The Honda Accord is one of the most popular cars ever made.
It’s known for being extremely reliable, fun to drive, and having nice roomy interiors at an affordable price.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of its most common problems.
1. Automatic Braking Problems
There have been many reports of the tenth generation Accord’s CMBS (Collision Mitigation Braking System) randomly triggering on its own for no apparent reason.
This issue only seems to affect the 2018 and 2019 model years.
When the automatic braking system activates, the car will start beeping a second or two before it actually slams on the brakes.
The NHTSA launched an investigation in February 2022 to determine the cause of the problem due to the number of complaints it has received and the fact that some instances have resulted in collisions and injuries.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“My 2018 Honda Accord sport has been braking on its own for quite some time now. The car will brake on its own with nothing in front of it. It will give beeping noises and flash “brake” on the dashboard.”
“The automatic braking system malfunctioned and started to brake for no reason with no car in front and no other safety risk.“
If you’re encountering automatic braking false alarms, you can always turn it off by pressing the Safety Support Switch on the dash and selecting the CMBS feature using the scroll wheel on the steering wheel.
Honda has not officially released any fix for the reported automatic braking problems, but it did update the Accord’s software in 2019 to fix issues with the Adaptive Cruise Control and the CMBS.
This might explain why there haven’t been many issues reported for the 2020 and newer model years.
2. Dashboard Rattles
Although rattles are not uncommon in different generations of the Accord, early model years tenth gen Accords seem to be more prone to rattles from different parts of the dashboard.
On the Car Complaints website, dashboard rattles are the most commonly reported issue for the 2018 Accord. They typically come from around the instrument cluster and the passenger side.
Rattles can be very hard to track down and will sometimes require tearing out the entire dashboard to figure out what is causing the noise.
Here is how a few unhappy owners described their experience:
“I get a buzzing noise from behind the radio console when accelerating. It usually happens when you put a load on the engine (i.e. starting from a stop) and when accelerating from around 40-45 mph.”
“Annoying buzzing or vibration coming from somewhere in the dash area. More audible when car has been in the sun for a while. Only hear it under acceleration around 25-40 mph.”
“The dash rattle comes and goes. Sounds like plastic near the passenger side front”
Honda released a TSB to fix the rattling or buzzing coming from the instrument cluster and HUD (Heads-Up Display) area.
The fix involves removing the dashboard and sticking wool felt on HUD display trim to remove the vibrations.
The passenger side rattles are a bit harder to fix.
But some owners were able to track it down to either the center console or the heater core. Applying foam tape around these parts got rid of the rattles for a lot of people.
3. VCM Issues
Early versions of Honda’s VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) used in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Accords often caused an array of engine problems over time.
Modern V6 Honda engines use VCM to improve fuel economy by disabling cylinders when certain conditions are met, such as when you’re cruising on the highway at low RPM.
But VCM also caused premature wear and other major issues such as:
- Excessive oil consumption
- Fouled spark plugs
- Engine misfires
- Piston ring failure
- Worn engine mounts
- Worn torque converter
- Catalytic converter problems
Honda eventually updated their VCM software in newer model years to mitigate the number of issues that the older systems caused, but some vehicles can still have issues even with the newer software — although at a much lower rate.
Additionally, only the automatic transmission models had VCM, so manual transmission Accords don’t suffer from these potential problems.
Here is how a few Accord owners described their experience:
“Had bad oil consumption on my Honda Accord. Was eating oil like crazy. Found it was attributed to the worn seals from the VCM on the V6 engine.”
“Here I am almost 100,000 miles on my Honda Accord and I have to add oil in between oil changes. Not just a little bit, around every 1,000 miles I am 2 quarts low or more.”
Due to a class action lawsuit, Honda extended the warranty on 2008 to 2013 Honda Accords to 8-years and an unlimited number of miles.
The warranty only covers worn-out piston rings which caused the excessive oil consumption issues.
A lot of owners found that simply installing an aftermarket device that disables the VCM permanently fixed a lot of issues such as oil consumption and misfires without doing anything else to the engine.
Disabling the VCM also made cars drive much smoother, so it’s often recommended even if a car doesn’t exhibit any issues as it doesn’t negatively affect the gas mileage too much and significantly improves engine’s reliability.
4. Transmission Failure
Some model years of the sixth and seventh generation Honda Accords have notoriously weak automatic transmissions.
On Car Complaints, a website dedicated to owner feedback, the sixth gen Accords from 2000 to 2002 and seventh gen V6 Accords from 2003 to 2005 have the highest number of reported transmission failures.
Failures are more common in the V6 models because the extra power causes the transmission to overheat and wear out more.
A lot of people also blame the failures on poor design and lack of proper lubrication.
Signs of transmission failure in these cars include:
- Delayed shifting
- Slipping or delayed acceleration
- Won’t shift into third gear
- Clunking and whining noises
Here is how some Accord owners described their experience:
“Started to slowly notice that it would take a couple seconds for the car to actually shift into gear such as Drive or Reverse. Then one day it just completely failed on me.”
“Transmission struggled to shift between gears, would sometimes skip third gear, clunked into gear at lower speeds. Had it rebuilt at a cost to me of $2800.”
I was driving on HWY 280 and it felt as if I had slammed on the breaks and or downshifted to first from 4th. Car jerked twice. I immediately got off the freeway and the car’s service light came on and the D light was flashing.
“I was driving on HWY 280 and it felt as if I had slammed on the brakes and/or downshifted to first from 4th. Car jerked twice. The car’s service light came on and the D light was flashing.”
Due to the age and current value of the sixth and seventh gen Accords, most people just replace their transmissions with a used or remanufactured unit. But these will likely also break down after some time.
To really fix the problem, you’ll have to get the transmission rebuilt with stronger aftermarket parts which will likely cost several thousand dollars.
If the transmission is still working fine, you can prolong its life by frequently replacing the transmission fluid.
If the fluid hasn’t been changed in a very long time, draining and refilling the fluid three times is often recommended to make sure the old worn out fluid is completely flushed out.
5. Defective DRL (Daytime Running Lamps)
The facelifted ninth generation Accord comes with DRL headlights that eventually stop fully lighting up after some time.
This issue only affects the 2016 to 2017 model years of the Honda Accord. Older model years don’t use the same headlight assembly.
Daytime Running Lamps make your car more visible to pedestrians and other vehicles.
In a lot of cases, the LED strips that surround the headlight assembly do still light up, but only part way.
Here is how one owner described their experience:
“I have a ‘16 Accord Coupe. Last summer I had the right headlight replaced due to the DRL dimmed out. Now the left side failed and the dealer stated he can’t order a replacement due to Back Order until April.”
in 2019, Honda extended the warranty of the 2016 and 2017 Accord’s DRL LEDs to 10 years and an unlimited number of miles.
According to Honda, the LEDs tend to burn the plastic headlight lenses which eventually block the LED DRL lights, but all the electronics underneath are actually still working properly.
Normally, you’ll need to replace the entire headlight assembly in order to fix the DRL issue.
These headlights typically cost around $500 a piece without the extended warranty.
6. Battery Drain Issues
Premature battery failure is a fairly common issue in a lot of modern Honda Accords, although it is most prevalent on the 2016 and 2017 models.
Several owners have complained that they’ve gone through several batteries in just a few years which is quite unusual since the average life of most batteries is around 3 to 5 years.
Here is how two unhappy owners described their problem:
“I’m on my 3rd battery for my Honda Accord 2017. The first battery went out within the first year of having the vehicle.”
“I have a 2016 Accord V6 EX-L. It has 54K miles on it. Currently I am on my third battery.”
When the battery runs out of charge, the car won’t start and will just usually flash a bunch of warning lights on the dash.
One possible explanation for the excessive battery wear are all the computers and electronics that’s present in modern Accords. But lots of vehicles that also have similar electronics don’t usually suffer from as many battery failures.
If you’ve already replaced the battery several times, you can try using a higher-capacity battery that can better handle the car’s electrical requirements.
It’s also a good idea to always keep a portable jump pack or jumper cables in the trunk in case of emergencies if the dealer can’t figure out what’s causing the excessive battery drain.
If you only use the car for short trips or leave it parked for more than one or two days, it’s a good idea to keep it hooked up to a battery tender so that you’re sure that the battery always has a full charge.
7. Starter Failures
Another common issue with the ninth generation Accord is the intermittent failure of the starter.
A lot of ninth gen Accord owners have reported that their starter will intermittently just make a loud grinding noise as if it’s just spinning freely instead of trying to turn over the engine. When this happens, it will often take several tries to get the starter to work again.
This particular problem typically affects the 2013 , 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years of the V6 Accord.
Here is how some owners described the issue:
“I began having intermittent starting problems on my 2013 2.4 L Accord at around 60,000 miles.”
“I bought my car new in 2013 and have had to replace the starter twice in 6 years.”
“I have a ’14 V6 sedan that started having the starter grind around 75,000 miles. Battery and alternator tested fine so replaced the starter motor and did the service bulletin rotating the flywheel one bolt hole. Worked fine for a week but started grinding again.”
Honda issued a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) that recommends replacing the starter motor and rotating the torque converter by one bolt to fix the grinding issue.
Having this done at a dealership when you’re already out of warranty can cost you close to $1,000. Any competent mechanic should also be able to do the job for a much lower price.
If you don’t fix the starter problems in time, the grinding could damage the gears of the torque converter which is even more expensive to replace.
8. VTC Actuator Noise
Eighth and ninth-generation Accords with 4-cylinder engines have a tendency to start making a rattling or whirring noise for a second or two on startup when the VTC actuator goes bad.
This issue typically affects the 2008 to 2017 model years of the Accord.
The VTC actuator is part of the Variable Timing Control which dynamically adjusts the timing of the camshaft depending on load on the engine.
Although the loud rattle on startup is more of an annoyance and doesn’t usually cause long-term engine damage, it can stress the timing chain tensioner which may cause it, along with the timing chain, to fail over time.
Here is how a few owners described their issue:
“My 2010 Honda Accord makes a grinding noise for a couple of seconds after it starts. Problem is VTC actuator. It is pretty costly to have repaired $800 to $1.000.”
“I started seeing this problem during cold start of my car and it’s going on for almost a year. I was told that the problem is outside of the warranty, though Honda has issued a TSB to fix VTC actuator.”
When replacing the VTC actuator, it’s often recommended to also replace the tensioner and timing chain guides just in case they’ve also been damaged. The TSB that Honda released only recommends to replace the VTC actuator.
Honda updated the VTC actuator in March 2016 which should help minimize any recurrence of the noise. The VTC actuator can be replaced by any competent mechanic. Some owners even consider it as a DIY fix — although you’ll have to be comfortable with taking off the valve covers.
9. Premature Brake Wear
Excessive brake wear is a common issue in a lot of seventh and eighth-generation Accords.
The seventh-gen can have issues with both the front and rear brakes, while the eighth-gen usually only has issues with the rear.
On the Car Complaints website, the 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2010 model years have the highest number of reported brake issues.
Common complaints in both generations include:
- Premature/uneven brake pad wear
- Squeaky brakes
- Warped or glazed rotors
- Scraping or grinding noises
- Vibrations when braking
- Sticking brakes
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I’ve had this car since February 2005. I’ve found I need to get new pads and rotors for the rear braking system roughly every 20K miles.”
“I have a 2008 Accord and the rear brakes are needing to be replaced again, with only 17,000 miles on the second set.”
“In five years, I’ve replaced the left rear brake pad fives and the rotor twice.”
Honda eventually updated the brake pads of the eighth gen Accord after a few years and used a slightly longer lasting compound.
Most owners have simply switched to cheaper aftermarket brake pads that are known to last just as long to save on maintenance costs.
Many have also improved their brake pad life by using performance-oriented aftermarket pads and rotors that are able to handle higher brake temperatures.
Some brake issues are also caused by stuck brake caliper slide pins. These need to be serviced regularly and lubed so that the calipers can move freely and doesn’t cause the brake pads to stick to the rotors.
If you’re experiencing vibrations or a pulsating brake pedal whenever you try to brake, your brake rotors probably need to be resurfaced or replaced because its surface has too much brake pad material on it.
Source: Car Problem Zoo
Honda Accord Pros and Cons
If you’re considering a Honda Accord as your next car you might be wondering what its strengths and weaknesses are…
- Peppy engine options
- Roomy and upscale cabin
- Agile handling
- Comfortable ride quality
- Exceptional reliability
- Base models lack refinement
- Not enough interior storage options
- Some driver aids need improvement
Honda Accord Reliability Compared to Similar Cars
Consumer Reports ranks the Honda Accord in 2nd place with a score of 84/100.
|Make & Model||Consumer Reports|
Source: Consumer Reports
Honda Accord Used Value
We’ve taken a look on Car Gurus to gauge the resale value of a Honda Accord, below are typical asking prices for each model year.
According to Car Edge, a Honda Accord will depreciate 21% after 5 years and have a 5 year resale value of $29,394.
Note: Used model prices will vary depending on trim level.
|Model Year||Mileage (miles)||Resale Price|
Source: Car Gurus
What Do Owners Like and Dislike About the Honda Accord?
Based on owner feedback from the Kelley Blue Book site here are what real-life owners love and hate about the Honda Accord.
- Mechanically good
- Fuel economy
- Fun to drive
- Great styling
- Good handling
- Dashboard rattling noise
- Low profile tires
- Manual passenger seats
- Not sporty-looking
“Good looking car with unexpected zip for 1.5 L engine. Love everything about it except there is an annoying rattle in the dashboard. Turn up the radio and it goes away.”
Source: Kelley Blue Book
“My Honda Accord is black exterior and black leather interior. The sound system is awesome! The drive is smooth. Very comfortable seats. I love the lumbar support, on driver side only. Roomy trunk and the trunk liner/mat is a plus! No regrets purchasing this vehicle!”
“Our recent purchase was our 11th Honda! We are very pleased with our new Accord Sport SE. Every purchase prior to this one was a Civic, but we needed a little more room so we chose an Accord. Great car, You will never go wrong with a Honda. Dependable, great gas mileage, smooth ride, fold down or split seat to carry stuff…”
How Reliable Are Honda Cars?
According to a recent report from Consumer Reports, Honda are ranked the 6th most reliable car manufacturer out of 28 brands, with a score of 66/100.
Source: Consumer Reports