How to Troubleshoot the Electrical System in a Honda Accord

Written by ehow cars editor
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The Accord is Honda's family sedan that offers a reliable, comfortable ride with a better fuel economy than cars of similar sizes. Most people who buy Honda are looking for reliability, and while Honda beats most of their competitors in this area, electrical problems do come up. Some models, like the 2003 Accord, are problematic.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Pay attention to the alternator warning light, more commonly known as the idiot light. It can help you catch problems before they become a major hassle. Your idiot light should come on when your turn the key to your Accord on without starting the engine. If it doesn't come on, check for a blown fuse first. If that doesn't repair the light, check the wiring and bulb to the light circuit.

  2. 2

    Explore whether weather conditions have anything to do with the charge indicator light going on. Extended idling on hot days can overheat the alternator, lowering its output and the ability of your electrical components to receive power. This is common and should resolve itself as the engine cools.

  3. 3

    Check for poor connections at the battery or a problem relay if your Honda Accord is sluggish about starting. The starter is your car's biggest electrical component. Unless your car is several years old, the problem may exist in the connections, solenoid or key switch. The starter in an older Accord may just be worn out and need replacing.

  4. 4

    Assess the condition of the connector in the charging circuit wiring harness. Some 1982 Accords were fitted with circuit wire that didn't have a large enough diameter to handle the current from the alternator. This can lead to a melted connector that causes repeated battery and alternator failures.

  5. 5

    Look to see if the light in your Honda glove box stays on after you've turned off the engine. This problem, commonly seen on 1991 to1992 Accords, drains power from the battery. After checking for an aligned glove compartment, you might need to apply a retro-fit tube cap over the too short switch plunger to extend its length so that the light will shut off.

  6. 6

    Verify the mileage on your 2003 Honda Accord if your dashboard LCD lights have gone dead. This was such a particularly frustrating problem for owners that Honda extended the warranty this problem to 100,000 miles or seven years. Contact American Honda or your dealer about getting it repaired under warranty.

  7. 7

    Have your Accord's electrical system load tested on occasion to make certain it's fully operational. Testing circuit loads with ammeter and other tools will let you know if your Honda's electrical system operates at 80 to 100 percent capacity.

Tips and warnings

  • Extend the life of the electrical system by starting your Honda Accord with the major energy hogs like the stereo and air conditioner turned off.
  • Never jump your Accord from a running car. Other makes might use a larger battery power, which could damage your 12.6 volt system.

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