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 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Oct 222011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Honda Accord ex-L V6 2004 116żż000 I was driving on the highway at 55 mph, and was coming up on some stand still traffic. I was in the middle lane going about 20 mph. As the traffic started slowing down and I was attempting to get over to right lane and merge off the exit when my transmission failed. I hit the gas as I pulled into the right hand exit lane but my car would not accelerate, causing me to almost get rear ended. The RPM gauge was at 3 but the car wouldnżżT accelerate. I had to rev it and coast down the highway with cars behind me blowing at me. The fastest the car would go was 10 mph on a single lane exit onto another highway so I got to nearest exit (2 miles away) coasted down the exit and pulled over and shut my car off. After 10 minutes with the car off I started it back up and attempted to get back home the car did fine for 10 minutes until arrived 3 blocks from house and had to pulled on the side of the road from the same transmission failure with emergency lights on, I cut off the car for another 10 minutes and made it home. My car has 116,000 miles and Iżżve researched recalls on my make and model and Honda has 1,000,000 recalls on 2004 Honda transmission. When I call Honda's toll free number and gave my VIN number and Honda representative says thereż's no recall on my VIN. They also mentioned to take it to Honda dealer to get the problem diagnose which they will not cover. I felt like my life was danger, I almost got rear ended twice and Honda will not correct there problem with their faulty transmissions. Iżżve reviewed dozens of forums with thousands of complaints from different Honda owners with the same year (2004) with the same problem as me- and Honda did not help on repairs or any compensation.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #13

Jul 102011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
I have a 2004 Honda Accord that had a transmission failure with no warning. It had 88,000miles on it and very well maintained. I was driving on the highway about 2 hours away from home when the car started slowing down or downshifting on its own. I felt like I was just coasting or in neutral. I pulled over to the side of the road and waited a couple minutes and tried to start my car up did. I started driving again and not even 3/4 of a mile later the same thing happened. I did this pull over/ turn off/ turn on thing all the way home with my daughter in the car ( 2 hrs away was too costly for a tow). What should have taken 2 hours took close to 4hrs 20 mins. I called my local Honda dealer and they said that they needed to look at it to diagnose the problem which would have cost me $120 to tell me what I already transmission was shot. I took it instead to an independant garage $45 and they said it was an internal transmission failure. I called Honda back and they said there is no recall and it would cost $3800 to get a rebuild transmission. Corporate said my VIN did not have a recall and I would have to pay. When all was said and done I paid $4213 for a rebuilt transmission with 36,000mile or 3 year warranty. I am getting rid of this car before warranty runs out and not buying another Honda ever.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #12

Oct 072011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Transmission total failure occurred while traveling on the high way.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #11

Oct 052011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


While attempting to pass a tractor trailer on the highway my transmission failed to shift into a higher gear & start to slow down. It was almost as if my car was in neutral. My rpms shot up but my car wasn't accelerated. I was nearly hit by the tractor trailer & was nearly hit several more times as I coasted across three lanes onto the side of the road. I called a local dealer & they want approx $5000 to repair it. I did a search online & this appears to be a widespread problem.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #10

Sep 122011

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
Noticed leak on garage floor, took it into Honda dealership, told by technician carrier bearing in transmission is very loose causing leak, likely need transmission replacement, low mileage 70,730. Wonder if this should have been considered in recent recall date of 8-4-11 since this car was manufactured in July, 2004.

- Mt. Washington, KY, USA

problem #9

Sep 012011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 84,145 miles
The vehicle is automatic and takes up to 3-5 seconds before wanting to accelerate once its put into drive and then slight kick once it gets into gear. The vehicle begins to vibrate at the speed of 55 as well. The vehicle kicks also when in drive and it switches gears around 30 mph.

- Worth, IL, USA

problem #8

Sep 132011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


My transmission was recalled in 2004 however the "fix" was to install an oil jet kit and extra lubrication to the gears. The transmission still failed at only 65K miles. Honda now refused to pay for the repairs. Honda knowingly put my safety and the safety of my two year old daughter at risk by not replacing the transmission. The incident happened while driving my daughter to school and I become stuck going up a hill and started rolling backwards into oncoming traffic.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #7

Aug 152011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Transmission failure - started as a vibration around 60 to 65 mph. Dealer assessed and indicated the transmission needs to be replaced at only 78000 miles.

- Normal, IL, USA

problem #6

Sep 062011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
I have a 2004 V6 Accord with 110,000 miles and had a previous throttle position sensor replaced a year ago B/C the tranny did not shift down into lower gear intermittently on highway. Now I have the opposite problem, where tranny doesn't shift up into overdrive. So there is another sensor problem. Turning off/on the car resets it. But local mechanic said test drive showed jerkiness from 1 to 2nd gear, and I've always noticed/ignored a judder from high gear to low gear, e.g., slowing down at off ramp. And he said the tranny fluid looked burnt. And there is an emissions controller fault and leak too. The recall for 2004 transmissions does not include my VIN...and reading the nyt blog from Jan 2011, suggests it might not have been a good recall fix anyway. But in my call to dealer service dept and to Honda N.America, they came across very defensive people on phone. Can't see buying another Honda again.

- Belmont, MA, USA

problem #5

Aug 122011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
On June 30, 2004, Honda's North America website released a statement about their voluntary recall to certain Honda & Acura automobiles. My 2004 V6 Honda Accord is mentioned on this recall. On 4/30/05, Honda dealership shows in my repair history report that the V6 automatic transmission second gear is inspected. The report says "inspect 2nd gear and install lubrication kit on transmission. Inspection show no problems". this clearly does not indicate that the repair was completed. Case in point, on other repairs made by the dealer, they will clearly state that repairs have been made by stating "performed tire rotation" or "replaced rear brake pads". on 3/19/11, I take the vehicle in for an oil change and the dealer recommends that the transmission fluid be replaced. This work is completed by the clear definition on the repair order form "drain and inspect transmission fluid, clean magnetic plug, replace drain plug seal, replace with new Honda transmission fuide. Inspect seals and trans for leaks. Performed trans fluid service". contrary to the 4/30/05 service report, the transmission fluid service was completed. At this time, shouldn't the inspection show wear and tear and cause of concern to the auto technician that the transmission will need to be replaced? this should be a safety flag that goes off to the dealer which was not notified in the history repair log or to myself. On 8/12/11, transmission locks up and car fails on the interchange of highway 270 and highway 40 ż two major highways in St. Louis. Have to pull off to side of the road and wait for aaa to tow the car to the dealership. The next day, the dealer quotes me a price of $5100 to replace the transmission. Still waiting to hear from my assigned Honda case manager for any assistance for this high quoted price. When contacting other auto technicians, the price quoted is 1/2 the cost.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #4

Jul 192011


  • 78,807 miles


I was driving 70 miles per hour on a busy freeway when the vehicle down shifted abruptly and drastically reduced in speed. It refused to shift into higher gears, randomly spiked in engine RPM, and resulted in a hazard due to quickly-approaching traffic from behind. The vehicle's speed had reduced to nearly 20 miles per hour in busy freeway traffic before I had successfully navigated the vehicle across 3 lanes and onto the shoulder. I turned the engine off and shifted the transmission into park. I turned the engine back on a few minutes later, and was able to get the transmission to shift and drive normally until the end of the off-ramp. Upon reaching the off-ramp's stop light, the transmission died again, and refused to accelerate the car. The engine was responding to gas pedal inputs as if it were in neutral, although the transmission was in drive. I waited for several traffic light cycles, unable to move the vehicle and amid impatient drivers' car horns from behind me. Thankfully, the car's transmission responded temporarily again, long enough to maneuver the vehicle into a nearby dealerships parking lot. We had to push it the last few feet into the parking spot. Here, the transmission had finally failed to the point that I could no longer shift it out of park. I called my insurance company to get a tow truck to tow the vehicle 15 miles back to my local Honda dealership. They diagnosed the issue as a transmission failure, which required a new transmission altogether. They were surprised by the relatively low mileage, but said it was a frequent problem likely due to a design flaw in the V6 automatic transmissions on these Accord. I was especially disappointed because I had just spent over a thousand dollars in maintenance costs at this same Honda dealership a week before, where I have consistently maintained my vehicle.

- Tracy, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 172011


  • 150,153 miles
Transmission downshifted without warning into lowest gear causing the car to jerk and decelerate very rapidly, which resulted in lost control of the vehicle. After coming to a stop transmission would not engage, leaving the car disabled in the middle of the highway.

- Shrewsbury, MA, USA

problem #2

Oct 162010


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord ex. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the speed suddenly decreased to 15 mph and the contact lost control. The vehicle jumped the curb and hit a pedestrian who was injured. The dealer stated that the failure was caused by metal in the transmission fluid caused by broken gears. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were approximately 109,000.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #1

Apr 192004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,500 miles
When parking the car in a parking lot, as I was turning into the parking space the car jumped (went very fast forward and hit the wall in front of me) even though I had my foot on the brakes I felt I had no control of the car and the engine turned off on it's own. I also noticed it jumped gears, it was no longer on D but D3. This incident caused damage to the bumper of the car.

- Houston, TX, USA

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