Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2004 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 ever 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 replaced 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:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
104,857 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.

2004 Honda Accord drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 5 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #74

Mar 042013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


Was driving on a highway at approximately 60mph when the vehicle would not accelerate but the RPM's would increase when the gas pedal was pressed. Appearing almost as if the vehicle was in neutral. I checked the shifter to make sure I was still in drive which it was. Tried to shift the gear to D3 and D2 however there was no change. While this was happening the speed of the vehicle was reduced to about 30 - 35mph when I was almost rear ended as it was during rush hour traffic. I was able to coast the vehicle to the side of the road, where a state trooper stopped to see if everything was ok. I placed the vehicle in park while speaking with the trooper. I attempted to place the vehicle in drive to try and get back onto the road however the vehicle did not engage and would not move forward. I placed the vehicle in reverse and it jerked backwards. I turned the vehicle off and immediately restarted it. I was able to place it in drive and get back on the highway until I reached 60mph and the problem started again. I again pulled over, turned off the vehicle, restarted it and would continue for a few miles until the vehicle acted up again. I had to repeat this process about 4 times until I got to the dealership where the vehicle now sits. It appeared that this wasn't a problem while I stayed under 60mph as when I hit local roads and the speed limit was 30mph the car did not act up.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #73

Feb 212013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
I had a sudden fallen transmission problem while I was driving the car started jerking and loose speed due to the transmission not putting in the gears it got over heated fast and I was in traffic and had a stranger help me push it to the side and aaa towed it to my home then the next morning towed it to the dealer and the dealer said I need a new transmission after reading comments on motor Honda failed to send me a recall notice about my transmission. The 2004 accordv6 obviously have transmission defects and I want my transmission paid for from Honda im really upset and Honda Corp. Needs to pay for this.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #72

Jan 182013

Accord 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
I was driving on the interstate when all of a sudden I was no longer able to accelerate. The car jerked when I tried to accelerate or brake. I was able to steer it off onto the side of the road. After taking it in to get it looked at, I was told it is the transmission. According to several articles online and mechanic at the shop I took it too, 2004 Honda Accord are known for having weak transmissions. It was so unexpected and I take car of my car. I felt completely unsafe trying to get it off the interstate going 20 miles an hour as it jerked along and apparently people already know about this issue?? I have just had the car for a year now and bought it from a Honda dealership. Not a word was said to me about the issues with these models or safety recalls for several Honda models made in 2004 - but apparently not mine.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #71

Dec 042012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles


As I was driving the transmission (automatic, V6 Accord) kept slipping so although I was applying the gas the car was slowing down and not moving. So I had to turn the car off and then back on and it would move again for a little but and then the transmission would slip again and I would have to pull over and turn the car off and back on. I then had to have the car towed to a transmission shop for repairs. The transmission show replaced the transmission, so parts and labor came out to $1750.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #70

Dec 312012


  • 119,500 miles
As I am driving my vehicle gets stuck at 20 mph and the rpms go high (above 3,000-4,000). Then the rpms eventually go back down and the vehicle speeds up. I have 2 boys, a 2 year old and a 5 year old along with my wife. I am fearful for their safety. I researched that there was a recall in regards to the transmission over heating at 2nd gear from lack of lubrication but I never received a recall, or at least my dealership did not receive a recall notice. I am not in the best financial situation to have a transmission serviced, but I have kept up with all of the vehicle maintenance including the timing belt, water pump seals belts etc which were replaced not too long ago. I was hoping that the NHTSA could assist me with this urgent matter.

- Addison, IL, USA

problem #69

Dec 192012


  • 115,000 miles
Transmission suddenly started slipping badly at 115K miles. The transmission was always slow to get into initial gear to begin with but I thought it was normal. At near highway speeds my RPM's shot up but the car was slowing down due to the transmission just slipping, it also down shifted wit ha jerk. A notorious issue with these years of Honda's! "working" now with american Honda and hoping for a helping hand as I'm just out of the certified warranty. Honda dealer quoted $6,040 to replace the transmission with a rebuilt. I bought a Honda to have it last, is 6K worth putting into a car worth $9,000 in great condition? please help Honda!!!!

- Boscawen, NH, USA

problem #68

Dec 102012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles


On December 10th, 2012, transmission failed completely while commuting to work on mn 95. Barely avoided collision reaching safe shoulder area (winter conditions). Injured back pushing vehicle out of way of oncoming traffic. Transmission began whining upon cold start and slow in shifting at approximately 125,000. Attempted diagnosis at Honda dealership - failing transmission. Was told to contact Honda America regarding 2004 recall and 2006 settlement. No response to request for assistance from Honda America. Local transmission repair shop diagnosed slight slipping in 3rd and 4th gears, even when warmed up. Looked up technical service bulletins regarding 2004 recall repairs utilizing jet pack to increase transmission fluid flow (and pressure?). called Honda America and was told VIN indicated the problem had already been addressed during vehicle manufacture (2nd half of 2004) and recall for jet pack was not needed. Vehicle had to be towed and remanufactured transmission installed. Cost - $4,000 plus lost work. Despite 2004 recall, 2006 settlement and extended warranty (7yr/100K), Honda America refuses to assist. Have owned 6 Honda since 2000 (1998 Accord, 2000 civic, 2001 Accord, 2003 Odyssey, 2004 Accord and this 2004 Accord). Will now sell my repaired 2004 Accord and my 2003 Odyssey fast before its transmission fails and will have to seek another company that actually stands behind its products.

- Stillwater, MN, USA

problem #67

Dec 042012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 143,944 miles
The car initially would stick with a brief pause when shifted from reverse to forward. Several days later while driving on the freeway the car suddenly began to slow between 30-40 miles an hour. In order to get home we had to turn off the car and then restart and coast. In an effort to Transport to our mechanic the car would not go in reverse and would not go into drive so we had to tow it in neutral to the shop. The mechanic was able to verify how the transmission fluid was black and smelled burnt. His prognosis was that I will need a new transmission. Within the past couple of months I had the car in the shop because of engine noise. It was thought to be the transmission and further diagnostics revealed the idler tensioner pulleys had to be replaced. At the time computer diagnostics revealed no problems with the transmission and the fluid was fine as well.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #66

Dec 082012


  • 53,800 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the vehicle suddenly lost acceleration power and was unable to exceed 30 mph. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileage was 53,800.

- Magnolia , DE, USA

problem #65

Nov 222012


  • 162,338 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle decelerated independently and the transmission warning light illuminated. The contact also stated that a ticking noise could be heard coming from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was confirmed that the transmission had failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the issue and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission). The approximate failure mileage was 162,338.

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #64

Nov 292012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 100,200 miles


I have a 2004 Honda Accord V6 and while merging into traffic on my way to work, the automatic transmission failed. I was nearly rear-ended, but was able to get the car off to the side of the road safely. Had this happened on a highway I could have been rear-ended by an 18 wheeler. With a V6, I expect to be able to pull out into traffic and come up to speed quickly and safely. That was not the case on the 29th of November and I was nearly rear-ended by a minivan due to the transmission failing completely. I am told that the transmission oil pump failed, and that lead to the transmission failure. I am now trying to trade in this vehicle for a Toyota instead. I no longer feel safe driving any Honda vehicles. In my experience, Honda nonchalant way of dealing with this issue is extremely disturbing, and makes me feel that Honda does not care about me as a customer. Sad, if this is the new Honda, I will be sure to inform everyone I talk to about the decline in Honda quality and customer service that I experienced.

- Mount Joy, PA, USA

problem #63

Nov 012012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
Transmission failed on highway, was able to drive at 50 mph at 5000 engine RPM. Slow to engage into drive from stop. Next day, would not engage R or D. Honda offered only $1300 goodwill on a $5K+ bill for reman transmission. Always performed a transmission fluid drain and refill every 10K miles since 60000 miles on the odometer w/Honda oem atf-Z1 purchased from dealer. Filled up to the circle on the dipstick between the handle and last circle; poured new atf-Z1 through the dip stick hole. Had to bite on a $2500 rebuilt repair bill from an indy shop.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #62

Nov 242012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 168,519 miles
I was driving the highway and merging on an uphill ramp, the transmission raced and the car lost speed. About 20 miles later, I could feel something wrong with maintaining my speed and there was hesitation. Another 20 miles later, I lost all forward movement in drive and left the highway. I was able to go another few miles on a side street in 2nd gear and then the car stalled in the middle of the street. The transmission is completely lost.

- Westlake, OH, USA

problem #61

Nov 232012


  • 113,000 miles
At 57 to 60 mph, when accelerating the whole car shudders. Was told the front axles needed to be replaced. I did some research and found this is a very common problem with Honda Accord from 1997 to 2005. One piece of anecdotal evidence from a Honda repair technician was that he saw this problem at least once a day. This has to be a produce defect for this to happen so frequently. I am not sure of the ramifications of this problem on vehicle safety if left unrepaired but I have to imagine any problem with an axle could be potentially serious and/or life threatening.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #60

Jan 162010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
While driving low speed 20 to 40 mph car started jerking bucking pulled over to store parking lot waited 10 minutes scared to drive 10 min to home but made it. Attempt to drive vehicle next day after driving start jerking transmission slipping pulled over again. Try to move vehicle again cars would not move. Contact american Honda informed transmission failed was informed my vehicle id was not on the 2004 Accord transmission recall list. Ask for good faith repair refused.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #59

Oct 152012


  • 61,000 miles
Smell something burning while running the car on freeway. Axle seal leaking and coolant bypass hose leaking was confirmed later.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #58

Oct 052012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
Transmission has been accelerating very fast overheating, slipping, it appears the transmission fluid have been leaking however I took it in for service about a month ago and everything was fine. My dealership from February 13, 2012 September 28, 2012 commonwealth Honda has been claiming there is nothing wrong with this transmission the suspension or the timing belt. They performed service and all of them they claim everything is fine. Now less than 30 days later my transmission is broken. A vehicle with just got problems should not continue to be resold.

- Methuen, MA, USA

problem #57

Aug 212012


  • 76,500 miles
My car started bucking about two weeks after I had it inspected in July. Also the drive light was blinking and the check maintenance light came on. At one point I was alone and far from home and the car would not go into reverse. I contacted a mechanic I know well who told me there was a safety issue and that I should try to drive the car to the transmission place he recommended. For several miles the car bucked and I wasn't sure whether I would get there or not, but I did. Very scary. Not sure this sure happen with a car that only has 76,500 miles on it and I am the only owner.

- Elkins Park, PA, USA

problem #56

Aug 092012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I was traveling on the interstate and was gradually having problems with my Accord V6 engine shifting into third gear. Rpms would go up, but no additional power. Finally transmission totally failed. Honda reported to me that the error code indicated an internal transmission failure and I needed a new transmission. They only gave me $1300 towards the $4400 cost of the transmission. They had no response to my comment that I noted other failures of the transmission posted in this database and elsewhere on the web.

- Greenbelt, MD, USA

problem #55

Jul 272012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
The vehicle stopped dead for me on a road. Fortunately I was not on a highway (I was on a 30-mile/hour road) because I probably would have been rear-ended and I would have been dead or, worse, caused someone else to be injured. I called the towing service and they said it was the transmission. The car at present is worthless. I never received a recall notice form Honda. I can only guess that I had moved from the date of purchase. However, my local Honda dealership in syracuse, NY never (over 8 years of service at the same dealership) notified me of a potential issue or recall on this transmission. This is a serious problem since the car just stalled on the road and died. Very disappointed with Honda and their lack of notifying owners of the potential serious problem.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

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