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
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,912 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda Accord windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #12

May 162011

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles


I own a 2003 Honda Accord and on 5/16/2011 I was driving back from the office when my car wipers suddenly stopped working. It was a rainy day with heavy T-storm. When the wipers stopped working, I suddenly lost control of the car and crashed into a ramp. In the accident I damaged my front bumper and hurt my back. The next day morning wipers starting working again. Over the next five days, I noticed this new trend in my vehicle caused by the sudden disruption of wipers. I am extremely worried about the malfunctioning of the wipers since this is our family car and it is a big threat to our safety. There was a recall on approx 351,000 2003 Honda Accord wiper motors. My recall was completed successfully but the recall has not fixed the problem and my local Honda dealer refuses to change the wiper motor second time without authorization from Honda automobiles. I am seeking your help to get the issue resolved. Recall details: NHTSA campaign id number : 08V169000 updated IVOQ 08/12/11.

- Billerica, MA, USA

problem #11

Jan 212005


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The windshield wipers worked intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who informed her that there was no failure with the windshield wipers because they were working properly. NHTSA recall campaign id number: 08V169000, visibility: Windshield wiper/washer: Motor was related to the failure and her VIN was not included. The manufacturer also informed her that the VIN was not included in the recall and offered no other assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 107,000.

- Stockbridge, GA, USA

problem #10

Sep 302010


  • 119,450 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the windshield wipers failed during rainy weather. He was able to drive to his residence without incident and when arriving, the wipers resumed normal operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they advised the contact that the windshield wiper motor would need replacing. The contact stated that the part needed for the repair was not readily available and was ordered by the dealer. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 08V169000, (visibility:windshield wiper/washer:motor) and was advised by the dealer and the manufacture that his vehicle was not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 119,450 and the current mileage was 119,500.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #9

Feb 162010


  • 22,500 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated the windshield wipers would fail whenever utilized during rainy weather. The contact located NHTSA recall number 08V169000 (visibility: Windshield wiper/washer: Motor) but was advised the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 22,500 and the current mileage was 24,000.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #8

Feb 232010


  • 50,491 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) auto began having recall related symptoms during the second half of Jan. (Jan. 17th - Jan 31st). My wife actuated the windshield wipers in "mist mode? and they operated very slowly and at times pausing through the cycle of ?mist mode" operation. I took the automobile to an authorized Honda of serramonte, colma, ca on the morning of Feb 6th 2010. Vehicle was then driven in dry conditions, later that day with the Honda recall (no. Q78), (1.D. #29313) (NHTSA campaign id #: 08V169000, NHTSA action #: PE07060) already performed and on the following four days (Feb 7th- Feb.10th). We were out of the country; therefore vehicle was not driven from Feb 11th - Feb. 17th. Wife did not use the vehicle for the following four days (Feb. 18th - Feb. 21st). She started using it on mon. Feb. 22nd (no rain). On tue. Feb. 23rd (rainy day) she used the windshield wipers in "mist mode" 2 to 3 times while on the freeway, towards the coast (half moon bay, ca). I had applied rain-X to front and back windshields sometime in the first week of February. Later this day, she headed back to her office (in burlingame, ca). It was then, that it began to rain hard and tried to operate the windshield wipers in regular mode at which time they failed to operate at all! tried to operate in "mist mode?, but that did not work either! I confirmed the operational failure when she arrived home that evening. The following day in the morning I actuated ?mist mode", and they exhibited the same symptoms they had back on January and in Feb. 23rd. I contacted Honda of America on 24/Feb/2010 @ approximately 08:31 a.M., pst (their case # [xxx] ). the cover installment is not a remedy to what could be internal corrosion in the wiper motor/circuit breaker unit. This is a very dangerous condition that could lead to a fatal crash! my wife made it back home safe even though the likelihood of a crash in the conditions she drove were very high (rain-X certainly worked!).

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #7

Aug 032007


  • miles
2003 Honda Accord recall notice for windshield wipers malfunction. The consumer experienced the failure prior to receiving the recall and was told by Honda to submit the repair bill via fax, however there has been no response from Honda.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 312009


  • 70,000 miles


I was driving my 2003 Honda Accord coupe on July 31st when it started to rain. As I was returning home, it started to rain harder. During this time, my wipers stopped for as long as a minute and then would start again, only to pause again. I tried setting the wipers to high and found that I had no high. Fortunately, I was able to make it home without incident. I then researched the issue on this site and found that there was a recall for this problem (campaign id: 08V169000, NHTSA action number: PE07060), however Honda only applied it to the 4 dr models. As I was traveling last week, my wife called Honda and confirmed this fact. Today, I took the car in to my dealership so that they can take a look. The problem was confirmed to be the same as the issue that has already been logged.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #5

Aug 012007

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Recall notice on 2003 Honda Accord for window wiper motor. Consumer wants to be reimbursed for the repair work.

- Marlton, NJ, USA

problem #4

Nov 062008

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Accord ex and Accord LX safety recall windshield wipers may stop working. Consumer has issues with this recall and one for the transmission. The consumer has two Honda Accord and when she took the vehicles to the dealer on different dates, the invoices gave different explanations as to what was done to remedy the recall. The consumer began having transmission problems with the sedan ex. The transmission would not move to the second level smoothly. The dealer could not find any defects with the second gear. Five days later, the engine light illuminated and the vehicle stopped twice in the middle of the road. The consumer was able to make it to the dealer and a diagnostics revealed the transmission needed to be replaced.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #3

Jun 012008

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Accord windshield wiper motor recall notice. Consumer received recall notice after the repairs was performed and wants to be reimbursed for the repairs. The consumer stated the windshield wipers stopped working.

- Nashville, NC, USA

problem #2

Aug 082008

Accord 4-cyl

  • 48,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that it took Honda four or five months to notify him of NHTSA campaign id number 08V169000 (visibility:windshield wiper/washer: Motor). In the interim, his daughter was caught in a rainstorm when the windshield wiper motor failed. The current mileage was 50,000 and failure mileage was 48,500. Updated 10/20/08. Updated 10/20/08.

- Kingston, NY, USA

problem #1

May 132003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased my $34,000 2003 Accord on May 13, 2003 from route 23 Honda in pomton plains, NJ. After purchasing it, I noticed that the plastic/glass moldings around the doors were were very deformed. Three moldings have been fixed after 2 times being in for service, and one has yet to be fixed(waiting for part). The radio was making a squeaking noise and deformed looking, and they replaced the entire unit. On the right front tire well, there was a molding that was never screwed in properly, and began to hang down, which was replaced. The shifter has a loose stitch on it, which is becoming very sharp and can possibly cut someone. The part was put on order 3 months ago, but I was never notified of it's arrival. The driver side windshield wiper nozzle sprays directly into the wiper arm. This was brought in for service 4 times, and finally another dealership(sussex Honda) ordered a new nozzle which will hopefully work. The car has a slight burning smell when I park the car after driving. I brought this to Honda's attention, but of course they didn't find anything wrong with it. The car also has a slight grinding feeling that can mostly be felt between 1500 and 2500 rpms. I brought this into service 4 times and they couldn't find anything wrong(again). Along with that, when I put the car in drive, after about 20 feet it makes a horrible grinding noise and feeling in the gears. The car also seems to lack the power that it should have. I know this because I had a 2003 Accord LX V6 coupe, and then traded it in for a 2003 Accord ex V6 coupe. The LX had a lot more power than the ex. Also the LX had no wiper problems, grinding problems, or other problems that I have with the ex. Overall I have found 10 defects with my car within the first month of having it. After all of these problems, and having the dealership and the Honda service center hotline treat me as if I was making up these problems and that it was my fault for having these problems I will never buy another Honda again!

- Hewitt, NJ, USA

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