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:
94,560 miles
Total Complaints:
126 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (46 reports)
  2. not sure (38 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 7 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #6

Nov 152006

(reported on)

Accord EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


While driving on the highway (70mph) at night, in the passing lane, 40 miles from home - the transmission clunks and drops to a lower gear and the engine revs to 5000+ RPMS and drops speed as if I slammed on the brakes. Besides almost being rear ended, I pull over, and the car will not shift to a higher gear - forcing me to go 35- 40 mph on the freeway, at night with the emergency flashers on. We get home, reverse no longer works and I take the car to the Honda dealer. Now this car had the recall done (they did not replace the tranny, did the other fix) and has 93000 highway miles on it. Dealer now states that the tranny is fine, there was very little transmission fluid in it. I ask "where did it go" , I just had the oil changed there 3000 miles ago, and you are supposed to check all that... they see no leaks, I have seen no fluid... and they have no answer - just that it is shifting and working fine now. This car also had a rear main seal leak a year ago that required the transmission to be removed - that Honda split the cost on repair 50-50. Based on other reports here, I think that there is an issue with the 2003 Accord transmission, or just a surprise at 80-90K miles for others as they approach what should be the half life of a Honda product. I have lost confidence in this car -- if you can't get the transmission right all the other things are pretty minor- I think its time for a return to the American car companies... they have taken their lumps, it now could be Honda's turn.

- , Northville, MI, USA

problem #5

Sep 242006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 98,000 miles

My wife is trying to make her way back home from Fresno and the car is slipping out of gear bad enough to make her pull to side and drive down the shoulder, We took the car last week to the local Honda fix it shop and they just flushed the transmission fluid and sent me on my way. Needless to say It didn't work. Does anyone have any ideas.... If she makes it home tonight.

- , Livermore, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 212006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 91,000 miles

My Accord has been slipping out of gear for about 6 months. When it first started happening, it was rare and I took it to the dealership. They said they couldn't look at it unless I could recreate it. In the last few weeks, it has been happening much more often so I took it to a local transmission shop (I really didn't think it would be a serious problem). They told me the 3rd gear was almost completely shot and I needed a new transmission. I'm hoping Honda will cover it, I am taking it back to the dealership next week. The first time I had it at the dealership I had 80,200 miles on the car and they said the transmission warranty covered up to 80,000 miles.

- , Whitewater, KS, USA

problem #3

Aug 132006

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 55,000 miles


From time to time slips out and back in to third gear.

- , Lancaster, CA, US

problem #2

Nov 162005

(reported on)


  • 50 miles

car had problems from day one, slips out of gear, gear shift sticking, riding rough. Dealer claims this is how it is supposed to work and won't even put it on the lift to examine the transmission.

- , None, NJ, USA

problem #1

Feb 162005

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 70,000 miles

at low speed and in low torque situations the automatic transmission seems to slips out of gear. I have been able to get it back in gear by putting it in 1st to continue my trip. . So far the dealer can not find any problem. Has this happened to anyone else ? Honda did not indicate that this is a reported or known problem.

- , Saugerties, NY, USA

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