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:
6 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 1
Average Mileage:
86,420 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

May 022010


  • 60,000 miles


While driving on a rainy day the battery signal flashes for a couple of seconds and the steering gets locked for approx 3 sec and after 3 sec it gets back to normal. It usually happens while turning and on a rainy day. This could result in a situation of life and death. Initially we thought it is just one off situation but these days the problem is increasing. We have got it checked at 2 places including pepboys and they could not figure out the problem.

- Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #25

Mar 012009

Accord 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I own a 2004 Honda Accord ex. The climate control, cd, radio, defroster, etc are displayed on an back-lit led display console. Over a year ago the backlight went out, rendering the display useless. Reading various car blogs, this has been a systemic problem with the Accord. So much so that Honda has recalled some VIN numbers (but not mine) in the daylight hours, this is a mere inconvenience, at night it has presented several dangerous situations while driving in trying blindly to adjust climate settings -especially the defroster. I reported this to Honda, but they said that my VIN number did not qualify. The dealer said that they will replace this light for $645. Please consider investigating.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #24

Jun 012009


  • Manual transmission
  • 98,000 miles
2004 Honda Accord, 2 door, 6 sp manual transmission. While driving, occasionally when turning on turn signal, turning on the high beams or touching the brakes causes an interruption to the electrical system of the car and it just shuts off. If moving with the clutch out, the car starts back up and continues. This happens at least once every time I drive somewhere and gets more frequent the longer you drive--like on a long trip. Is exciting when putting turn signal on while passing while at speed on the highway.

- Edina, MN, USA

problem #23

Feb 272010


  • 116,000 miles


Audio unit display went blank / extremely dim. This unit controls radio and, most importantly, the heating and cooling settings for the car. Covered under extend warranty (7 years /100K miles), but car has 116K miles, yet 6 years old. Since electronics failures should be based on usage hours of operation), believe this failure should be covered under the warranty.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #22

Oct 012009

Accord 6-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
2004 Honda exl V-6; headlights dim as a result of the eld issue which is Honda is fully aware of. The car works fine in every other aspect. Honda's explanation that this is normal and acceptable does not do anything to ease my concerns as the headlights flicker during nighttime driving. I am very disappointed that Honda is not taking the necessary steps to resolve this issue, as it is a very noticeable issue. Given the number of online postings and complaints filed directly to Honda over this issue, the NHTSA needs to apply some pressure to Honda to get them to resolve this dangerous situation on their Accord models.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #21

Sep 162009


  • 43,890 miles
Turning signal for front and back of vehicle stopped working. Bulb and fuse are intact. Honda Accord ex 2004.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #20

Jan 072009


  • 37,000 miles


2004 Honda Accord V6ex. Audio-HVAC display is dark. Honda are aware of all model 2003 & 2004 but refused to recall due to the cost. They even put a service bulletin 04-027 out in all their dealership.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #19

Feb 152009


  • 50,000 miles
Noticed upon starting car: Lights on my dashboard have darkened completely (and permanently, not intermittently). This includes the defroster indicator, dashboard buttons, climate control, radio, and clock. This is a very common problem for 03-07 Accord, hundreds of users have complained about it for years. See the following thread: please submit this to Honda for recall action.

- Stamford, CT, USA

problem #18

Feb 032009


  • miles
The headlights on my 2004 Honda Accord go dimmer and brighter about every minute while driving or parked. This headlight problem only occurs when the A/C or defrost is on. I believe the extra load on the electrical system with these components turned on is causing the headlights to dim about every 60 seconds. It could be related to a fan or other engine component turning on and off, not sure. The dealer replaced my battery and checked the alternator but the problem still occurs. The dealer says it is normal for Honda Accord to do this, but I think there should be a recall. This is very distracting to myself and the drivers in front of me. It looks like I am flashing my lights.

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #17

Apr 022008


  • 117,000 miles
2004 Honda/Accord, first incident started with interior lights not going on, then console lights not turning on, then radio turning off by itself and finally radio now makes a loud buzzing noise before turning off by itself.

- Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 062008


  • 66,275 miles


NHTSA# 10016310... 2004 Honda Accord 2.4L coupe. A water leak in the middle-front dash board. The leak had run into the ECU of my car and caused my car to lock the transmission. I was lucky to not be traveling at a high rate of speed and in a populated area. Anything could have happened with the ECU shorting in water. My car is currently in the Honda shop being trouble shot for the extent of electrical damage. Car will not start.

- Huron, OH, USA

problem #15

May 122008


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the key had a chip that could recognize the vehicle. The vehicle would stall as if it were being stolen. The chip embedded in the key appeared to be damaged and stopped working. The contact was locked out of the vehicle. She took her vehicle to a repair shop and was informed that when the chip and instrument panel lights turned off, that indicated that there was something wrong with the key. The current mileage was 78,783 and failure mileage was approximately 77,000.

- Newton, MA, USA

problem #14

Jan 272008

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
I parked my car in my parents driveway at approx 11:pm at 2am my father woke me and told me my car was on fire in the driveway. When first seen the fire was inside the car in the front drivers corner by the time the fire department got there the car was totally engulfed total loss.

- Mastic, NY, USA

problem #13

Jun 012007


  • miles
Radio turns off, display goes dim, now has started to make a loud noise.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #12

Apr 092007

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles
1. car would not start. Called aaa, jump started. Battery was fully charged. No apparent reason for not starting. No further problems. 2004 Honda Accord on April 3, 2007. 2. neighbor has 2006 Honda Accord. He started and was backing out of driveway and the car stalled half way onto street and would not start. Taken to dealer. No problem foundon April 9,2007. Could be dangerous if happened on road.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #11

Mar 202007

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
(1) enough accumulated driving hours will cause the failure, per Honda service bulletin 04-027, and online information: The resistor in the audio unit over time will be heated up and fail due to a design defect, resistor" too close to the a heat sink. 2) cd/ac/fan unit display went dark. Consequently, the defroster cannot be reliably set, causing a driving hazard, especially in the wet pacific nw and at night. This is a safety issue, not just the cd display. (3) no one will contact dealership. This is a complaint against the vehicle, not to the dealership.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #10

Jun 232006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Radio and climate control display stops working.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #9

Mar 292006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,998 miles
This is the third time this has happened. While driving my 2004 Honda Accord ex the light denoting the driving gear has come on. The 1st time it happened I took it to crown Honda dealership. They said the computer didn't record the act and couldn't find the problem. Today on the way to the crown dealership the same thing happened twice. Both times I stopped the car and restarted the car. On the second restart the light disappeared and drove fine. Hopefully this isn't automatic transmission going bad.

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #8

Jan 302006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,550 miles
Radio/HVAC lighting has failed two times, repaired by Honda dealership. The unit is not working again. Unable to see HVAC/climate control/radio/clock when unit is out. I almost rear ended another vehicle trying to adjust heat (had to swerve into emergency lane and nearly landed in a ditch. Honda of America refuses to replace the unit despite unsuccessful attempts to repair it.

- Proctorville, OH, USA

problem #7

Jan 012006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Radio and HVAC controls lights are out. The radio operates but the lights are out.

- Arlington , TX, USA

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