pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
98,449 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. honda should pay to have car painted (21 reports)
  2. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Honda Civic body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Honda Civic Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Feb 012014

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


The paint is fading and peeling terribly. The car looks like it is 10 years older than it really is. The rest of the car is in great shape for the age and this is going to kill the resale value. Honda should issue a recall and fix this issue as it is not fair to owners who are getting screwed on the resale value because of a small cosmetic issue.

- , Ooltewah, US

problem #23

Nov 102008

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling

This paint on this car started fading after a few years. It was only a few blotches at first, but it expanded gradually as the years went by. It made no sense because we parked the car inside an indoor garage at all times. The few times we left the car in the sun at grocery stores and outside shopping malls should not cause a normal paint job to fade. In fact, we also own a Lexus 400 that has not faded a single shade. Meanwhile, I also began to notice that this particular brand of Honda cars were exhibiting similar signs of paint problems. Just one look and you know that this is a bad paint job. What this signifies is that Honda has done a poor job when it applied this paint coating to these cars. We are considering paying thousands of dollars to have this car painted over, but it seems only fair that Honda should compensate owners for the cost of any paint job. Although we plan to buy new cars for our retirement, this experience may cause us to avoid the Honda brand entirely when evaluating our purchase options. We are also circulating this problem among our friends and colleagues who have frequently, albeit politely, commented on the peeling paint on our Honda vehicle. What do owners have to do to make Honda own up to this issue, even though it may not be life threatening? Do owners have to file a class action just to get the manufacturers attention?

- , Sylmar, CA, USA

problem #22

Jul 012015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I take great pride in my car. Keep up on all the maintenance and keep it spotless. When the paint started to peel about a year ago, I was annoyed. In asking other Honda owners, they said they have the same problem. Now the peeling paint is all over the car! And it looks like a giant Piece of Sh*t! It's embarrassing to drive!!

Since this is not an isolated issue, I think Honda needs to pay to have this problem fixed!!!

This is not normal "wear and tear"....this is clearly a horrible factory paint job!

- , Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 012013

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


2003 Honda Civic that is in perfect running condition but the paint on the roof and trunk is peeling. Its embarrassing to drive. Can't get it fixed under warranty. Other models are getting theirs fixed on newer models but no one will do this for the '03. This needs to be fixed and paid for by Honda if they want to keep a good reputation.

- , Abilene, USA

problem #20

May 212013

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 201,937 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling paint is peeling

OK so I noticed that my car paint peels through washing my car. So every time I have to wash my car more and more paint peels off. The awful part is that you can see the core metal part of the car. So I went to the dealer and asked them that I wounder if this is defected paint and I have read about the paint recall. So they said oh the recall was for the new models not the 2003. I said but I have seen the same model as my car he insisted on saying that my car does not qualify for the paint recall. So here I am. I would like my car to be painted from Honda of America at no coast to me. This is not normal paint peeling, it is a defect and I am entitled to get this fixed. In my entire life I did see paint peel this way.


problem #19

Jul 082009

Civic LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,500 miles

I purchased a brand new 2003 Honda and in 2009 notices that there was white discoloration to my eternal pearl blue paint. I was told this is a normal problem with this color and Honda knows of this issue. Checked it out and Honda said no, they will not cover it. Why on earth would you use a paint that you know has a problem and not disclose it to the consumer when they purchase your product. Doesn't car manufacturers and dealership have disclosure formats, like banks, they need to let the consumer know about.

I have called Honda Corporate in Torrance and have spoken to Sopana, Darrell and Liz, each one a move up until I came to Liz and she would not transfer my calls to her supervisor. I wanted to go to the top to see if there was any compensation of this as they have painted the Odessy's that were this blue color. On T.V. a couple weeks ago they stated that 2005 cars were being painted so I thought I would try again. I wish I knew about this website years earlier, as I see lots of cars with my same issue. Oh, and I was told by America Honda in Torrance that I should have purchased a cosmetic warranty. I had to advise them that one wasn't offered, but I did buy the extended power train warranty. I probably would have greatly questioned why I needed a cosmetic policy at that time, maybe then they would have fessed up (I doubt it.)

- , Ventura, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 062013

Civic EX 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


I bought this car used from a friend of my Dad's he owned the car for 9 years and took very good care of it. Not long after I bought it the paint clear coat began cracking and peeling on the bumpers and hood.

- , Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #17

Jul 122014

Civic EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

I am very upset over the paint chipping clear coat coming off. It started just a little now the entire hood is flaking off. We bought this car used for our son at a dealer here in louisville. The paint looked great then. Now it looks awful and I am afraid it will peel off of the entire car. We paid $5700.00 for this car and my son was so proud of it as his first car. Now it looks like a piece of junk and we have only had it 2 years.

Also, his key fob does not work anymore and you cannot lock the car with the key or from locking inside and holding the handle up. So he cannot keep anything valuable in his car because someone could steal it.

I'm also writing honda a complaint regarding the paint.

Will never buy another Honda because of this.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #16

Dec 012013

Civic LX 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


- , North Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #15

Jun 012008

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

My 2003 Honda Civic's paint has been deteriorating, making it look like a 50 year old car rather than one that is only 10 years old and only has 100,000 miles. This issue began on the roof and has spread to every part of the car... Looked like the clear coat failed and then the rest of the paint has slowly be falling off. I now even have rust spots.

This started in 2008 and has only gotten worse. I've seen this same defect on multiple Honda's now. It's embarking to pull up to a client meeting and have such a junky looking exterior! I hadn't even finished paying off my car when this started to happen. THIS IS SO UNACCEPTABLE. Honda should have to pay for a completely new paint job and fix all the cars that have become eyesores on the road because of something they did.

- , Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #14

Jun 302012

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I have been a loyal Honda owner since 1982. I am now done. This paint is totally defective. I bought an expensive, brand new car and took good care of it. There is no excuse for having to drive it with this awful paint because Honda does not care!!! Shame on you Honda. I will not buy another one.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #13

Apr 012012

Civic LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling paint is peeling paint is peeling

I love my honda civic it's a good reliable car but my paint is so bad it's embarrassing. I saw on line that Honda is repainting some models. I would like to know of I qualify since it's just the roof and the hood if they would repaint that. I would pay to have the rest painted if needed to have it match. As a consumer I feel this is only fair I invested my money in to a Honda product and deserve the quality product Honda is know for.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #12

May 012012

Civic EX 1.7 VTEC

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling paint is peeling

Our family has always had Hondas. Never had a problem that wasn't easily taken care of. Heck, Honda even replaced the outside door handles on my mother's 1980 Honda Civic Wagon when they started pitting. My father and I took pride in detailing the family vehicles every other week or so - inside and out. This Civic was my very first car. I paid cash for it as a certified used vehicle in 2007 with 21,000 miles on it. Looked beautiful. Perfect car for a college kid. I continued to take excellent care of it inside and out, even being away at school. My parent's even bought me a mini shop vac and extension cord so I could clean it up once in awhile.

A few years later, I started noticing the paint right above the windshield looked like it had bird poop stuck on it. For a while, I thought the car wash was just missing that spot. Then it started getting bigger... and bigger. On November 15, 2012, I took my Civic to Don Jacobs Honda in Lexington, KY near where I was attending school. They sent me to the body shop where Sally Thomas took pictures and documented the problem with a body shop estimate - nobody seemed surprised to see the issue. I received an email with all of the pictures and estimate of over $4,000 to repaint the car and was told somebody, either Lance Smallwood or Hector Ortiz, would get back to me once they had talked to the district representative about the problem.

A few weeks went by, still heard nothing. On December 4, 2012, I sent Ms. Thomas, Mr. Smallwood, and Mr. Ortiz, an email, asking for an update. Still nothing.

On December 27, 2012, I sent them another email, asking for an update. Still nothing.

On January 15, 2013 I sent this email at 10:28PM, again to the three: “Hello all, This estimate was given to me two months ago. Since then, I have requested an update on the status of this issue: once December 4, and again on December 27. I received no communication in response to either of my requests. I realize there were multiple holidays in the past two months, but my car is only looking worse as time goes on. I look forward to hearing from at least one of the three of you before the end of the week. Thank you.”

I got this reply from Ms. Thomas at 7:49AM on January 16, 2013: “LANCE, WOULD YOU PLEASE RESPOND TO JESSICA. THANKS, SALLY”

Two weeks later, when I still received no response, I sent another email January 29, 2013 8:19AM – this time just to Mr. Smallwood and Ms. Thomas: “Lance, Sally, It has been another two weeks, and I still have not heard an update on where we are with this issue. I have attached an updated picture of the hood of my car. As you can see, and I'm sure you know, the paint is rapidly deteriorating. The other areas are continuing to deteriorate as well. I feel I have been very patient for the last two and a half months, but I really need some answers before my entire vehicle is covered in this mess. Thank you.”

I got this reply from Ms. Thomas just 5 minutes later, 8:24AM on January 29, 2013: “JESSICA, I AM SO SORRY THAT STILL HAVEN'T HEARD BACK. I LEFT LANCE A VOICE MAIL AS WELL TO CONTACT YOU TODAY. SALLY”

Did I receive a call from Mr. Smallwood that day? Nope. February 1, 2013 11:03AM – 39 second voicemail: “[fumble and click of phone] Hi this is Lance Smallwood Service Manager Don Jacobs sorry it’s taken so long to get back with you. I’ve been… [breath in] in communication with…[sigh] ahhh… Honda on your Civic. And unfortunately, um, I am not getting any assistance for you on this…ah particular paint concern I do apologize for the delay in getting… [breath in] back to you [sigh] uh if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me 977… I’m sorry 8599772640 and like I said unfortunately.. uh did not get any assistance from Honda for you on your paint concern thank you. [fumble click]”

So what did I do? Called American Honda in California and talked to one of their customer service people. Expressed my frustration and tried to explain to them the horrible customer service I received from Don Jacobs in the past three months. Including the final voicemail that did not even have me convinced the Mr. Smallwood had even talked to a representative about the issue with my car. The customer service representative on the phone told me that if the regional representative that Mr. Smallwood has supposedly talked to said they couldn’t assist me with my car, then that was the decision American Honda made. I wasn’t going to take that for an answer, but I let it rest for a little while. At least until my parents came down to visit in August of 2013.

I was at work when my mother took my car back up to Don Jacobs Honda on August 13, 2013, she requested to meet with Mr. Smallwood and talked to him about the issue, again - this time face to face. I had armed her with photos and email documentation of our last go-around. She basically told him in a nice way, that she wasn't going to take no for an answer and she wanted him to submit the claim to the representative again. So back to the body shop they went for another round of pictures and documentation. I got a text message from Mr. Smallwood that evening: "Jessica this is lance from don Jacobs and I have submitted all photos including today. I will contact you as soon as I can with a result from Honda." Needless to say, that was the only text message communication I received from him... I still need to go back through and document my text messages to him and the multiple voicemails I left him and messages I left with others for him at the Don Jacobs Honda service center. Months later, finally got him to call me back, same result - no help from Honda.

Not sure what has happened to the outstanding customer service and pride Honda used to take in their vehicles... I am embarrassed to be driving my Civic around. Runs fine, but looks AWFUL! Presently looking at Corolla's - Toyota looks like a much better option :)

- , Shelocta, PA, USA

problem #11

Jul 012013

Civic LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

The paint just started peeling off the the car it looks like hell, and if Honda was a good company they would repaint my car.

- , Chicopee, MA, USA

problem #10

Mar 012013

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

My 2003 civic has been great to me but recently I have noticed that the paint on the hood it beginning to crack. I have taken great care with this car since I owned it. Polished and waxed every 6 months, full detail and washed and cleaned every other week or so. I don't understand why the paint is beginning to crack. I've been told that honda used cheap paint and that I would either have to repair it myself or just live with it. I would like to bring this issue to Honda because I feel Honda offers great cars and would like to continue to use Honda for future cars but please Honda, correct your paint so this issue does not occur again.

- , Enola, PA, USA

problem #9

Mar 072013

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,345 miles

I am very upset that the clear coat on my car is peeling and looks like my car is a clunker! It is embarrassing and makes my car look trashy. Bad for me and bad for future Honda owners who see all the people complaining about their paint and don't even mention the Odysessy which my parents and sister both had to deal with recalls on! With all of these issues my next car will not be a Honda unless they fix all problems happening bc they cut corners!!

- , Lenoir City, TN, USA

problem #8

Oct 012012

Civic LX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,500 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling paint is peeling paint is peeling

My last car was a 1992 Honda Civic, which I owed until 2010 with 250,000 miles, and I never had a paint problem.

- , Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #7

May 152012

Civic LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 160,000 miles

click to see larger images

paint is peeling paint is peeling paint is peeling

The clear coat is separating from the paint on my car. There is no good reason for this to happen, and it happens to a lot of Hondas from 2003 - 2007 or thereabouts. I see older cars with original paint in much better condition than this.

- , Midland, TX, US

problem #6

Mar 152012

Civic LX 1.7L 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 93,520 miles

I purchased my car as a certified pre-owned vehicle in 2007. It had 32,000 miles on it, was a one-owner car, and it looked great. I know the reputation these Civics have so I purchased with the plan of paying it off and driving it for many years to come. My husband hand-washed it once a month and it was also waxed twice a year (spring & fall).

I made my last payment in March of 2012. That same month I noticed splotches on the roof where the clear coat was starting to bubble. By April the bubbles had burst and started peeling. By May the splotches were now appearing on the hood and trunk as well. I contacted the dealer who sold me the car and they said it wasn't covered under warranty. They offered to quote me a price to have it painted and I politely told them where they could stick that quote.

The car runs great. I have followed the factory maintenance schedule with my trusted mechanic and I have absolutely no issues with the way this car runs. My issue is only with the appearance of the car. I expected to drive this car for many years. Now I can't stand to drive it because it looks like it came from the junk yard. I mean it's bad. Embarrassing. I recently searched the internet and found out that there are a tremendous amount of complaints just like mine. And this problem is not limited to the 2003 model year. Honda should be ashamed to leave this problem unchecked for so many years. They should be even more ashamed at their lack of response to this issue.

I will never buy another Honda nor will I recommend one to anyone. In my opinion their reputation has been tarnished forever. The only thing that could change my mind is if Honda would step up and pay to have my car repainted. I am considering trying to sell it privately this spring as I cannot stand to drive it anymore. So much for resale value. Dear Honda: YOU SUCK!

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #5

Feb 082012

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

The Honda Civic is really a great reliable car. The only problem is the damn cheap clear coat they used for the paint. It starts at one spot very little and spreads all over the roof and the trunk. It probably reduced the value of the car by $1500-$2000. Honda does not want to do anything about this known issue. Very, very bad customer service.

- , Ventura, CA, USA

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