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1997 Honda Accord Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Honda Accord based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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36
Known Problems

Occasionally, the anti-lock brake (ABS) warning light may illuminate. This could be due to a faulty rear wheel speed sensor. The sensor design has been updated and revised parts are available to correct this problem.

 

The 1997-2017 Honda Accord May have problems with the EVAP canister vent solenoid. It stops responding to commands to open and close, and the following occurs:

  • Illumination of the check engine light
  • OBD trouble code P1457 is stored
  • Engine takes longer than usual to start
  • Fuel mileage decreases noticeably
  • The valve is located on the charcoal canister, and is meant to open and close upon command. It fails due to corrosion breaking one of two internal seals, which allows air to escape the system, signaling the OBD trouble code P1457.

    Correcting the problem can be done by replacing the vent valve, or, in some cases, cleaning and resealing the vent valve has been successful. You can get an estimate for this repair here.

    A worn, missing, or loose gas cap can cause the same issues.

    Excessive oil consumption can cause a low oil level condition, which can result in illumination of the Check Engine Light.

    The starter motor used on the 1990-1997 Honda Accord V6 frequently fails on vehicles around 125,000 miles.

    It may help prolong the life of the starter to service the starter to ensure the connections are clean and tight at the 100,000 mile mark.

    The Honda Accord has a known issue with engine oil leaking from the ignition distributor shaft seal.

    Leakage from the shaft seal coats the electrical components of the distributor with engine oil causing:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Cleaning the distributor cap and rotor can help or resolve driveability issues temporarily, but the mentioned issues will return shortly.

    Once this issue is diagnosed, the ignition distributor shaft seal must be replaced, and the distributor shaft bearing must be inspected.

    Smelling burning engine oil is common on the 1990-2002 Honda Accord 4-cylinder engine, and is associated with oil leaking from the valve cover. It is most common to smell the oil burning at a stop light, or just after you shut off your engine.

    Engine oil leaks from the valve cover, drains down, and settles on the exhaust manifold, which burns the oil upon contact due to high exhaust gas temperatures. This creates an odor that comes through the vents, and can be smelled around the front of the vehicle. 

    The valve cover gasket should be replaced in a timely fashion to prevent engine misfires resulting from oil contamination of the ignition coil, which is fairly common.

    Valve cover gasket replacement will correct both the leak and the smell of burned oil at the same time. If the ignition coil or spark plug wire was soaked in oil, it will need to be cleaned or replaced to stop or prevent misfires.

    The camshaft seal, located at the end of the cylinder head, has a reputation for failure on 1990-2002 Honda Accord four cylinder models.

    This seal wraps around the camshaft to prevent engine oil from leaking where the camshaft exits the cylinder head.

    Replacing the leaky seal requires timing belt removal, so timing belt and water pump may be recommended if your vehicle is near the service interval.

    The 1990-1997 Honda Accord V6 is well known for issues with the fuel pump and fuel injection relays.

    These relays send power to the fuel pump and fuel injectors when the key is turned to the “ON” position. So, when they fail, there is no electrical current to the necessary fuel system components to send fuel into the engine, causing engine stalling or failure to start.

    In this situation, there are many other possibilities, so testing components is vital for time and money savings.

    If the relays test bad, they must be replaced with relays specific for that circuit.

    To help prolong the life of your under-hood electrical components, ensure the lid for the fuse block is closed, and any factory sealing material is correctly installed.

    Four cylinder models of the Honda Accord from 1990-2001 have a known issue with ignition distributor shaft bearing failure, which causes:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • Check Engine Light Illumination
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Oil leak from distributor cap 
  • The ignition system uses the distributor to send high voltage electricity to the spark plugs at the right time. It accomplishes this timing mechanically by a shaft, which connects the crankshaft and ignition distributor, so they spin at the same rate. That shaft, part of the distributor, rests in a bearing inside the distributor.This bearing, the distributor shaft bearing, is known for failing, and allowing the shaft to move slightly.

    As the bearing fails, it allows the shaft to move away from the shaft seal, and oil pours into the distributor cap, causing misfires.

    The play in the shaft can also cause contact with the crankshaft position sensor, causing a no start problem.

    Total bearing failure will be most evident from the grinding noise that changes with engine speed, and oil in the ignition distributor cap.

    If the bearing is making noise, driving or running the vehicle can result in catastrophic engine failure.

    To correct this issue, the ignition distributor and shaft must be replaced. Any damage to the crankshaft position sensor will necessitate replacement as well.

     

    If the brake pedal feels hard the first time it is pressed in the morning, it could be due to a problem with the vacuum supply hose for the brake booster. A revised brake booster hose is available to address this concern.

    The distributors on higher mileage vehicles can leak oil onto the heater hose causing the hose to soften and break. Heater hose breakage will cause a coolant leak.

    A water leak on the passenger floor can be caused by a clogged AC evaporator drain.

    Contamination can get in the distributor, cause a misfire and set a Check Engine light.

    The Check Engine light may illuminate with a transmission fault code. The repair for this concern is to replace the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and flush the transmission.

    A foul smell from the AC system can indicate mold growth on the AC evaporator.