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:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,022 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jun 102008


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact experienced failures with the window motors, the front driver and passenger doors, and the rear passenger door. The dealer was notified and the front driver side door was repaired. The other two doors and window motors were not repaired. The failure continued to occur intermittently. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #22

Dec 132011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Control panel display (audio-HVAC display) failure. I have a 2003 Honda 4 door (w/O navigation) Accord ex. (I am the original owner of the vehicle). This problem, with potential safety implications seems to rise to the level of a defect. As I write, the display is dark and occasionally flickers. There have been previous service bulletins released on this issue and its a know defect; however I did contact Honda customer service on December 2011 but, Honda and Honda dealer's refuses to replace part without paying for it. Windshield wiper (linkage arm) failure. On multiple occasions I had mentioned to multiple Honda dealer's that windshield wiper are banging when returning to start position and I was told it was normal and they had checked the wiper motor and it works fine. Windshield wiper started banging year after I purchased the vehicle in 2003. I was able to fix the issue by replacing windshield wiper linkage arm at my own cost after I found the solution on independent Honda forums.

- Germantown, WI, USA

problem #21

Sep 192011


  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the windshield wiper motor was inoperable. The dealer and manufacturer were contacted but told the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 08V169000 (visibility:windshield wiper/washer:motor). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 124,000.

- East Hanover, NJ, USA

problem #20

Jan 192011


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the windshield wipers failed after they were repaired according to recall 08V169000 (visibility: Windshield wiper/washer: Motor). The dealer repaired the wipers but they failed again. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #19

Jan 032010


  • miles
I have 2003 Honda Accord. The sun visor on the driver side and passenger side failed. I have been on the web and is a problem with Honda. I brought it to the dealer attention early this year. Honda said they are not responsible for this situation. There are thousand S of Honda owners with the same problem.

- Indianapolis , IN, USA

problem #18

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 #17

Jan 152010


  • 90,500 miles


While driving, the windshield wipers ceased to work causing impaired vision on the road. I am currently in the process of getting them fixed.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #16

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 #15

Jan 102009


  • 65,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Accord experienced a sudden windshield wiper motor failure during a recent severe rainstorm and it suddenly stopped working. Accordingly, I was unable to use the car during rainy weather. I had learned about the NHTSA recall for the same circumstances and so I delivered the car to pasadena Honda for repair. Pasadena Honda service department acknowledged the recall, advised that according to my VIN the recall was not applicable to the motor failure on my particular vehicle and made the replacement and charged me for parts and labor. I have the invoice and the old motor which shows signs of corrosion. I have researched the parts listings and I note that all 2003 Honda Accord regardless of model use the same wiper motor. Accordingly, I am not clear as to why my vehicle's wiper motor is not included in the recall.

- San Gabriel, CT, USA

problem #14

Jan 012003


  • 0 miles
Windshield wipers are not affective under driving conditions. The wipers work under minor rain conditions & a very low rate of speed. Once speed & weather conditions increase windshield wipers are inoperable.

- Baytown, TX, USA

problem #13

Jan 292007


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 65 mph in rainy weather conditions, the windshield wiper motors became inoperative. The risk of a serious crash was increased. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they replaced the windshield wiper motor and blades at the cost of $200. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign id number 08V169000 (visibility:windshield wiper/washer:motor). She submitted supporting documents to the manufacturer in reference to reimbursement, but she was denied for unknown reasons. The failure and current mileages were unknown.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #12

Sep 302008


  • 34,000 miles
Millennium Honda was contacted 32 days ago as well as today to set up an appointment concerning possible failure of the windshield wiper motor in my 2003 Honda Accord. They never respond to make an appointment. Recently when I called they indicated that they would call back but never did.

- Rockville Centre, NY, USA

problem #11

Oct 152008


  • miles
Honda has a recall on windshield wipers for 2003 Accord and airbag sensors. They claim my VIN # is not included. They say even though I'm having the same problems it is just coincidental and I am responsible for repairs. They claim the are not liable in case of an accident since my VIN # does not fall under the recall.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #10

Nov 032007


  • 20 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 20 mph in rainy weather conditions, the windshield wipers were not working effectively. The blades were not clearing the water from the glass, which caused poor visibility. The windshield wiper blades were replaced three times, but the failure persists. The contact was concerned of the safety risk involved. The failure mileage was 20 and current mileage was 80,000.

- Forsyth, MS, USA

problem #9

Apr 072007


  • miles
Drive window and cruise control stopped working. Hondas are supposed to be the best cars, in my opinion I think they are the worst. I wouldn't never own another one. Everything brakes in Honda.

- Elizabeth City, NC, USA

problem #8

Aug 232008


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. On August 23, 2008, the vehicle was taken to gwinett place Honda in duluth, ga to have the windshield wipers repaired. The same day the repair was made, the contact stated that the wipers were even worse than before. The wipers were noisier and left a lot of residue on the windshield. The current and failure mileages were 83,000.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #7

Mar 282008


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Accord. While driving 35-40 mph, the windshield wiper motor failed. The contact discovered a recall notice in the paper and took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer stated that his VIN was not included in the recall;therefore, the contact would have to repair the motor at his own expense. The wipers were removed from the vehicle. The recall number was unknown. The failure mileage was approximately 120,000 and current mileage was 130,000.

- Salem, AL, USA

problem #6

Jun 162006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
Took my car in for a regular oil change. Hours later I received a phone call from the service advisor asking me, if I had time so he could talk to me regarding my car. I said, yes and the service advisor from Honda dealership went on to tell me that I needed my transmission fluid changed, brake fluid changed, and my engine coolant changed. The total amount of cost came to $500.29 which I thought I was being ripped off. The Honda service advisor also went on to tell me that I need to have my front struts replaced because they are bad. I noticed when I would make a right hand turn I would hear a squeaky noise. He confirmed that it was my front struts. I ask the service advisor how long does it normally take for struts to wear out he told me around 80,000-100,000 miles well my 2003 Honda Accord ex only have 48,000 miles on it. I'm assuming that I probably started off with bad struts in the beginning since I had my Honda Accord ex, I have had nothing but problems. Now, that my car is out of warranty I'm hit with a huge fee to get struts replaced on a car which I think was bad in the first place. My Honda Accord ex was originally purchased by me in December of 2002. I have been the only driver of the car. At this time I would never purchase another Honda Accord. I used to have an 2000 Honda Accord ex never had a problem. Since I have had this car there have been recalls on my car. I have had problems with the door latches, inside panel on passenger side coming off. Sunroof rubber coming unglued. I had to have the windshield replaced bad wipers which scratched the windshield up. New radio system. Trouble with the lights for the heated seats, dash board lights went out. Radio lights went out. I was sold a complete lemon. I believe Honda should look into my maintenance record and see all the problems I have had with this car and really consider replacing the struts for me. I do not have an extended warranty it's going to cost me $700.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #5

Mar 212006


  • miles
Noticed Honda factory service bulletin #05-034 explains why headlamps dim at night, faulty circuit in fuse box of 2003, 2004 and some 2005 Honda, why is this not a recal?

- Fairhaven, MA, USA

problem #4

Oct 032003

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
The vehicle (VIN:[xxx]) was purchased on 5/30/03. Unfortunately we did not notice the very significant design defect until after we had purchased the car. The design defect is that this particular vehicle has very restricted visibility, particularly noted while driving. It's as if "you're looking out through slots." After my wife had a small accident in the vehicle, at least partially due to restricted visibility, we sold the vehicle, fearing worse accidents in the future. Correspondence with american Honda motor company has not been answered. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Helena, MT, USA

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