Check the enthusiast and owners' forums for the particular model you're interested in. In a broad sweep, 5 spd automatics mated to V6s are more delicate. Not worked out, but Honda seems to be quietly sweeping it under the rug.
I know their Odyssey transmission had an oil spray jet that had to be added to deliver ATF to a previously under-oiled area. But, I think it is harder and harder to buy bad vehicles compared to 10 years ago...and especially compared to 20 or more years ago.
I dont think it is a cost cutting or "quality" problem in the traditional sense, but complexity. Initial build quality on new cars is perfect today. The problems that surface are more due to engineers trying to squeeze more efficiency out of them. 40-50 years ago two-speed automatics were the most common and now they have 5 or more or even CVT's. The mechanical complexity can be managed better with electronics, but the complexity is still there, more to go wrong.
Avoid Honda Civics with the CVT automatic, or be sure to get the Hondacare extended warranty, my brother is on his third CVT and they are not rebuildable.
2004 CR-V is what I have, 35,000+ miles and so far the only complaint (annoyance) that I have is that there seems to be a whistle/whining noise coming from the rear disc brakes. It doesn't do it all the time, and goes away when the brake is applied, then comes and goes in intensity as you drive, goes away on turns, and is more noticeable while going straight.
My first guess (using the WAG method, of course) is that maybe brake dust has something sticking, or maybe the pads are just close enough to the rotors when released after they are up to temperatures, that the dust is rubbing between the pad and rotor to make the whistling sound. None of this is positive, and since the noise doesn't happen all of the time, I'm not about to go to the dealer and have them look aat me like I'm on something.
Eventually, if it doesn't go away, I'll get it checked out. Other than that, we LOVE our Honda!!!
My experience with the 2002 Accord V6 was that the sheet metal was thin;every time something came in contact with the body it left a mark. After the first year of ownership, the car looked about 4-5 years old. The water pump was replaced under recall. Next thing you know, I had a coolant leak. Still don't know if they were related. I did not have any tranny problems, but then again I sold it with only 25k miles on it. I won't buy another Honda.
I really like the fact that we are seeing owners of newer Hondas reporting here. This should give the rest of us an idea of what Honda vehicles have become.
I would venture to guess that the best built Hondas were from the late '80s to the mid '90s, but I don't own a newer Honda to compare. Unfortunately these older models are mostly too old to have a good chance of providing trouble-free service.
I own a '94 and '91, and the '91 is a sturdier build. While the '94 is mostly a breeze to own/operate at almost 210k miles, the '91 has a number of non-critical (and also pretty much unfixable) problems that are rather annoying. It will keep going and going, but the annoyances get to me sometimes.
EVERY manufacturer will have problems. Look at Fords, GM and Mopar. Buy one built on a Wednesday. Honda always seem to remain relatively strong in both mechanical reliability and in re-sale value. I own a 02 V6 and no problems what-so-ever to date. Great car. Already has 100K on the odometer. I would put the new Accords up to anyone else. In fact, we are fixing to buy one here pretty soon.
i have a 94 integra it used to belong to my girlfriend. really really nice car to drive. it as the dreaded trans output shaft bearing noise. for 5 years it never went more than 3 miles at a time and mostly first or second gears. burns a bit of oil. time for the autorx treatment. very well maintained. she now has a 98 civic 5 speed and its a tin can compared to the integra. it has 125k miles on it no problems to report.
Yes, there have been reported problems with Honda automatic transmissions, especially those mated to the V6. I can report the following problems with my Accords.
1. 1999 with 2.3 litre, 5 speed manual, 68000 miles: Replaced front ball joints at 42,000; driver's side tie rod end at 55,000; leaking front struts at 63,000. Engine has problem with "slow spin down", apparently caused by a glitch in the computer programming and unrepairable. There is occasional difficulty putting the shifter into first gear, apparently because of a casting flash spur on one of the synchros - once again, this is a factory problem and unrepairable. The engine also has the dreaded "piston slap". Believe it or not, this car is run gently and maintained meticulously.
2. 2003 Accord, 2.4 litre with 5 speed manual: whining sound coming from the engine. Water pump, power steering pump, alternator and belt tensioner all replaced under warranty. The sound is still there and probably located in the cam shaft system. Once again, the car is driven gently and maintained religiously.
I think I'm cursed.
Pointing out how bad other manufacturers may be really doesn't do anything to change the facts about Honda's reliability.
EDIT: From what I see here, I'd think long and hard about buying one with an automatic.
[ November 19, 2005, 01:12 AM: Message edited by: brianl703 ]
I just bought a 2006 Civic, and fit/finish seem outstanding (stark contrast to my 2000 Impala). Traded in a 2003 Oddyssey - no problems to speak of with that van (a bad IAC valve under warrantee, that's it).
It's been my experience that the engine in a car is still starting and running long after the automatic transmission is in permanent neutral. (Despite this, there are not very many fully-synthetic ATFs on the market and even fewer are available at retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Pep Boys, etc.) Not to mention all of the other parts that normally fail long before the engine does. One sort of gets the impression that engine longetivity is, in general, not a problem.
I have a 2002 Acura RSX with 5-speed automatic, and I couldn't be happier with the car. I have 75,000 miles on it now, and it's never been in the shop once.
My previous Honda, a '94 Civic Si, was also very reliable, but I had to replace the CV joint boots at 60,000 miles, the cam drive belt at 70,000 and the distributor at 120,000 miles. My Acura disposes with the distributor and cam drive belt altogether, and the CV joint boots are better made and longer lasting. The whole design philosophy of the newer Hondas is even lower maintenance and better reliability.
92 Accord V6 heavily modded with HRC engine and suspension parts as well as Centerforce dual friction racing clutch, no problems here even after 539000 miles, still going strong, basic maintenance like belts, brakes and other wear and tear parts have been done, water pump is still original and so is the tranny, all if M-I
In my opinion the newest generation of the 5 spd auto trans is much more reliable than the last. The 99-03 TL 5 spd auto (same as Accord) were very unreliable but the newer TL (04 and up) transmissions are much better. In our shop I havent seen ANY of the newer TL transmissions go bad. Whatever issues the last generation had seem to be resolved.
In fact, I havent seen any issues with automatic transmissions on any of the late model Acuras. (04+TL, RSX, 03+MDX, TSX, or RL)
In these days of steep competition an auto manufacturer cant afford to take a step back. From my perspective the reliability is only increasing.