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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
69,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2004 Honda Accord electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #1

Feb 112010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


This is a copy of my husband's letter to American Honda Motor Co., Inc. which generated a call from Ray at the Torrance, CA office.

"In July of 2004 I bought a new Accord for my daughter in San Diego. Since it was due for an oil change and I had time to get it serviced during our visit, I offered to take it to the dealer, Honda Mission Valley, in San Diego. The service advisor, Tony McKerchar, informed me that the car had rodent damage to the wiring and the repair would cost between $300 and $400. I asked Mr McKerchar why rodents would do so much damage. The following is as accurate a rendition of our conversation as I can recall. He said,

"The problem of mice gnawing on engine wiring is quite common in cold weather, as they crawl onto the engine to keep warm. It happens frequently, and as a matter of fact a customer with a Pilot recently had precisely the same problem. He brought it in for repairs and two days later returned with the same problem. Yours is not a unique situation. It has been happening for many years."

"Tony," I said, "I don't understand. Do you mean Honda has been aware of the problem for years and not one of the engineers is smart enough to devise a metal tube or some kind of cover to protect the wiring from rodents?"

His response to me was, in essence, "We have many very smart engineers, but they're not rocket scientists. As I said, this has been an issue for many years and if we had had engineers smart enough to figure out a protective covering for wiring, don't you think we would have fixed the problem long ago? Surely you don't think we enjoy charging our customers $353.98 to fix a problem that is 100% our fault for not hiring anyone smart enough to devise appropriate protection against rodent damage."

An interesting side note to this experience is that when I told my daughter about the repair she said she had had to have it done previously. I checked under the hood and those same wires are still exposed, just waiting for the next cold mouse to squat and gobble.

Since 2002 I've bought four new Hondas--a Civic for one daughter, the discussed Accord, a 2002 Odyssey and recently, a 2010 Odyssey for my wife and me. I also bought a new Prelude in 1984. I assume this makes me a pretty good Honda customer.

The purpose of this letter is as follows: 1) Please fire the person in charge of hiring and retaining skilled engineers. He is incapable and does not deserve employment with your company. 2) Please send me reimbursement of $353 to cover the grossly bloated charge I had to pay for repairs that should not have been needed.

Sincerely yours, G. De Shazer"

He is really incensed about the repair and is making this complaint as a formal accusation that the Honda Corporation has deliberately left wiring exposed to damage by rodents for the purpose of attracting a statistically high number of repairs for the dealers to extort enormous ripoff fees to rectify damage that could have been avoided easily. Other companies, obviously more honest and considerate of their customers (such as John Deere and Caterpillar), devised a protective shield long ago.

- , Fresno, CA, USA

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