pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
151,800 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace fuel pump (1 reports)
  3. replace PGM/EFI relay for the fuel injection system (1 reports)
  4. replaced module/ sensor (1 reports)
1990 Honda Accord engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 1990 Honda Accord:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

1990 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #7

May 132014

Accord LX 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 220,000 miles


About 2 years ago, I had issue with starting the car. It would turn over but not fire. Paid $250 to have fuel pump replaced by a mechanic and oddly when I went to pick it up, it did not start. So the mechanic wrote it off as a faulty "new" fuel pump and installed another one for free. Almost exactly 2 years later again in the hot month of June in Florida, the same problem happens. Got stranded a few times. Let the car sit and it would start after a day. Took it to the same mechanic and he could not determine the problem, because it would start each time he tried it. Finally went and drove the car within a mile of mechanics shop until the the car wouldn't start. Mechanic ended up replacing the fuel pump again and I have not had the problem again after a month.

- kodyfl, Lake City, FL, US

problem #6

Jun 062006

Accord EX 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,644 miles

I've had my 1990 Honda Accord for about 4 years. I bought it at an auction, and it probably ended up there because it SEEMED to be in perfect running condition except for one thing: I'd drive somewhere, make a quick stop for gas, and it wouldn't start again for 15 minutes, or it wouldn't want to start at all in warm weather. Of course, when I first tested it, this wasn't an obvious problem: you drive a car, determine that it runs well, starts, stops, blah blah...all was well. No one ever says "Hey, turn it of and start it up again, make sure it runs after you just drove it!" The inconvenience when I took possession was HUGE! I couldn't refuel without tying up the station...I ended up late everywhere I went: I'd drop my son off at school, walk him to the door, get back and not be able to move my car! I couldn't make ANY short trip anywhere without considering how long it might take before the car needed to "cool off" before starting again. I found the solution by accident: there's a module/ sensor under the dash in behind where the hood release latch is. It's about 3 inches by 2inches, and maybe half as deep, grey in color and it bolts up under there on the left against the outside part of the frame...sort of awkward to reach, but quick to deal with. The guy at the local import auto wrecker told me that it's unbelievably common for these cars, particularly considering how rarely it's diagnosed. He even had a box FULL of them behind the counter! Apparently this module is sensitive to heat and fails after awhile. I was at my wits end trying to chase down the problem, so I was willing to spend $40 on the used part in order to see if he was right. He told me that if I wasn't sure, I could put a damp towel in the freezer so it was frozen, then stuff it up under the dash so it was in contact with/wrapped around the module/box enough to cool it. If the car started when the module was "iced", then the module was definitely the cause. (I didn't try this--I just bought the used part, crossed my fingers and replaced it.) Anyway...it TOTALLY solved the problem. I've never been stuck or stranded since...the car starts no problem, no delays. It took the guy at the wrecker less than 3 minutes to take the old one out and put the 'new' used one in. What a GREAT guy! (This, after paying a small army of mechanics to replace the fuel pump, various sensors, dozens of parts and innocent electrical components, etc...sigh) If only most mechanics knew half as much as that guy at the auto wreckers!! I hope my own experience helps someone else---I love my Honda!

- Charlene G., Nanaimo, BC, Canada

problem #5

Jun 062006

Accord EX 2.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,644 miles


Earlier tonight, I posted a description of the issue I experienced in my own car, and described the 'module' that I replaced which solved the problem. (The car wouldn't start in hot weather, or wouldn't start after driving short distances.) At the link above, I discovered a detailed photographic description of the steps involved in the replacement of the part, which at the site above is called the MAIN RELAY instead of the "module" as I referred to it. Although the steps on this site appear to be more involved than the few minutes it took to replace the part on my car, it is EXACTLY what solved the problem for me. (Pictures of the part are unmistakable.)

- Charlene G., Nanaimo, BC, Canada

problem #4

Jan 182007

(reported on)

Accord EX 2.0 JDM

  • Manual transmission
  • 144,116 miles


I think the solution to this issue lies with the fuel injection system. I will be driving and get to my destination, park, and get back to the car only to find it wouldn't start. But, through trial and error, I have realized that if I leave it and not try to start it for at least a full 60 - 90 seconds, usually a little more (depending on conditions I guess) it will start right up. I've own my car since August 27th 2005 and have had the issue since. I did an engine swap (for other reasons) and the problem persists. Finally my mechanic (who has been servicing my car since I bought it) had an idea what it was.

There is a relay called the PGM relay or the EFI relay. Apparently this relay controls the ECU. I did some research and apparently this is an ongoing issue with Accords. I've seen forums where owners of 2000 Accords have complained about having the same issue. I am having my relay installed this weekend. I will let you know how it goes.

- tranzplant, Brooklyn, NY, US

problem #3

Sep 272006

(reported on)

Accord DX

  • 112,000 miles

This problem is only during warm weather. In talking to my father he has came to understand that it night be the igniter which is located on the distributor cap but this fix is around 60 to 80 dollars

- bg13josh, Cheyenne, WY, US

problem #2

Jun 132006

(reported on)

Accord LX

  • 167,000 miles

In the summer I can never count on my car. It has enough power and turns over but still does not want to start. I have waited up to 45 minutes. Luckily my dad is a machanic and has labored on it for free. I have replaced the water pump and distributor yet it still is not reliable. I would love my car if it would just start!!!

- Jamie H., Hood River, OR, US

problem #1

Jul 282004

(reported on)

Accord EX

  • 126,000 miles

I bought my 1990 Honda Accord 5 years ago and that is when I fell in love with Hondas---until the first day my car wouldn't start. On a warm summer day, I turn the key, the starter works, the battery is functioning, plenty of fuel but it wouldn't start. At the time I had no clue what the problem was (actually, I still have no clue) so I tried jumping it (duh, battery was fine), and asking several mechanics what could be wrong. None of the mechanics could tell me what the problem was, let alone how to fix it. Of course the problem never happens in front of them! The thing is, if I just keep trying to start the car - it always starts eventually. Sometimes it take a few tries, other times 20+ minutes (and several cigarettes) or later. Yet, to this day I have always managed to get it started eventually - late but not stranded. I have noticed that the problem seems to occur a lot more in the summer (warm weather) and rarely in the cool winter months. And after it does start, the car runs just fine.

- Kristine D., Ballston Spa, NY, US

Not what you are looking for?