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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,009 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #16

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 #15

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 #14

Jul 072012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I did the routine maintenance on my Honda Accord. I have followed all of the specifications regarding oil changes, maintenance on the transmission, timing belt replacement, etc. Unfortunately, even with the routine maintenance performed on this car, my transmission failed on a road trip on July 7, 2012. I was driving on the interstate going 75 miles per hour when my Honda Accord would not accelerate anymore. Thankfully, I was able to safely pull across three lanes of traffic in order to get to the shoulder. Unfortunately, that is when I discovered that my transmission failed and I had to take it to the nearest garage.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #13

Mar 242012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 142,000 miles


Automatic transmission failed while driving. Car was lurching and jumping in speed. Engine was racing. Ultimately, the transmission failed while driving. The car was left without propulsion in the middle of a busy highway. There are 100+ similar complaints on and the #1 most reported problem on the Honda Accord is the transmission. The '03 Accord is the #2 worst car listed on the side with 747 complaints (#1 problem) on the transmission. The '04 is #12 also with transmission problems being the #1 complaint. People driving the 2003 and 2004 Honda Accord have a nasty surprise waiting for them.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #12

Nov 232011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I had a 2004 Honda Accord with approx. 65,000 mile on the car. One day while driving on the freeway, one of the spark plug blew out of the cylinder head and caused a engine failure and vehicle to stall on the freeway. The Honda owner manual recommended the 1st spark plug change at 100,000 miles. When tow the car to the repair shop, the shop discover that the one of the spark plug was not properly torqued at the factor and cause the spark plug thread in fatigue and below the plug out of cylinder head. The thread was strip and made damaged to the engine. Total repair $3000. I google the subject Honda spark plug blew out and found a lot of people with similar problem. Many Honda and Acura Honda with engine that made between 2004 and 2006 had suffer the same problem. Here are the list of the link"T=668825"T=775465.

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #11

Oct 142011


  • 97,000 miles
I have a 2004 Accord ex-L V6. I began hearing a strange noise from the transmission with a loss of motive power at speeds between 25 to 45 mph.. my Honda dealer said it had an internal fault and would replace transmission for $3800. I had a transmission repair shop repair transmission for $2900. The torque converter needed replacing. Car had 97K miles.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #10

Nov 022011

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles


On November 2, 2011 I took my 2004 Honda Accord into a automotive repair shop for a noise that my car was making. While in there the tech looked up my VIN# and said there was a recall on VIN#'s [xxx] [xxx] [xxx]. my VIN # is [xxx] clearly falls within this range. He obtained this information thru "". I then took the paper to the local Honda dealership and they said my vehicle has no recalls. How can this be"?" I assume the site the tech used is a good one and wouldn't provide false information but the Honda dealership is saying otherwise. While at the shop the tech did drive the car and noticed it was "whining" and it shouldn't be. He is a former employee that worked for Honda for a number of years and I believe what he is telling me. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #9

May 012011

Accord 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
On January 2, 2004 we purchased a Honda Accord ex. The car is red in color. Total cost was $25,998.50. We have enjoyed this car since we purchased it and about 6 months ago we made the decision to replace the timing belt. That was on April 8, 2011 as the mileage neared 100,000. Since that time (probably in May 2011) we started to notice some peeling on the front above the windshield and also some around the rear window. It has gotten worse with each passing day. Had we known this was going to happen we would not have replaced the timing belt. We now have a Honda in great mechanical condition that looks awful. It seems that Honda when contacted blames the environment for these problems even though we don't see the cars made by other manufacturers having complaints about a paint peeling issue. Honda has changed its paint process to save money and now the consumer is going to suffer the cost of repair or a car that looks like a junker. We are very upset that this was not a recall by Honda. There are so many Honda owners with this problem and they have documented these problems online.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Sep 012010


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle shook. When the contact took her foot off the accelerator pedal, the shaking stopped. The failure occurred over fifty times. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer several times where the spark plugs and egr valve were replaced and the software was updated. The failure continued and could not be duplicated. The failure mileage was approximately 86,000 and the current mileage was approximately 88,000.

- Oak Ridge, NC, USA

problem #6

Aug 222007

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2004 Honda Accord with several problems since purchase. Consumer states that it all began with the vehicle jerking, warning lights illuminating, brake pads were low, transmission replaced, broken motor mounts, and the horn stopped working. When the consumer took the vehicle back to the dealership, he noticed the SRS light was on, which may have been due to the horn not working.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 102005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50 miles
2004 Honda Accord-ex (cloth); bought new at Honda dealership. From the purchase date to present, problems with the following: Conditioner/heater: Water dripping from vents and window area; musty/moldy smell. *driver's seat: Only one-way power is up; extremely uncomfortable. *stereo/entertainment: Display goes on and off; cd's are burning hot when removed after playing for short time; whole area around system and panels are hot; sound is muffled from speakers. *front driver door: Latch not functioning properly; doesn't stay open when it should and closes on person in driver seat when getting in/out car. *brakes: Grinding. *trunk: After snow or rain and after brushing off snow from vehicle or after rain has stopped-- when trunk is open, water/snow gets into trunk (not designed well...needs better weather-stripping.)

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #4

Sep 032004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 100 miles
The consumer's vehicle stall intermittently even in traffic. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they could not find a problem. Dealer cannot find a problem. While driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the problem is more noticeable. Vehicle has repeated problems going into first gear. Vehicle has been in Honda shop for about 75 days as of 5/21/05 and repeats the stalling issue on a regular basis. Dealer refuses to fix the problem.

- Mount Vernon, NY, USA

problem #3

Sep 112004


  • 2,000 miles
While driving consumer heard a creaking noise coming from under the hood. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #2

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

problem #1

Jan 112004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
While driving my 2004 Honda Accord (3 months old/4,000 mi) the engine cut off. The radio still played. The car lost power steering. I pulled over to the side of the road. The car started again. The dealer could not reproduce the problem, stated that it only happened once and I must continue to drive the car as is. Honda America concurred as did a representative of the owner of the dealership. I do not feel safe driving this car and do not want to risk my life, or the lives of others, with a car that may suddenly shut off while I am driving.

- Carmel, IN, USA

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