Honda Motors Defective Paint Job – Honda Accord’s Clear Coat Peeling

In Fix It, General, Review by Michael Sheehan492 Comments

I’m typically not one to complain out things. Bad things happen and I frequently find it better to just look at the bight side of things. Sometimes this gets me into hot water though, as I miss opportunities to make things (including myself) better. To that end, I’m hoping that the end result of this negative blog post will result in something positive.

Back in December of 1997, my wife and I bought our first car together, a 1998 Honda Accord 4-door EX Sedan. I traded in my beloved cherry red Honda CRX-si for a car that was more practical, and, unfortunately, more boring. But this was ok. We planned on having a family and a 2-seater car (the CRX) was just not very safe or convenient for a family. So we settled with what then was a beautiful dark green color Honda Accord.

As time passed, the car became mine and my wife got a Honda Odyssey which was a much better “mommy taxi.” She shuttled kids to and from school, play dates, activities, etc. I used the Accord to drive a few minutes a day back and forth to the train station. As of this writing, the 11 year old car has only 58,000 miles on it while our 2001 Odyssey has about 105,000.

A few years ago, I noticed that my Accord was starting to show some odd discoloration on the roofline. I thought this was odd because I took pretty good car of the car, with regular waxings and cleanings. It was, however, parked outside. We needed to have the Odyssey in the garage to allow for easy kids and grocery schlepping.

What started as a discoloration (a patchy whitening) then turned into a full fledged peeling of the clear coat surface. The surface just started to flake off, easily exacerbated by a fingernail, leaving underneath a dull metal surface. This erosion of the clear coat surface continued to spread, but interestingly, not to all parts of the car. Specifically affected were the: roof, trunk and hood (in order of magnitude), but the side panels or bumpers seemed to be fine.

I have seen many old cars, including older Honda Accords, that show not signs of deterioration of the clear coat. When I confronted my local Honda dealership, they, too were a bit surprised but had to go to a Regional Manager to even consider doing anything about it. In the end, they did acknowledge that this was not normal wear & tear and offered to pay for a portion of the paint job.

I decided not to take the partial acknowledgement or payment. In my mind, this is something that is defective and Honda Motors needs to step up to correct this.

I have done some research and have found others with the same circumstances and characteristics. So I ask, it this just a coincidence or was there truly something wrong with that year’s application of clear coat and paint? Here are a few listings of people with similar complaints:

  • Carcomplaints.commultiple complaints on 1998 clear coat peel
  • Allexperts.comcomplaint of clear coat peel; (lame) answer, keep out of sun
  • Honda-Tech.comthread that shows the EXACT SAME thing as my accord with pictures; another thread about factory green Honda Accord X clear coat peel; thread that discusses how “cancerous” the clearcoat peel actually is (funny too); another thread on a Technical Bulletin on peeling paint.
  • Yahoo Answersthread about peeling clear coat

There are other complaints of this nature as well if you search for them.

Some pictures

First, back in 2006 or so, I was considering selling my 1998 Honda Accord EX (something I really didn’t want to do). I’m actually glad I kept it. It runs great and aside from the clear coat, I have no other complaints other than basic wear-and-tear. However, here are some pictures that I took of it long before the peeling started.

Just a few years later, here is what it looks like:


The passenger’s side looks ok.


Another shot of the passenger side.


Driver’s side looks ok as well. The sides of the Accord actually look pretty good.


Hood line starting to show the clear coat peel.


Roofline shows the clearcoat peel better. Down to the metal.


More on the roofline. It’s pretty bad.


Another shot of the roof.


There is very little clear coat remaining on the roof.


One more shot of the roof.


Here is the trunk peeling.


Another shot of the trunk.


You can see how the peel starts along the trunk lines.


Close-up of a peel in progress.


One last shot of the front.


And, of course, I have to throw in a picture of my vanity plate. “T3CHDAD” = Tech Dad in l33t speak. Details on that here.

So, why did I take time to post this article? Mainly because I wanted to raise attention of this Honda clear coat issue. Also, I wanted to see if the powers of Social Media and networking can eventually get the eyes and ears of Honda Motors, some dealerships or an auto paint company who wants a bit of publicity helping out a cause. Personally, I think that Honda Motors should step up and 1) acknowledge that there WAS an issue with this year and this color (or dark colored cars around this time) and 2) that they should do something about it. Offering to pay for part of the expense and only at certified auto body shops is not what I’m looking for. My car has been treated well, frequent washes and waxes and has extremely low mileage on it. Again, I have seen older Honda Accords that do NOT exhibit this type of corrosion or deterioration. There is something definitely wrong here and there should be some full retribution.


Note: I just uploaded these photos to Flickr. If this is happening to your Honda Accord, please upload your photos and tag them with the following tags: HONDACCPEEL, HONDA, ACCORD, CLEAR COAT, and PEEL. Thanks for your help!

If you are reading this post, thanks for taking the time to do so. If you have connections in the auto industry, please make sure others see this. If you are connected to the powers that be at Honda Motor Corporation, PLEASE get this in front of them. It is a shame to their brand (of which I have been extremely loyal). However, I’m ready to jump brands if this is the type of durability that Honda has. The motor is great, but that is only part of the equation.

HTD Says: Please help me spread the word about this clear coat peeling issue of Honda Accords. It has to stop or be acknowledged and corrected.

Below are some of the images that have been uploaded to Flickr using the tag “HONDACCPEEL”. Want your picture there? Just upload public images with the tags: HONDACCPEEL, HONDA, ACCORD, CLEAR COAT, and PEEL

[miniflickr tags=”hondaccpeel” per_page=”300"]