Notes: The 1998 Honda Accord suffers from widespread transmission failure, peeling paint, & subframe rust. We recommend avoiding this model year like the plague.

The transmission begins slipping & eventually has to be replaced, typically soon after 100,000 miles & with a repair cost of over $2,000.

Peeling paint has also been a huge issue for these Accords. Most of the complaints are with darker paint colors -- especially green & blue.

Subframe rust near the front passenger side wheel has become a problem recently, due to the poorly positioned A/C drain hose directly above that area. Repair cost to the subframe is over $2,000.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,754 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.

1998 Honda Accord steering problems

steering problem

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1998 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #14

Jul 052014


  • 125,000 miles


While I was changing the passenger side drive axle of a broken cv joint boot last year (July 2014), I noticed that the subframe had rusted out (about 60% came through and off when I punched the area with a screw driver) where the stabilizing bar bracket and lower control arm pivot are mounted to the frame. The problem area of the subframe is right under the drain hole for the A/C evaporator. The subframe to the driver side is clean and has no rust issue. The location of the rust area suggests that it may be related to the drain hole of the A/C system or/and something similar (such as rain) that had led to water staying in the area. The rust is getting worse over time. I checked it today (July 23, 2015) after noticing yellowish dripping marks left on the driver way. My wife drove the car the day before when there was a heavy rain. The car was parked on the drive way (up hill about 15 degrees) over night. When she pulled the car out of the drive way the next day, we saw yellowish water dripping from under the car. So, I looked at the area. For sure, it's getting worse than last year. I punched around and got about a couple of spoonfuls of rust off the frame. I used my pry bar to pry around the area and I can see that the frame is getting very weak. Now I can see the rust is progressing over time. As the area is getting more rusted, the structure is losing its strength. The lower control arm and/or the stabilizing bar will come off the frame, causing disaster on the road. I searched the inernet on the issue ("Honda Accord subframe rust"). the issue seems very common. There must be a design flaw (A/C drain or rain water) with the car. It seems that the issue had not been understood and taken care of by Honda. I am urging somebody looking into the issue and have Honda do something about it before it's too late. Thanks.

- Hainesville, IL, USA

problem #13

Jun 092015


  • 116,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Honda Accord. While driving at 40 mph, the vehicle started to slow down and then stalled without warning. The contact mentioned that the brakes failed and the steering would not turn. The vehicle was restarted, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was merged to the side of the road, where an independent mechanic diagnosed that the ignition switch was defective. The vehicle was then taken to a dealer, who diagnosed that the failure was due to a faulty wire harness. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 116,000.

- Cranberry Township, PA, USA

problem #11

Nov 262014


  • 192,000 miles


Heard clunking noise while turning. Figured it was a cv joint, took it to my very trusted mechanic. He confirmed the right joint was bad, and said that on the left joint, the boot was already off, and it is slinging grease everywhere. More disturbing, he also said that the front subframe is dangerously rusted out. He specifically mentioned that the "cradle", which holds up the front of the engine is almost completely rusted through. He said "you are one pot-hole away from total failure...the engine will fall to the ground. Do not drive it." I looked online and saw that there is a recall for the same make/model/year, but my car falls outside of the covered dates. My vehicle was made in Dec 1997, and the recall only goes through Aug 1997. Quite frankly, given that the failure mode is exactly what is covered by the recall, I believe my car should be included in the recall. While I recognize that the car is old, the frame of a 98 model Accord shouldn't corrode and break in half, potentially leading to catastrophic results.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #10

Nov 062014


  • 146,000 miles
Sub-frame is rusted out on the passenger side between the cv axle and tie rod.

- Alto, MI, USA

problem #9

Jul 292014

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
Upon routine brake inspection vehicle was deemed unsafe to drive due to passenger sub frame that has cracked due to rust. Sub frame is cracked in multiple places.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #8

Jul 162014


  • 173,000 miles


Upon servicing front brakes, safety inspection revealed accelerated corrosion off the passenger side sub frame component. The driver side is solid and intact. Deemed unsafe for highway use.

- Amherst, OH, USA

problem #7

Nov 092007

Accord 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I had car accident and two days after I had picked up car from body shop I notice that a a noise. I called the insurance and the rep. Said to take car back to shop. I did and from what the insurance and we're told the car just needed an alingment., I remember hearing a loud heavy sound on left front end of car on passenger side and all of the sudden the car looses control. I rememberd the vehicle was on its roof I, felt arm getting burn by fire. It seemed that the roof of vehicle was not protected.and did not server it purpose. My speed was about 25 30 mph. The left front side and wheel were sticking out from body frame of car. The same side where shop had made, repairs and the arm axel had been replaced just few days before per insurance request. The insurance had used and after market in invoice. If we check all of the parts the car had put in and the extend of the damage and the wheel not align with body of car along with the loud sound and jolt I felt could only show the neglect and the lack of safety.

- Corona Ca, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 092013


  • 98,753 miles
After hearing and feeling a cracking sound and then inspecting under the car, I noticed that the subframe of the car was rusted thru and a visible separation of the subframe. The point of the rust thru is at the passenger side rear corner of the vehicle's subframe. The car is at the mechanic's being repaired, he stated the cause is the drain hose for condensation from the ac at that location. This car has been an excellent vehicle throughout. This rust thru of the subframe could have caused a accident.

- North Canton, OH, USA

problem #5

Jun 262013

Accord 4-cyl

  • 157,800 miles
1998 Honda Accord: Vehicle lost power several times at highway speed. Motor stopped, powers steering and brakes lost, gauge needles spun to zero, as if car was shut off at during normal operation. We did not touch key! almost got run over by car behind us. Problem occurred six more times before we could get to local Honda dealership. They charged me $186.26 to replaced defective ignition switch and they advised they fix a recall for switch interlock while car was in shop for four days! we sent a letter to Honda, [xxx] from Honda America California called me to decline reimbursing my cost! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #4

Jun 142011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 190,000 miles


The Accord models from 1998 to 2002 have been having a crucial rust problem. The sub- frame has been rotting out due to a misplaced air conditioning condensation drain. Honda claims that there are not enough complaints out this problem and that is coincidence that there are a rust problem. Here's the deal, all these cars have a major rust problem on the foundation of the car. Honda also, claimed that the A/C drain was not the problem for it. Well then tell me why all these cars have this problem only on the passengers side of the vehicle directly under the A/C drain. Honda needs to recalls this model because if that structure breaks on the road the passenger side wheel could come off or the rack of the power-steering could split and cause the driver to lose control of their car. Not to mention the engine could drop out the bottom or even more devastating things that could hurt people!"V=bcqzuddas-G"V=eefxsqpr0pq

- Pataskala, OH, USA

problem #3

Mar 272003


  • miles
The vehicle had no steering, which caused the vehicle to become hard to control.

- Englishtown, NJ, USA

problem #2

Feb 032003

(reported on)

Accord 6-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The consumer has experienced an ignition switch and steering recall with this vehicle. (recall # for the ignition problem is-02V120000) scc

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #1

Jan 121999

(reported on)


  • miles
Went to Honda dealership in santa maria ca and they agreed to do a oil consumption test. When oil change was due I took again and they said I have to take it sooner. On the receipt of oil change dealership in deed did write a message that said it wasted to much oil. Will continue to take to dealership for further test. I was just wondering if my car was the only car with this particular problem. Also my steering wheel slightly shakes and makes a light noise, doesn't run as smooth as it use to. Will contact dealership for that matter.

- Santa Maria, CA, USA

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