For over four decades the Honda Accord has enjoyed an unwavering reputation and remains one of the best-selling cars in America. Combining reliability, efficiency, and elegant styling, the Accord is cherished for its stellar safety ratings, tech-savvy features, and engaging driving dynamics. It’s the smart value pick, but it’s also genuinely fun to drive. From the compact hatchback of the 1970s to today’s stylish and spacious sedans, the Accord has successfully evolved while retaining its commitment to excellence.
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Decoding a Honda Accord VIN
A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a 17-character identifier unique to each Honda Accord on the road. Some of the basic elements of a Honda Accord’s VIN and its formatting might include:
Decode an Accord’s VIN and get its vehicle history report right here!
- 1st-3rd Characters: World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)
- 1HG: Represents Honda vehicles manufactured in the US.
- JHM: Represents Honda vehicles manufactured in Japan.
- This set of characters indicates the country and company responsible for producing the vehicle. It also often signifies the region within the country.
- 4th-8th Characters: Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS)
- Model Series (Character 4): For instance, “C” usually stands for the Accord.
- Body Type & Transmission (Character 5): Different letters or numbers here could indicate if it’s a coupe, sedan, or the type of transmission equipped.
- Series (Character 6): Might signify the trim level - LX, EX, Sport, etc.
- Engine Type (Characters 7 & 8): Honda employs codes like “56” to specify a V6 engine, while “58” might indicate a 2.4L 4-cylinder.
- 9th Character: Check Digit
- A complex computation checks the validity of the VIN. This character is the result of that computation, ensuring the VIN isn’t fabricated.
- 10th Character: Model Year
- This indicates the production year of the vehicle. The cycle begins with “A” for 1980 and continues through the alphabet (skipping letters like “O” and “Q”). 2010 would be “A” again, 2011 as “B”, and so forth.
- 11th Character: Assembly Plant
- Represents where the vehicle was put together:
- A: Marysville, Ohio - Honda’s primary plant in the US, responsible for several Accord models.
- C: Sayama, Japan - One of Honda’s original plants and primary production facility in Japan.
- E: Greensburg, Indiana - A newer plant in the US, taking on increased production roles over the years.
- Represents where the vehicle was put together:
- 12-17th Characters: Production Sequence
- This six-digit number provides each Honda Accord with a unique identifier. It doesn’t typically offer consumer-centric information but can be vital for manufacturer tracking and recalls.
Knowing how to decipher the VIN allows potential Honda Accord owners, as well as current ones, to access a wealth of information about their vehicle, from its origins to specific components like the engine type. It’s an essential tool for ensuring the car aligns with the expectations set by sellers and manufacturers.
What to Look For in a Honda Accord’s Vehicle History Report
- Accident History:
- One of the most crucial details to note. Minor fender benders might not be alarming, but severe collisions can indicate potential long-term problems.
- Title Status:
- Look for any “salvage” or “rebuilt” titles. A salvage title means the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company, often after a severe accident. A rebuilt title indicates someone repaired the vehicle after it received a salvage title.
- Odometer Readings:
- Confirm that the mileage progresses logically over time. A discrepancy could indicate odometer tampering.
- Recall Information:
- The Accord, like many cars, has had recalls over the years. Ensure any recalls were addressed and resolved.
- Ownership History:
- It’s beneficial to know how many people have owned the car and the duration each person had it. A single owner for several years can be a good sign.
- Location History:
- If the car spent a significant amount of time in areas known for severe weather conditions, like flooding or heavy snow, it might have undergone more wear and tear.
- Lien Status:
- Research whether there are outstanding liens on the car. You don’t want to buy a car and later find out there’s unpaid debt attached to it.
- Usage Details:
- Was the Accord used as a rental or a taxi? Such vehicles might have experienced more rigorous use compared to a privately-owned car.
- Signs of Flood Damage:
- While the report might indicate if a car has flood damage, sometimes these signs can be overlooked. Watch out for any mentions of rust in areas where rust isn’t common, like the upper car parts, under the dashboard, etc.
- Theft Records:
- Ensure the Accord wasn’t stolen in the past. Even if recovered, a previously stolen car might have issues that aren’t immediately apparent.
First generation (1976)
Launched in 1976 as a compact hatchback, the Accord delivered fuel efficiency in an era plagued by high fuel costs. It also offered rock-solid reliability and a front-wheel drive that was considered high-tech at the time, carving out a unique niche for itself among drivers. A traditional sedan and wagon joined the team a year later, and the Accord brand was set for strong sales. Here’s a look at the more modern designs, so you can decide which is right for you.
Generations two through five (1980s-90s)
Several generations through the ’80s and mid-90s would continue the formula of delivering more features than expected in a surprisingly affordable car, all with excellent steering and handling characteristics. Carburetors were replaced with fuel injection, cassette tape players came and went, and the sharp ’80s boxy style gave way to the rounded ’90s jelly beans, but the Accord continued to win over drivers with its strong value.
While the Honda Accord is well known for reliability and low maintenance costs, every vehicle needs routine servicing and can be subject to recalls. Request service records for any vehicle you are interested in, and perform a vehicle history report for the full story.
Sixth generation (1998-2002)
As cutting-edge as dial-up internet, the 1998 Accord had distinctive “European styling” with soft curves and the occasional straight edge. Previous years offered a wagon, but only the sedan and coupe remained from here on out. The 1998 Accord was similar to the Toyota Camry from the same year; with inline-four or V6 power, and a manual or auto transmission driving the front wheels. Wider than previous years, this model noticeably had more interior room, with a side benefit of better handling. This bumped the Accord to midsize instead of compact, bigger on the inside than a Ford Taurus.
Under the hood is a 3.0L V6 with 200 horsepower. Capable of zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds, it’s still acceptable performance even today. The 2.3L I4 with 150 hp has less performance, but feels faster due to lighter weight and lack of rubber bushings that the V6 gets. The four can have a stick shift, but V6 is tied to auto for now. Accord DX is very basic, including “features” like an AM/FM radio with a tape player, and intermittent wipers. Air conditioning is standard on every trim above DX. Anti-lock brakes show up with EX trim. This is the Accord to get if you are looking for a bargain. At 20+ years old, it’s near maximum depreciation, plus running costs are low, thanks to efficient engines and small/cheap 14- and 15-inch tires.
Seventh generation (2003-2007)
The new millennium brought a more refined Accord, larger inside and out. It’s distinguished from previous gens by much larger triangle headlights up front, and wide tail lights running either side of the license plate. While it looks different, it still has coupe and sedan styles. 2003 introduced Honda’s highly praised 2.4L four-cylinder engine to a mass-production car, bringing affordable efficiency and performance to the base model. The 3.0L V6 returns with 20% more power, making 240 hp. It’s a five-speed auto only, unless you find one in a coupe, which makes for a fun ride, paired with an excellent six-speed manual. Look for zero to 60 in 6.6 seconds.
GPS navigation was available from 2003, and satellite radio in 2004. A 2005 refresh brought updates, mainly side-impact airbags and a hybrid option. Unlike the Toyota Prius of the era, the Accord hybrid started as a performance sedan with 255 horsepower. However, if on the original hybrid battery, it’s probably just about due for an expensive replacement. Verify that an Accord hybrid has a new battery, with a vehicle history report. Other new features are LED interior lighting, 15- to 17-inch wheels, and four cup holders. This generation Accord is your pick for a low purchase price while still having reasonably modern tech and amenities.
Eighth generation (2008-2012)
Like many of us, the Accord bumped up in size as it aged. The 2008 model dipped a toe in the full-size class, due to the way the EPA rates car interior volume. It’s roughly the same size outside as previously, but the passengers will notice the increased space of the sedan. The Accord coupe is still listed as a mid-size. It looks beefy too, with large projector headlights, and a nice character line that runs the “beltline” in profile. The tail lights are more vertical, and no longer on the trunk.
The hybrid disappeared, while Honda focused the tech on the Honda Civic. The V6 is now a beefy 3.5L with 268 hp and five-speed auto. 2.4L has 190 hp to five-speed auto or six-speed manual. Coupes have optional 18-inch wheels. A 2011 update brings a backup camera, power memory seat, and USB power. While over a decade old, this Accord is still an attractive car, and one to pick if passenger space is top of your list. Note that 2008 and 2009 models were recalled for a software issue that could deploy the passenger side curtain airbag on closing the door. Verify that the issue is corrected before purchase.
Ninth generation (2013-2017)
The ninth generation Accord is tough to discern from the previous year, with key indicators being a new chrome three-bar grille between narrowed headlights, a character line running along the bottom of the doors, and tail lights again creeping onto the trunk. The interior displayed more obvious refinement and tech updates, while the drivetrains showed Honda’s emphasis on fuel economy. The 2.4L and 3.5L both returned with updates, and ratings of 35 and 34 MPG highway, respectively. Inside, the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen became standard for all trims. Sport trim made the sedan look even better, with 18-inch wheels, dual chrome exhaust, and a few extra ponies. In a moment of weirdness, Honda made it so manual transmissions are unable to be paired with navigation or heated seats.
Hybrid was back, and this time was serious, with a 2.0L four-cylinder and a total of 196 hp. The EPA-estimated gas mileage shows it can do 47 MPG combined. A note for the sport sedan types: this generation swapped the independent wishbone suspension up front for a cheaper/lighter/smaller strut design, but the handling prowess remains. This is the last of the V6 models, with a 2017 V6-EX doing zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds. This Accord is an excellent family sedan that will last you years, and save you a ton of money on gas while doing it.
Tenth generation (2018-2022)
The 2018 Accord brought a distinctive wide black grille, with a dramatic fastback slope to the roof. It looks fast. Powertrain changed things up, as the turbo 2.0L four-cylinder made 252 hp to replace the V6, with a new turbo 1.5L making 192 hp as the base engine. The six-speed manual was still available for both engines, along with a 10-speed automatic. Highway MPG was still mid-30s, but city MPG jumped to the high 20s. Hybrid returned with the 2.0L and CVT, and 48 combined MPG.
While the previous Accord seemingly went for a spaceship interior layout, this one is modern but restrained and classy. The 8-inch infotainment screen is simple to use. Thanks to surrounding buttons and knobs, it doesn’t make you search through six screens to raise the radio volume. The seats are incredibly comfy, and the rest of the interior seems lifted from the Acura RDX. A minor facelift in 2021 mainly revised the wheel designs. It also abandoned the manual transmission entirely, but Honda made up for it by making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard at all trim levels. Good-looking and thoroughly modern, this Accord is a no-compromise sedan.
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The Honda Accord holds a great reputation, but to ensure you’re getting the best value, try our VIN lookup or license plate search tools on a Honda Accord you’re interested in to fully verify specifications and to inquire about any recalls or known issues.