2021 Honda Accord Problems and Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Forward collision avoidance, brake, engine, and electrical system issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Editor: Rita Roberts | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The 2021 Honda Accord continues to be one of America’s favorite sedans, even in a declining segment. The automaker claims that this particular model has been “engineered to take you farther,” but many customers complain that their automatic emergency brakes malfunction, while some say their brakes have failed. Others report numerous electrical system failures as well as various issues with Accord engines.   

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Most Common Issues

Undoubtedly, the biggest and most common problem with the 2021 Honda Accord is the automatic emergency brake system that activates to prevent a forward collision. Forward collision avoidance tops the list of complaints at 42%, 99% of which are due to abrupt or phantom braking. More than 16% of complaints are filed under service brakes, half of which are due to auto braking.

More complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that several other components and systems are problematic. These include the airbags, electrical system, engine, fuel/propulsion system, lane departure, powertrain, seat belts, steering, structure, suspension, tires, vehicle speed control, and visibility/wipers.

Lemberg Law has also received complaints that relate to a variety of issues. Several owners have reported a loud, horn-like noise the car makes when driving in reverse. One report states, “Every time I go in reverse it makes a loud horn-sounding noise. It’s been in the shop 3 times, and on the next day it would (do) the same thing. I was told because I live in a humidity state, that it would keep doing it. I spoke with Honda Consumer Affairs and was told my car was not defective so they won’t buy back. Is there anything I can do?”

There is also a seat belt recall that affects the 2021 Accord and other Honda vehicles. The automatic locking retractor on the second-row center seat belt assembly may deactivate in the wrong manner. This can result in an unsecured child restraint system, which can increase the risk of injury to a child if the car crashes.

2021 Honda Accord Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Power Train

Forward Collision Avoidance Problems

The most common problem owners of the 2021 Accord complain to the NHTSA about is adaptive cruise control. They find that the car suddenly slams on its brakes for no apparent reason, sometimes causing it to crash. Often, they are cruising at high speed on the highway when the car suddenly brakes or slows down with no traffic ahead.

An owner from Ohio reports how, when a vehicle ahead of him “made a quick slow down,” the automatic braking system engaged. The driver behind his car didn’t react in time and struck the back of his car. As a result, his vehicle was totaled. “The automatic braking would not stop engaging. If it would have dis-engaged I could have pulled forward a few feet and the driver behind me would’ve missed me.”

Another owner also crashed because of a forward collision avoidance malfunction. The complaint states that twice in one year, the car would suddenly race and speed up when it had been moving slowly. The first time it happened was on a small driveway. He was able to stop the car with no damage. The second time, he was pulling into a parking space and wasn’t so lucky. This time, when the car accelerated, it hit a handicapped parking sign and pushed it over. Her husband thought she may have activated the cruise control accidentally. But she was traveling less than 20 mph each time. “This could be a deadly problem if a child or someone crossed in front of me.”

An owner from California reports four incidents in the last ten days where the vehicle suddenly brakes when traveling at high speed on the freeway. “We were almost involved in a serious car accident yesterday where a vehicle behind us narrowly got out of the way.”

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Brake Problems

In addition to the 2021 Accord randomly braking, some owners say that the brakes don’t engage. There are also a noticeable number of complaints about noisy brakes that squeak or make groaning or grinding sounds.

An owner states in an NHTSA complaint that, “On four occasions I was required to slam in my brakes to avoid hitting a car in front of me on major highways in Virginia.” When engaging the brakes, the antilock brakes didn’t engage and the idle system kicked in: “I lost the ability to steer. I had to release the brake for the idle to re-engage then hit the brake again. I finally was able to stop but left approximately 6 feet of skid marks on the highway.” The dealership response was that the “brakes are performing as designed and they did nothing.”

Additionally, this owner states that the rear brakes have a high-pitched noise when backing up. Despite this, the “dealership said they can’t recreate it (and) therefore will do nothing.”

An owner from Arizona had the same problem. “My car is not even 1 year old and I have been having problems with my rear brakes. They squeak or grind when I am in reverse and with my foot on the brake pedal to back out of a parking spot or driveway etc.” After taking the car to a dealership three times, “They said they could not reproduce the sound.”

An owner from California also states that the rear brakes make “a loud groaning sound.” While the dealer was unable to diagnose the problem, he states, “Due to the brakes being a safety component any noise associated with brakes becomes a safety concern.”

Electrical Problems

While many of the complaints to the NHTSA about the 2021 Accord’s electrical system relate to forward collision avoidance and the brakes, there are also other issues. Many of these relate to multiple electrical failures.

For example, an owner from Texas tells how the door lock actuators fail to lock and unlock. This means that the “walkaway function (is) inoperable, no audible beep when locking/unlocking, remote start inoperable, unable to open the door using the inner/outer door handle.” This results in “safety concerns,” for the owners. There is a “potential risk of children passenger(s) inadvertently opening vehicle doors while (the) vehicle is in motion due to the door lock failing to actuate.”

Then another complaint describes how, when driving on rainy or snowy days, all of the lights come up on the dashboard. About 70% of “the futures” get disabled, including the backup camera and the line assistant. The trunk will not open. Tthe A/C, windshield wipers spray, and high beam stop working. In addition, “the horn gets stuck and beeps, and the only way to shut off is to stop and disconnect the battery, otherwise it beeps nonstop.”

There is also a complaint that records a crash. “Brakes failed and steering took over the car uncontrollably and went in all different directions hitting whatever it came across and ending up stopping after hitting the last thing.”

Problems with the Engine

The car engine can make or break a vehicle. If it runs as intended, the driver will be happy and look forward to every adventure. However, that’s not the case with every Accord.

One NHTSA complaint states, “While driving in heavy rain for most of the morning, I entered an interstate and attempted to pass a semi. The engine lost power as I moved into the center lane. I had to slow down and re-enter the far right-hand lane as the engine trouble light began flashing and I had either very little power or too much power to keep the car in a steady state.

“This put me and my wife’s safety at risk as the rain was heavy, and pulling over to the shoulder did not seem to be a good idea since I could keep the car in forward motion in some way. I pulled off at the next exit and we ate lunch and apparently the car reset as the engine light quit flashing and the car acted normally after that.” They approached the dealer who said that, because the light was off, there was nothing they could do.

An owner from Massachusetts tells how on four separate occasions the Accord started to lose acceleration and power. Sometimes it was raining, but other times it was dry. “Each time, I pulled the car over to the side of the road; before turning off the engine, I noticed the engine was loud and the car was shaking a bit. After a minute, I turned the car on and it operated normally, with no flashing engine light. I brought the car to a local Honda dealership after the first incident, but they were unable to locate any codes to make a repair.”

What Can You Do?

Many of the problems that 2021 Honda Accord owners are complaining about seem to recur. This could be an indication that they are lemons. If you think your 2021 Honda Accord is a lemon, contact Lemberg Law and we’ll assess your problems. The law makes Honda pay the legal fees, so it’s not going to cost you a cent.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Daisy

    I see Jimmy and Michelle have had the same horn sound when reversing as me. I’ve been told also it is due to living in a high humidity area.
    I have owned a 2018, 2019, 2021 and older models. This is the only one with this issue.
    I didn’t see that Jimmy posted which part it needed. If anyone can tell me that’d be awesome!
    They also had to replace my stereo screen due to it doing it’s own thing. When I received it back the preset stations were still programmed. Is this normal or would the new one have to be programmed?
    I wasn’t sure If there was a memory box or something that stores them and transfers them to the new one

  • Ricardo

    I have taken my 2021 Honda accord in 5 times for the struts making clonk sounds when turning right or left also that start when it had 22000 miles on it I bought it brand new. So they fixed the issue by greasing the stop on the struts top and bottom but my guess is that’s a temp fix. What is going on with Honda and this year make and model?

  • Jimmy

    Like a few others on this page. We have had our 2021 Honda accord sport in the shop multiple times for the rear breaks making a loud horn like noise when reversing on the 4th time taking it back to the dealer they told me I was now out of warranty and would have to replace a part that is on back order and it would cost 1200 with labor.

  • patty f

    like Michelle I also experienced my 2021 EXL make the same noise while in reverse. Took it to Honda dealership 2 times and they said it was ok. My backseat was replaced at 11 months as it incurred 2 deep impressions on the rear seat. the replacement seems ok–for now anyway. there is a major problem with the interior on the EXL. in my 14 months of having the car–I do not know why it would have “wore” so poorly–especially since there has only been 10-15 times that anyone ever sat in the rear seats. I was at Honda dealership in October 2022 and a lady just turned in her leased 2021 Accord EXL with 13K miles and her rear seat looked worse than mine. i am very disappointed that after 12 years of Honda’s–i have now jumped ship to the Toyota. Honda definitely has so many more benefits to the consumer but what will it matter if the inside of car won’t hold up for daily use.

  • Michelle

    I drive a 2021 Honda Sport Accord. Every time I go in reverse it makes a loud horn sounding noise. It’s been in the shop 3 times & on the next day it would the same thing. I was told because I live in a humidity state, that it would keep doing it. I spoke with Honda Consumer Affairs & was told my car was not defective so they won’t buy back. Is there anything I can do?

  • eric m

    Hello, I brought my car to a dealership in Los Angeles county Ca. I have 21,000 miles on my 2021 Honda Accord touring. It seems that the suspension is off. It bounces violently when on the freeway. I’ve brought it to the dealership to figure out what the issue is. They drove it once down the street, and said it was fine. I requested they drive it a little farther on the freeway. Still

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