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2003 accord

I bought this car in Feb 09 and have had problems ever since. First a power steering pump, then bad display panel for radio and air controls, now a bad air compressor and an electrical short. My first step is to repair the short. The headlights go dim and brighter by steping on gas or brakes. No lights on steering wheel, ignition and for controls of sound system or cruise control. Any ideas anyone?

Your luck sounds a little short but nothing extraordinary. Most people think Honda’s and Toyota’s are special but reality is they have problems too as ALL brands do. Thankfully the majority of car owners of ANY brand car have little if any issues.

With regards to headlights and brakes a degree of it is normal. Have your charging/electrical system checked. It could be a weak battery or worse alternator or simply normal.

On the lights for all those items have you checked the fuse? It sounds like they all work on the same circuit.

While Hondas are not as invincible as many people seem to think, you have had an unusually large number of problems with this car. The type of problems that you have had would make me very suspicious that it might have been a “flood car” that was sold to you without disclosure of its past. If you can peer behind the panels covering the interior of the trunk, you may be able to see if there is any evidence of a “high water mark”.

As andrewj suggested, it would be a good idea to have your charging system checked a.s.a.p. Your alternator could be on its way out, or your battery could be failing. In fact, a weak alternator can kill a battery fairly quickly, so I would suggest that you have the charging system checked before you wind up stranded somewhere.

I agree with VDCdriver. This sounds suspiciously like a “swimmer.” Do you have any information about the former owner or the maintenance history of the vehicle?

Where is the short circuit?

If it turns out to have been a flood car AND if it was bought from a dealership or a used car lot (rather than from an individual), get in touch with your local (County or State level) Office of Consumer Affairs.

A dealership or used car lot that sells a “flood car” without disclosure can probably be gone after by the authorities, via the Office of Consumer Affairs. Don’t waste your time with the Better Business Bureau, which has no regulatory or punitive power since it is a private “club”, and not a governmental entity.

thanks! I have checked the fuses. Car was serviced 11/06 battery/charging system checked and the battery was replaced by previous owner of course. So, something was up then.

Thanks! Anything is possible!

I have noticed a suspicioc water mark near the drivers upper left windshield area. I will investagate more fully…thanks!

The electrical problem you describe may be no more serious than a bad chassis ground. Trace the negative cable of the battery and be certain that the connection at the battery and at the chassis are clean. Many cars have a grounding strap between the engine and the chassis. Sometimes this strap gets removed. This may account for the fact that the headlights dim or grow brighter when you step on the accelerator or the brakes. There may be central ground point for the lights on the steering wheel and for the controls of the cound system. If this connection is bad, the lights won’t operate. You will probably need a shop manual to locate this ground.

Thnaks! I will check the ground connections. Are there light for the steering wheel or am I just wishing there were?

I have no idea whether or not there are lights on the steering wheel buttons on your Accord. The last car I had that had buttons on the steering wheel that lit up was on a 1993 Oldmobile 88 that I owned. I found the lighted buttons on the steering wheel to be a distraction and when these bulbs burned out, I didn’t replace them.