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Honda Reliability: The Most Common Problems with Honda

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Common problems with
Honda
include excessive oil consumption in V6 engines, transmission failures, and vibrations while braking. Some Hondas also experience dimming dashboards and power lock issues.
As a brand, Honda is synonymous with reliability, quality control, and value. But even the most meticulously designed and constructed vehicles will experience problems. Hondas have far fewer problems than most other car brands, but there are still some reliability issues to keep an eye out for.
Jerry
, America’s
best-rated
app for
car insurance
quotes, took a deep look at Honda’s known common issues and put together this guide to help you keep an eye out for mechanical issues before they affect your car, your safety, and your wallet.
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What are the most common Honda problems?

Before we dive in here, we need to stress that Honda is generally considered to be one of the world’s most reliable automakers, rivaling
Subaru
and
Toyota
. Buying one doesn’t often end in regret. But having said that, Honda does have a few common issues, including:
  • Excessive fuel consumption in older models (2003-2013) with V6 engines
  • Transmission failures, including transmission fluid leaks, slippages, and more
  • Front brake rotors warping or prematurely wearing out, particularly in Accord models
  • Door locks randomly locking and unlocking in the Accord, typically after 100,000 miles
  • Dashboard display brightness fades and even goes dark over time
All told, the 2003 Honda Accord is considered Honda’s most problematic model, with more frequent complaints—1,984 of them—and reported issues than any other Honda, according to
the NHTSA
. The honor of being the most reliable Honda goes to the 2021 Honda HR-V.
Here’s a quick overview of the five models with the most problems and a brief glance at what those issues are:
Model
Starting price
J.D. Power reliability rating
Most common problems
Years to avoid
Accord
$27,135
82/100
Oil consumption, brake wear, extreme seat discomfort, electrical issues, transmission issues, ignition switches
1998-2005, 2008-2010, 2013, and 2014
Civic
$23,365
82/100
Cracking engine blocks, defective airbags, emissions system issues, electronic parking brake failure, A/C compressor failure
2001, 2003-2005, 2006-2011, 2016
Pilot
$38,805
79/100
Oil consumption, transmission fluid leaks, braking system issues, electrical issues, fuel system issues, EGR/IAC valves, differential fluid, defective low beams
2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016
Fit
$17,185
82/100
Ignition coils, starters, premature engine failure, power steering system, interior and exterior issues, uncomfortable seats
2010, 2015, 2016
Element
$21,635
81/100
Brake rotors, engine oil leaks, differential fluid, faulty door locks and tailgate, dashboard gauge needles coming off, seat belt harness, paint chipping and premature wear
2003, 2004, 2007
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MORE: How to build a custom Honda Fit

Most common Honda Accord problems

Average annual repair cost: $400 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 12,618
The most dangerous issues
Honda Accord
owners have dealt with include premature brake rotor wear, door locks randomly locking and unlocking, and transmission slipping issues
Brake rotor/disc replacement costs
are about $400 per axle.
Ignition switches and starters have also been known to give up the ghost prematurely, and Accords powered by V6 engines suffered from excessive fuel and oil consumption issues.
Electrical issues, including underpowered batteries, fading dash lighting, and stereo backlighting failures have also affected Honda Accord models over multiple years.
The 2017 Honda Accord was also a pain in the neck—literally. Many owners reported extreme discomfort from the seats and headrests, resulting in significant neck and back pain. Accords have a history of interior trim and paint issues as well.

Most common Honda Civic problems 

Average annual repair cost: $368 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 6,734
The
Honda Civic
also had major mechanical issues that could create dangerous situations. The engine blocks in the 2006 model could crack, causing coolant to leak and potential engine failure. And like the Accord, brake rotors can wear down prematurely and transmission issues were reported in many Civic models, too.
The Civic has a long history of issues with errors being reported by the car that may or may not be serious. For instance, a software update for the fuel level sensor was required to resolve an “emissions system problem” error getting reported in 2019 models, and “electric parking brake problem” errors could be reported prior to the battery getting replaced.
Civic owners have endured a number of quality of life issues, too. Air conditioner compressor leaks, Bluetooth connectivity issues, peeling or cracking body paint, and cracked sun visors rank among the most commonly reported issues.
The Honda Civic was also part of a global Takata airbag recall, too, which could explode violently and dangerously when deployed, or deploy too slowly to be effective. If you’re driving a 2000 Honda Civic, be sure this airbag issue has been fixed!

Most common Honda Pilot problems 

Average annual repair cost: $542 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 1,582
The
Honda Pilot
is another model affected by excessive oil consumption, a plague of electrical issues, transmission fluid leaks and other transmission issues, and problems with excessive premature brake rotor failures.
The 2016 Honda Pilot had an issue where fuel injectors could get clogged, as well as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve and idle air control (IAC) valve failures. Differential fluid breakdown, an issue common in many Honda models, also affects 2003-2012 and 2015 Honda Pilots.
Fuel injector repair costs
are at least $1,000.
Honda Pilots from 2003-2008 and 2010-2013 also had issues with defective low beams caused by electrical wiring harnesses overheating. 

Most common Honda Fit problems 

Average annual repair cost: $390 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 512
The
Honda Fit
largely diverges from the Accord, Civic, and Pilot by having fewer potentially dangerous issues and general mechanical issues. Among those, premature engine failure, power steering failure, bad starters, and faulty ignition coils are the most common.
Ignition coil replacement
costs are at least $200.
Like the 2017 Honda Accord, the 2015 Honda Fit left many drivers reporting serious back and neck pain as a result of the car’s uncomfortable seating and lackluster headrests.
The 2007 through 2010 Honda Fits saw cracked front door armrests, while the 2009 model in particular had issues with body paint and clear coating wearing, peeling, or cracking.
MORE: Does Honda have a self-driving car?

Most common Honda Element problems

Average annual repair cost: $491 
CarComplaints.com complaints: 177
Another Honda with bad brake rotors? Yeesh! The
Honda Element
joins the ranks of the Accord, Civic, and Pilot for having shoddy stock brake rotors that wear down too quickly or warp. It also has issues with differential fluid breakdown, body paint and clearcoat issues, and electrical and mechanical issues affecting door locks and the rear tailgate.
The Honda Element has some issues the others didn’t face, too, like the engine oil leaks that were common in 2003 to 2011 models due to bad oil pressure sensors.
Oil pressure sensor replacement
costs are about $150. SRS warning signals could be displayed due to problems with seat belt wiring harnesses. 
Additionally, a number of 2003 Honda Elements had an issue where keys couldn’t be inserted into the ignition and needed repairs.
Perhaps the strangest issue of any of these five models belongs to the Honda Element: gauge needles in the 2007 Element’s dashboard could come loose and literally fall off. And with a potentially expensive $1,400 repair bill, this one is no laughing matter.

Are Honda cars reliable?

Despite listing off these issues, it’s generally accepted that Honda is one of the most reliable car brands on the market, with far fewer issues than most carmakers. Most experts agree Honda overall builds impressively reliable and safe vehicles.
The average annual repair cost of Hondas across all of their nameplates is $428, according to
RepairPal
.  The 2003 Honda Accord is considered their least reliable model, while the 2021 Honda HR-V is considered their most reliable car.

The least reliable Honda model: 2003 Honda Accord

Most common problems: Electrical issues, brake rotors
NHTSA complaints: 1,984
Owners of the 2003 Honda Accord have endured a myriad of electrical issues, like dashboard lights flashing and flickering, stereo and climate control lights dimming or going dark entirely, and issues with power door locks. The car also had ignition switch and air conditioning issues that left many owners frustrated.

The most reliable Honda model: 2021 Honda HR-V

Most common problems: Road noise, electrical issues
NHTSA complaints: 7
The 2021 Honda HR-V can have electrical issues, and some users complained about road noise. But broadly speaking, there aren’t any serious issues reported with the 2021 Honda HR-V. 
Of course, this is likely due to the car being new. Serious problems typically won’t develop this early on in a car’s lifespan, especially when it comes to brands as notably reliable as Honda.
MORE: How to pick a Honda car seat

How to buy hassle-free car insurance

All things considered, owning a Honda is a great way to save money long-term. Despite the issues we listed above, you’re less likely to encounter serious issues with a Honda than with cars from most other automakers.
Want to save even more money? How about hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year? You can do that quickly and easily by finding cheap
car insurance quotes
using
Jerry
!
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FAQs

Yes! Honda Civics are generally considered to be reliable, safe, fun to drive, and offer a lot of features similarly-priced competitors frankly don’t. The Honda Civic nameplate has a solid reputation for quality.
Honda vehicles are considered to be among the most durable and reliable cars on the road, with expected life expectancies from 200,000 to 300,000 miles and up to 15 to 20 years on the road. Only a handful of other brands, like Subaru and Toyota and a few others, can claim the same.
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff.
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