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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,116 miles
Total Complaints:
125 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (46 reports)
  2. not sure (37 reports)
  3. rebuild transmission (16 reports)
  4. dealer claims there isn't a problem (10 reports)
  5. honda is replacing the tranny with a rebuilt at no charge (8 reports)
  6. dealer replaced with a refurbished transmission (3 reports)
2003 Honda Accord transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 4 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Apr 012010

Accord LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles


after seeing all the other 03 accord v6 this has to be a design issue. Not sure what to do - it started slipping this morning and won't be able to have honda deal with it for a week or so. how much has it cost other to get a rebuilt tranny? and if so what was the warranty on the new one?

- , Highland, NY, USA

problem #64

Feb 252010

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

tranny came out of gear trying to execrate out of clover leaf next to semi-truck Honda America says it is are problem seems to be pretty common and very unsafe

- , St Paul, MN, USA

problem #63

Feb 142010

Accord EX 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My 2003 Accord keeps slipping out of gear. Trying to contact Honda Customer Service. Will be back in touch.

- , California, MD, USA

problem #62

Nov 162009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles


The Rpm's have been going crazy.

I have had the transmission fluid completely changed. Worked for about 3 weeks. Had the fluid flushed again on the advise of the Honda Dealer. It worked about 50 miles and started again. Now they say I need a transmission. This is the 3rd Honda I have had and was always pleased. This one I bought with the intention of keeping it a long time because of the advertisement by Honda that it can easily go a couple hundred thousand miles. Now I read about all the recalls on the V6 2003 Honda accords transmissions. I never received such a notice. I expect an answer to this.

- , Clayton, NY, US

problem #61

Dec 182009

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

click to see larger images

transmission slips out of gear

my car downshifted violently on the highway and the rpms went through the roof. then it shifted terribly hard once warmed up. i brought it to the Honda dealer here as soon as possible and now its over a month and it still isnt fixed

- , Paradise, Newfoundland, Canada

problem #60

Oct 012009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,500 miles

I have owned Honda cars since 1992. I now own two Hondas that I purchased new. I love(d) the product UNTIL a couple of months ago. My '03 Accord V6 with 48K miles on it... the transmission began to slip. I had no extended warreenty on it and I have driven the car for 5 years. The car ran fine, but when shifting 2nd to 3rd it would slip. I went to my dealer and they confirmed the problem and said it would cost $4,200.00 to replace the transmission. I was ripped! Several days later they follwed up with me with "good news." Mr. Griffin, Honda has agreed to cover 75% of the cost of replacing transmission. It will now cost you about $800.00." I was psyched! $800 is a lot better than $4,200. A few days later I was pissed again! I felt as if I was being played.

Tell the Honda owner a BIG # and then call a couple of days later with the "good news." If they were willing to pay 75% without me asking for it they should yake care of the whole thing. It's a HONDA for crying out loud!! There is a reason why we Honda owners invest in them. They last forever!

I completed the repaire with the dealer and took my lumps. As an after thought I googled '03 Accord V6 transmission problems and that's how I found all of you. So HONDA made a clunker and they refuse to admut it!

My 20 years of loyalty is OVER! My three young boys will NEVER own a Honda! We all make mistakes at times, but for HONDA to run and hide is pathetic imo.

I have an '03 V6 ACCORD New Transmission Warentied for 36K miles New front discs and breaks Fairly New Tires Leather

I think I'm ready to sell before THIS transmission craps out too!

- , Hopkinton, MA, USA

problem #59

Nov 292009

Accord EX-V6 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles


I was driving my 2003 Honda Accord EX-V6 on a busy highway at approx. 50 mph. Suddenly, the car began to shift gears on its own and jerked violently. Luckily, I was able to pull off to the shoulder. The engine and TCS indicators came alight. The "Drive" indicator began to flash. The Honda dealer estimated about $3,800 to replace the transmission. I contacted American Honda for assistance and after 30 days of back-and-forth with American Honda, I was told that Honda would only consider whether to pay for any part of the repair after I had incurred the cost of repair myself. American Honda was unwilling to commit to a repair or acknowledge that the same transmission problem has been reported by other 2003 Honda Accord drivers on this website and others. They also did not seem to care that American Honda has just recently settled a class action lawsuit connected to transmission problems in prior model year Accords.

I have had problems with my Honda for many years, but the transmission problem is the worst and most dangerous. In purchased the car in Fall 2002. In early 2003, I had to replace the 6-disc CD changer. A second replacement of the CD changer was required again in 2004, and a third that same year. The electrical system required repair in the early years of ownership. I've replaced the master cylinder. And now, a transmission failure. The customer service department of American Honda has been consistently unhelpful and unsympathetic.

I have maintained my Honda Accord meticulously, with all service being performed on time and only at Honda dealerships. My Accord is the first and last my first and last Honda purchase.

Please consider filing an online complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #58

Nov 232009

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I was a walking Honda Commercial ... Now I am a walking warning. I am serious, I made fun of people for buying the traditional American brands because they all have serious problems. How embarrassing when i had to tell them my Honda turned out to be a POS transmission failing junk.

Whats more Honda would not fix it. Not addressing perpetual problems like this is how GM dug its grave. Honda gave me a 40% discount off the 3900$ quote. (personally I believe the quote is a method for manipulating game to manage expectations and make the customer feel they got "better")

I used to be a walking Honda commercial... But than I had this issue, and honda drops the ball. I bought this car so that I had a quality vehicle, I actually just bought an 06 Acura TL and planned on replacing this Accord with an Acura MDX/RDX but since this incident my next vehicle will likely be a Lexus.

Honda could have covered this repair... at a minimal cost. Instead they will pay with the loss of 160k in revenue in the loss of future sales. I convinced my mother to buy a new TL just a few days ago, she is selling her current CTS in preparation, but after this experience I told her to head to the Lexus and Audi dealer.

I was a walking Honda Commercial ... Now I am a walking warning.

- , Concord Twp., OH, USA

problem #57

Nov 032009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Ok, bought my wife's Honda Accord Ex V6 brand new in 2003. The car ran like a dream until the wife reported at slow speeds the car would stall (high rpms, no acceleration). So we took to local mechanic and sure enough he said transmission issue and quoted us $4,000 with 1 year warranty (car is out of warranty and has 115K). Ouch! Took a test drive yesterday and around an S curve (15 mph) car would not accelerate and kept revving until I coasted through the curve. Ok, problem is worsening and worried now about high speeds with wife and kids in it.

I did a Google search to see if there was a recall and this site was first and spot on but no recall. I haven't taken the car to the local Honda dealer yet over this issue (usually take my car to local mechanic) but I know these guys are going to milk me.

I next called American Honda at 1-800-999-1009 and ask them for "goodwill repairs" per what some posters here did. The guy who answered was nice but did not give me answers on how many of these type of calls were coming in or if they could assist me with the repairs. He basically said the local dealer would need to address this. I got my case number and hung up.

So then I found Stamell & Schager law firm on this site and called 1-212-566-4356 . The lady was very nice and she said they have received hundreds of calls about the transmission problem. She also said for us to do the following below and to document everything.

Steps: 1. Take car to local Honda dealer to diagnose and report problem. 2. They will either give us 2 options: Give us discount for repairs or we pay out of pocket. 3. Call American Honda and ask them to pay for it. 4. If Honda is not going to pay for it all, then submit documentation to law firm for possible pursuit of law suit.

In any case, I will be doing the steps above and hope for the best. However, I am extremely disappointed in Honda. Honda used to be "the" brand and I love their cars but I just wish they would admit this problem and issue a recall so I would have peace of mind.

- , Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #56

Oct 162008

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have the same transmission problem like everyone else described here for my 2003 Accord V6. It's the top of the line Honda I got back in the days, but the reliability has been just killing me.

I have mentioned this occasional gear slipping to the local dealer here at San Jose many times, but they never admit the problem and always claimed "nope, can't reproduce it" even on my 60,000 miles service. I have found a "way" to neutralize the issue by switching back to N then to D4 again. However this is real dangerous as this could happen anytime and the car is just not moving when the Rev is shooting up.

Not too long ago, the Engine light came up. Nice. I am freaking tired of Honda and no wonder Toyota is #1 instead of Honda at US.

Update from Jul 28, 2010: Right now there have been 375 cases reported at NHTSA. Check out:

Let's keep being persistent to pursue this. Anyone has good plan to bring this further please update.

- , Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #55

Aug 242009

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


Car started getting kicks after moving from traffic signal. D light blinks. Called Honda care center but no luck, I need to pay from my pocket. Its my first car and I thought I'd go for Honda, as its the best automaker, but now I think they are not best. My next car definitely will not be a Honda.

- , Roswell, GA, USA

problem #54

Sep 282009

Accord ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,500 miles

On 09/28/09, I driving my 2003 Honda Accord traveling at approximately 70 MPH in a high traffic Highway, when my transmission started slipping. I noticed my RPM gauge spike up to 4,000 RPMS. The car felt like it was in neutral and would not move. I safely merged to the shoulder and attempted to get help with negative results. After the vehicle cooled down I was able to placed it in gear and drive it to a safer location. I inspected the transmission oil and noticed it was black in color and it had a bad smell to it. I had my transmission oil flushed and changed with Honda approved oil. I had the same problem of transmission slipping when I had approximately 75,000 miles on my vehicle. I changed the transmission oil with Honda approved transmission oil and the problem seemed to go away with a few slips know and then.

On this date after changing the transmission oil I was able to drive it for approximately 35 miles before I began to notice the same problems. On this date the transmission was at it's worst with constant slipping, down shifting, and jerking. I learned that when the transmission oil cooled down I was able to drive the car for several miles and the problem would start again. I did this a few times until I drove my family out of harms way. I eventually had the car towed to my house.

Seems like I am not the only one. Honda knows they had a problem with the recall I just read about but never received.

- , Salinas, CA, USA

problem #53

Aug 252009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Like everyone else, the transmission slipped out of gear on the FWY at high speeds. After that, it wouldn't get past 2nd gear. I called Honda and they said to take it to the dealer but they would not likely help with the fix. I called the dealer and they said they had never heard of the problem... TOTAL BS!!!!!! I took the car in for the recall back in 2004 but they said they simply adjusted something and that replacing the transmission was not required. I believed them and here I am. The shop that replaced my transmission said I was lucky to get past 100k miles with the original transmission. I was hoping that the car would last forever but thats not likely. This WILL be my last Honda. Engine is great but transmissions are horrible. If I'm paying 20-30k for a NEW car, I need everything to be great (Toyota).

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #52

Aug 242009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,206 miles

After reading all the other complaints on this same issue, I'm now very concerned. I bought my 2003 Accord used in April 2009. It had 142000 kms on it. I started noticing the slipping and revving a few weeks ago (near 150000 kms). I'm taking it into a transmission shop to have it checked out as I'm not impressed with the local Honda service centre.

I called asking to get the maintenance information on my car and was told that because I didn't bring it there for service, that they couldn't tell. I'm explained to the service lady that maybe she could enter my VIN number in her system and it would list all the service that has been done at Honda. She seemed surprised that she could do that. She told me the brakes had been done in Nov 08. I'm guessing these are the same Honda brakes that spew black dust on to my front rims.

I've always been a big fan of Honda cars having had 2 previous Accords (new 1992 standard transmission and then traded it in for a used 1998 automatic in 2002). Great cars, never had any problems. Sold that one in 2006 as I was in a car pool to get to work and didn't need the 2nd car.

Now I needed a 2nd car and went back to my trusted Honda Accord. It's becoming quite apparent that I will regret this decision for a long time.

- , Sudbury, ON, Canada

problem #51

Aug 162009

Accord LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,800 miles

I have a 2003 Honda Accord and I have never had a problem with it until now.Like everyone else on this site had my transmission go out on me. My car has less than 58,000 miles on it. I love that everyone at Honda acts as if this is new problem that they have never heard of before...???? I was going to work when this happened to me and I have to suffer through this.Hopefully something can be done.So far the dealer agreed to cover 75% of the 3600$.

- , Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #50

May 012008

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,700 miles

Same slipping as everyone else, got stranded on the freeway. Towed to Aamco, $2500 rebuild, been back 6 times with slipping now during the 2yr/24,000 mile warranty Aamco gave me.

- , Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #49

Jan 222009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I have a 2003 Honda Accord and I have never had a problem with it until now....I, like everyone else on this site had my transmission go out on me. I am now out of pocket $1,600 and my cay has less than 60,000 miles on it. I love that everyone at Honda acts as if this is new problem that they have never heard of before. I will be sure to call the lawyer's information listed below on this site. Hopefully something can get done. I was on I-95 when this happened to me and I have never been more fearful of my life. No one else should ever have to suffer through this.

- , Derwood, MD, USA

problem #48

May 252009

Accord EX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I bougt an extended warranty from Consumer Direct Warrantee Service last November which went into effect December it cost me $1798. Covers the ransmission foor a max of $2500.00. I hhad a problem with the trans slip on the highway and bang into gear a few times but then seemed to stop. Then it lost third gear completely so i called CDWS who told me to bring it to a mechanic or a transmission shop. i asked them if the local Aamco was ok they said yes. Aamco called CDWS to report the claim because they said there was internal transmission failure. It took a week for them to come down and a few more days to tell us that they are not paying the claim because it was a piston seal that caused the problem with a spring broken and a cracked clutch drum. The reason they would not pay was because the drum was not leaking according to their test. Aamco told me that the inspector was on a mission to discredit the claim and to have another inspector come out. CDWS initially refused to send out another inspector but they finally said that the expense was on us and they sent out another inspector a week and a half later. The second inspector seemed to agree with Aamco but again they discredit the claim saying that the drum had a slight crack and the internal part of the drum had a broken spring and piston seal and again they discredited the claim. Originally Aamco wanted an excess of $4000 plus tax to repair the transmission. Since i had to pay for it and they charged me $700 to take the transmission down and put it back together i was already out that and i tried to get a better price elsewhere. The outside prices ranged from $2200 to $3100 plus tax and they would have paid the tow to their shop plus the $700 I was already out. I haggled with Aamco and after a few more days got the price to $3000 including the $700 so begrudgingly I allowed them to do the repair they told me 2 days but I just got the car back last Saturday which is a month after the trans failure. I have called Honda and they told me that there was no recall and i did not have a Honda extended warranty and since it was already in another shop the point was moot. A rebuilt trans from Honda according to Aamco cost them $2100 which they would charge $3100 PLUS $700 labor plus tax.and would cost beyond $4000 and I did not have that kind of money in fact $3000 tapped me out. It is strange to note that the TCS light was flashing 3 or 4 months prior to failure and I did bring it into Ray Price Honda in East Stroudsburg who I paid to fix the TCS problem and they claimed it was because of the aftermarket wheels that were on the car when I bought it which made no sense because those wheels were on the car at least 2 years without any TCS light problem. It seems evident that this problem was an earlier indication of transmission failure but was not diagnosed by Honda. I am amazed that there are now 180 complaints on this exact vehicle from Honda and the fact that in 2004 Honda updated the drum to a newer design. Aamco said that the old drum design which I had has a bad weld on it that caused the failure and developed the crack. The drum which Aamco initially said cost about $200 caused this failure but no one is listening and I believe that Honda should be the subject of a Class Action Lawsuit because of all of these failures with cars with the old drum design. I have had great luck with my 1998 Honda Accord 6cyk which has over 250,000 miles and the original transmission, exhaust, and engine. The engine runs quiet tick free and flawlessly with full power. The 2003 has had electrical problems with the door locks, dashboard error lights and now the complete transmission failure of the 3rd gear the problem everyone else has gotten.

- , Bloomfield, NJ, USA

problem #47

Jun 132009

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

So, I really thought I was the only person with this problem. I called American Honda and talked a very soft spoken gentlemen who was very nice and said due to my mileage he could not help but the next best solution would be too contact the Service Manager.

I contacted the service manager and explained to him that if he gave me 2500 as a down payment I would be more than happy to buy another accord. Although I might be regretting this idea as it sits more and more in head. But we shall see. The service manager explained to me that he would call me back with an update since I've been going to the same Honda dealer for 10 years. I had a civic which I took and now my accord.

I don't know if he will want to do the deal but I know I will be contacting the law offices to file a formal complaint. I don't know what it's going to take for someone to die before they realize it's a hazard. I guess most people don't really care only if it's their car.

- , Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #46

May 292009

Accord LX 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Dealer is trying to get some compensation for me on this since I asked, but they're telling me it's $3500 to fix. I'll see what they come back with before I rant too much, but it's very disappointing. File a complaint if you've had problems, too at , and hopefully we can get something done about this!

- , Delta, OH, USA

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