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 6 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #398

Oct 282011

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles


This was my third Honda I have owned. Came from a family of Honda's. We always meticulously maintained them inside and out, all fluids change at proper intervals, timing belts always done, etc. Never had had ANY issues until the 2003 gems came out. Had my transmission replaced @ 134,000 miles after I almost crashed and burned on the highway. I slowed down from 65 going off the off ramp when the car started to buck and violently shake. pulled over and had it towed. The dealership and the Honda customer support where rude, basically telling me I could file for a goodwill adjustment if I faxed all the information to their HQ, but that the odds where slim to non, or none actually, and the guy on the phone laughed, that they would help cover repairs. I work in a huge complex with over 6000 people. a few people have had similar problems with Honda. I'm proud to say my family and I have switched to Toyotas. 2009 Camry's are very reliable.

- , Manchester, NH, USA

problem #397

Jun 112012

Accord EX-L 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,500 miles

I've been a loyal Honda owner for decades have owned 5 Accords '81,85,90,98,2003 an '85 Prelude and '09 Acura MDX. Up untill yesterday the '03 V6 was the best, I have maintained it only at the dealer with synthetic oil and by the book. Returned for all the recalls including the Transmission cooling problem. The tranny repair kit was placed in the car around 35,000mi. Yesterday the transmission failed as described in the other 394+ complaints. Sudden and violent downshifts, then locking in limp mode 2nd gear. Dealer says new tranny needed, $4,000 to fix. Honda is about to lose one of it's more faithfull customers. I can't count how many people I have encouraged to purchase Honda cars. This car recently has been driven by my 16 and 19yr old daughters, If this had happened to her on a slippery road or on the interstate I hate to think what would have happened to them. Honda talks about the longevity of their cars, engines running well over 200k but this problem is going to get someone killed.

- , Wexford, PA, USA

problem #396

May 152012

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Bought a 2003 Accord used at 89k miles, currently has about 125k miles. While driving the other day after accelatrating from a stop light, the car began to jerk and buck as if I was slamming on the brakes even though I wasn't, and I noticed a burning smell. Fortunately I was in a spot where I could pull over and traffic wasn't too close behind me, otherwise it could have been worse. Had the car towed to the garage where it was diagnosed as transmission failure, and will cost upwards of $2k to have fixed. Should have done better homework as this is apparently a common problem in these cars. Will not buy another Honda.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #395

May 012009

Accord ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,078 miles


called Honda for compassion repairs, they offered $500 towards repairs which i refused as they were fully aware the car came off the assembly line with transmission problems. I had proof of timely maintenance records. Will never buy another Honda in life and will continue to make as many aware of Honda,s shady products that will listen for the remainder of my life. Because of money i had to pay for the lemon that i purchased from them i will make sure they lose much more in sales that they might have made.

- , Lanham, MD, USA

problem #394

Apr 202012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have always taken meticulous care of my 2003 Honda Accord. New tires, regular oil changes, tune-ups, everything. I was nearly killed when my Accord slipped out of gear at high speed, coming to a complete standstill when it's momentum ran out. I took it to the local Honda dealer today. They called back to tell me it would need a new transmission and old quote me a price on Monday, 4/23/12.

- , Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #393

Apr 012012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Asked for a "goodwill repair" as you suggested. My situation matches exactly what you have described re widespread transmission problems - odometer under 70k (63K) ... This issue is not resolved yet.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #392

Apr 202012

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,586 miles


Obvious serious problem with this model's transmission...definite safety issue here. Honda doesn't seem to want to address the obvious transmission flaw built into this car.

- , Prairieville, LA, US

problem #391

Oct 222010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,396 miles

I am on the THIRD transmission on this car. The original failed at 65,000 miles. It simply gave out on a packed Dallas freeway. I managed to coast off the ramp and came to a stop in a bad, bad neighborhood at night. Triple A towed it to the dealer. It was replaced under extended warranty, yet replaced with ANOTHER bad transmission. This one failed in downtown Dallas in rush hour at 155k miles. I replaced it with a used 2004 transmission since the bloody, lying dealer said the problem was fixed in 2004. Wrong. My daughter has a 2004 Honda Accord V6, and her transmission failed at 150k.

My car now has 183k miles. Everything is fine but I just do not trust the transmission. This crappy company, Honda, sold me a car knowing it had a bad transmission. If I didn't buy the extended warranty, I'd have been out $3,000. But the second transmission was as bad as the first and THEY KNEW IT.

These are supposed to be reliable, high mileage cars. WRONG. The dealer's shop manager kept telling me it should last well over 200k. Forget it.

- , Dallas, TX, USA

problem #390

Apr 092008

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,737 miles

In October 2005, I purchased a 2003 Honda Accord EX V6. I am a single mom and rely on a teachers salary. I purchased a Honda because I previously owned three brand new Honda's, and every one of them ran perfectly, only requiring regular maintenance. However, in April of 2009 while driving to work, my car slipped out of gear and would not drive further. I had the car towed in to the dealer, where they told me I needed a new transmission. When I purchased the car, I purchased a warranty through Fidelity on the major components of the car. However, someone at Honda apparently "cancelled" that warranty. After a lot of back and forth and almost two weeks with no car, Honda finally replaced the transmission under the extended warranty. The cost was 2268.48, however, I didn't have to pay that. Fortunately, this was covered this time. Now, it has happened again on April 12, 2012, almost 4 years later, to the day. TRANSMISSIONS SHOULD NOT FAIL EVERY 4 YEARS!!!

- , Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #389

Sep 052010

Accord EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Do not buy 2003 or 2004 Hondas at all. There have been multiple models that have had transmission problems. Honda says they have fixed the problem with recalls, but ours went out for a second time in less than 2 years. Honda is not helpful at all with the situation, and the lady I talked to at the service dest was really rude. This problem does not only involve money, but safety too. We were driving down the highway in St. Louis, about 50 mph when the tranny locked up and we almost got hit. Had to have the car towed 3 hours back home to have it fixed (rebuilt). There have also been recent reports that new model Hondas are having tranny problems, might be time to consider letting go of the brand loyalty. Hondas are becoming sketchy vehicles, and they need to take the appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the individuals that who purchase their cars.

- , Springfield, MO, USA

problem #388

Feb 152012

Accord 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles


I called American Honda and was flatly denied. Stated that the recall was fixed on my car in 2004. What a joke! We are fourth generation Honda buyers, the whole family. But this incident has left a ugly taste in our mouths. SHAME ON YOU HONDA! ANYTHING TO SAVE A BUCK AND DESTROY YOUR IMAGE... I will do my business elsewhere, where is the quality you use to have?


- , Trevose, PA, USA

problem #387

Feb 232012

Accord Coupe 3.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 95,691 miles

I have a 2003 Honda Accord V6 6 gears with 155000km (95000miles) and i have to change my transmission. Looks like that's happen really often with these cars. Anyway apparently its gonna cost over 3000$ to change the transmission. I did a perfect maintenance on my Accord and the car still in mint condition except for the transmission!!! I'm not too happy with that and i dint get any answer from Honda and i send emails at 4 different occasion. Thats my history.

- , Whitehorse, Yukon, canada

problem #386

Mar 082012

Accord EX-L 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,561 miles

I purchased this car January 31st, 2012 approx 5 weeks ago under the assumption that Hondas were great cars and that this would be a nice reliable car for me for 90,000 more miles. What a huge bummer.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #385

Jun 012011

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

Bought brand new in 2003, never had a problem. Replaced the timing belt at 100k and never had an engine light come on. In 2011 with 176K on the car I was driving on the highway and transmission violently shifted into lower gears causing the car to skid and almost caused a very bad accident. This continued for about 3 miles until the car would not shift past 3rd gear. I got the car home and cost me $2800 to rebuild my transmission. No help from Honda.

- , Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #384

Feb 162012

Accord EX V

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

I just bought this 2003 Honda Accord and was my 1st Honda. I bought it for its so called reliability. Well after I personally put about 300 miles on it (had 151000) I was riding down the rode and my Transmission started to jump into 2nd gear violently jerking the car and almost causing an accident. The Tcs light was on and I pulled over to find out then that the car would not go into reverse or 3rd gear. Did some research found that this was a common problem with these cars, so I called Honda, they would not assist with anything. So I basically spent 6k on a car that I will never get to use because I cant afford a 5k transmission and I almost had a bad accident in the process. I am surely interested in a class action Lawsuit as I have never been more disappointed in my life with a purchase

- , Danville, VA, USA

problem #383

Feb 232012

Accord EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,324 miles

The transmission should have been replaced back in 2004 when the recall was issued. My transmission was deemed OK by the dealer and a oil cooler return line was installed. I truly believe that this procedure prolonged the misery that was inevitable. Car is currently at the dealership awaiting a cost determination from Honda!

- , Waretown, NJ, USA

problem #382

Nov 192010

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

History, bought the car from Schlossmann's Honda City in Milwaukee certified used with 50k miles. Mobil 1 Oil change every 4k miles, transmission fluid change every 12k miles. Transmission started to slip between 2nd into 3rd gear. Checked the fluid and it was dark. Took the car to Schlossmann's Honda City and they said the transmission needed to be replaced. Asked if they could do a goodwill repair since this is a common problem our these cars. They denied the request. Called Honda USA, they denied the request. So I am stuck with a car that slips from 2nd into 3rd gear.

DO NOT BUY A 2003 ACCORD V6, TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS. I for one will not buy Honda's anymore. If you look at all their automatic models (civic, accord, odyssey, etc), they have transmission problems.

- , Milwaukee, WI, US

problem #381

Jan 122012

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Car started downshifting on it's own regardless of speed. Sometimes just threw the car into neutral while driving. Also when breaking, my car would break suddenly as if I was slamming on the breaks. Took it to Honda, transmission failure. $4500 quote. Honda was willing to pay for $1100 of repairs. I am STILL very unhappy and taking it up further with Honda.

- , Union City, CA, US

problem #380

Feb 212012

Accord ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

For 2 days upon startup in the morning the transmission appeared to slip when shifting from reverse to drive. The third day at the speed of 50 mph I began to accelerate and found that here was no power. I backed off the gas pedal, tried again and got nothing. I downshifted and tried to accelerate once more. I felt the transmission slip into gear. For the next 5 miles it went in and out of gear and then NOTHING, no transmission at all. The car is now at the mechanic and we have to replace the transmission--unbelievable!!

- , Carmel, NY, USA

problem #379

Feb 062012

Accord V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,756 miles

Bummed out! $3700 to get a new transmission on a car that has a little over 100,000 miles on it.

- , Galena, OH, USA

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