Perform regular preventative maintenance, and you have a forever friend. It is the very definition of "reliable". Period. The only other vehicle I have ever owned, and still own, as reliable as my 96 Accord, is my 04, Odyssey. However, one issue consistent with 1990's Hondas is rusting upper arch wheel wells. The design flaw is how the rubber molding/weather stripping attached to the inner wheel well arch flange consistently traps enough moisture to cause premature rusting. Longtime owners of Hondas of this era know exactly what I am referring to and would agree. Unless of course, a quick fix rust repair had been performed prior to selling the car, in which case the next owner would disagree while unknowingly to become the next victim. However, if you took the best advice from Honda enthusiasts on reputable Honda forums, and removed the molding, you then bought a few extra years before having to perform body work. The rubber molding simply and easily tears away by hand, and I, of course, was too late removing the liners. No need to worry about aesthetics as the removed weather stripping is not noticeable, and, does not affect the lines of the car. I repaired my rusting wheel arches by sanding and applying fiberglass cloth tape affixed with fiberglass specific, Bondo. Sand, prime, paint. Done. The second issue would be the specific and unusual placement of O-rings under the rocker arms. It does not matter if you changed the oil every 3K miles, the O-rings under the rock arms inevitably become stiff and brittle, leaking small amounts of oil into a cylinder(s), wetting the spark plug(s). You may or may not notice a change in performance, other than slightly decreased gas mileage, until you see a fouled plug(s) during a tune up. The initial, and common instinct to blame it on failing cylinder rings in this era Honda is more than likely, not true. You can do nothing and be fine as long as you are frequently checking and topping off your oil. OK. That's it for the body and engine complaints. I will say, regardless of the couple of annoying things born into the 94-97 Accord, which is truly nothing when comparing cars in general, I am not letting go of this stalwart Accord until it, not me, says, "it is over."
My dad bought this car in 2001 it was 5 years old and had about 60k miles on it. It now has 267,000 miles on it and still running! Dad took very good care of it and it's repaid us for it. We did all changes, updates, etc. as needed and it's still the original engine and transmission. A true testament to the build quality of the mid 90's Accords and if you maintain the car well it can really last. My wife and I bought it from my dad for my wife two years ago and love it! I'm hoping to hit at least 300k with it.
My mom bought this car brand new in 1996, when I was 10 years old. This was the car I learned to drive in. It was always pretty reliable, but unfortunately the clear coat started to wear off pretty early, making the car rather ugly from the beginning. My mom handed it down to me when I was 20, and I still drive it today. It's 20 years old now as I write this in 2016, and has 311,000 miles on the odometer. Still the original engine and auto transmission. Have never even changed the head gasket. I drive it every day, and at least a few times a year it makes a 4 to 8 hour round trip to the farther parts of the state. Has literally never broken down on me, the closest it has come to that was the starter hanging up, which I changed myself with an oem rebuilt one. The AC has broken a couple times, but it wasn't too hard to get it going again. You'd think the driver seat would have to be pretty worn and uncomfortable by now, but not at all. I have the cloth seats, and it's not even torn yet. Feels perfect still sitting on it. I changed all the coolant hoses in 2015 just to be safe, after one started to leak a little. I have the feeling this things not ready to die yet!
1996 Accord LX (no VTEC) with over 235,000 miles. The car has been to Lake Tahoe, to LA and long distance trips (over 300 miles). car still runs really well (except engine is a bit louder than it was when new - which is understandable). Great chassis, ample seating for 5 (cars nowadays are too large). When driving highways, gets around 32 mpg. When primarily city, gets around 23 mpg.
Really fun to drive considering it has only 130 hp and 139 lb-ft torque. The car never feels slow, as long as you are willing to rev the engine a bit while merging onto highways with short ramps. Wish newer Honda's maintained this generations fun-to-drive factor instead of being more Toyota-like in plushy ride.
- Manual transmission shifter has solid feel
(not light but nicely weighted)
- double wishbone front suspension
- rear multi-link rear suspension
(Camry's have single arm Macpherson struts - cheap)
- real hydraulic power-assisted steering
(not electric) which makes for lots of road feel - a must
- great visibility (lower beltline on the side)
Nothing. A bit of body roll when turning really fast (but that's like turning a 25 ramp at 45 mph). Air conditioning is a bit weak considering that summer is really hot in CA and my car is black (which doesn't help either)
I purchased my mint condition 1996 Honda Accord that was traded in at a dealership in 2005. I have replaced the brakes, a brake line (63 dollars installed), starter (25 buck that i installed) and clutch actuator (13 bucks) over the past 6 years. All repairs were less than 400 bucks total. I only wish the power window motors were faster. Mine is stock but minor tuner stuff can easily make it faster if your into that stuff. If you find one with a good body and interior.. buy it.. fixing it will be cheap! $2000 for a 210 hp Japanese Spec Engine. 100 hp over US spec stock.
Reliable, GREAT gas mileage, maintenance cost so low feels like i am stealing.