Good deal, or too good on 2002 Accord

I am looking at a 2002 Honda Accord EX V6 with 100K miles. Car is in good shape, power this and that selling for $6K. Automatic transmission… which concerns me. I have read conflicting reports about failing transmissions in these cars. Was the flaw fixed by '02? Any way i can figure this out prior to purchase?

Thanks in advance!

Some of these things can get kind of murky because many owners assume that any transmission problem is due to whatever a Recall is issued for. The '03 vehicles were under Recall for a faulty transmission so the '02 is likely a problem child unless it has had the transmission replaced.

You should contact a Honda dealer with the VIN of the car. They should be able to tell you whether or not the transmission has been replaced in the past.
If it has not, and combined with the ever present timing belt/water pump/tensioner replacement issue, the car may be seriously overpriced.

Do NOT take anyone’s word that the transmission has been replaced, the timing belt, etc. has been done, yada, yada. Without paperwork to prove it, any claims that it has been done should be taken with a lot of salt.

I’m not thrilled by the age and mileage of this car for 6K. I did find evidence that the automatic transmission was a problem for this year’s model as early as eighty-five thousand miles. The repair would be a little less than $3,000.
I’d skip this car.

Thanks for the quick feedback!

I will take the VIN to a Honda dealer, good idea. Murky, yes. While I do find some complaints by owners posted various places on the web, I am unable to specifically find a formal recall notice for a 2002 V6 Accord.

Regarding the price, I would certainly like to pay less but this year/model sells for this price and higher in my area (New England).

Consumer reports reliability info rates Transmission Major Repair as average for 2002, V6 engine. You are probably OK if previous owners kept up the necessary maintenance on the auto trans.

I wouldn’t consider it unless you can determine that the transmission fluid has been changed at least once in its service life. Also the timing belt should have been done on the basis of age and marginally, miles.** The T-belt is an accident waiting to happen if it still has the original. If you decide to buy this car you should definitely have a pre-purchase inspection done on it. Accords are nice cars but you do have to be careful. Sounds like you’ve done your HW at least. Good luck.

**I’m assuming that it does not have a timing chain.

I’d stay away from this era V6 with that problematic 5 speed auto tranny. Go with the 4 cylinder or manual tranny.

Thanks for input.

Looked at the car again today. No problem with firm acceleration, seems smooth - but I am coming from a 5 speed manual Subaru Impreza. Local Honda dealer looked up the VIN and there is no transmission related recall or extended warranty on the car.

Re: Jeffmw05, timing belt would be routine maintenance and, yes, should have been done by now based on mileage and age. Dealer says $700 job with water pump subassembly. The car was sold used, and state inspected in 2007. That owner is no longer on the road and has consigned the car back with the dealer. Don’t know if I can get access to service records.

Re: Goldwing “…V6 with that problematic 5 speed auto tranny”. It’s a 4 speed transmission and I just can not find a definitive, formal statement that this model year has the problem. I’d love to find a revision number/SKU or something to ID the transmission.

I have an inspection scheduled for Monday with my regular mechanic.

There’s a Recall shown on the '03 models for the same issue but it’s limited in scope, which is not unusual on something like this. The car has to be under the 15k miles mark.

There are a number of Recalls out on the '02 Honda so if you buy this car you should have them all done if these Recalls have not been performed previously.

Recalls are out for lighting problems, underhood wiring, ignition switch failures, and a really crucial one - a problem with the timing belt and water pump alignment.
They have a somewhat humorous and whitewash term for a timing belt breaking due to the latter; it may cause the engine to “stall”. Stall is correct, it’s just the fact that the stalling means engine damage which is not mentioned.

Thanks ok4450. It didn’t occur to me, but I am correct in assuming that recalls are vehicle specific and one does not have to be the original owner? I also assume that some Honda entity, perhaps any dealer, would be able to discover what recalls were performed on a particular VIN?

You do not have to be original owner to get the recall done for free. The dealer can determine, based on VIN, if the recall has been done. If any are remaining, you can schedule an appointment to get them done.