Notes: 1997 is the last model year in the 5th generation of Accord. Which means it's also the last model year before problems like widespread transmission failure, subframe rust and peeling paint took over.

Does the 1997 have problems? Sure it does. Any car this old will. Some owners say their engine started to cut out around 147,000 miles. That's still not bad, and getting to 200,000+ miles isn't out of the question.

Does anyone believe a newer Accord will reach 200,000 miles?


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
146,825 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. ignition switch recall! (2 reports)
  3. cleaned IAC (idle air control) valve (1 reports)
  4. replaced starter electrical relay switch (recall item) (1 reports)
1997 Honda Accord engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #8

Aug 132012

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


Honda Accord 97 just cuts off while driving, just started happening a couple weeks ago, five times now. Can't figure it out! I have to stop in middle of road or now i coast to roadside if i can... then it takes a few times to start it up... engine won't turn over but usually finally the engine turns over. Then off i go super anxious as to when it will happen again! The shift lock sometimes locks up and i have to insert a piece of metal in the slot to keep it open and i can move the gear shift. It is extremely dangerous! You lose control of the car... i can't take it on the freeway in case it happens. The engine just flat cuts off and it takes awhile before it cranks back up. Made an appmt with the Honda dealership for tomorrow... but i am afraid like many others they will do many things which i will pay for but won't fix the problem. Is there any good evidence out there what actually causes this because i see a whole lot of not fixed and then assorted fixes with no consistency as to what causes this...

Update from Sep 4, 2012: Took car to Honda Dealer and they replaced the starter electrical relay switch. Even though it was replaced five years ago apparently they needed to replace it again. No cost - item was a Recall for Accord 97. Car runs with no problem now.

- , Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #7

Sep 012011

Accord DX 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 244,000 miles

I have a 1997 Honda Accord that shuts off while driving, the fan and radio stays on but most other lights cut off (dash shift indicator light and turn signals). This problem usually happens after a good long drive but has grown to be more frequent. The car normally starts right back up but now the car starts up and may cut off back to back while trying to start in N up to three to four time before remaining started. After a few blocks the car would cut off again, I saw many complaints about this on the internet with most people getting a ignition switch recall repaired by Honda. They pulled up my information and said that this car already had this recall repaired but to bring it in for a check. I will take the car in tomorrow to see what Honda says.

- , Navarre, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 222011

Accord LX 2.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

Not exactly a complaint, but just wanted to post for those who may encounter the same issue. My old Accord after years and years of trouble-free abuse from me decided to start stalling badly on acceleration a few months back. Power would suddenly drop after being on the road for 5-10 minutes and a firm press on the gas would kick it back into action suddenly lurching me forward. Then after 7 seconds or so this process would repeat where I'd suddenly lose power and slow down then jerk forward again. It was starting to look like I was trying to fake having those tricked out hydraulic shocks. Also I would throw a code (engine light would come on) when this stalling occurred. Often it was not constant and would go away but was progressively getting more frequent. One more detail was that it seemed to idle a bit too low for an automatic.

I took it to Autozone and had them read the code. Error code told me to check the Idle Air Control Valve and the little Autozone print out gave some instructions on how to test it and confirm if it was bad. I don't work on cars but I took it to my mechanic (my neighbor) and gave him the printout. He did the tests and from what we could tell the IAC valve was functioning so it was looking to be a mystery until he decided to take the IAC apart and we found this metal screen inside was completely gunked up with some kind of thick oilly crud. He gave it a good cleaning and she's been running great ever since (been a few months now). Code is cleared and it idle's normally now.

A dealer or mechanic in a hurry will probably read that code and immediately go straight to selling you a replacement part but you probably don't need to do much more than clean off that screen inside it. It's not even that difficult a part to get at. An hour or two labor should be plenty if you don't waste a lot of time barking up the wrong tree first.

- , Bartlett, IL, USA

problem #5

Jul 172010

Accord LX V4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles


I have had my car for about 4 years. My 1997 Honda Accord LX 4cyl is slowly driving me to insanity. I have searched this problem just about everywhere, and while I've SEEN the problem, I have yet to see a solid solution.

Problem: Car shutting off while driving, strong fuel/gas smell when this happens, dash lights shutting off and going black, door locks jumping up and down

My car is shutting off while driving - whether I'm on a residential street, or going 75 mph on the highway. It sometimes starts right back up, but after a few times, it takes about 20 minutes to be able to start. The engine will stir around, but it won't fire up and actually start. Twenty minutes later or so, it starts.. and then we MAY make it to our destination without stalling again. Oh, and I can't forget the strong scent of fuel in the air when this happens.

It started as a sporadic thing that happened whenever I drove long distance (an hour or more) or whenever I was at 1/4 of a tank. More recently, I can hardly drive at all. Just today, I went to the bank about a mile from home, only to return home and stall just before my driveway. I tried to leave again, and I didn't make it down the street without the car shutting off twice. The car is not overheating, there's plenty of gas in the tank... yet when I drive, the dash lights go out, the RPM jumps all over the place and finally to 0, and I have to wait a good 10-15 minutes just to restart it and get a couple more blocks down the road and it all happens all over again. The car works fine when the engine is cold (like first thing in the morning), but as soon as the engine warms to a normal level, this happens.

I've been stranded on the highway more times then I care to admit... by myself, with my children, in 101 degree heat.. etc. It's very frustrating to search this and STILL be at a loss for a solution. Someone please help me find the answer! Or is it a lost cause and I should just sell it? :(

My husband doesn't want to get rid of it because he says Hondas are good cars. He's good at working on my car but we can't seem to figure this problem out, nor can we figure it out by searching online. At this point, we can't even get it down the street. Something's gotta give! -

By the way -as far as the Recall - I already called the dealership, they ran my VIN and said that the recalls have all been taken care of and replaced on my car.

What We've Done (unsuccessfully):

* Replaced Spark Plugs and Wires * Major Tune-Up * Replaced Relay Switch * Replaced Fuel Filter

Please help!

- , Stockton, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 152010

Accord EX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,000 miles

My Honda According has been dying while I am driving it. The first few, probably 5 times, it would just blink out all gauges, lights/electronics dead and then come back up on their own. The last 3 times times I had to move the shifter to neutral and restart by turning the key. So far, it has started right back up.

- , Holloman AFB, NM, USA

problem #3

Mar 172010

Accord LX 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

1997 accord shuts off while driving. replaced the wires, sparkplugs, rotor cap distributor cap. Found oil in the ditributor cap. Was told by honda I had to buy a complete new distributor. Found a new lip seal the keeps the il out online for $14. Dry inside now but car still shuts off. Found out there was a recall on 1997-2002 for ingition switch problems. Will contact honda tommorrow


- , Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #2

Feb 212010

Accord LX 2.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,400 miles

1997 Honda Accord LX Dies Unexpectedly While Driving

Problem Summary:

The car unexpectedly dies within ½ - 1 mile from my house after I start it up and start driving down the road. The problem is random. It hasn’t done this since I replaced the ignition control module (ICM) on February 8th, but died twice today (February 21th). I have taken about 10 or more trips with the car during this period. Some times I have gone 1-2 days between driving the car. Once I get past the 1 mile mark, without stopping at a nearby grocery, corner store, etc. it runs fine and will run fine the rest of the day. I’ve never had it die after the initial first start of the day and within the 1st mile of operation or stopping at a close market/store.

So, now I’m wondering what I should try next to resolve this unsafe issue. Others have reported their cars dying even after running for a long time, but mine so far has only died within the 1st mile after starting it up after sitting just overnight or for a day or so.

What would people on this forum suggest I troubleshoot next or try replacing?

Car: 2.2 liter (4 cylinder) NON-VTEC engine. The faulty starter switch has been replaced (in 2002) that was part of a Honda recall.


On January 27, 2010 I purchased a used 1997 Honda Accord LX that had about 128,400 miles on it. The car had no maintenance records with it, so I was purchasing it “blindly.” When I was initially looking at the car, I started it up and let it run in the dealer lot for a few minutes and a couple of times it stalled while I was checking out the various functions of the car (A/C, door locks, radio, windows, etc.). The dealer chalked it up to the after market car alarm system installed and my extensive testing of the various peripherals. Due to the fact that the car wouldn't��t start while the alarm system was engaged, I thought he was right and we just armed/de-armed the system to get the car to start up again. I took the car for a test drive had an independent Honda dealership do a full inspection of the car (worthless in the end) and everything checked out so I purchased the car - which was in excellent shape visually (inside and out).

Well about a two days later the problem with the car not running smoothly started to crop up again. I left my house and drove about ¼ mile down the road to pick up some food before heading to a friend’s house and was in the store about 5 minutes and when I returned to my car, it started fine but stalled and it took me about 3-4 minutes and several tries to get it started and idling correctly. After this it ran fine, but I noticed while I was driving down the road, the tachometer jumped all around for a few seconds before “settling down” (this only happened once). The car ran fine the rest of the night.

The next day the same thing happened when I went to purchase some fuel injection cleaner (thinking this might be the problem) at the local auto parts store that is ¼ mile from my house. When I got out of the store, I couldn’t get the car started initially. It took several tries before I was able to get it running again.

The next instance of dying unexpectantly came on a rainy day right after I left my house. Within 1 mile of my house the car unexpectantly died while doing about 40 MPH. I couldn’t get the car restarted, so I had it towed to the dealer I bought it from. We were unable to reproduce the problem, so we expected the alarm system might be faulty causing the engine to cut off unexpectantly. So we disconnected it and I said I would monitor the problem and report back.

About 2 days later, it died after I turned into the parking lot of the grocery store down the street (about 1 mile down the road). I was unable to get it to stay running each time after I got it started (about twice). I tried holding the RPMs at 2000, but after about 2-3 seconds of running, it would just die cold. I pushed it to the parking area, and called my mechanic and was going to have him listen to problem, and it started up just fine and ran fine.

After this I turned to the Internet and found several others who were having similar problems with their 1990 vintage Hondas. Many of the experienced Honda techs suggested the ICM module and external coil pack had gone bad (an apparently common problem with Honda Accords from this time period). So, on Feb 8th I replaced the ICM module (the old part was an original Hitachi ICM with the Japanese factory stamp on it) and put silicone heat transfer paste from Radio Shack on the module as well as the heat transfer plate.

The car has run great with no problems until this morning (February 21th) when it died twice within 1 mile from my house. Both times I was able to get the car to start right up unlike previous times when I had to wait 5+ minutes to get it to start again or try repeatedly for a few minutes. I even let the car warm up for a few minutes in the driveway of my house (this has never made a difference in the ongoing problem).

Update from Oct 8, 2010: Well, I have more concrete evidence to report on my particular problem. It looks like it is weather (temperature specifically) related. I haven't had one single mysterious stall since April/May when the weather here in Florida warmed up (above 80 degrees). Yesterday morning, October 6th, the thermometer said 71 degrees and after I started driving it down the road it stalled again. Two stalls within the first mile this morning (October 7th). I'm thinking about replacing the fuel main relay which according to my mechanic has two circuits that could go bad (one goes to the ECM and one controls the fuel side of things). Anyone have any more ideas?

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #1

Feb 062010

Accord LX 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,200 miles

My wife told me there were more than 5 times during last couple of months when she was driving (Honda accord 1997), the engine just shut off and lost power, and she had to stop and started it again. I just did not believe it and told her she must do something wrong, as it never happened to me. Today we went to shopping and I was driving on the highway with ~60 mile/h speed, suddenly I felt the problem, I push the oil pad hard but the car just slow down and completely no power. This is a really dangerous experience. The good thing is it can start again after shut the car off, and finally drive back to home. Anybody can help?

- , Newton, MA, USA

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