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

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 13 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #258

Aug 012010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,500 miles


My transmission failed on August 1, 2010 while I was on the interstate. It failed very spectacularly. I was driving 70ish mph (that is the speed limit). I slowed when I approached a car in front of me. When it pulled over so I could pass, I lightly touched the accelerator and the car jerked as is I had hit the brake very hard. I was shocked and scared; I quickly took my foot off the accelerator and let the car slow. I removed my sandal to be sure my foot was only touching the correct pedal and I could feel exactly the pressure I was putting on it; I put my sandal in the seat beside me. I lightly stepped on the accelerator again with my bare foot, and again the car jerked as if I had hit the brake hard. I braked gently and pulled over to the shoulder, stopped and put the car in park. After I calmed from the fear, I shifted into D3 to try another gear (rather than D). I slowly accelerated and in a few seconds the car started jerking as if I hit the accelerator hard, then the engine revved with no engagement of transmission, then it jerked as if I braked hard; all this in a matter of seconds at a slow speed on the shoulder. Again I braked gently, stopped and put the car in park.

Last night, Aug 1, I had it towed to the dealer where the technician test drove it this morning, Aug 2. He told my Service Advisor the car was frightening to drive; he told my Service Advisor that the transmission was very bad, that he felt as if he might get whiplash. They gave me an estimate to replace the transmission at $4500.

- , Decatur, GA, USA

problem #257

May 292010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

Huggins Honda just did my Maintenance on my car tim belt,water pum /plugs IZ, filter, coolant, belt com. drove my car off lot and it was running rough and that at idle tic was moving slightly i called Huggins and they said shouldn't be rough but bring it in and they will have a look took it by ck engine light was on mark turned the ck engine light off and said it coded idle needs to be adjusted then said car will run rough but wont break down . took it by a couple of more times car was jerking said need to replace throttle body. Now i just forked over 1616.42 now Huggins is asking for 700.00 when i took it in again mark now said i needed transmission

- , Blue Mound, TX, USA

problem #256

Aug 042010

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Just put $3,000 into the engine now I'm being told I have to pay $3,800 for a new transmission. I didn't know this car had this problem until now, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it.

- , Deansboro, NY, USA

problem #255

Jul 312010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


All of sudden I started feeling heavy Jerks while driving. RPM was going Up and Down like crazy., I almost hit the front car. Then I called AAA and towed it. It is complete Transmission Failure. Current mileage is 86000 Miles, I changed the Trans Oil at 70000 Miles from local Honda Dealer. Now Local Honda Dealer told me that they can not help me. I will never buy HONDA again.

- , Westland, MI, US

problem #254

Jul 152010

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

My transmission worked very well for most of its life but the last couple of weeks it had been a little slow to shift. I was trying to arrange some time off so I could have the transmission fluid replaced. One day while driving home from work it suddenly began act up alarmingly. At the next stop it was fighting my brakes and when I went to go again I lost drive. I shifted from park to drive several times without success and restarted the car a couple of times. I was finally able to get it going again so I limped to a Honda dealer. I left the car overnight with instructions to diagnose the problem. When they called me the next day, they said I needed a new transmission and it would cost me $5100 (no typo).

I arranged to have a transmission house come and get the car so they could do the work for half that amount and later learned that while the car was at the Honda dealer another customer had hit my car with hers. Now when I get my car back from the transmission house I have to take it to a body shop.

Needless to say I am very disappointed with Honda. I've had three Hondas is a row but this was the first I had driven to high mileage. I thought Hondas were bulletproof. I work with a bunch of people with older Hondas than mine and more mileage, who have had no transmission problems. I definately think this model's transmission is defective. I called Honda and they would not give me any assistence.

- , Warwick, R.I, USA

problem #253

Jul 172010

Accord EX-L 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

This has been a good car, but now it's suddenly gone. The repair is equal to the value of the repaired vehicle, so basically, it's worthless. This was a sudden problem that occurred as I drove my family home from vacation. Driving at highway speed, the transmission locked in 2nd gear, causing the car to nose-dive under rapid deceleration. It felt like the brakes we're jammed, but it was in fact a transmission locked in 2nd gear. We're lucky to be alive, I suppose. I did contact American Honda, but they were no help whatsoever. Yes, I drove 109K miles, but that seems far short of what a modern quality automobile should provide. All you folks who think that there's something special about a Honda, well there is! It dies earlier than a Hyundai, and it can put your life at risk in the process.

- , Bernardsville, NJ, USA

problem #252

Jun 172010

Accord ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


Honda had a class action suit on previous models and replaced transmissions. Is aware of issue and will not replace and if compensates any amount of monies requires you to take it to Honda dealer and not anyplace like certified transmission. Our car just stopped while turning with oncoming traffic

- , Lexington, MO, USA

problem #251

Jul 142010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,000 miles


Update from Aug 9, 2010: We had it fixed by rebuilding the transmission which cost us $2300.00. Honda refused to acknowledge the problem or provide a courtesy repair.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #250

Jan 152010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,100 miles

please log into to file a complaint. We need a fix for this situation, i was nearly injured due to this issue. here is a copy of my complaint i filed with NHTSA:


2003 Honda Accord EX V6. current mileage 62,000. purchased new, single owner/driver.

at approx 60,000 miles began with intermittent shifting failure. It will fail to accelerate when it shifts from 2nd to 3rd gear. It varies in time when it will re-engage and it has left me in a dangerous situation several times and there is no warning for this failure. It has been reported numerous times and seems to be a common problem of this year and model. Recently I pulled out onto a roadway and began to accelerate, when the transmission failed to engage when shifting into 3rd gear, en route traffic caught up to me and my abrupt failure to accelerate/merge with traffic, caused an accident of several of those vehicles that were approaching with wet road conditions to my vehicle that was abruptly stranded and non-mobile. I was nearly rear ended and had no warning that this failure is going to occur. I believe this to be a serious safety issue and am very concerned. Please advise.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #249

Jul 132010

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

This is my second trans failure since new. First one was right around 100k miles. Was not really that concerned when the first one went out. Sh*t happens right? Replaced with 3/36 k warranty trans. Well 50k miles later same thing. Another $4000.00 down the drain. Every scheduled maintenece done. Very dissapointed in Honda. Never,Never again.

- , Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #248

Jul 012010

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles


My 2003 accord has been meticulously maintained. The transmission has failed after just 123,000 miles. Neither the local Wenatchee Honda dealer nor American Honda is willing to assist with the $4,000 repair cost. This seems unconscionable in light of the large number of transmission failures with the 2003 Accord V6.

- , East Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #247

Jul 062010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

Bought an 03 Accord in Nov of 2005, it's paid off in 5 months and of course the transmission blew! Honda makes me so mad I don't want to have it fixed, just to not pay them ANY more money! I have taken extremely good care of my car, loved it until now. No help from anyone, this is sh*t! Called the lawyer # and turns out they're not doing a class action suit for Honda. Too bad! $3700 If anyone has suggestions please let me know.......... So glad there's a site like this, I'll use it wisely

- , Powell, OH, USA

problem #246

Jul 032010

Accord LE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

The Transmission failed on our way home our family vacation. Fortunately I was only 180 miles from home. As we were on the highway the car just dropped into neutral while going 75 miles per hour. The check engine light came on and the "D" indicator light was blinking indicating a ATF problem. I turned the car off and started it again and the was able to drive about 3 miles until transmission went back into neutral. The transmission had to be rebuilt. Repair technician mentioned that this was a common failure with the 2003 accord.

- , Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #245

Jul 052010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Transmission on my '03 Accord V6 (118k miles) started slipping when driving home from work on 7/1/2010. Took it to my mechanic who serviced the transmission, but 2-days later the transmission completely failed while driving @ 40MPH on a major road near my home. Since then, I've found this sight along with volumes of online information attesting to similar transmission failures on Accords and other Honda vehicles of similar age and wear. Additionally, the tow-truck that picked us up towed my Accord to a transmission shop, as well as the head mechanic at the transmission shop, both told similar stories of complete transmission failures in Honda's of similar age and wear. I'm now faced with a $2,235 cost to rebuild the transmission.

Everyone has agreed that Honda is well aware of the issue, but also not willing to do anything about it. While I don't expect them to do anything, since the evidence shows they won't, I will be writing a very strongly worded letter to Honda Corp., copying appropriate government agencies and consumer protection advocates. The auto industry is suffering just like every other business, but you'd think that Honda would want to take steps to protect their reputation, especially given what Toyota is going through. My opinion of Honda has taken a serious hit.

- , Mount Airy, MD, US

problem #244

Jul 052010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I bought a nice used Honda Accord 2003 LX V6 about a year ago from a certified Honda-Acura dealership. After investing much money in repairs (including transmission flushes) , finally the transmission failed completely.

I was quoted $4,000 to replace the entire thing. I am sooooooo disappointed in Honda!!!!!! My choice to go with Honda for its name and reputation of reliability has now left me stranded with much money still owing and no money for that costly of a repair!! I had no idea these particular cars had a transmission issues, I guess I should have done some research before I bought it, it's only now I am finding out about all this.

Even if Honda paid for some of the cost, I am so disheartened that I would get rid of the car anyway! Should have listened to my inner voice and bought a Toyota instead.

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #243

Apr 152010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,400 miles

My 2003 Honda Accord 2Dr coupe V6 started shifting into gear hard and slipping out of gear. I took into be looked at and had the transmission flushed and a hose replaced in April 2010. I ran ok for about two weeks and then it started all over again. took it back in and had to replace the seals and a conditioner was put in on May 15, 2010, On Sunday May 18, 2010 the transmission locked up which also cause the engine to lock up...I bought the car almost 3 yrs ago and at 108,000 the transmission has gone bad. This is my first Honda and I got one because everyone swears that Honda is the best car. I really wish that i knew that the 2003 honda accords were known for transmission failure because i would gone with something else. The part that I am most pissed about is that i still have 2 yrs to pay on this car. I will be contacting Honda and I really hope that they cooperate and fix the transmission.

- , Atlanta, GA, US

problem #242

Jun 172010

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Same as the rest, 2003 Accord Vg. bought it "new" used in 2007. I've had it 3 years and it's been a dream. Last week all the lurching, engine light on, drive light flashing, can't get it above 20mph, no reverse, almost had accidents, etc. happend to my horror. I treated that car like gold. Long and short, I took mine to Immke Honda in Columbus they tried fixing part and then advised it was whole transmission. They are working with Honda and have it at 25% Honda will cover. My price tag is $2000.00. My dealership is taking great care of me though. I'm horrified at Honda.

- , Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #241

May 262010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I have owned this car for about 2.5 years. Since purchasing, I have had it in the shop numerous times for hesitations which were never able to be diagnosed. It finally almost totally stopped running and when I took it in they told me that the ERG valve was bad and could have been causing the problem all along. Of course this was not covered under the warranty. The warranty cost a little under 2000 and I have never had one thing under the warranty go bad. Now the transmission has gone and I am a few thousand miles over the warranty. I am told that there is a defect in this transmission model because the filters cannot be replaced. There is no way to fix the transmission, and it would have to be replaced with a factory rebuilt or somelthing like that. The mechanics that have told me this also state that the warranty on the manufacture warranty is only 36 months and it will probably last much after that. I am discusted with this car and would like to get rid of it, but who wants a car with a bad transmission. Otherwise it is in great condition, motor runs like a champ.

- , Palmyra, VA, USA

problem #240

Jun 112010

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,177 miles

It happened on my way to work on a Friday morning. The light had just turned green and I took my foot off the brake and gave it some gas. The rpm shot up to 5000 yet I remained at 25km/h. I thought I had accidentally floored the gas pedal. When I let go of the gas, rpm fell to 1000 in an instant and my car would jerk. I jerked my way through an intersection and into a side street. Thank god I wasn't on the highway like some of you but I was shaking I was so scared. I had 158,000km so well over warranty. Honda quoted $3800cdn and an independent mechanic $2100. I'm surprised like all of you that there hasn't been a recall and I wouldn't be surprised if there will ever be one. I'm thinking of doing a trade now but not for another Honda.

- , Markham, ON, Canada

problem #239

Jan 142010

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

my car has started shaking while accelerating like at 30 or 35 when i let off gas it stops

- , Mimi, FL, USA

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