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:
101,172 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (15 reports)
  2. replacement transmission (6 reports)
  3. replace transmission (2 reports)
  4. replace brake switch/solenoid (1 reports)
2003 Honda Accord transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #4

Oct 012008

Accord EX-L 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


I cannot believe the problems that the 2003 Accord is having. This is my family�s fourth Honda. We recently purchased a Honda Odyssey so we decided to sell the 2001 Accord EX-L V6 with 150k miles that did not give us an ounce or problems thinking that we would keep the 2003 since it was newer. Well logic was a waste on this because at 90000 miles if left as if the car had a slight drag which was not something that Honda saw as a problem, but at 93000 miles we were driving home about 40 miles an hour and it felt like someone had just deployed a parachute because the car downshifted to first and the tires screeched. Luckily we were less than two miles from home so we drove home VERY slowly and parked the car for a week because we did not have time to take it to the shop.

The day before we were going to take it into the shop I decided to take it out again so that I could try and pinpoint the problem so I could explain it to the technician. The first trip was to AutoZone where they did free codes scans and not one of them showed any transmission problems. Thinking that it was just a fluke, I went to three stores and had no problems and just as I was heading back home it happened. I went to back out of the parking space and the car would not go into reverse. I turned the car off and tried again with no luck. The car would not move but the engine would just rev and not catch gear. I tried this about three more times and luckily someone pulled out of the spot in front of me so I was able to just pull out. I got out of the shopping center and when I was going through a light the car did its air brake thing again and downshifted until first causing the tires to screech and cause the car to jolt. This time I was about 5 miles from home and had to stay under 20 miles an hour to keep the car from jolting.

Before heading off to bed I decided to search the web to see if anyone had reported anything similar when I came across this website where I was sad to learn that there were a lot of us with this problem. Honda should be ashamed of themselves to be in the top 10 worst cars. To be hones I am still having problems believing it since this is the first of four Honda�s that have given me ANY problems. This site helped me by providing the ammunition I needed to deal with my Honda dealer.

I contacted Honda Corporation after reading over the postings for transmission problems and asked if there were any outstanding recalls and I was told that the only recall outstanding was for a windshield wiper motor. I asked if there were any transmission issues and I was told that it had been resolved in September which was five months before I purchased it off lease. I explained the problems that I was having and I was told to take it into a local dealer.

Due to my work schedule I had to do a night drop off and I left a VERY lengthy explanation of the problems that I was having. Needless to say it was a VERY long drive because I stopped about 50 times to let the car cool and I had to keep it at a slow pace.

I received a call the next day stating that it was transmission failure and that I would need to have it replaced. I paused and asked if I needed to call Honda Corporation and I was told that they would do it on my behalf and that they would give me a call the next day. The next day came and I was quoted $1595 for my half. I grudgingly consented and my car was ready the next day. I drove it home with no problems but two days later and under a hundred miles��.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #3

Jun 022008

Accord EX Coupe 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

After dealership replaced transmission, key gets stuck in ignition and gear is stuck in park. Have to take key out, put in gear release lever (near gear stick), shift to neutral, take key out, put back in ignition, start car, then move from Neutral to Drive or Reverse, then go. Dealer says it's a brake indicator malfunction...that my car is not realizing it's in park and therefore won't release the key. Repair: $300. Didn't have this problem until tranny replaced. My thought is that they didn't make the proper adjustment after the tranny replaced and my gears are not fitting correctly into their slots.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #2

Jul 062006

(reported on)

Accord LX

  • 67,000 miles

I started my car to leave the shopping center. I turned on the car and tried to put it in to gear. It does not allow me to move it in to drive. So I'm stuck here in the parking lot!

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 122007

(reported on)

Accord EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

my car won't upshift! max speed is at 85 mph... rmp is blasting just to drive 85mph.... gonna take it back to the dealership and tell them to fix... if not i would stay of the lot and tell everybody who wants to buy an accord should go look at mine.

- , Garden Grove, CA, US

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