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:
6 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 1
Average Mileage:
86,420 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #66

Jun 222012


  • 33,000 miles


The passenger window began rolling up and staying up all on its own, at anytime it wanted. It would return to normal working order after I restarted the car. Then one day- it rolled down, and would not work again. I found out I could override with the keys to roll up. But id have to window lock to stay. Then one day we smell burning- we traced it to the door- and the override no longer works. Now the driver window is beginning to do the same behavior. So far I've replaced driver switch= $325 --quote for motor= 400.00--I know it will need the switch too... that is over $1000 just to get the window up"?" that is absurd!

- Santee,, CA, USA

problem #65

Oct 012012


  • 103,502 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while traveling 25 mph, the radio lights failed to illuminate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who confirmed that the fuse in the circuit board needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was informed of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 103,502 and the current mileage was 103,705.

- West Springfield, MA, USA

problem #64

Apr 202010

Accord 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway with rain, and the whole front panel (where the stereo, A/C, emergency light, went off. As I was tryng to find the emergency light( cause I was going slow in the rain and fix the temp. To clear de window I almost crash with another car. This shoul be taken more serious. I called and Honda said I was out of warranty. Ive been going to the dealer and they want me to pay almost a $1000, I called Honda customer service and they insist I ve benn out of warranty.this afect the concentration and visibility on the car.I've been reading and its a common problem on this model.

- Harbor City, CA, USA

problem #63

Jul 222012


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that while driving during the evening, he was unable to see the climate control panel. The climate control panel failed without any previous warning. The vehicle was not taken to dealer or repair shop for inspection or repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure; however no assistance was provided. The failure and current mileages were 170,000.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #62

Jul 162012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 280,000 miles
I had been driving 10 min. (70mph) on the interstate when I went to pass another motorist as soon as I turned on my blinker the car started to shutdown. After several minutes I discovered that when I applied the brakes the car would also make an sudden jerk and begin to shutdown. The car would drive completely normal as long as you did not activate either the blinkers or the brakes. I tried several other electrical accessories and none of them seemed to effect the car. After driving for several hours we exited the interstate and put the car in neutral after engaging the brake for several seconds the car died. When I took my foot off the brake it immediately restarted and the problem stopped.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #61

Mar 062012

Accord 4-cyl

  • miles
The transmission is fail according to Honda dealer inspection, Honda dealer does not take any responsability of the transmission problem neither the Honda manufacturer. Air condition does not cool on even it was repaired once but it still does not work.

- Elmont, NY, USA

problem #60

Jul 062012


  • 95,200 miles


Climate control display and lighting goes out(also radio display) which makes it impossible to turn on defoggers or other items at night when driving well known defect that should cause a total recall.

- Bedford, NY, USA

problem #59

Jun 012011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
Major electrical problems began about 2 years ago. Radio display won't light, but radio/cd still plays; air conditioner cools intermittently, though compressor is working and freon is adequate; tail lights sometimes work, sometimes don't; ignition switch makes a noise as though the engine was already started when I turned the key, even though it wasn't - eventually the ignition switch had to be replaced (problem still occurs from time to time); brake calipers have always pulsed no matter how slow I come to a stop; and airbag light comes on for no apparent reason as there is not hindrance to the sensor switch mechanism below the seats.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #58

Jun 202012


  • 123,000 miles
The display for the radio/ac is very dim. The radio still works but you can't see the display. This is a known problem for this type of vehicle. Honda needs to have a recall and fix this on all Accord.

- Dayton, NV, USA

problem #57

Sep 212011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
My radio and A/C display went out. I have to turn on my interior lights at night to adjust the temperature in my car. It is extremely dangerous if my windows get foggy and I cannot fix it without pulling off of the road. This car needs to be recalled. I should not have to pay $1000 for a problem that all of these models are having.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #56

Dec 292011

Accord 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles


For no fault on my part, radio lcd clock light stop working. This should be a recall, it is happening to all 2003 to 2007 cars.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #55

Apr 072012


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated that the radio lights were inoperative, making it difficult to make changes to the radio while driving on the highway. The dealer diagnosed that the radio would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified, but denied any assistance with repairs of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 60,000.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #54

Apr 032012


  • 118,000 miles
While at a stop light, my car just shut off for no apparent reason. Prior to that I would have glitches (on/off) while listening to the radio but this happened while I was driving. I didn't notice the problem before but it just kept shutting off even though the gas tank was full and the battery in it is new. I took it into a mechanic for a diagnostic but nothing came up in their sensor. The mechanic looked at all of the connections and couldn't sense that there was an issue. I know that I didn't buy a new car but it had a full inspection. I'm worried that although it passed it's safety inspection if it is truly safe to drive since it keeps shutting off while driving and especially coming to stops.

- West Allis, WI, USA

problem #53

Dec 222011

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,381 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord. While parked, the contact noticed that the center console lighting was no longer illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics. The technician stated that the circuit panel in the radio system failed and the circuit board would have to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 90,381...updated 04/19/12 the consumer stated the center console displayed a variety of data, not just the radio. With the display dark, it was difficult to activate the defroster controls at night. Updated 06/04/12

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

problem #52

Aug 172011

Accord 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
I have no lights in the top of the car; A/C lights nor A/C work and the door lights. I feel very unsafe not being able to see when I get in or out of my vehicle. The seat belt tightens up whether brakes are applied or not. Not having any dash lights are essential to the safety of any vehicle. Want assist!!!!!!!!!

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #51

Mar 012012


  • 49,000 miles
The lights on the radio and ac pannel do not work, the lcd does not display the radio stations or the ac temperatures. Now I find that the cost is over $800. Also I remember that when I brought the car in for service, in the past, the technician asked me if I had any problems with the dash light, seems he already knew about this problem over a year ago.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #50

Mar 252012


  • 21,730 miles
My wife had parked in a parking space with a very slight downward slope. There was another space ahead of her. She had been driving in a heavy rain. The car was operating normally. When she returned about 15 minutes later, the brake pedal felt hard. She started the engine and shifted into reverse. The car started coasting forward. The brakes remained hard and didn't stop the car. She stopped it by shifting to park, then turned off the engine. She repeated the attempt to back out of the space - same result. No error messages appeared. She called, and I drove to the scene. The rain had stopped. I felt the hardness of the brake pedal, although it felt more like a stiff spring than a non-power brake pedal to me. I pumped the springy pedal a few times; it didn't change. I started the engine, keeping my foot lightly on the brake. When the engine started, the stiffness immediately disappeared, the pedal felt normal, the transmission worked, and the car drove normally. I didn't get to experience the transmission problem. Later, I could find no problem with the brakes. The linkage has only a very slight amount of play, as it should. I depleted the vacuum supply by pumping the brakes with the engine off. The pedal felt very hard, unlike the springy feel in the parking lot. I have a phd in electrical engineering and a lot of car repair experience. This background leads me to conclude that it is extremely unlikely for the unrelated braking and transmission systems to fail simultaneously, and then recover simultaneously. There has to be another common cause, which leads me to suspect the computer system or possibly a sensor, particularly because this happened after driving in a heavy rain. The postulated failure mode is a compromised computer system that could partially activate the ABS system and also fail to operate the reverse solenoid valve in the transmission.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #49

Mar 202012

Accord 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
The lights on the radio and ac pannel do not work, the lcd does not display the radio stations or the ac temperatures.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #48

Mar 152011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Accord ex. The contact stated that the lighting on the radio and temperture controls would illuminate. The vehicle had not been inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 70,000.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #47

Apr 112009

Accord 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The front instrument panel (the panel that contains the buttons to turn on/off the defrost, heater, air conditioner, radio) failed to illuminate in April of 2009. After getting in my car, putting my key in the ignition, and turning the headlights on I noticed that the panel did not illuminate. Typically, the panel illuminates after turning on the headlights. This day, after turning on the headlights the panel did not illuminate and has never there after illuminated since that date. At first I thought it to be an issue with a fuse (since it is an electrical issue) so I sought the owners manual to see which fuse controlled the panel. After having difficulty understanding the fuse layout I searched online for help and that is when I discovered that many other Honda owners have had this problem and that it in fact is not a problem caused by a simple fuse. This is a significant safety issue at night due to the fact that it is very difficult to find the defrost button on the panel when it is not illuminated and on rainy nights or other nights when the defrost is needed be very obstructive to the clear visibility of the driver of they can not access the defrost when needed. Because of this safety issue it is highly recommended that a recall is activated to replace and fix the electrical malfunctions of the panel that I have detailed.

- El Sobrante, CA, USA

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