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The Most Annoying Honda Accord Problems Owners Complain About

If you’re looking for a good used family car, the Honda Accord is an appealing choice. The latest models of the Honda Accord are some of the best in their class. The Accord offers powerful, fuel-efficient engines, lots of advanced driver-assist features, an upscale interior with lots of room, and peppy handling.

Were the older models just as good? It depends on the year you’re looking at. There are some older models of Honda Accord that you’ll want to avoid because of consumer complaints.

Honda Accord’s history of reliability

Now in its 10th generation, the Honda Accord is known as one of the most reliable cars on the road. The current generation has certainly earned that reputation. They’ve appeared on multiple Car and Driver 10 Bests lists because for a family sedan, it’s hard to beat. With a nice balance of efficiency and power, versatility and comfort, the current generation that began with the 2018 models offer impressive sedans.

If, however, you’re looking for an older model, do your homework. 

According to data from CarComplaints.com, the sixth generation (1998-2002), the seventh generation (2003-2007), and the ninth generation (2013-2017) all have one-out-of-five-star reliability ratings. The three generations are among the worst vehicles rated for reliability among the automaker’s entire slate of vehicles.

Transmission failure

By far, the biggest problem consumers face with older Honda Accords, particularly the seventh generation, has been transmission failure. There were more than 3,000 complaints and 24 recalls for the 2003 models and over a thousand complaints and 21 recalls for the 2004 models

There were more than 500 complaints on the transmission failure alone with models almost making it to 98,000 miles on average when the failure occurred. The average cost of the repair is over $2,700.

One Virginia owner acquired their 2003 Honda Accord in 2018 and only had the car for about seven months. It had 123,000 miles on it when the transmission failed. Another California owner bought their 2004 Honda Accord in 2017 and only had it for just over 1,600 miles before the transmission failed at 122,000 total miles. A warranty paid to replace the transmission but at 145,000 miles, that transmission also failed.

Faulty ignition switch

2013 Honda Accord, at the 105th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Honda Accord | Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

According to RepairPal, another major issue facing several models of the Honda Accord was a faulty ignition switch. When an ignition switch fails, you may not be able to start the car or it may stall out.

The switch provides power from the battery of the vehicle to most car electronics and the voltage that the engine requires. When the switch goes bad, the engine won’t start or will stall while in use, which can pose dangerous situations. There may be sporadic loss of lights or accessories in the vehicle. You may have trouble even removing the vehicle’s key from the switch.

While the cost of the repairs may be no more than $250, the inconvenience and potential safety risks make this particular complaint one to take seriously. There are 25 models affected: 1990-99, 2000-10, and 2012-15.

Other problems with Honda Accord

There were other problems that plagued the Accord in past years. In 2008 models, there were more than a thousand complaints about premature brake wear. One Canadian customer expressed frustration with having to replace their rear brakes every year in their 2008 Accord. The 2008 models also had several hundred complaints about excessive oil consumption. 

Other problems reported were highly uncomfortable seating, grinding sounds when starting the engine, exterior accessory problems, and several more.

While later models of the Honda Accord are doing well as far as safety and reliability, do your research before buying an older one. If you find a model affected by complaints of costly repairs or potential dangers, you’ll want to consider either another model of Accord or another used car altogether.