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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
104,561 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.

2004 Honda Accord drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 1 of 8)

problem #158

Jan 152017


  • 128,000 miles


Transmission slipping and grinding. Took it to our trusted mechanic and he said the transmission is failing and has to be replaced. The vehicle only has 128,000 miles. There was a NHTSA recall #: 04V176000 for 2003/2004 Honda due to transmission failure which could lead to an accident. I contacted Honda and they are not willing to help.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #157

Jan 012016


  • 100,000 miles
I did tune up my car because is run not good. The ball joint get break dgoodthe happen on street in repair get new ball joint and new axle both thing for drdriving side used car had a good on gas mileage but after start giving bad mileages. Many time tune up. After that car not pick speed. One day I did google search. I find Honda recall for transmission over one million. I call Honda dealer about transmission recall he say need up date software but they don't have recall about this yet. But they have recall airbags was which haven already done. Now my car have problems with transmission, ball joint axle, smoking. Riado not works anth other I hope. I get recall soon. I wasn't know rhat to dile complaints. Now I know and I helps other

- New Haven, CT, USA

problem #156

Oct 112016


  • 144,700 miles
I was on my way home from work, exiting the downtown area and entering the freeway, when the transmission slipped out of gear. The transmission would not re-engage without moving the shifter down to the D3 gear first. I was able to limp the car using this method to the nearest transmission repair shop. The transmission slipped out of gear several more times on the drive to the repair facility. It was diagnosed with a faulty third clutch and a repair estimate of $3200-3400 for a rebuilt transmission. I chose a different repair shop, with an equally good reputation, and had the transmission rebuilt for $2700. It has been back to the same repair shop 3 times after the rebuild with similar symptoms. They are not able to determine the cause of the recurring slippage. Research reveals that hundreds of other Honda Accord owners have encountered the same issue of transmission failure. It appears to be the same parts failing in a majority of instances. The transmission will slip out of gear from a dead stop, in motion at slow speeds or moderate speeds with no detectible pattern. The transmission failing while the car is in motion creates an extremely dangerous, potentially fatal, driving situation. I don't feel safe driving this vehicle. Honda has issued a recall on this transmission already but not for this particular problem. My vehicle doesn't qualify for the recall.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #155

Oct 242016


  • miles


The car was just amazing when I bought it. Even tho I purchased it used I went straight to a service shop had the oil changed and complete tune up done expecting to enjoy this car I have always heard great things about. The first couple months were great, no worries. Then it seems like out of no where I noticed a slight difference in the way it drove, just the complete feeling of the car was different. The next day I went out to eat and the transmission shifted hard. Okay I thought just need to pay attention, that night when heading to the store is when it became constant, shifting from drive to reverse a hard shift, from 1to2 slip 2to3 slip, then once it heated up stopped. Today is the second day of having to drive it and the light for the engine came on. The car has only 160,000 miles on it, supposedly still in its prime according to early Honda owners, my cousin had a early 90's model Accord I know lived to almost 300,000 on the same engine and transmission. What makes this generation not accountable or not as worthy of the same quality that has given Honda the loyalty of customers it has now. They have the audacity to turn a blind eye on this problem, knowing that these problems are a self inflicted and the direct result of cheap parts and a design flaw they allowed to be mass produced knowing, the "certainty" of mass failure it would create after the warranty freeing them of liability. Leaving the dedicated customers, the people who have helped Honda build there foot hold on the automotive industry in the usa, in the wind. Where is the justice, the accountability, knowingly producing a product that's design is inadequate, knowing due to improper fluid control or lack of proper fluid flow will undoubtedly cause failure of the powertrain. How is it not criminal where is the accountability I thought producing products which U know are default is illegal.

- Gainesville, GA, USA

problem #154

Sep 162016


  • 145,000 miles
2004 Honda Accord V6 automatic transmission. The transmission is going out at only 145,000 miles. I called a few transmission shops and the 2003, 2004, & 2005 Honda Accord with the V6 engine are known to go out around this mileage. I called Honda and they denied that there was anything wrong. I checked other online forums and they all state that the transmissions are faulty and should be recalled.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #153

Sep 172016


  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. While driving approximately 45 mph, a clicking noise started to emerge from the engine compartment. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle stalled. The contact coasted to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. In 2004, the transmission was repaired through a manufacturer's recall. The approximate failure mileage was 147,000.

- Rio Vista, CA, USA

problem #152

Mar 082016


  • 72,000 miles


2004 Accord transmission began leaking at the same time as ABS trouble, what seems to be suspension problems (bad springs?), hood struts failed. These all happened about a month after one dealer replaced an engine mount and leaking power steering fluid container. The trunk opening switch would not work but was too expensive to repair. I had the ABS looked at at another dealer and for $100 an "electrical switch" under the gas pedal was replaced. The power steering fluid was leaking again. They said that the transmission needed to be fixed for $2000 and that my car was not in the recall. I saw many complaints about transmission leaks online and about the gas door not opening. The dealer didn't want to hear about that. (engine mounts and hood struts are popular items on amazon.) I was lucky that my head wasn't under there when the hood fell. I had opened the hood to check the power steering fluid and went to the trunk to get some, when it fell. I was able to replace them from amazon. I had the engine cut out twice while driving in the rain after last inspection. I lost steering and saw the engine light come on so I quickly started the engine again. About a month apart. It didn't happen again. It seems strange to me that all of this happened within 6 months after an inspection.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #151

Jul 022016


  • 159,000 miles
Jan. 2015 traveling at 25 to 30 mph, driver front lower ball joint separated causing wheel to turn sideways in wheel well, which resulted in disabling vehicle, seperated cv shaft and fender damage. No injuries and had to have towed. May 2015 traveling 20 to 25 mph, passenger lower ball joint separated causing wheel to turn sideways in wheel well, resulted in disabling vehicle and damage to fender. Local police were called, no injuries and vehicle towed. July 2016 backing out of driveway, passenger front lower ball joint separated, causing wheel to turn sideways in wheel well, resulted in disabling vehicle, damage to fender, separated cv shaft, and dented the oil pan, no injuries. There is a fault in the design of the lower ball joint placement, the weight of the vehicle is naturally causing the ball to press against the retaining edge of the socket, resulting in metal on metal contact causing the retaining edge to wear resulting in separation of the ball joint. The only way to correct this would be to redesign the front suspension steering knuckle and lower control arm. The ball joint should be pressed into the socket with weight on the wheels not pulling it apart. My only suggestions until something is done about this, is go to a service garage and have them check the ball joints with a pry bar between the steering knuckle and lower control arm, if there is movement have it replaced and keep your receipts. Just shaking the wheel by hand isn't enough to see the movement. Do not pick the vehicle up by the lower control arm, it can result in control arm bushing separation.

- Bradford, PA, USA

problem #150

Nov 172012


  • 47,000 miles
Driving on I-205 and the transmission started slipping. Engine would go from normal to racing while I was driving. Got off and parked to pick up a friend and it would not go in to reverse to back out of the spot. Had to have it towed and the transmission rebuilt. For about $4500. There was only about 47000 miles on it at the time.

- Gresham, OR, USA

problem #149

Mar 252016


  • 54,000 miles
4 cylinder automatic transmission started slipping during acceleration from a complete stop. Transmission would cause the car to her forward when breaking and after coming to a complete stop. The transmission completely failed at just over 54,000 miles and will not upshift. The car will only go about 20 mph, when the accelerator is engaged, it only revs up the engine and the vehicle redlines, the transmission will not shift into a higher gear.

- Edgewood, NM, USA

problem #148

May 222015


  • 89,538 miles


Textbook case of transmission failure for my '04 Honda Accord V-6 on Friday, May 22, 2015. Car failed on the 15 fwy outside of barstow, ca and had to be towed to the los angeles area. When I contacted american Honda I was told that my VIN was not part of the recall. My car, though 11 years old, had only 89.5K miles on it. It had been serviced at all times by my Honda dealer, including transmission service 3 times, including January of 2015. I have all documentation. Honda quoted me $5,642.40 for the repair, and also in a letter dated 6/24/15 confirmed that I need a new transmission assembly. I "escalated" my complaint to american Honda and was offered $250 "customer loyalty card" which I initially declined. I then contacted american Honda again and received a $300 card for the inconvenience that when my car was returned to me by Honda the entire air intake system was missing!! it took the Honda dealership 3 days T contact me and return the air intake system. I bought this Honda Accord brand new from the Honda dealer and am the only owner/driver. I still am without a reliable vehicle and there is no reason that a transmission, which has been consistently serviced by the dealership, should fail with less than 90,000 miles on the vehicle. Had I not been in the desert with lighter traffic, I would have been involved in an extreme crash with other vehicles. Honda should repair my vehicle and acknowledge that the current recall fails to include additional VIN that were affected. They Focus their ad campaign on "helpful", yet they do not help their Honda owners. Shame on Honda and I would like some results.

- Seal Beach, CA, USA

problem #147

Feb 182016


  • 60,000 miles
While driving the speed limit to take my children to school this morning 02-18-2016, my Honda was in the last gear but suddenly downshifted into a power gear causing the car to jerk. My children and I were almost rear ended but the F-150 truck behind is swerved to keep from bitting us. I was very afraid also cause the seat belt around my children tightened to the point where my baby boy started crying cause it was like it choked him. After dropping them off, I got to the stop light which is on a hill and the car would not move. Put in park and cut off and car then went into gear but did not change fears to where it reved up the rpms. Cruised down hill to my home and decided to back up and the car would it even back up. I would like to know what can be done cause there seems to be a problem with Honda and all the can tell me is that there is no recall I. my car except for the power steering. I did research and there are hundreds of complaints about similar problems if not the same.

- Battleboro, NC, USA

problem #146

Feb 012016


  • 192,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. While driving at various speeds, the driver side gear failed and there was a sudden increase of engine rpms. Also, the brakes engaged independently without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission was faulty and needed to be rebuilt. The contact was made aware that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 192,000. Updated 04/04/16

- Hines, MN, USA

problem #145

Jan 112016


  • 97,000 miles
While driving home from dental appt, vehicle started to lose acceleration all of a sudden; driving normally in traffic then car started to jerk/ and rpms started to get higher before slowing down. Car then slows in traffic and does not accelerate even though shift is engaged in drive. Was able to nurse my car to mechanic's shop, determined transmission failure $4100 to rebuild!! called Honda, was told car is not covered by recall, plus since it has 97K miles and 12-years it is not covered by extended warranty. Thanks Honda for standing behind your products...will be looking at new Ford this week.....thank good this failure occurred at a relatively safe side street. Could really cause a major accident!!

- Fountain Valley, CA, USA

problem #144

Jan 132016


  • 76,000 miles
Car is serviced as specified, no issues (second owner for 5 years). Without warning, transmission failed. Vehicle was being driven on surface streets, made odd sound and stopped operating.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #143

Dec 222015


  • 179,000 miles
This seems to be a common issue as just looking it up today another person suffered the same issue I have, down to the exact conversation with Honda. We ahve had the '04 Honda Accord for 4ish years now. It has driven great since we bought it and tested fine with the Honda dealer before purchasing. All of a sudden we started experiencing some slipping of the transmission. We immediatly had the system flushed and filled and all seemed to be good, for about a week. 3 days before christmas, my wife was getting onto a busy section of a major highway and the transmission slipped and she was unable to accelorate nearly getting run over by a tractor trailer. She was able to pull over and get home safely. I did some research and found the recall notice based off the models make and year. Searching the VIN came back as not affected by the recall, even though we are experiencing the exact problems outlined in the transmission recall notice. I called Honda and spoke to a very friendly representative that simply informed me the same thing another customer was told the same day..."your VIN doesn't fall into the list of effected units. You should have a Honda repair center diagnose and repair the issue." I hope that an investigation is started and this is found to be a known issue and Honda works with all current owners to get this repaired before someone gets seriously injured.

- Waterford, CT, USA

problem #142

Jan 042016


  • 90,000 miles
I am original owner of this car purchased at beginning of 2004. 12 years later we are having transmission failure at 90,000 miles. I called Honda because their website listed the recall for my year and model but when I searched it by VIN no recall applies. They told me that the recall doesn't apply to my VIN. I asked them how they determine that. Is there a serial number cut off after which Honda made changes and they can prove my car is not effected? the answer was "all I can tell you is your VIN is not included in the recall". well, I did some research as my vehicle was having the exact same problems as described in the recall. NHTSA recall number 04V-176 has related documents on file and one of them being a letter dated June 28 2004 from american Honda motor co. Inc. Signed by a william R. willen. This letter clearly identifies my car as being included in the safety related recall and I should have received a notice of recall in late 2004. I never received any notice. Some how my car experienced no issues until 2015, but the issues did eventually show up. Now today my car was failing to accelerate on the highway and also trying to downshift to low gears at highway speeds and then suddenly failed to drive at all. We had some indications in the past couple weeks and had the transmission drained and filled 4 times to try to remedy this problem. I talked with two certified Honda mechanics who both told me the transmission was going to fail and nothing could be done. Well, they were right, but here I am in this situation now because Honda failed to recall my car in 2004 as it should have been. For years now we have unknowingly been driving a car that could have caused the driver to lose control and crash. Honda did not fulfill their duties in this recall. I suspect there are many more like mine still on the road. Honda should fix all the cars effected retroactive.

- Bremerton, WA, USA

problem #141

Dec 112015


  • miles
Power steering has been replaced 2 times and it still makes the same noise when the car is cold, once it warms up the noise is no longer heard. Several times while I have been driving the car loses power a clicking noise is heard and it's like the car was turned off but it's still on. It has happened both at 60 miles per hour or 25 miles per hour. I can't accelerate I have had to shut the car off and then start it back up. It has happened in the last 3 years a few times most recently being in December 2015

- Queens Village, NY, USA

problem #140

Dec 222015


  • 150,000 miles
The headlights flicker between normal output and dim output making it very difficult to verify if the headlights are even operational at times much less see in front of you while driving. It looks as if the headlights are rapidly turning off and on. This has been happening since the car was brand new but every time it's taken to a Honda dealership, they don't know what the issue is. I have paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars repairing random things Honda "thinks" might fix the problem but it's still a major issue that affects safety of the Honda driver, passengers and other drivers on the road.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #139

Dec 152015


  • 123,332 miles
Transmission failed while driving on highway with no warning.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

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