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Honda Accord Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 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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100
Known Problems

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 2013-2012 Honda Accord has brake caliper issues, which are known for causing vibration and grinding noises at all times.

The brake rotor is a disk that sits between two brake pads. The brake pads are squeezed against the disk by what is called a brake caliper. When that caliper gets stuck, the brake pads are permanently pressed against the rotor causing:

  • Vibration in brake pedal
  • Vibration on steering wheel
  • Illumination of the ABS or brake warning light
  • Grinding noise from one corner of the vehicle
  • Vehicle pulls to one side of the road
  • Braking requires more pressure on the brake pedal
  • The repair for a seized brake caliper, the brake pads, brake rotor, and brake caliper must be replaced or vibration will remain after the new caliper is installed. Changing the brake fluid and flushing the brake system according to manufacturer specified intervals can help improve longevity of the brake caliper.

    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 ABS modulator (hydraulic unit) can leak air into the brake system and cause a low brake pedal. A new ABS modulator will be needed if it is diagnosed to be the source of the leak.

    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 long cranking time before the engine starts might require a PCM software update and replacement of the fuel pressure regulator.
    The car may drift to the right because the camber (alignment setting) is set unevenly. A 4-wheel alignment will be needed to reset the camber angle.

    One or both of the rear sway bar end links may break resulting in a knocking noise from the rear of the vehicle.

    On certain models, a transmission solenoid can short-circuit and illuminate the Check Engine Light.

    A faulty brake master cylinder reservoir filter can cause the brake system indicator to illuminate after a cold start and then go off. Replacement of the reservoir filter will commonly fix this problem.