Notes: The 2002 Honda Accord suffers from widespread transmission failure, subframe rust, & problems with the airbag system (SRS). 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.

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.

The SRS warning light likes to come on due to a defective seat belt sensor -- typically the driver's side. This sensor is covered under Honda's lifetime seat belt warranty, but some dealers charge a $100+ "diagnostic fee" or tell customers the entire SRS unit ($800) is bad.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,434 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.

2002 Honda Accord body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Nov 012015


  • 70,000 miles


Every time I drove the car the front passenger side was making noises at the wheel. I had my mechanic take the wheel off to check it. He noticed that the subframe is completely rusted through. I tried to purchase the part from Honda estore and they don't sell a subfame so I called over 25 used parts stores and all 25 or so places told me the same thing "on every 1999-2002 Honda that we've seen that part is rusted away". I would like to know why this part has not been recalled since it is such a large problem with everyone that I've spoke to.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #28

Jul 072016


  • 230,000 miles
Hit a pothole, and heard loud crack. Body shop found large crack in subframe and deemed unrepairable. Found large rusted area on subframe, which was deemed a "Honda defect" and state farm refused to cover the claim. Honda reports there was no recall.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #27

Apr 192016


  • 121,000 miles
The contact owned a 2002 Honda Accord. While at an independent mechanic for repairs, the mechanic stated that the front passenger side wheel well was corroded and the front subframe needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 121,000.

- Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #26

Dec 282015


  • 125,000 miles


My car is completely unsafe to drive. It stalls while driving. It has stopped on highways, busy intersections, daytime-nightime. Honda dealership as well as other repair shops have told me that nothing shows up on their electrical tests. They test drive and it doesn't happen. The car will go 2 -3 between occurences, but it happens. The ignition switch has been replaced. Presently, the car is a death trap at 125,000 mileage. I have read that this happens to other Honda. If this is true, this warrants a recall. The hood on my Accord does not close. There has been a problem with this for several months.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #25

Nov 202015


  • 80,000 miles
The sub frame is rusted away on the passenger side. I noticed it while I was driving. If I would've kept driving the vehicle and the rusted frame gave way, me and my kids or other passengers in vehicles on the road could have been injured or even killed

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #24

Nov 032015


  • 115,000 miles
2002 Honda Accord with 115,000 miles making clunking noises when driven, made worse with turns. Took to a master mechanic 2 days ago who initially said that the sway bar was loose and needed to be replaced. He called me the next day and said that it's a lot worse than just the sway bar, that the sub frame is rusted on the passenger side and there's a hole. If the sub frame breaks while driving, it could be a very bad situation causing an accident. The vehicle is not drivable until repaired and the cost could exceed the value of the car if a new sub frame is used. In the past 4 years I have purchased 3 Honda vehicles, this Accord, a 2010 civic, and a 2010 CRV, but if Honda doesn't take ownership of this design flaw (where the ac drain is constantly dripping on the sub frame causing it to rust) and do the right thing, I will never purchase another Honda in my life. I bought this car 2 years ago from a local dealership who I no longer trust and will never deal with again. You can't tell me that they didn't know about the rust when they sold me this vehicle for my then 16-year old daughter. I'm disgusted with the dealership as well as Honda. I am also very disappointed with the clear coat peeling off the body of the car. It looks awful.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

problem #23

Aug 152015


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Honda Accord. While driving at any speed, the vehicle made a clicking noise when making a turn. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the front passenger side soft frame was rotted out. The mechanic explained that the failure was caused by the air condition hose which drained water on the frame. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but refused to take responsibility, explaining that the vehicle was old and was not included in any recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 180,000.

- Manlius, NY, USA

problem #22

Jul 202012

Accord 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Paint/clear coat is peeling/dissolving pretty bad on the trunk and the roof. Trim along windows is also beginning to peel. Honda dealership won't take care of me, I love the car, but it is completely embarrassing driving around with this paint problem and $3000 to fix shoddy paint from the factory is not something I feel I should be responsible for. There are many instances of the defective clear coat and it is not our fault they tried to cheap out on the paint and we are being made to pay the price. We have always bought our cars new and have owned many Honda. We are very disappointed as we are driving a car that looks horrible. We have other cars that are parked outside as well and none of the others have this problem. Something needs to be done so that Honda fixes their clear coat issue to loyal buyers of their cars. Shame on Honda.

- Monroe, CT, USA

problem #21

Mar 312015

Accord 4-cyl

  • 127,521 miles
Went for oil change found right side sub frame rusted out.

- Central Falls, RI, USA

problem #20

Mar 152015

Accord 4-cyl

  • 199,000 miles
The rear beam of the front sub frame has completely rusted through on the passenger side of the car. This location directly affects the sway bar bushing mount as well as a body attachment to the sub frame. The car was exhibiting a squeaking/clunking noise during turns and has increased in frequency in a short matter of time. The rest of the front sub frame shows no signs of rust or damage while the passenger side is completely destroyed. It appears that the cause may be linked to the location of the ac drain hose directly above this location.

- Allendale, MI, USA

problem #19

Dec 192014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 107,034 miles


The rear front sub-frame or cross member of my vehicle has rusted out on the passengers side due to the A/C dripping on that certain part of the vehicle. The drivers side is almost in perfect condition. This is happening to all the models 98-02. If something isn't done there will be an accident. The repairs are very expensive and it's almost impossible to find a used part because this happens to all the vehicles. It's my understanding that Honda knows about it but only address when asked, they have not informed the public of this potential hazard. It is an engineering flaw of Honda's that is going to get someone hurt. Toyota did the right thing with their trucks when the frames were splitting in half, Honda should as well. 2002 Honda Accord ex coupe.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #18

Jan 312014


  • miles
Hello, my 2002 Honda Accord coupe paint on the hood, top, and trunk has deteriorated quite badly. It is hard to describe, but the clear coat has disintegrated and the paint almost looks diseased (for lack of a better word). It has affected the hood, top, and trunk, I appreciate any help or guidance you could give me. Thank you,

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #17

Jan 162009

Accord 6-cyl

  • miles
I was traveling home in the far North bound lane going 40 mph and was hit head on by a Dodge durango traveling South bound in the far right lane. (2 lanes each way with a center.) I was driving and the airbag exploded as the durango cut off another car and hit head onto me. The airbag explosion produced a burning smell which I thought the car was on fire but it was the airbag explosion. My face was very red and swollen and just felt on fire from the explosion which covered my face. I had a scratch in my left eye and needed a rinse and a small laceration above my eye. My right hand was swollen immediately and was throbbing from the grip of the wheel and the airbag explosion. My right pinky was totally numb for quite a while with radiating pain up the right arm. The right had still has issues with grasping things and dropping them. I had and still have headaches from the jolt and neck injury especially in the frontal area. I noticed my speech became slurred and thoughts took longer to process when speaking to people. On the job this created difficulty.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #16

Apr 082014

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,428 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the front passenger side frame of the vehicle was rusted. The dealer confirmed that the frame was rusted and would collapse. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 83,428. Updated 10/7/14 updated 3/16/2015

- Tarrytown, NY, USA

problem #15

May 022014

Accord 6-cyl

  • 102,300 miles
Notice the sub-frame is rusting apart when I was changing my brakes on the passenger side.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #14

Jun 012011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
The paint is peeling off in huge areas. I have a '94 Buick that has no paint issues and has been outside its whole life. This '02 Accord has been garaged its whole life and should not have this problem.

- Brownsburg, IN, USA

problem #13

Feb 062014

Accord 4-cyl

  • 135,556 miles
During a professional safety inspection, the certified mechanic spotted rotted/rusted suspension cross K-frame "rear beam" (part #: 50200-S84-A00) on the passenger/right side. Immediate replacement is recommended. I was also told that such replacement should not been done typically if no accident involved. Esp., since severe corrosion happened only on the passenger/right side, it might be related to the design of the drainage of the A/C right above the rusted part.

- Hershey, PA, USA

problem #12

Nov 232013


  • 132,000 miles
While at shop, my mechanic noticed the subframe and frame on passenger side of my Accord were severely rusted and would not pass inspection. As others noted, this is a design defect due to a ac drain and the driver side frame and subframe are in good condition as is the rest of the vehicle. I take good care of my cars and there is no rust any other place on the vehicle. Honda changed this design in 2003, but have not offered any recall to date on the prior models. The NHTSA should launch an investigation into this since Honda is not owning up to this and it seems to be very common in vehicles built before 2003.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #11

Oct 142013


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the vehicle was exhibiting abnormal noises. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection where the contact was informed that the sub frame was rusted. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000.

- East Aurora, NY, USA

problem #10

May 162013

Accord 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the front passenger side frame was completely corroded with excessive holes. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who informed that the rust corrosion was a normal problem. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.....updated 10-21-13 updated 10/25/2013

- Grove City, OH, USA

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