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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
83,801 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 4 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #88

Aug 042010

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,457 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord ex. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the transmission would not shift into first or second gear and the vehicle began to rev but it would not accelerate. The vehicle was taken to a repair shop where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership where a rebuilt transmission was installed. The manufacturer assisted the contact with half of the repair costs. The current mileage was approximately 80,000. The failure mileage was 79,457. Updated 11/22/10 the consumer stated the transmission would slip upon acceleration. Updated 11/23/10

- Amityville, NY, USA

problem #87

Jul 202010


  • 82,000 miles
Driving down a major road when car started to smoke like crazy, pulled off to side of road then couldn't get car to drive in gear to a very close by service station. Had car flatbed to dealer where I was told the car had transmission failure due to a cracked case (part failure) and needed to be replaced. The dealer contacted district manager to see if we could get a goodwill repair from american Honda since it was a failed part and not due to misuse or not having had car serviced. They said they would cover %25 of a $4300 repair to put in a refurbished transmission with a 90 day warranty. I had it towed to a transmission specialty shop who rebuilt the tranny with a 1 year warranty for $2000. This seems to be a known problem with the 2003 and 2004 Honda Accord (recall was done but was VIN specific).

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #86

Jul 262010


  • 111,000 miles
2004 V6 Honda Accord transmission had a radical and sudden gear change while traveling at 65 mph on the freeway. It down shifted with no warning or notice. There were absolutely no signs of trouble leading up to this incident. My Honda has 111,000 miles on it. My owners manual says to have the transmission serviced at 120,000 miles. This incident almost caused a severe crash. Safety is my biggest concern. Other Honda owners need to be aware of this issue. I am greatly concerned for their safety. This incident has made me want to stop all Honda owners and make sure they know of this possibility. When we purchased this car we had no idea Honda has such a safety issue with the 2004 transmissions. I am sure there are many others owners just as unaware. I hope nobody dies before Honda takes responsibility for the mistake. I have contacted Honda of America and they are telling me that because the safety recall stopped before my VIN # was reached that they cannot help me. I have been quoted almost $4000 for the repair. I am scheduled to have the transmission replaced on 8/2/2010. The transmission has went into complete failure in just 2 days since our first sign something was amiss. I hope somebody will step up and make Honda take responsibility. This incident could have cost my husband his life.

- Creswell, OR, USA

problem #85

Jul 242010


  • 49,000 miles


I had a transmission failure in my Honda Accord ex(year 2004) model today. The car stopped running and I was not able to reverse it. I have to call aaa to take it to the repair shop. I am not sure whether there is any recall or others have reported a similar kind of issue. I thought to inform you first to investigate the matter.

- Burbank, CA, USA

problem #84

Jul 092010


  • 118,000 miles
While I was driving 55 miles an hour on the highway my car suddenly shifted into neutral revving to very high RPM losing speed, I was able to get of the highway and luckily drivers around me were aware and saw my hazard lights. I had the car towed to a shop to find that the transmission had failed. With further research and conversation with Honda North America I found this is not an unusual problem. I could have been in a very serious accident at high speed if it wasn't for the conscientious drivers around me.

- San Anselmo, CA, USA

problem #83

Jun 232010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
The transmission drive train went out on my 2004 V6 Honda Accord, and caused all systems in my car to stop responding while on the freeway going 60 mph. In the process multiple cars came into close contact with my vehicle before it stranded me in the middle of the freeway. Upon contact with several automotive shops in area, I was advised that this has been a longstanding issue with this vehicle drive train not being configured for the 4 cylinder engine and not correctly for a V-6 engine.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #82

Dec 072009

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,230 miles


My new 2004 Honda had a safety recall on October 18, 2004 to correct an overheating problem with the transmission which could result in gear teeth damage and a dangerous breakdown. Depending on mileage, the corrective action involved either replacing the transmission or installing a fan to reduce the heat buildup. For my car, they installed a fan but did not replace the transmission. Recently, I had my transmission fluid changed in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements. On my service receipt, the local Honda dealer stated, "the transmission fluid was black and smelled burned with metal flakes in the fluid". clearly the corrective action that was taken in the safety recall was ineffective and the transmission is overheating I filed a complaint with american Honda in torrance ca and requested that my transmission be replaced to correct the safety problem. Their response was that since the transmission is currently functioning, they will not replace it. (note also that I have an extended warranty through Honda that is still in effect) the purpose of a safety recall is to prevent accidents by taking timely corrective action. I am now at risk of a transmission breakdown with potential personal injuries to me and my family because Honda will not replace this faulty transmission. I request NHTSA to compel Honda to make good on the original safety recall and replace the transmission because the original corrective action was clearly ineffective. Updated IVOQ 08/24/10 the consumer stated the recall that was executed was inadequate, because it did not prevent the intended purpose of the recall as stated in NHTSA's recall detail. The transmission fluid that was drained from his vehicle was black and had a burn odor. Metal flakes were found in the transmission fluid. Updated IVOQ 10/29/10

- East Longmeadow, MA, USA

problem #81

Jun 142010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 121,941 miles
While driving my grandson to work, traveling at 45 mph the transmissions ceased for about 2 seconds, then shifted into a lower gear for a few seconds then ceased again. I stopped turned the engine off for about 5 min. Turned it back on and worked find for about 3 min. Then it all started again. Left my grandson at work & was able to take the vehicle to the Honda dealer & paid $81.67 to have the fluid replace. I was driving home and the same symptoms occurred & return to the dealer. The dealer then informed me that the transmission needed to be replaced at $4075 but, that they will contact the Honda rep. In an attempt to offset the cost. Honda rep. Agreed to pay $864 & the remainder ($3211) would be charge to me. My car has 121,941 miles. I am not at all happy with Honda, since this vehicle has a recall for this vehicle's problem, what can I do? the vehicle N question is a 2004, Honda Accord.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #80

Jun 142010


  • 116,000 miles
My transmission locked up on me and totally needs to be replaced. Gave be tons of problems like stepping on gas car revved up but didn't go nowhere, downshifted on its on causing cars behind me to almost crash into me. Now its done. Needs to be replaced and cant afford it!!

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #79

Jun 142010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
This has happened twice while driving on highway. The tcs (traction control) warning light comes on as well the engine icon light, and then the automatic transmission on the 2004 Accord V6 won't drop out of high gear. It feels like it's stuck in 5th or 4th gear and won't downshift. I have to stop car, restart it, then the transmission works like normal.

- Belmont, MA, USA

problem #78

Jun 102010

Accord 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles


We were lucky that we weren't killed!!!2004 Honda Accord exl 6cyl VIN#[xxx]. we were traveling on route 95 North of boston in the middle lane at an approx. Speed of 60 mph on June 10, 2010 at approx. 6:15pm. I went to pass the car in front of us and started to pull into the passing lane on the left. Suddenly, the car jerked violently and slowed down suddenly. The car in back of us almost hit us and swerved into the lane on the right to avoid hitting our car. The other driver was almost run over by a semi truck who jammed on his brakes. I thought he (the truck) was going to jack knife. I see that this transmission problem is a recall item for Honda. The Honda dealer (kelley Honda in lynn, mass.) says that they will not help us financially to replace the transmission. The car has 90,000 miles and is in good shape otherwise. We are very upset at Honda's reaction to this safety failure and we feel strongly that the us gov't should step in before people are needlessly killed in cars with this transmission. We also note on the internet that there are tons of people with the same problem and very dangerous experiences. Please help and get the word out!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Swampscott, MA, USA

problem #77

May 072010

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
2004 Honda Accord accelerated suddenly, slowed down with braking, sped up again and then there was no power although car in gear. I am lucky I did not have an accident. Car was towed to the dealer who is asking me for 3969K to replace the failed transmission. Car only has 62K miles on it. Honda has recalled 2004 Accord for the same problem, but refused to cover mine or contribute toward the defective transmission, because my VIN was not recalled--although I have the same problem as the recalled VIN's. NHTSA is not investigating, unfortunately, and people's lives are stake here. Updated IVOQ 06/08/10. The consumer would like an explanation as to why his vehicle identification number was not included in the recall. Updated IVOQ 08/25/10

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #76

Apr 302010


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated when starting the ignition, the check engine light illuminated on the warning panel. The vehicle would not shift into third gear and would not accelerate past 35-40 mph. The vehicle began abnormally jerking and would not increase speed. The vehicle was towed to his residence. An independent mechanic performed a diagnostic and produced failure code P0741 (torque converter). The contact located NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000: Power train:automatic transmission, which he believed to be directly related to the failure. The manufacturer stated his VIN was not included in the recall and advised having the vehicle towed to the dealer for further inspection. The vehicle had not yet been repaired. The failure mileage and current mileages were 94,000.

- Carmichael, CA, USA

problem #75

Apr 302010


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle would shift into second gear, lock in place and decrease in speed. The dealer performed a diagnostic test and stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 67,000.

- Copely, OH, USA

problem #74

Apr 302010


  • 65,000 miles
While driving to work going about 55mph, the car suddenly downshifted quickly slowing. After a couple seconds of down shift, the car revved to high rpms and was in felt like it was in neutral (it was actually in drive). I had to coast across 2 lanes to get off the road. Once off the road, the transmission was slipping. Then it went into gear and I was able to drive on a backroad. But when trying to shift, the car would rev high as it couldn't shift to the next higher hear and acted as if it were in neutral. Warning lights or check engine light never came on. The sudden slowing in traffic when it downshifted nearly caused an accident with the car behind me.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #73

Apr 142010


  • 100,000 miles
-the contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph, the engine RPM increased and the speed rate decreased. The engine was turned off. The vehicle was restarted and the engine RPM continued to increase. The contact stated there was a recall associated with the failure under NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission). The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician advised that the transmission be replaced. The transmission was in the process of repairs at the time of the complaint. The failure and current mileages were 100,000.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #72

Apr 052010


  • 102,781 miles
My husband and I were driving on the 405S in his 2004 Honda Accord 3.0 vtech. While driving uphill transmission started to fluctuate. Jumped up to 6 rpms then started slipping. Had we waited any longer to pull to the shoulder we would have been in an accident. Had mechanic check out problem told us transmission is shot and we need to replace it. We've been changing fluid every 3 years and I recently had it changed that previous Tuesday. I called american Honda's corporate office and they told me the only thing I could do was have the Honda dealership check it out but the car wont even move so I have no way to get it to the dealership without a tow. Then Honda will probably tell me that my transmission is dead which I already know then charge me for the service. Im pregnant and had it not been for the ability to pull over quickly, my family would not be here and worse off, someone else's family could have been involved.

- Port Hueneme, CA, USA

problem #71

Dec 122009


  • 82,570 miles
Car drove fine on parkway. Got off and car seemed to skip 3rd gear downshifting into stop signs. Turned it off. Decided to go to dealer. Car drove fine on local streets to parkway. While accelerating and merging into traffic the transmission suddenly and completely failed. No connection between motor and wheels in any gear. Coasted off exit ramp. Turned car off. Restarted and car ran ok for 1/4 mile and then started to miss downshift gears again. Had car towed to dealer for transmission replacement.

- Westbury, NY, USA

problem #70

Mar 302010


  • 92,500 miles
1. per the 2004 Honda Accord owners manual, the transmission fluid does not have to be replaced until 120,000 miles or 6 years, whichever comes first. A few weeks ago, at 92,000 miles, the car was 6 years old so we had the transmission fluid replaced for the first time using Honda fluid, all in strict accordance with the Honda owner's manual. The mechanic said the original fluid was very gray and there was a lot of metal attached to the drain plug. It looked really bad. 2. on 4/30/10 at 92,500 miles, (500 miles later), we were driving at 35 mph and the car started cutting out. We stopped immediately and the car idled fine. We started to accelerate again and the car would not shift out of first gear. We had car towed immediately to the Honda dealer. 3. on 3/31/10, the Honda dealer told us that the transmission needs to be replaced. I spoke to the dealer and Honda motor company and showed them NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000, which is a recall of the 2004 Honda Accord automatic transmission, but they told me it was VIN specific and suggested I file a complaint with the NHTSA in hopes that the recall would be expanded.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #69

Mar 202010


  • 97,000 miles
Engine racing like car was in neutral but car was in drive

- Peabody, MA, USA

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