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 16 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #198

May 012009

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


Why is Honda doing nothing when so many people are experiencing a transmission problem on the V6 autos? Seriously, you would think they would step up and offer a solution as more and more complaints arise. The car has been good to this point but unless Honda does something for their customers with regard to this matter, I will never buy a Honda again.

- , Danbury, CT, USA

problem #197

Jun 062007

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

Well as you may know, Honda Motor Company consistently advertises how reliable their vehicles are and all scheduled maintenance would help to ensure that. Back in 2004, I received a recall letter stating that 2003-04 Accords V6 models are at risk of a transmission failure in the 2nd gear; that all owners should bring their vehicles in the local dealership ASAP for inspection. So I did, no problems supposedly there were no problems found with my transmission, but they install oil jet kit. In 2007, I begin having problems with my vehicle not changing into 2nd and 3nd gear properly. So as always, I scheduled a service diagnostic appointment with my dealership. I was advised that I needed a new throttle body; which would cost me about $500.00 to replace. During that time, I didn’t have that kind of money, so I waited for a few months until I was able to afford to have the repairs done. I called my Honda Dealership to reschedule an appointment. I was told by the Honda advisor, that I should have another diagnostic test done to make sure it was my throttle body. I agreed, but in the back of my mind, something was telling me they really wasn’t sure what was wrong the first time and wanted to assure themselves at my cost of another $40. The Honda Service advisor told that they were wrong a few months back and it wasn’t my throttle body that needed replacing; it was my transmission( test drove and transmission is slipping/flaring in 2nd, 3rd gears and ATF Fluid was burnt) which would cost about $3,500 to replace. At that point, I remembered that back in 2004, I receive a recall notice for a 2003-04 model transmission failures. I spoke with the service ad visor concerning the recall and how it would apply towards my problem. Of course to keep the cost off of Honda, he told me that it was different type of transmission failure; which was not related to the recall. At that point, I requested to speak with the Honda dealership service manager. I explain the issue to him, as well as how the vehicle was only six years old. I had all of my schedule services and maintenance done at their dealership, and plus I paid an additional $1,850 for an extended warranty on top of the $32,750 for the car. He said that the warranty, obliviously had expired and the recall would not apply. He also advised me the only thing Honda Motor Company would do, was to give me a 25% off of the total cost for replacement and Installation of the transmission which would be around $2500. I called Honda Corporate Center they said they could not offer me a Good service repair because of my mileages. At this point, my outlook on Hondas’ has changed indefinitely; I no longer have that reliable confidence in their vehicles. At this point, I would never again make another investment in a Honda Vehicle. I hope People can get together soon and file a big law suit against Honda... They have the attitude now like "we got you money for car, so we don't give a dam what wrong with it now whether or not it was our fault or not"... PLEASE GUYS I THINK IN THIS CASE A LAWSUIT IS NECESSARY....... I see hundreds of people who is having this same problem with the 2003 Honda Accord V6.......

- , Musella, GA, USA

problem #196

Oct 192009

Accord EXL 2.4L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,769 miles

I was driving my car on the highway at 60mph a week ago and all of sudden while accelerating to pass another car, the RPM simply went up to the redline as if I was in neutral. So I let go of the pedal and kept on driving at the same speed. I tried once more and this time it was fine, the car accelerated and everything was normal. I thought it was a minor "bug" or such that happened. I took my exit and got and after bringing the car to a complete stop, I tried to accelerate off the intersection and the car wouldn't pass the 3rd gear. I drove around in the neighborhood and I couldn't go above 15mph, the transmission kept slipping / working like crap. Next morning I called Honda Canada (my car is out of warranty) and asked them if there was any recalls on my car or any known problems with the transmission (I looked up the problem before calling, and was hoping for a "goodwill deal"). The Honda rep on the phone said there were no recalls whatsoever for my car at the moment and denied that the transmissions were problematic.

Next morning I got in my car, same problem, so what I did is I took it to this independent transmission garage and had them look at my car. Turns out that the mechanic over there was actually doing all the transmission jobs from my local Honda dealer and he knew exactly what the problem was. Apparently he receives a lot of automatic Honda Accord and Civics from the dealer, one or 2 every single week. He did a transmission rebuild for a cost of 1340$ USD (1450$ CDN) and my car is working fine now. I didn't even go to the dealer, knowing they would have charged me much more than that

But seriously, what a piece of crap car that is! I got 167 000km on it and I drive the car like a granny every time. My ex-girlfriend's 1990 Accord had 350 000kms on it and the transmission was fine... I bought this Honda because I wanted a bulletproof car that would be reliable. Turns out it's the less reliable car I've ever owned. Oh and yes my CD player backlight is fried like so many. I should have stayed with Toyota!

- , Repentigny, Quebec, Canada

problem #195

Oct 112009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


I bought my 03 accord used (43,000miles) with an extended warranty. Lucky I got it because at 65,000 miles my gears were slipping and almost blew up my engine from the redlining. I took it to the dealer and they diagnosed the problem. the transmission is slipping. They said that there is recall to install a jet kit in the transmission but if the gear were damaged, they had to replace it. Originally they said that the transmission would fail at about 40,000 miles so mines was expected. Well I got this tranny replaced at 65,000 miles so I was like yes!!! lucky I got that warranty or else I'd have pay over $3,000 because they said my VIN did not qualify for the recall (Bull S**T)!!!

Now I am at 115,000 miles and guess what? 1st and 2nd is slipping or not grabbing. I had a transmission fluid change out in march of '09 and when I pulled out the dip stick out today, it is black. SO THE TRANNY IS ONLY 50,000 MILE. I think we should not pay for this poor quality tranny. this is going to be my second transmission and I am not going to want to expect this every 40-50,000 miles. there has got to be a suit or honda better pay their engineers more to come up with a better one and replace it with nothing out of our pockets. Or better yet convert my car to a manual. I am calling honda corperate today and tell them what going on and tell if i change this transmission its going to be my second in the period of 50,000 miles.

- , Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #194

Aug 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Hate Honda customer service - what service? They know it is a problem with lots of these cars, but they will not admit it and fix it at no cost to customer.

Do they expect me to buy Honda again? they must be dreaming!

- , Voorhees, NJ, USA

problem #193

Sep 122009

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,294 miles

Transmission failed at 60,294. Brilliant Honda in Crystal Lake, IL said I needed a rebuilt replacement and quoted me a price of $3,875. They said it would come with a 12 month/ 12000 mile warranty. I complained and mentioned the class action suit against Honda at Stamell & Schager. The service manager said he will call American Honda to see if they would offer any assistance. Three days later he said Honda said Honda would absorb the cost of the transmission and I only had to pay for labor. This amounted to $1,087. In addition they said Honda extended the warranty on the rebuilt transmission to 36 months or 36,000 miles. I still went ahead and filed a compliant with Stamell & Schager since $1,087 is a lot of money to me and having a transmission fail at 60,000 miles of easy driving is absurd given Honda's reputation.

- , Barrington, IL, USA

problem #192

Jul 232009

Accord 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


I purchased a 2003 Honda Accord from Lynnwood Honda. A couple weeks afterward I noticed my car started shifting hard. Now it is like it is slipping. It is very annoying. I heard a rumor that the manufacturer extended the warranty on these vehicles this year. Is this true? If so, how do I go about getting it replaced at only installation? Please let me know if anyone can find out. My Mother and I purchased the exact same type cars same year and make and model within a two week period and both of us are having the same issues. We both do not have any extended warranty on our vehicles. We purchased them as is.

Shaun Smith

Everett, WA

- , Everett, WA, USA

problem #191

Jul 312009

Accord 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

I purchased a used 2003 Honda Accord from a dealership. I did not have any warranty on the car. I wanted a Honda because I heard they run forever and are reliable cars. I purchased as is. The following day after I purchased it I noticed it shifting kind of rough. I didn't think anything about it because I traded in my Mustang Convertible and I thought I just might be pushing the gas a little harder then I should. Well, a week goes by and it gets worse. It got to the point of when I pushed on the gas pedal it would not move and the RPMs would go up. Then I let off the gas and pushed again and it would go forward. I called a transmission shop and they told me that the manufacturer extended the warranties on those make and model of cars for the transmissions. I called the local Honda dealership and he said "Oh, no not the 2003s its the 2001s". You will have to pay approximately 3500 for a new transmission. I don't have that kind of money. I just bought this car. You shouldn't run into this when you just get a car. I don't know what to do. This is ridiculous. I recently lost my job and I don't have any money to pay for this. This is not fair. The model is a 3.0L VTec V6.

- , Everett, WA, USA

problem #190

Jan 152009

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

At 155,000 miles, I was driving about 60 MPH on highway and suddenly the transmission started to vibrate very roughly, speed immediately dropped. I exited to feeder road, and can never drive the car other than at gear D1 or D2. The engine light went on. It was Saturday night. On Monday, I took the car to GoodSon Honda dealer on north I-45 close to exit FM 1960 in Houston. At the end of the day, they told me that I need to have the solenoid replaced before they can further diagnose. I agreed. Then in the course of 3 days, they ended up telling me that the only option is to replace the transmission and the cost is $2,700 for replacement; however, I had to pay $580 for the solenoid replaced I agreed earlier. So after 4 days my car was kept in the shop (and they did not bother provide free car loan as their advertisement flies all around), they charged me $580 and the state of my car when I drove into the dealer is the same as when I picked it up; that is, I could not drive at any gears except D1, D2.

I then brought my car to AACO transmission. They fixed that and charge me $2,500 for replacing the torque converter and clutches. They said it is "re-condition" or "overhaul" the transmission. I paid extra $300 for 36K warranty.

I then drove for another 15K Ok, then the engine light went on. I brought it back to AACO, and charged me $90 and said the problem is the Engine Throttle body and the steering rack, not the transmission.

I then had the engine throttle body and the steering rack replaced; however, after that, the engine light does not go off. Instead, the TCS lights comes on and off.

On 09/18/2009, I brought the car to John Eagle Honda on 290 close to FM 1960 in Houston. They scanned and gave a quote P0741 Torque Converter Clutch stuck off. The cost is $75. I then brought my car back to AACO transmission; by the way, it is located on Veteran Memorial, between West Rd and HWY 249. The store manager is David. I am upset because the last time I brought my car there when the engine light went on, he told me it was engine throttle body and steering rack and charged me $90. Now the problem is proven to be transmission, but he does not show he wants to stand by the warranty that I paid the extra $300 for.

After, Honda Accord EX V6 2003 is great except the transmission. It sucks. Also, I now doubt that the mechanics at Honda dealer are skilled or good at all. I think they are mediocre or average people.

If you live in Houston, and if you think about bringing your car to a Honda dealer, consider John Eagle Honda first. That is the only place worth bringing your car to.

In addition, always buy 36K warranty for transmission rebuild.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #189

Aug 042009

Accord 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Transmission failed at 88,000 and replaced at my Honda dealership for $2600.

Didn't know this was such a common complaint or I would have harassed my dealer for a better price. After I had the transmission replaced my check engine light went on, of course half way to my destination for vacation. It's been in the shop for 3 days and they can't figure out whats wrong. First they said it was the oxygen sensor (already replaced once at 65,000). Now they are checking the computer. What the hell happened to Honda? I've had 7 Honda's and this is the first one with problems. Is this company going downhill?? Looks like I'm buying Toyota's from here on out.

- , Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #188

Jun 202009

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles


I was fortunate - but the whole thing still bothers me. I took my car in b/c it wouldn't move forwards or backwards. I was told I needed to replace the transmission - completely. I was IN SHOCK and PISSED OFF. I bought the car new. I paid a little extra to get the extended warranty to get me to 100k miles as opposed to the 60k mile warranty they tried to push on me. (note: it was about $2 a month more - no brainer). I now had 102k miles so I was just over the warranty.

I started to complain - and then the girl looked something up and informed me that because of some class action lawsuit that Honda added an additional 5% to my warranty - so instead of 100k miles, it was now 105k miles and i was sitting there at 102k.

Again - I was relieved - but I'm still concerned that I bought a brand new honda - had all the required maintenance and it only got me 102k miles. I asked what the new warranty was - 12k miles - so now I'm concerned that what they replaced it with will fail after 13k miles.

- , Albany, NY, USA

problem #187

Aug 242009

Accord EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,263 miles

Actually, I just wanted to thank all of the Honda owners who took the time to post this valuable info! I almost bought a 2003 V6 EXL with only 131,000 km. I presently own a VW Golf which had a transmission with a design flaw....a new one cost a ridiculous amount of money and endless grief and headaches as VW offered no support whatsoever. So thank-you for saving me from history potentially repeating itself! Although, to the best of my knowledge, the vehicle in question does not have an issue...YET. I'm not willing to go down that road when there are several more honourable auto manufacturers.

Good luck with your issues and the class action suit. More importantly, keep safe, something apparently is not at all concerned with.

R Mikelsons

- , Scarborough, ON, Canada

problem #186

Jun 132009

Accord SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles

My wife has a 2003 Honda Accord sedan and called me up one afternoon letting me know her car would rev up, but not go anywhere. Since her Uncle is a mechanic we took it to him and left it for a week. He said it seemed like a transmission problem and wouldn't be cheep. I decided to see about recalls and such on the internet and found this site wth the same complaints. still have yet to get it fixed, b/c of the cost and it only does this every once in a while. I figure I'll just baby it until I get it fixed or trade it in.

- , Glenpool, OK, USA

problem #185

May 202009

Accord 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Honda Accord Transmission went out at 85,000 miles. I filed a complaint against the local dealership that would do absolutely nothing to help. My complaint was filed with the BBB at

I recommend everyone do the same. BBB does sent a letter to the dealership and expects an answer.

good luck.


- , Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #184

Aug 192005

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

That was the first time the transmission went out, and avery green honda stated they contacted american honda, and stated they would take care of the transmission for me. they did and it last about another 2 years and 40000 miles complete failure so I brought it in to concord honda and they stated that avery green used my extented waranty instead of replacing with honda transmission. so they used the same company and exactly 2 years later and alittle over 40000 miles and failed again. i called honda and they would not take any responsibity.

- , Discovery Bay, CA, USA

problem #183

Jul 232009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

I was driving on the freeway, going approximately 65 mph when my Honda downshifted into second or third gear. It felt like I hit something or slammed on the brakes. My son and his girlfriend were in the back seat and they both screamed. The car skidded and luckily I was in the right lane and pulled off on to the shoulder and then off of the freeway. I then tried to drive slowly and turn the car around, but it would not go into reverse. My son and his girlfriend had to push me backwards, so I could turn around. My car would then not go past 3rd gear. I drove in 3rd gear with my emergency lights on to a place where I could have my car towed.

My car has been serviced exclusively at the Honda dealer where I purchased it and always early. I have never missed a service and only have 59,000 miles on my vehicle.

I called American Honda when I wasn't satisfied with what the dealer offered me, but American Honda wouldn't do anything more for me. They told me they would give me the warranty transmission price of $2,800.00 and they would pay 30% of it and I would be responsible for the other 70%.

I was a Honda lover. My last Honda Accord went over 200,000 miles. I now feel that I got a bad transmission and American Honda will not stand behind their cars. I am very disapppointed in American Honda.

- , Newbury Park, CA, USA

problem #182

Jul 302008

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,645 miles

Dealer first said it was battery. They replaced that charge $200.

Finally replaced tranny. Dealer paid half. Is there going to be

a class action suit so we can collect towing, charges, car rental?

- , San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #181

Jul 182009

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

I just bought this Honda Accord 2003 last September, September 9, 2008 to be exact and now I'm having transmission problems what the HELL this is such BULLSHIT !!!!!! It started with a family trip to Disney Land for our daughters birthday we were on the 5 towards L.A. when my car just dropped out of gear I was driving 65 then all of a sudden it was as if I was rear ended the car jolted back I looked in the window no one was there. Then I noiticed my car would not excellerate past 30 miles per hour but my RPMS were going off the chart. We had to get the car towed to Honda now they are telling me I need a new transmission sorry but that I looked up all of Hondas recall and sure enough 2003 Accord was there for what transmission failure now they are telling me I need a new transmission and it's going to be 5k yeah rite I'm gonna fight Honda on this because my car was deffective and now they need to fix it!!!!!

- , Campbell, CA, USA

problem #180

Jul 022009

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Same problem w/ the V6 transmission as so many other - revs way up and "maybe" shifts. Wife called in tears, she was driving down the road and the transmission locked up and car screeched to a halt. Took the car in to Honda dealer and they want $5K to replace the transmission. Repair work is 50% of cars blue book value - yeah, sure. Not sure what I'm going to do now - so much for Honda quality.

Update from Jul 12, 2009: So I drove my Accord out of the local Honda dealers and took it to a decent transmission shop. Diagnosis was that the torque converter had come apart inside the tranny and destroyed both pressure solenoids and covered the other 4 solenoids with clutch fluid. Both of the pressure solenoids had to be replaced but, the other 4 were salvageable. Total out the door for the repair was ~$2,750. That stung given the age/mileage of the car but, far better than the $5K the dealer wanted.

After getting the Accord back I promptly sold it - good riddance to bad rubbish.

- , Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #179

May 252009

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,253 miles

Problem - I have had with the 2003 Honda Accord transmission, and Honda Canada is refusing to provide any compensation whatsoever.

Here are the basic points: Our 2003 Honda Accord experienced major transmission failure on May 25, 2009 while traveling on the 401 highway. The extended warranty that we took was five years or 100,000 km, whichever came first. (However our vehicle had 68,000 km). The warranty ended only a few months ago, in December 2008. We took our car to a local Honda dealership to have our car diagnosed, and they said a new transmission was needed. Honda quoted a price of $4000 to fix the transmission, (which was out of my price range). We decided to take it to Mr. Transmission which was $2000. This vehicle had problems since the very early stages. In the first month of ownership, the car would not start one day. One month later, there were further problems: deteriorated 110199 VTEC solenoid seal, AC spool gasket, and O-ring. The Service Manager at the time informed us that it was "due to a manufacturing defect". One of the customer service reps asked me if I would consider compensation for the transmission alone. I responded that the labor cost was nearly as much as the transmission itself. However, when we spoke with him next, he said he had made a mistake and said that Honda would in fact NOT compensate us. When I mentioned that the 2003 Honda Accord Transmission found on the Web (Bad cars) was one big issue, the other Rep who accompanied Craig quickly claimed this was just a small percentage. This further frustrated and angered me because he basically explained that I got a substandard product after paying the same amount of money. Hence, this "small percentage" of customers who did not get a reliable and dependable automobile should be compensated for. I would gladly take a rebuilt transmission as compensation.

We are wondering if anybody able to offer us any advice with this matter

- , Kitchener, ON, Canada

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