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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
103,377 miles
Total Complaints:
74 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. have the car repainted (51 reports)
  2. not sure (18 reports)
  3. repaint (5 reports)
2004 Honda Accord body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Jan 062012

Accord LX 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,789 miles


Car ls looking real nasty on top of car.i took car to get detailed shop owner claims that he has come across a lot of Honda with same problem. For the money i spent on this new Honda when purchased in 2004 .i think Honda should step up and fixed the problem.The sad part is i convinced my mother to buy 2012 Honda CRV. THANKS

- , Ridgewood, NY, USA

problem #13

Jan 012011

Accord LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I own a 2004 Honda Accord EX. I have previously owned 2 Honda cars and I've never had a problem with the painting. That's why I bought my Accord. I believe there is definitely a problem with the clear coat which is coming off my 2004 Accord. Now I really hate my car. It looks terrible! When it first started I took it to the dealership in Jacksonville, FL and they told me that it's because of the sun in Florida. They sent me to the Coggin Body shop and i was charged $5,000 to get it fixed. Who can afford that when the car is only worth about that amount? Is Honda doing anything about this? I'm tired of everyone asking what's wrong with my car and having to explain. This is not very good publicity for Honda. I am very disappointed! They need to do something.

- , Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #12

Mar 012011

Accord EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

click to see larger images

clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel

Attaching a copy of the letter I sent to Honda Corporate. (Even after sending this letter and having the car looked at by Honda, who admitted Honda used faulty paint on this model year, Honda still says it's not their problem).

2 September 2011

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Honda Automobile Customer Service Mail Stop 500-2N-7A 1919 Torrance Blvd. Torrance, CA 90501-2746 Via Fax: (310) 783-3023

RE: Defective Paint Job on 2005 Honda Accord VIN # 1HGCM56765A056109 Purchased at: Right Honda 7875 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Scottsdale, AZ 85260-1002

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to alert you of an issue that I am having with the clear coat and paint (delaminating) on my 2005 Honda Accord. I originally contacted the dealership where I purchased the car, Right Honda, Scottsdale, AZ. They told me to bring the car into them and it was at that meeting when they told me that it was not a dealership issue, and that I should take my case to Honda corporate.

I have taken the car to a local body shop for a professional diagnosis and estimate to have the vehicle repainted. I have also contacted my insurance company to see if they would cover the paint, and because it is a manufacturer defect, they have declined coverage.

I look to you for your input on this issue and hope Honda sees the issue as a manufacturer defect and steps up to the plate and assumes responsibility for the defect. As Honda owner’s for many years, I and my family have come to know, respect and expect a certain level of quality and reliability from our vehicles, so it is quite disappointing to be experiencing this with a Honda. I have spoken with several other 2005 Honda Accord owner’s who have the same issue, so I can’t believe this is an isolated occurrence. This is evidenced by photos I have included of another 2005 Accord within my same office complex here in Sedona, AZ. Further, in my meeting with the owner of the body shop, he said he sees a lot of the newer model Honda’s (Civics and Accords) coming in with this delaminating issue. He told me he just did a 2010 Civic for this very issue. Not great advertising for your company when people are driving around these vehicles and other people are seeing what Honda’s cars are doing.

I use my car exclusively for business and my business is real estate. I interact daily with many people and my car is a reflection of me and my reputation and my car needs to extend a professional and presentable look. This is certainly not the case at this time.

Also, with the paint in its current condition, it will greatly reduce the vehicle’s value when it comes time to trade or sell. The paint continues to deteriorate and now the majority of the car surface has more of a “matte” finish, as you can see the dulling occurring before the paint actually turns “white” and then eventually flakes and peels.

I look forward to your timely response on how this issue can be resolved positively for both parties.


Larry Ault Honda 2005 Accord Owner

Sedona, AZ 86336 928-301-0852

PS: I am attaching the Denial Letter from my insurance company, the estimate from Vince’s Autobody and photos evidencing the failure of the clear coat/paint (delamination) on not only my vehicle, but another 2005 Accord here in the same complex in which I work.

- , Sedona, AZ, USA

problem #11

Nov 162011

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Paint, really? Always used nice, liquid, polymer wax products and the car looks like doodoo. I expect more from the brand since they prop themselves up as the superior "quality". Car has also developed electrical problems that will be in another complaint: nothing like not being able to lock/unlock doors and roll windows up and down... until you've rolled it down and can't get it up. Out of nowhere, no warning signs.

The second, and likely LAST, Honda we'll ever buy. Bought the first run model CR-V and those owners know what hell was involved with the A/C on those things. My compressor BLEW UP while driving on a freeway and shot the belt and parts flying all over the place. This was after two previous 'repairs'.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #10

Jul 012009

Accord LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles

I have a 2004 Black Pearl Honda Accord LX. It WAS a nice looking car when I bought it. The clear coat has come off the top of the car and the top of the doors and the trunk is showing signs. It looks awful. Really awful. EVERYONE make comments on how bad it looks. It's embarrassing. I paid top dollar for this car - this should not be happening - I am really unhappy and completely disgusted. My dealer would not even discuss the issue - no concern there whatsoever. The car badly needs a new paint job - Honda needs to claim responsibility for this issue. Honda is LIABLE. Not even to make some sort of offer to make it better? It's disgusting how Honda is treating its loyal customers. Well - this is it for me...I will never purchase another Honda or even Acura for that matter...

- , Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #9

Aug 012010

Accord EX-L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I am adding to my great disappointment, along with 100's of others that are suffering through the potential cost of repainting their Honda's. I bought this car NEW in Chattanooga and watched the slow deterioration of the paint along all top surfaces of this car. As I the car aged I mentioned to the dealership, which stated that the etching on the paint was from Industrial Fallout or Acid Rain, etc. Now that the car is 7 years old much of the top surfaces of the car are void of all paint, as the clear coat has deteriorated from the inside/out. I got some estimates last year, when my kids started complaining about the way it looked, between $2500 and $3500. In the past year the clear coat has significantly pealed back more, taking most of the paint with it, so now I am down to bare metal in places, and an estimated $4500 for a paint job. I will admit that this car has spent around 50% of its life outside because I work out of town for 4 days at a time, but their are plenty of other cars that spend the same amount of time in this parking lot, from other manufacturers, in the parking lot that still have reasonable looking paint left on them.

When I realized I was down to bare metal with surface rust appearing, I decided to look on the internet and discovered 100's of the exact same scenarios from other owners, so I decided to contact my local Honda dealer and start working with the Regional Manager from Honda. On Monday of this week I took it down the dealership and the Service Manager took pictures of the car and I discussed the fact that I have owned 6 Honda's, 3 I bought from their dealership, I have always maintained my cars, with regular wash and wax jobs. As I suspected, he called me today to let me know that Honda is not willing to pay one red cent towards this problem and of the course the regional manager stated that it was Regional Fallout and Acid Rain from Petroleom products and that the damage begins from the inside out. In other words, even the areas of the car that look like they have decent paint on them, will eventually start turning white, followed by the clear coat peeling off, followed by bare metal. Obviously, this is unacceptable, as the cost of repair is equal to replacing an engine, or replacing a timing belt 10 times, but because it's not mechanical it doesn't "seem" like a "big deal". NO ONE would buy this car if they new that in 6-7 years they would have to replace an engine or replace a timing belt 10 times, because this would be considered an extremely unreliable car.

I wish I could find someone that is involved in a class-action lawsuit, because this needs to be pursued. To summarize, unless your car is still under the factory warranty, and even then, don't expect Honda to pick up the tab on this one. They have chosen the LOW ROAD on this by continuing to use Water Based Paints with Clear Coats that are too thin, especially the cars that are built in North America and they have lost my loyalty. Many other manufactures are now meeting or exceeding their reliability numbers and if they are not willing to come through with someone like myself who has owned 6 Hondas, then it's SEE YA LATER!

- , Apison, TN, USA

problem #8

May 012011

Accord EX V6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


click to see larger images

clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel clear coat started to peel

On January 2, 2004 we purchased a Honda Accord EX. The car is red in color. Total cost was $25,998.50.

We have enjoyed this car since we purchased it and about 6 months ago we made the decision to replace the timing belt. That was on April 8, 2011. Since that time (probably in May 2011) we started to notice some peeling on the front above the windshield and also some around the rear window. It has gotten worse with each passing day.

Had we known this was going to happen we would not have replaced the timing belt. We now have a Honda in great mechanical condition that looks awful.

It seems that Honda when contacted blames the environment for these problems even though we don’t see the cars made by other manufacturers having complaints about a paint peeling issue.

Honda has changed its paint process to save money and now the consumer is going to suffer the cost of repair or a car that looks like a junker.

We are very upset that this was not a recall by Honda. There are so many Honda owners with this problem and they have documented these problems online.

- , Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #7

May 072011

Accord EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

I have a 2004 Honda Accord EX that is dark maroon in color. A couple months ago I noticed a white cloudy spot on top of the car by the windshield. I took it to a body shop and the estimate was $1700 for three areas on the top. They advised that it the cleacoat. We bought this car new. We went to the dealer and they implied that it is from sitting outside. After checking the internet I see that this clearcoat issue is wide spread with Hondas. We will be going back to the dealer for what this is worth. This appears to be a problem that Honda has known about for sometime. No more Hondas for us.

- , Salisbury, MD, Bahamas

problem #6

Oct 072010

Accord LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

My problem was something I never thought I would face at such early ownership of my first honda. I am experiencing paint peeling on the trunk and the top of my car. It is so bad I must get it painted. I am highly disappointed that the Honda dealership nor corporation will do nothing to resolve my issue and others, I bought the car brand new and less than 7 years I am incurring this problem. Is there any help for us?

- , Macon, GA, USA

problem #5

Feb 082011

(reported on)

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

click to see larger images

clear coat started to peel

The clear coat just started peeling off my car this summer and it looks utterly diseased. I bought the car new, have taken great care of it and stored it in a garage, so this should definitely not be happening to six-year-old factory paint. Of course, Honda told me they can't do anything because of the car's high mileage (an irrelevant detail -- age of the car and location of storage should be the only details of concern). I have had the owner of our local dealership pursue this on my behalf, and he, like me, has gotten nowhere with Honda. This certainly seems like a dirty little secret Honda certainly thinks it can continue to get away with. This problem appears to go back DECADES. Why would Honda not fix this defective product and take care of the customers it has surely lost as a result of this ridiculous unacknowledged problem?

- , Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #4

Aug 312010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


top coat is peeling off from the top of the rear window, above the top of the side doors, above the front window. there are spots on the hood that are starting to fade. took the car to the dealer. he kept asking me if a was sure the care never had a accident or was repainted. he took pictures and measured the thickness of the paint with a meter. he said he will notify Honda. it been 2 weeks still have not heard from him. if a dont have a new paint job. i will hang a sign on my car telling people where i bought it. the last thing the dealership wants is bad advertising in the community.

- , Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #3

Jul 012009

Accord EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

The clearcoat on my red Accord EX is peeling/wearing out. Several body shops in town agree that the clearcoat was just too thin to begin with. It's past the warranty period, but a $23,000 vehicle should have a paint job that lasts more than 5.5 years. All Honda will say is that they're not responsible for it, no further explanation. Thankfully, my local dealer is trying to do something about this without Honda's help. I don't really think it's their responsibility, but they sell other makes and are probably keeping a long term customer. Honda apparently doesn't care about that.

- , Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #2

Oct 102007

Accord LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles

My family is a Honda and Acura family. Some family members work for Honda. I always drove Ford vehicles. My nephew who works for Honda Finance talked me into getting a new Honda Accord. I paid a beefy amount of money for my Accord and don't miss any payments on the car. I took my Accord to the dealer in Newark, DE (Martin Honda) showed them the paint that was fading off of my car and you can clearly see how the clear coat and paint is fading (GREEN IN COLOR) and my Accord is truly a MESS and I am so embarrassed to drive the car. I only have an estimated of 20k miles on my 2004 Accord. . I WANT MY ACCORD REPAINTED BY HONDA. I ALSO HAVE PICTURE THAT CAN BE SENT BUT I'M AT WORK AND CAN NOT DOWNLOAD THEM AT WORK. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME GET MY ACCORD PAINTED.

- , Newark, DE, USA

problem #1

Apr 302006

Accord LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

Red 2004 Honda Accord clear coat began to peel at 34,000 miles. When I noticed it was getting much worse, I wrote to and spoke to the Honda Co. to get something done about it. The peeling is now working on the red paint. The Honda dealerships treated me in a very condescending way. A reputable body shop in my town looked at the car along with an auto paint rep and they both agreed the problem originated at the factory. Honda, in all their perfectness, declared over and over that they had not had any similar problems with red Accords so it could not be a factory problem. They did not insult my intelligence by saying it was acid rain because my car sits in the yard beside a navy blue Chevy getting the same wind, rain, sun and dust and the blue Chevy has no paint problems. And, my car sits right next to a white 2004 Honda Accord at my work receiving the same wind, rain, sun and dust and the white Honda has no paint problems. They did say that the clear coat peeling is consistent with damage to car paint in crop dusting areas. However, I do not live in a delta or a crop dusting area. In fact, we live at leave 4-5 hours away from the nearest crop duster. The bottom line is that Honda will not repaint or pay for a repaint nor will they even admit the possibility of it being their problem to begin with. Buyer beware!!!!

- , Hot Springs, AR, USA

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