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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,257 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 #7

Jan 182011


  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord coupe. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the windshield wipers failed. The manufacturer was contacted and advised the contact that there was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 08V169000 (visibility: Windshield wiper/washer:motor) but his vehicle was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 140, 000.

- Groveland, MA, USA

problem #6

Jun 122008


  • 47,800 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While pulling out of the garage, the contact noticed that his windshield wipers were not working. The manufacturer stated that his vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 08V169000 (visibility:windshield wiper/washer:motor), even though the failures were identical. The current and failure mileages were 47,800.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #5

Sep 152006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Since buying my car 2003 Honda Accord ex V6 coupe in 03. I had exhaust problems, radio replacement, park and brake sensor replacement, power outlet wiring problems and the windshield wipers freeze up during heavy rainstorms. This has almost caused a few accidents, but the dealership can find no problem. Last Thursday my car seemed to be hesitating before shifting into either 2nd or 3rd. I couldn't tell for sure. Later that night, the car began to jump into & out of the low gears while starting & stopping at lights. I pulled off the road and the car would not move in reverse (only rev up). After some time, the car jumped into reverse and back into a ditch. After getting back on the road, traveling approx 60 miles per hr, I eased off the accelerator, the car powerfully downshifted to 2nd gear. Had it not been for the seat belt, I believe I would have been injured. My dog was in the car with me & thrown into the dash, then the floor. The tires barked. The car then suddenly up shifted to a higher gear. I made it home that night and drove straight to the dealership the next morning. The car seemed to be doing ok. I arrived and was told to make an apt for next week. Less then 10 miles away the car would no longer shift out of 3rd gear and then would not go in reverse. I drove it back to the dealer. I was told I needed to replace the transmission at my expense, and I was pretty much at fault because I had not completed all my service at Honda. I explained that it was impossible for me to make it to them during their business hours. So, some of my normal oil changes were done at other lube centers. I then asked him about the transmission recall and he said that had nothing to do with my problem. After waiting more than hr while he cut up with employees, I spoke to the location manager and asked about temporary transportation until I could contact american Honda, and he suggested I buy a new car.

- Leesburg, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 192005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


In August 2005 and on September 19, 2005, I experienced the same problem. On my 2003 Honda Accord, the windshield wipers stopped working while in use and during rain storms. On the first occasion, I barely avoided a serious car accident. The wipers stop on the glass, completely. My mother was in the vehicle with me the first occasion and can serve as a witness.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #3

Mar 012005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
At first none of the windows rolled down. Currently, the door locks froze, and consumer was unable to access the vehicle that had a keyless entry system. Consumer had one lock on the door that the key went into and that lock also froze. At this time, the consumer had to leave the doors unlocked in order to gain access. This presented a safety hazard due to necessity of accessing auto after work in a dark parking structure at a city hospital. The dealership blew dry the inside door, but with Michigan winters, consumer foresee a high probability of recurrence. The right side windshield wiper insert started falling out and scratched the windshield. Reinstalled wiper insert.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #2

Nov 302004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
Front windshield wipers stopped operating while driving in inclement weather. Consumer had to pull over until it stopped raining. Dealer was notified.

- Gonzales, LA, 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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