Honda Accord 1998-2002 review

Overall rating:4 Star Rating: Recommended
Updated: October 4, 2013
2002 Honda Accord
2002 Honda Accord (Photo: American Honda Motor Co.)

The 1998-2002 Accord was available as a 4-door sedan or 2-door coupe. The Accord was offered in four trims: the base DX (sedan only), LX, EX, LX-V6 and the top of the line EX-V6. The SE model was added for 2002. The DX came with a 2.3L SOHC 4-cylinder engine. The LX and EX had a 2.3L SOHC VTEC 4-cylinder engine. The 4-cylinder models were available with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The LX-V6 and EX-V6 offered a smooth and powerful 200-hp 3.0L VTEC V6 engine with an automatic transmission. No manual V6 option was offered. Available features included power-adjustable leather seats, wood-grain trim, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, moonroof and 6-speaker audio system. Inside, the 1998-2002 Accord is roomy and comfortable. The well-designed dashboard offers easy-to-use controls with good quality feel and simple, easy-to-read instruments. The front seats are very comfortable and supportive. The visibility is good. The trunk is spacious; the rear seat folds down for extra cargo room.

2002 Honda Accord interior
2002 Honda Accord (Photo: American Honda Motor Co.)
Honda Accord engine
Honda Accord 2.3-liter VTEC engine

On the road, the 1998-2002 Honda Accord offers a firm ride and well-controlled responsive handling with precise steering feel. The V6 has plenty of power, the 2.3L VTEC feels adequate. The V6 Accord has smoother ride because of the heavier engine. On the downside, some road noise is noticeable and the 4-cylinder engine is a bit noisy.
The anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) as well as side airbags were available on some models. The crash test ratings varied through the model years. Check the website for details.

Engine:The 1998-2002 Honda Accord offered three engine models:
The base 135-hp 2.3-liter 4-cylinder 16-valve SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) feels a bit underpowered, but otherwise is a good reliable engine.
The 150-hp 2.3-liter 16-valve SOHC VTEC 4-cylinder engine offers the best combination of power and fuel economy. It's a strong, reliable engine.
The 200-hp 3.0L SOHC V6 VTEC is the most powerful choice.
All three engines have a timing belt that must be changed at recommended intervals. Read more about the timing belt.

Pros: Fuel economy (4-cylinder models), handling, powerful optional V6, interior quality and comfort, excellent braking.

Cons: Road and engine noise (4-cylinder models), might be costly to insure, automatic transmission issues


Honda Accord

The 1998-2002 Honda Accord was certainly one of the best family sedans on the market.
Look for the 2.3L VTEC engine as it delivers an optimal combination of power and fuel economy. The most common complaints for the 1998-2002 Accord are related to the automatic transmission. The V6 models seem to have more complaints.

What to look for buying a used Honda Accord: Checking used car history records may help you to avoid cars with rolled back mileage, previous flood or accidental damage and other issues. Follow this link: How to check used car history. During the test drive, pay particular attention to the way the automatic transmission works, especially on V6 models. If you notice any transmission issues like harsh shifts, jerks, delays, slipping between gears, noises, avoid the car. A clunk when shifting into Reverse is an early sign of transmission problems. If the transmission fluid appears too dirty (black) or has a burnt smell, avoid the car. Read more how to check an automatic transmission.
Watch for humming noise coming from the wheel bearings; bad wheel bearings are not uncommon. Make sure the air conditioner works. Check if the timing belt has been replaced. If not, you will have to do that. Look for the trailer hitch - if the car was used for towing, transmission might be excessively worn.
If the "check engine" light is on, make sure to check it with your mechanic first.
Learn more what to look for when buying a used car. Before signing the contract, have the car inspected by an independent mechanic. Check few same-model cars to compare; it's worth to pay a little extra for a well-maintained vehicle in good condition.
You might also be interested:

How to buy a used car How to buy a used car
step-by-step guide »
Checking transmission How to spot signs of
transmission problems »

Honda Accord problems: A worn ignition switch could cause a car to stall, even though a car may re-start again. There was a recall for this issue. If your Accord has a stalling problem, check with your local Honda dealer if this recall has been done on your car. If the ignition switch already has been replaced, it's still worth to check it, as it can wear out again.
Another known issue that can cause the engine to stall or intermittently not to start is a faulty main relay (PGM-Fi). The same bad main relay can also cause the car not to restart when hot, even though it starts once it cools down.
A bad heater control panel can cause the air conditioner not to work. Google Honda Accord heater control panel, there are plenty of discussions on this issue.
A bad EVAP Control Canister Vent Shut Valve can cause the trouble code P1457, there was a TSB on this issue.
The EGR codes P0401 or P1491 in a V6 Accord could be caused by a clogged up EGR port. There was a TSB mentioning cleaning the EGR port, and installing the EGR pipe kit as a fix for this issue. You can search for 'clean the EGR port Honda Accord', there are few forums that describe this repair.
Worn sway bar bushings could be one of the possible sources of a clunking noise coming from the front suspension when driving over road bumps.
If your car is diagnosed with a bad ignition coil, it's good idea to change all the spark plugs as well if they are old.

Maintenance tips: - Wash your car regularly, wax it once in three-four months to protect the paint finish.
- Regular oil changes are very important to keep your engine in good shape.
- Change transmission fluid in recommended intervals. The owner's manual for 2001 Honda Accord says: 'Always use Honda ATF-Z1 (Automatic Transmission Fluid). If it is
not available, you may use a DEXRON III automatic transmission fluid as a temporary replacement. However, continued use can affect shift quality.
' Check your owner's manual. A Honda mechanic I spoke to also said it's best to use Honda transmission fluid.
- Try to avoid overheating the engine, as it may cause serious problems.
The owner's manual for 2001 Accord recommends to replace the balancer belt and the timing belt at 105,000 miles or 168,000 km if the car is operated in normal conditions.
The balancer belt requirement only applies to 4-cylinder models.
- It make sense to replace a water pump when you change the timing belt.
- Have your car inspected, at least once a year, in a garage on the lift (e.g. when doing tire rotation) to keep it safe. For example, bad ball joints are not uncommon in the Honda Accord, and a regular inspection can catch problems like this early.
- No matter where you service your Honda, use original Honda parts.
Check more Car maintenance tips. Read why you Check Engine light comes on. If you already scanned the engine computer for a trouble code, read here: Engine codes.
More on maintenance:

10 tips how to keep your car running longer and
save money on car repairs Top 10 simple car
maintenance tips »
Simple car maintenance tips Easy car maintenance
checklist with photos »

2001 Honda Accord sedan specifications (US model)

Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:
4-cylinder models:
6-cylinder models

189.4 in (4810 mm)
106.9 in (2715 mm)
70.3 in (1785 mm)

56.9 in (1445 mm)
57.3 in (1455 mm)

Turning diameter:

36.4 ft. (11.1 m)

Cargo capacity:

14.1 cu. ft (399 L)



LX V6, EX V6

2.3-liter 16-Valve SOHC In-Line 4
135 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 145 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

2.3-liter 16-Valve SOHC VTEC In-Line 4
150 hp @ 5,700 rpm, 152 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm

3.0-liter 24-Valve SOHC VTEC V6
200 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

EPA Fuel Economy (US mpg, L/100 km):
2.3L, 4-cyl engine, manual trans.

2.3L, 4-cyl engine, automatic trans

2.3L, 4-cyl VTEC engine, manual trans.

2.3L, 4-cyl VTEC engine, automatic trans .

3.0L, V6 engine, automatic trans.

city: 22 mpg (10.7 L/100 km)
hwy: 29 mpg (8.1 L/100 km)

city: 20 mpg (11.8 L/100 km)
hwy: 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km)

city: 22 mpg (10.7 L/100 km)
hwy: 29 mpg (8.1 L/100 km)

city: 20 mpg (11.8 L/100 km)
hwy: 27 mpg (8.7 L/100 km)

city: 18 mpg (13.1 L/100 km)
hwy: 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km)

Recommended Fuel:

Regular Unleaded

Fuel Tank Capacity:

17.1 US gallons (64.8 liters)

Engine oil capacity:
Oil change, including filter:
4-cylinder engine
V6 engine

4.5 US qt (4.3L)
4.6 US qt (4.4L)