In production since 1976, the Honda Accord has been one of the best selling cars in the US since 1979 and was the best selling Japanese car for 15 years between 1982 and 1997. It was the first Japanese car to be manufactured in the United States when production started in Marysville, Ohio in 1982. It has been consistently rated as one of the most reliable vehicles on the market by many road tests over the years. However, a few years have suffered from transmission issues – some of which required recalls. The name “Accord” has been used on a number of different vehicles including crossovers, wagons, coupes and hatchbacks, but the mid-size, four-door car sold in the US is most well known version of the vehicle.
Is there something wrong with your Accord? Let’s look at some of the most common Honda Accord transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your car back on the road.
Recalls & Known Problems
2005-2010 Honda Accord – Automatic Transmission Control Module (TCM, PCM) (NHTSA Recall: 11V395000)
In 2011, Honda recalled 2005-2010 model year Honda Accords, equipped with the automatic transmission. Manufactured between July 1, 2004 and September 3, 2010, these cars had a faulty secondary shaft bearing that could fracture and cause all sorts of damage.
According to the recall, “certain driving styles” (see: driving it like a teenager) could cause the outer brace (the round metal band that contains the ball bearings) to fracture. If this happens:
a) The engine could stall/the Check Engine Light could illuminate, if a piece of the broken bearing gets lodged between the idle gear and a sensor housing, or:
b) Part of the bearing could become lodged in the park prawl (the metal piece that engages Park), causing the car to roll away after it’s shifted into Park.
If the latter happens, your Accord could endanger everything from pedestrians to garden gnomes.
Honda dealers were instructed in 2011 to reprogram the transmission control module to keep this from happening. If you’re unsure if the fix was performed on your car, you can call Honda Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009. Be sure to have your VIN number handy, and refer to Honda recall #: R89
1998 Honda Accord – Automatic Transmission Bearing Failure (NHTSA Recall: 98V018000)
Back in 1998, Honda had to recall 33,966 units of the Accord Sedan and Accord Coupe, to fix a problem that prevented the automatic transmission from fully engaging Park.
It seems that a die used to cast the transmission cover, caused an irregularity on the right-side of the cover, which prevented the park prawl (the metal piece that engages Park) actuation lever from properly engaging Park. If this happens, America’s favorite family car would roll after being put in Park – endangering many people, places, and things.
At the time, Honda instructed its dealers to install a collar on the park prawl, which would allow the actuation lever to move freely. If you’re unsure if the fix was performed on your car, you can call Honda Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009. Be sure to have your VIN number handy.
2003-2004 Honda Accord – Automatic Transmission (NHTSA Recall #: 04V176000)
A 1 million+ vehicle recall was issued in 2004, because the automatic transmission that was installed in the 2003-2004 Honda Accord seemed to be prone to early failure. Severe gear damage/breakage could cause the transmission to unexpectedly seize, which could obviously lead to an accident.
Due to insufficient transmission fluid flow, excessive heat can buildup between the countershaft and the secondary shaft second gears (ATF absorbs heat and carries it away from moving parts), which can result in decreased material strength, chipped gear teeth, and in extreme cases, complete gear failure (i.e. it breaks). Unusual noises will typically signal a problem. However, a broken gear can cause the transmission to completely lockup, which would bring the car to a sudden halt.
When the recall was announced, Honda instructed its dealers to do one of two things: 1) Vehicles with less than 15,000 miles received a special ATF oil jet kit, which was installed on a fluid return line. This kit was designed to prevent the problem by injecting cooled transmission fluid directly onto the second gears. 2) If the vehicle had more than 15k miles, the dealer would inspect the gears and either install the jet kit, or install an entire remanufactured transmission. If you’re unsure if the fix was performed on your car, you can call Honda Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009. Be sure to have your VIN number handy, and refer to Honda recall #: P38
What Transmission Does a Honda Accord Have?
How to Diagnose & Fix
- Check the OBD Codes
- Check the Fluid Level
- Test Transmission Pressure
- Drop the Transmission Pan
- Repair, Replace or Rebuild