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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,804 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2004 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #14

Nov 172010

Accord 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


While driving at night on the freeway at 65 mph, the passenger side curtain airbags deployed without explanation (both the bag that deploys through the ceiling liner and the bag that deploys through the side of the front passenger seat). Due to the violence and confusion of the deployment explosion, I first thought that the right side of my vehicle must have been crushed in a collision with an unseen semi-trailer truck. Ears ringing from the concussion, I initially fought to control the vehicle, but soon realized that the tires were still intact. As the smoke cleared, I saw that the nearest vehicles were 100+ yards ahead or behind my vehicle. At the next exit, I inspected the vehicle under a street light. There was no apparent damage to the exterior. During later inspections by an insurance adjustor and the Honda dealership, no cause for deployment was found. There was no damage to the undercarriage and hence no evidence that an object hit the undercarriage to trigger the deployment. The only external damage was a small golf-ball sized dent in the roof over the right center pillar. The dent was apparently caused by the strong torque that the deploying side-curtain airbag applied to the welded roof mount to which the air bag package bolts. Hence, all interior and exterior damage to the vehicle (>$3000 usd) was caused by the false air bag deployment itself. The insurance company concluded there was no evidence of a collision and refused to cover the damages. The Honda dealership similarly refused to cover the damage since the vehicle was out of warranty. The dealership further claimed that the air bag controllers do not save the state of the sensors when a deployment is triggered, and hence it is not possible to diagnose failures. I find it disturbing that so-called 'safetyż equipment in a properly maintained vehicle can self-destruct and potentially kill the occupant and neither the insurance company nor the manufacturer takes any responsibility.

- Grafton, MA, USA

problem #13

Aug 222009


  • 57,500 miles
Auto purchased new, never in an accident or damaged. Airbag light on, dealership replaced sensor free, replaced component at a cost to me for $300, airbag light still on. They now say the harness needs to be replaced at a cost to me of $300. Why is this not a manufacturing problem? no one can answer why I must pay to have this defect fixed.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #12

Mar 042009


  • 123,000 miles
Random deployment of passenger side airbags. Side curtain, and door airbag. 2004 Honda Accord coupe.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #11

Oct 082008


  • 89,500 miles


I have complained to Honda about my transmission slipping, almost stalling out and then taking a huge normally happens when letting up off my gas...this has been ongoing for almost 2 years; last night I had the ride of my life in only a matter of seconds! I was stopping by the bank to get cash from the atm; as I let up off my gas, the car did a hard jerk and jumped the sidewalk hitting the corner of the bank. I'm so glad no one was using the atm at this time. My airbag never deployed and my seat belt released for me to get out but now it is jammed and will not pull out enough for me to wear it! with all the complaints I've found that are very similar to mine going back as early as 2003, I really feel that Honda should take these complaints more serious and that they should be held responsible for repairing the issue and any damages incurred due to the issue. I am a nervous wreck and I hope no one will experience what I just went through. There should be a thorough investigation requiring Honda to fix this problem.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #10

Dec 122006

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,538 miles
My wife was driving to work between 35-40 mph on a clear day when the side air bag curtain deployed for no reason. The drivers side seat bag partially deployed. Luckily, she was able to control the vehicle, bring it to a stop and we had it towed to the Honda dealer. My wife helen, had temporary hearing loss (several hours) as a result of the curtains deploying. Even though the car is under warranty Honda has so far refused to fix the problem and after examining the car could find no reason for the curtains to deploy.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #9

Sep 242006

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,100 miles
Driving down road @ 40 mph, in a 2004 Honda Accord LX, the passenger seat side air bag deployed for no apparent reason, injuring the passenger. At this point, nothing has been done to repair the damages by Honda of America or state farm insurance company due to it's rare circumstances. Honda technicians and their district manager said they found no good reason for deployment. They tested the airbag parts after the deployment, and they are currently still functioning properly. Theorizing, they commented that a bolt may have smacked up under the car and hit a sensor, creating a frequency mimicking the sound of an impact. According to the Honda technicians, these side air bags are activated/actuated on frequency so the second they hear a crunch or glass break, they shoot out. He said that if something created a sound similar to that of an accident or vehicle impact, that they could go off. So, car still is not repaired, and has been checked by Honda and state farm adjustors. Neither has found any amount of damage to suggest anything out of the ordinary was hit on the roadway, just a small scratch on the bottom of the car, which may or may not have been the culprit.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #8

Oct 062005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2004 Honda Accord. The contact stated while driving 65 mph, the driver's side air bag deployed. There had been no accidents prior to this. The contact stated there was a noise coming from under gas pedals since purchased the vehicle. She took the vehicle to the dealership three times, and they stated they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. The contact was able to get to the break down lane. She then had the vehicle towed to the dealership, who stated there were scrapings under the vehicle and a bolt was missing. According to the dealership, she ran over something to cause this. It occurred on October 6, 2005. Updated 12/19/05. 8jb

- Andover, CT, USA

problem #7

Sep 142005

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,686 miles
At approximately 1405 hrs on 09/14/2005 I was involved in a motor vehicle collision involving a coca-cola delivery truck that merged from his lane into mine causing my vehicle to spin into the front of his. The impact of the collision was enough to bend the rear axle of my vehicle. My vehicle is suppose to have side curtain airbags but did not deploy causing me to shatter my driver side window with my head. I would like to know why the air bag did not deploy as it was suppose to. The vehicle information is as follows: 2004 Honda Accord exl V-6 2 door, [xxx] 3-point seat belts at all seating positions front 3-point seat belts with automatic tensioning system dual-stage front airbags (SRS) front side airbags with passenger-side occupant position detection system (opds) side curtain airbags side-impact door beams immobilizer theft-deterrent system the vehicle is currently located at simpson's body shop, 205 cox blvd sheffield, al 35660 phone (256)383-1919, contact john paul heupel, assistant manager I just wanted to inform your department of this before someone is severely injured from this defect. Sincerely, [xxx]. updated 07/18/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Muscle Shoals, AL, USA

problem #6

Apr 082005

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,500 miles
Vehicle was involved in a side collision. Upon impact, the side air bag failed to deploy. This caused the driver to sustain major injuries, and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Vehicle was towed to a dealer for inspection. The cause had not been determined at this time.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 012005


  • miles
The air bag sensor in the passenger seat of the consumer's 2004 Honda Accord did not operate as it should. The consumer stated the side air bag off light does not signal an improper leaning of a passenger against the window. The Honda technical department dept. Recommended replacing the sensor in the seat, however, that did not rectify the problem. The technical dept then told the consumer the side air bag off light was purposely deleted in order to spare the driver any alarming attention.

- Calgary, Alberta, Canada, DC, USA

problem #4

Jun 152004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25 miles


Passenger's side air bag goes off whenever the passenger's daughter sits in the seat.. the manual states 65 lbs in this seat, but the passenger's daughter weighs 90 lbs. The air bag goes off. Dealer states nothing is wrong.

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #3

Nov 072004

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,400 miles
Car type: 2004 Honda Accord ex, while driving down the freeway, side impact, airbags (on passenger side) fired with no provocation. Luckily, there were no cars near me. I was obviously startled by the airbags firing, and briefly hit the brakes as a knee-jerk reaction. Had there been other cars near me, there is little doubt I would have caused an accident. Car is now being serviced at a Honda dealership. They intend to replace the airbags, roof liner, SRS unit(?), and possibly the passenger side seat belt buckle.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 022004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
While driving 65 mph vehicle drove over small debris in the road when suddenly the side curtain air bags deployed inadvertently. No injuries reported.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #1

Aug 042004

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at 55 mph the rear and front side air bags deployed inadvertently. Consumer has a police report of the road conditions. Dealership claimed it was spring.

- Calhoun Falls, SC, USA

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