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Most Common Honda Accord Problems (We Asked 487 Owners)

Most Common Honda Accord Problems (We Asked 487 Owners)

We’re diving deep into the most common problems Honda Accord owners face across all generations, from engine issues like excessive oil consumption to transmission failures and more.

If you need the quick rundown, here’s your 30-second summary:

Oil consumption, automatic transmission failure, and starter motor problems are common issues across all Honda Accord generations. Warped front brake rotors and paint clearcoat peeling are also frequent complaints.

The 6th gen (1998-2002) is notorious for automatic transmission failure due to design flaws. 7th gen (2003-2007) models are prone to ignition switch failure and door lock actuator issues.

8th gen (2008-2012) Accords often experience alternator failure. 9th gen (2013-2017) models have problems with side mirror distortion and uncomfortable seats.

The 10th gen (2018-present) has issues with the 1.5L turbo engine, including turbocharger failure and oil dilution. Infotainment system glitches, fuel pump failure, false collision mitigation braking system activation, and AC condenser leaks are also reported.

We’ll break down each problem in detail, covering symptoms, causes, solutions, and repair costs. But first, let’s take a closer look at the data behind these common issues.

We Used Real World Data To Create This List Of Problems

Before we dive into the most common problems, let’s quickly explain how we created this list.

First, we asked 487 owners (via Facebook) about their Honda Accord to get a feel for what kind of problems they’ve run into. Yes, it’s a small data set but it is real world data that’s hard to beat.

All owners had their Honda Accord for at least a year and we saw a wide range of mileage from 102,000 to 227,000.

Then, we turned to resources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many others, to review the most common complaints issues by owners along with the full history of recalls and active investigations.

Next, I fact-checked everything against my almost two decades of automotive experience working everywhere from dealerships to your local shops. Lastly, our team of automotive experts takes a closer look into each problem and breaks down why it happens, what you can do to prevent it, and how to fix it.

We review the data and interpret the results to make your life easier. Now that you understand how we came up with this list, let’s get into it!

What 487 Honda Accord Owners Told Us

Here’s what we found to be the most common problems based on our survey of 487 Honda Accord owners (click to expand):

28% of owners surveyed had a 6th generation Accord (1998-2002), known for its notorious automatic transmission failures. 22% of owners had a 10th generation Accord (2018-present), with the 1.5L turbo engine being the most problematic due to oil dilution and turbocharger issues. We did not survey hybrid owners and you can see more about problems faced by Accord hybrids here.

Problems Common To All Generations of Honda Accord

Oil Consumption

One of the most common issues you’ll run into with Honda Accords, especially newer models, is excessive oil consumption. You might notice that you’re constantly having to top off your oil between changes, or you might catch a whiff of burning oil coming from the engine bay.

This problem is largely due to Honda’s use of thin 0W-20 oil in newer Accords, which can easily slip past worn piston rings or valve seals.

If you’re dealing with this issue, the first step is to keep a close eye on your oil level and top it off as needed. You can also try switching to a slightly thicker oil, like 5W-20 or 5W-30, which may help reduce consumption.

In more severe cases, you might need to replace worn piston rings or valve seals, which can be a pricey fix at $1,000-$2,000.

This video does a great job breaking this problem down if you’re more a visual learner:

Automatic Transmission Failure

Another major headache for Accord owners, particularly those with 6th generation models (1998-2002), is automatic transmission failure. You might notice your transmission slipping, shifting roughly, or even failing to engage entirely. This issue stems from design flaws in certain generations of Accords, as well as low or dirty transmission fluid and worn internal components.

Regular transmission fluid changes every 30,000-60,000 miles can help prevent this problem, and a transmission flush can sometimes resolve issues if the fluid is dirty.

However, if your transmission is already severely damaged, you might be looking at a rebuild or replacement, which can run anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000. I’ve seen far too many Accords in the shop with shot transmissions, so stay on top of that maintenance!

Starter Motor Failure

If you hop in your Accord one morning and all you hear is a clicking noise when you turn the key, you might be dealing with a failed starter motor. This is a common issue across all generations of Accords, and it’s usually caused by simple wear and tear on the starter over time. In some cases, a damaged starter solenoid or other internal component could be to blame.

The solution here is pretty straightforward: replace the starter motor. This will typically run you between $400 and $800, depending on your specific model. Before you shell out for a new starter, though, it’s worth checking your battery terminals and starter connections for corrosion or loose wires, as this can sometimes mimic starter problems. A quick clean and tighten might just do the trick!

Warped Front Brake Rotors

If you’re hitting the brakes and feeling a vibration or pulsation through the pedal, warped front brake rotors could be the culprit. This issue is especially common on Accords, thanks to their undersized rotors and the heavy use they often see in city driving. Over time, the repeated heating and cooling of the rotors can cause them to warp, leading to uneven pad wear and that dreaded brake pedal shake.

The solution? Have your rotors resurfaced or replaced. Resurfacing can sometimes do the trick if the warping is minimal, but in many cases, you’ll need to spring for new rotors altogether. A typical brake job with new pads and rotors will run you around $300-$500 per axle. To prevent this issue in the future, consider upgrading to higher-quality rotors and pads designed for heavy-duty use.

Paint Clearcoat Peeling

You might think your Accord’s paint job is indestructible, but think again. Across all generations, Accords are prone to peeling clearcoat, especially on the edges of the hood, roof, and trunk. This issue is caused by a poor bond between the clearcoat and the base paint, which can be exacerbated by exposure to the elements and frequent washing.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for peeling clearcoat. You can try to touch up small spots with a clearcoat pen, but for larger areas, you’ll likely need to have the affected panels sanded down and resprayed. This can be a pricey proposition, with a full respray easily running $1,000 or more. The best defense against peeling clearcoat? Regular waxing and gentle washing techniques.

Problems Specific To 6th Generation Honda Accord (1998-2002)

Automatic Transmission Failure

This issue is so common on these models that it’s practically a rite of passage for owners and is the result of a flawed transmission design that’s prone to premature wear and failure.

Symptoms of transmission failure on these Accords include slipping, harsh shifting, and a refusal to go into gear. In some cases, you might be able to buy some time with a fluid flush and fill, but more often than not, you’ll need to rebuild or replace the transmission entirely.

This is a major job that can easily cost $2,000-$3,000, so if you’re in the market for a 6th gen Accord, be sure to budget accordingly.

Problems Specific To 7th Generation Honda Accord (2003-2007)

Ignition Switch Failure

You might turn the key and find that nothing happens – no crank, no start, just a whole lot of nothing. This problem is caused by wear and tear on the ignition switch, which can become worn out over time and fail to make proper contact.

The fix for this issue is to replace the ignition switch, which will typically run you around $200-$300. It’s a relatively straightforward job that most mechanics can knock out in a few hours, but it’s still an inconvenience that no one wants to deal with. If you’re experiencing starting issues on your 7th gen Accord, the ignition switch should definitely be one of the first things you check.

Door Lock Actuator Failure

Another common problem on 7th generation Accords is door lock actuator failure. You might press the lock or unlock button on your key fob and find that one or more of your doors doesn’t respond.

This issue is caused by a failure of the actuator motor or gear assembly inside the door, which can become stripped or worn out over time.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace the faulty actuator assembly. This is a job that most DIYers can handle with a little patience and the right tools, but if you’re not comfortable tackling it yourself, expect to pay around $150-$250 per door at a shop.

As with many of these issues, preventative maintenance is key – try to avoid slamming your doors or putting undue stress on the lock mechanisms.

Problems Specific To 8th Generation Honda Accord (2008-2012)

If you’re the proud owner of an 8th generation Accord, you might find yourself dealing with alternator failure at some point down the line. The alternator is responsible for keeping your battery charged and powering your car’s electrical systems, so when it fails, you might notice your battery light come on or experience strange electrical gremlins.

The most common cause of alternator failure on these Accords is simply wear and tear. Over time, the alternator’s bearings can wear out, causing the unit to seize up and fail. In some cases, you might also encounter issues with the alternator’s voltage regulator or diodes.

To diagnose the problem, a mechanic will typically start by checking the battery and running a voltage test on the alternator itself. If the alternator is indeed the culprit, the fix is to replace it with a new or remanufactured unit, which will typically cost around $400-$600 including labor.

As with many of these issues, catching the problem early can help you avoid more costly repairs down the line.

Problems Specific To 9th Generation Honda Accord (2013-2017)

Side Mirror Distortion

One issue that seems to plague 9th generation Accords is distortion in the driver’s side mirror. If you’ve ever looked in your mirror and felt like things looked a bit “off,” you’re not alone.

This problem is caused by a defect in the mirror glass itself, which can cause a subtle warping effect that distorts your view.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for this issue – the only solution is to replace the mirror glass entirely.

This is a job that most people can handle themselves with a little patience and a steady hand, but if you’re not comfortable tackling it, expect to pay around $100-$150 for the part and labor. It’s not a critical safety issue, but it can be annoying and disorienting, especially if you’re not used to it.

Uncomfortable Seats

Another common complaint about 9th generation Accords is the seats – specifically, how uncomfortable they can be on long drives. Many owners report that the seat cushions feel too firm and lack adequate lumbar support, leading to back pain and fatigue on extended trips.

If you’re dealing with this issue, there are a few potential solutions. One is to invest in a good lumbar support cushion that can help alleviate pressure on your lower back.

Another is to have your seats re-padded or reupholstered with softer, more supportive foam. This can be a pricey option, with costs ranging from $500 to $1,500 or more depending on the extent of the work, but it can make a world of difference in terms of comfort and support.

Problems Specific To 10th Generation Honda Accord (2018-Present)

Turbocharger Failure – 1.5L Turbo Engine

One of the most concerning issues with 10th generation Accords equipped with the 1.5L turbo engine is premature turbocharger failure. Some owners have reported turbo failure at as little as 30,000 miles, with symptoms including a loss of power, sluggish acceleration, and a check engine light with codes P0299 (turbo underboost) or P0234 (turbo overboost).

The cause of this issue is still somewhat unclear, but some theories point to oil contamination or quality issues that can cause the turbo bearings to fail prematurely. If you’re experiencing turbo problems on your 10th gen Accord, the first step is to have the system diagnosed by a mechanic who can check for boost leaks, oil contamination, and other potential issues.

In many cases, the only solution is to replace the turbocharger entirely, which can cost upwards of $2,000-$3,000 depending on parts and labor. This is definitely an issue to keep an eye on if you own one of these vehicles.

Oil Dilution – 1.5L Turbo Engine

Another issue that’s been reported with 10th generation Accords equipped with the 1.5L turbo engine is oil dilution. This occurs when gasoline seeps past the piston rings and contaminates the engine oil, leading to a decrease in oil viscosity and potential engine damage over time.

Some owners have reported oil that smells strongly of gasoline, or an oil level that seems to be rising on its own.

The cause of this issue is believed to be related to the engine’s direct injection system and the short trips that many owners take in their vehicles. During short trips, the engine may not reach its optimal operating temperature, which can cause gasoline to seep past the piston rings and into the oil pan.

Over time, this can lead to a significant amount of oil dilution, which can cause increased engine wear and potential damage.

If you suspect that your 1.5L turbo engine is suffering from oil dilution, the first step is to have your oil analyzed by a lab that can check for gasoline contamination.

If dilution is found, you may need to have your oil changed more frequently than the recommended interval, or consider using a higher-quality oil that’s more resistant to dilution. In extreme cases, engine damage may occur, which could require costly repairs or even an engine replacement.

Infotainment System Glitches

Moving on to a less severe but still frustrating issue, many 10th generation Accord owners have reported glitches and bugs with the infotainment system. This can include everything from frozen screens and unresponsive touch controls to problems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

In many cases, these issues can be resolved by simply rebooting the infotainment system or performing a factory reset.

However, some owners have reported more persistent problems that require a software update or even a replacement of the entire infotainment unit. This can be a costly fix, with a new head unit potentially running upwards of $1,000 or more.

If you’re experiencing infotainment issues on your 10th gen Accord, the first step is to try a simple reboot or reset. If that doesn’t work, you may need to visit your local Honda dealer for a software update or further diagnosis.

In some cases, Honda has issued recalls or extended warranties to address specific infotainment issues, so it’s worth checking to see if your vehicle is covered.

Fuel Pump Failure

Another issue that’s been reported with 10th generation Accords is premature fuel pump failure. This can cause a range of symptoms, including engine stalling, difficulty starting, and a check engine light with codes P0087 (fuel rail pressure too low) or P0087 (fuel rail pressure too high).

The cause of this issue is believed to be related to a defect in the fuel pump itself, which can cause it to fail prematurely. In some cases, Honda has issued recalls for specific models and years to address this issue, so it’s worth checking to see if your vehicle is affected.

If you’re experiencing fuel pump issues on your 10th gen Accord, the first step is to have the system diagnosed by a mechanic who can check for fuel pressure issues and other potential problems. In many cases, the only solution is to replace the fuel pump entirely, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more depending on parts and labor.

As with many of these issues, catching the problem early and addressing it promptly can help you avoid more costly repairs down the line.

Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) False Activation

One of the most unsettling issues reported by 10th generation Accord owners is false activation of the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). This system is designed to alert the driver and automatically apply the brakes if it detects an imminent collision, but some owners have reported instances of the system activating when no obstacle is present.

This issue can be particularly jarring and potentially dangerous, as it can cause the vehicle to unexpectedly slam on the brakes or swerve out of its lane. In some cases, owners have reported near-misses or even accidents caused by false CMBS activation.

If you’re experiencing this issue on your 10th gen Accord, the first step is to have the system diagnosed by a Honda dealer who can check for any software or sensor issues. In some cases, a software update may resolve the problem, but in others, a replacement of the CMBS sensor or camera may be necessary.

This can be a costly fix, with parts and labor potentially running upwards of $1,000 or more.

It’s worth noting that Honda has issued several technical service bulletins (TSBs) related to CMBS issues on 10th gen Accords, so it’s worth checking to see if your vehicle is covered. In the meantime, some owners have reported being able to mitigate the issue by keeping the CMBS sensitivity set to its lowest level or even disabling the system entirely, although this is not recommended from a safety perspective.

AC Condenser Leaks

Finally, another issue that’s been reported by some 10th generation Accord owners is leaks from the air conditioning condenser. This can cause a range of symptoms, including warm air from the vents, a low refrigerant level, and a visible refrigerant leak under the vehicle.

The cause of this issue is typically a failure of the condenser itself, which can develop small leaks over time due to corrosion or other damage. In some cases, a rock or piece of road debris can puncture the condenser, causing a more sudden and severe leak.

If you suspect that your 10th gen Accord’s AC condenser is leaking, the first step is to have the system inspected by a qualified mechanic who can perform a dye test to locate the leak. If the condenser is indeed leaking, the only solution is typically to replace it entirely, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more depending on parts and labor.

To help prevent AC condenser leaks, it’s important to keep the front of your vehicle clean and free of debris, and to have your AC system serviced regularly to ensure that it’s operating at peak efficiency. Catching a small leak early can often help you avoid a more costly repair down the line.

Closing Thoughts

From oil consumption to uncomfortable seats, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this article about common Honda Accord problems. While it’s easy to get discouraged by the potential for repairs and maintenance, it’s important to remember that every vehicle comes with its own set of challenges. In my opinion, the 7th and 8th generation Accords offer the best balance of reliability and value, while the 6th generation models are probably best left in the past due to their transmission woes.

That being said, even newer models like the 10th generation can provide a great driving experience with the right care and attention. As with any vehicle, the key is to stay informed, keep up with regular maintenance, and be prepared for the occasional hiccup along the way.

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