with my vehicle that was abruptly stranded and non-mobile in the middle of the road. I was nearly rear ended as I was trying to get off the road and had no warning that this failure is going to occur. I was able to get it back in gear after several trys and get the car safely off the road & had to call a tow truck to take to a Honda Dealer.

I worked with the Honda Dealer in Charlotte and Honda is going to share "some " of the replacement cost. Not really sure how much a transmission (approx $4,000) cost but I will be charged $1,900, which is probably around 1/2 the total cost of labor & the part. Even though I appreciate the discount, I believe a Honda transmission should last more than 7 years & two months on a 78,500 miles driven car.

I believe this to be a serious safety issue and am very concerned. I think Honda is aware of the problem, but would rather handle these individually & not have a full recall on this transmission for something they know is a bad & unsafe product. I had a 1980 Honda Accord for over 12 yrs, over 120,000 and never had these kind of problems.

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #268

Jul 012010

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles


Okay so I had just put a ton of workinto my car. I just had to replace a catalytic converter which was about $600, then I had to replace all 4 brake pads and rotors, and then I had to replace the main belt that keeps the car running. Then I swear I was only driving my car for a few weeks and on the way to work my car just stopped. It was still on but as I pressed the gas, the RPM just went up and my car did nothing. My check engine light came on, after it stopped and that was it. Took it to my mechanic and he told me I needed a new transmission which is gonna cost me about 1500 while I have not been able to drive my car for almost 2 months I am still paying a car note on a car I can't drive.

I think this is very unacceptable from Honda and the first car I owned was a Honda Civic and my transmission went on that also. I am just too through and althoug I love my car, and Honda I dont know how sure I am that I would buy another Honda. I have been researching and it seems this problem has occurred all over the country and to numerous people.


- , Scoth Plains, NJ, USA

problem #267

Aug 172010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

I was driving to work and got on the highway. While attempting to pass another car, my Accord dropped down to 3rd gear (as it should) but the transmission did not engage. I got no power at all. I slowed down and the problem went away.

A half hour later I was driving down a city street at 45 mph. I let off the gas to prepare to brake for a stoplight and the car violently shifted from 4th into 1st gear. It scared the crap out of me. I thought I had hit the brake somehow. I drove it the remaining 5 miles to work and this happened about 5 more times at various speeds.

I had the car towed to my normal dealer (who's been very good to me over the years). They could not recreate the problem for two days and finally asked if I'd let a technician drive it home. I said, "Sure, I'm not gonna drive it like that." It didn't fail on his way home, but on his way to work the next morning it did. It scared the crap out of him, too. They claim they've never heard of this and it's the first V6 transmission they needed to replace. The service rep (who, again has been super-helpful over the past 7 years - even replaced my broken radio for free!) told me he was shocked at both the problem and the cost to repair. I was quoted at $4100. He said he could maybe work a deal to knock of $500.

I don't know what to do. I can't decide if I should buy something else or fix what I've got. I cannot believe that Honda is not acknowledging the problem. (Oh, and I had the oil jet installed for the recall in '04.)

I've never had a problem with a Honda before, and finding so many with this failure is really scary. Who has to die for Honda to do something about this?

- , Frederick, CO, USA

problem #266

Aug 192010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,662 miles

The first signs seemed to be a a slow shift from reverse to drive when I backed out of my drive way. Then some time latter in June 2010 there was a rattle under the car. It sounded like a loose tail pipe or a clamp problem. When I took the car into the Honda dealership to change the motor oil I mentioned the rattle. They changed the motor oil, but said there was no problem found relate to the rattle. They confirmed that they did do a road test, The rattle continued. Even though I was due for a transmission fluid change, they did not recommend the transmission fluid maintenance. The in August on the way home, there was high revs, no shifting and in some cases the car jerked with a down-shift all of a sudden. There was sporadic shifting. It was a good thing I only had to go about 7 kilometers to get home. The next morning I went to the dealership and there was no problem. The problems seem to start when the fluid heats up. I was told the part cost $5000 and they are talking to Customer Service.

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #265

Nov 172007

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

I bout this Honda Certified used car in October of 2007. End of November, I had to replace the motor mounts and the transmission. I was driving and all of a sudden my transmission started slipping and shifting out of gera. Because I purchased the Extended Warranty for close to an additional $2000, it was covered under the warranty. This was just the beginning of the nightmare that has been my relationship with this car.

- , San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #264

Apr 222010

Accord EX-L V6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

I purchased this car expecting it to be a "honda" (a reliable car) . When it turned out to be nothing more than a veryu bad investment, and huge finacnial loss. I literally drove this car 2 miles before trhe transmission went out on me. I almost got in an accident because it was on the freeway and I lost power. Honda told me that it was out of warranty and that there was nothing that could be done. The person I spoke with on the fun seemed to be having a good time with my misfortune, and was extremely rude as well as unhelpful. I would like honda to replace the faulty transmission in my vehicle.

Update from Nov 27, 2010: I did some research on hondas website and apparently 1HGCM82653A003171 my car had this procedure done Summer 2004

Safety Recall: Accord V6 Automatic Transmission Second Gear Inspection

Dear Accord Owner:

This notice is sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

What is the reason for this notice? Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has decided that a defect relating to motor vehicle safety exists in certain 2003-04 Accord V6 vehicles with automatic transmissions.

Certain operating conditions can result in heat buildup in the transmission second gear set and may lead to gear tooth chipping. In very rare cases, gear breakage can occur. Gear failure could result in transmission lock-up, and a crash could occur without warning.

What should you do? Call any authorized Honda dealer and make an appointment to have your vehicle repaired. For vehicles with less than 15,000 miles, the dealer will install an oil jet kit to provide additional lubrication to the gears. For vehicles with more than 15,000 miles, the dealer will inspect the affected gear for heat discoloration, which indicates possible damage. If heat discoloration exists, the dealer will replace the transmission. If heat discoloration is not found, the dealer will install an oil jet kit. This work will be done free of charge. Please plan to leave your vehicle all day to allow the dealer flexibility in scheduling the inspection and installing the oil jet kit. If transmission replacement is needed, the work will take more than one day.

Who to contact if you experience problems. If you are not satisfied with the service you receive from your Honda dealer, you may write to:

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Honda Automobile Customer Service Mail Stop 500-2N-7A 1919 Torrance Blvd. Torrance, CA 90501-2746

If you believe that American Honda or the dealer has failed or is unable to remedy the defect in your vehicle, without charge, within a reasonable period of time (60 days from the date you first contact the dealer for a repair appointment), you may submit a complaint to:

Administrator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 400 Seventh Street, SW Washington, DC 20590

Or call the toll-free Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

What to do if you feel this notice is in error. Our records show that you are the current owner or lessee of a 2003-04 Accord involved in this campaign. If this is not the case, or the name/address information is not correct, please fill out and return the enclosed, postage-paid Information Change Card. We will then update our records.

If you paid to have the transmission replaced, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Refer to the attached instructions for eligibility requirements and the reimbursement procedure.

Lessor Information. Federal law requires that any vehicle lessor receiving this recall notice must forward a copy of this notice to the lessee within 10 days.

If you have questions. If you have any questions about this notice, or need assistance with contacting a Honda dealer, please call Honda Automobile Customer Service at (800) 999-1009, and select menu option #2.

We apologize for any inconvenience this campaign may cause you.


American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

Honda Automobile Division

If they fixed this recall then why is it having the exact same isssue that was supposedly fixed? Is there a recall on the recall service that was provided? There should be.

- , Salem, OR, USA

problem #263

Jul 062010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles

July 6 first experienced severe bucking. I called Continenat Honda, LaGrange, Il & spoke to service tech. He said the problem was maybe bad gas but made an appt for me to bring vehicle in on July 8. The car continued to buck like crazy on July 6 - like the brakes were being applied. I felt the car was dangerous to drive. Called Continental again and brought the car in July 7. They had the car overnight. Diagnosis--a switch between the traction control and the brakes. Cost $140. July 9, I drove to Chicago with friends. The car did the exact same bucking I had complained about to Continental. Friends recommened an independant service station that they had used for many years with their Hondas. I had alway been very pro dealer figuring they knew their car and would have the best information regarding any possible problems. I tried the independant. He took the car for a ride with diagnostics and found the transmission was bad. Cost for repair $1795. Funny that Honda dealer did not have a clue that it could be the transmission even though I have found out that the problem is very well know at Honda.

Spoke to Honda customer service in Torrance, CA. They would not do anything for me since 1-work was not done at Honda dealer, 2- I got a reconditioned transmission rather than a remanufactured transmission.

I am furious at Honda and Continenal. The vehicle was maintained by the dealer since day one. Why would I return to a dealer who sent me on the road in a potentially dangerous vehicle.

- , Downers Grove, IL, USA

problem #262

Jul 262010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

This is a dangerous problem! It happened to my sister's car and my cousins car. honda knows it's a problem Why should we have to fight to get the problem taken car of. There should be a class action suit

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #261

Jul 122010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Car has been dealer maintained since I purchased it new. Transmission started hard shifting into 3rd and would sometimes miss 3rd completely on a downshift going up a hill. On my way to the dealer to have them check it out- it got worse and was on it's last legs by the time I pulled into the shop. It failed over the course of about 1 week.

I am currently waiting for the new/rebuilt transmission to be delivered to the dealer and then be installed.

Very expensive and should not happen on a HONDA with only 119K miles. I have loved my car since I bought it but this is very upsetting. Based on all the complaints on this site, I think Honda should at least split the cost with the customer on the replacement trans.

- , Arvada, CO, USA

problem #260

Jul 142010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,800 miles

2003 Honda Accord EX V-6 transmission went out at 92,800 miles. Noticed it taking longer to shift from reverse to drive and within a few days a noise was heard. Made appointment with dealer, had horrible time driving 60 miles to the dealership, violent down shifts. Dealer quoted $5,000 for repairs. Drove another 60 miles home, voilent down shifts, and car stalled at every red light/stop sign. Local transmission shop made the repairs for $1,900+. I'll never buy another Honda!

- , Mabank, TX, USA

problem #259

Jul 192010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Ridiculous that these cars have NOT been recalled! There are complaints everywhere about this model and Honda has done nothing to correct the problem. It's going to take a death (or several) for anything to be done. My daughter can thank God that she was not injured or killed on the highway when our Honda Accord's transmission just QUIT. She had enough composure to coast to the side of the road. She said it was like slamming on the brakes, but she had her foot on the accelerator going approximately 60 mph. She flew into the steering wheel (and she did have her seatbelt on!).

The car is not is sitting at the Honda dealership until we get some resolution to this problem. We just put $1100 into the brakes back in the spring. It's never ending with this model. I have even been contacted by a local TV station about our problems with this car. I'm pushing forward with this and going to FIGHT for some kind of recall. It's not just about my daughter's safety; it's about other people's safety, too.

- , Reynoldsburg, OH, US

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?