1998 honda accord with surge problem in accelerator


Asked by Feb 10, 2010 at 03:54 PM about the 1998 Honda Accord EX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My accord has an extremely intermittent (only twice in five years) problem where it suddenly
accelerates on its own when i am pulling into my driveway to park.  I have never had it happen any
other time, but just a week ago as i was pulling into the driveway, going perhaps 5 mph at most
and just getting ready to hit the brake to stop, the car accelerated totally on its own as if
possessed and ran into a trailer i had at the end of the driveway, destroying the radiator, bumper,
condensor and scaring the heck out of me.  I know absolutely that i did not hit the wrong pedal or
give the car gas, it did this totally on its own and surged so much is was as if it floored itself.  This
had happened one other time about a month before that, but that time i hit the brake and stopped
before any damage occcurred.  I have had it looked at by two shops and also talked to the
dealership, they all say it is a mechanical accelerator and it checks out ok and they seem to not
believe it could have happened the way i describe, but i know what happened.  any ideas anyone?

thanks, connie

15 Answers

Wally Gertz

Connie, I'm not sure about the surge but I know the 6th generation accords (1998-2002) would get a build up of carbon and gunk in the throttle body. This would cause the throttle plate to stick a little bit and then the car would surge as you push the gas pedal a little harder. I could guess it would be possible that if it was never cleaned, the throttle could stick open. I can't say for sure this is your problem but it has a simple solution. Is your Accord the 4 cylinder or V6 model?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Hi Walter thanks for the reply. this is bill, connie's husband, and I'm the one who should have looked at the car the first time it happened, but i will certainly do it now. it is the 4 cylinder, and i had thought of pulling off the air hose so i could look at the plate that opens and closes when the throttle cable moves, i guess this may be what you are referring to. if that is what you mean, is there a simple way to clean them without getting a bunch of gunk down in the engine? I disconnected the cruise control cable, as that was the only other thing i could think might have caused it, and we could find nothing wrong with either cable, the cruise cable or the one to the pedal, or the mechanism it attaches to, but we only checked it from the outside, we didn't take off the air intake hose. its working fine now, i drove it several times since we got it back, but connie is pretty afraid to drive it, she swears it is going to happen again, but we just don't know where to look or what could have happened, other than the cruise control went berserk, but the honda dealership tells us that is impossible.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Wally Gertz

Hi Bill, Like I said, I'm not sure if this will solve your problem but it will at least help it...First go to your local auto parts store and buy a can of intake throttle body cleaner. Do not use carb cleaner as most of these leave a residual oil and may not be safe for all sensors. Remove the plastic intake tube from the throttle body. It is just one phillips screw clamp and put the tube to the side. Shine a flashlight into the throttle body and you will see the throttle plate. There will most likely be a ton of black goop in there. Use the throttle body cleaner to thoroughly clean all of it out. Open the throttle plate using the place where the throttle cable attaches and make sure you get the "lip" of goop that forms where the throttle plate meets the throttle body as this is where the sticky throttle occurs. Use the whole can. Try to get the back of the throttle plate if you can. After the can is empty, leave the tube off and start the car. It is not gonna wanna start very easily. It is essentially going to be flooded. Just keep cranking the engine over in 6 second cranks until it starts. It is gonna run really rough and a ton of white smoke will be coming out of the exhaust. I guess I should mention do this outside lol. If the car does not want to start, crank the engine with the pedal all the way to the floor and it will start. It will run rough fora little bit but give it gas so it doesn't stall out. You may get a check engine light. Don't worry about that. It will most likely be a misfire code and go off after a bit. Reattach the intake tube and take the car for a drive. Floor the gas a few times and it will blow all the crap out. Make sure the engine gets nice and hot. Hit redline a few times. That's all there is to it. Good luck.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Hi, this JUST happened to me as well - literally about 2 weeks ago and it has freaked me out because it was as I was parking the car - but your story is exactly the same as mine, parking in my spot and then all of a sudden it just flew over the cement block and into a concrete wall! I know as well that I did NOT hit the gas pedal as I was parking and would never have floored it for it to go that fast! I too have a lot of damage as the speed it surged at was incredible. I am glad I saw your post because I thought I was going insane. I have a Honda Logo (Lachic) and can't find much information on it. When I saw your post I just had to reply that I had the EXACT same problem and it scared me half to death. Good luck with your car and I hope you had success in finding out the problem. Thanks, Liana

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

This same thing happened to me three different times the first two times I was able to stop the car but barely, and the third time I was pulling into a parking spot and suddenly it accelerated and I could not hold it back this time and ran into a car parked in front of me, I didn't damage the other car but mine sustained all the damage. We purchased it and three weeks later this happened. I took it back to the dealer and they had a corporate Rep look at it and they came back saying it passed all their specks so they were not going to fix my bumper.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I had this happen to me yesterday on my 1998 Honda Accord EX ~ Scared me to death. I put the gear in N and shut off the engine. It started and ran fine then but I'm going to have my mechanic check it out.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Hi. I've noticed several posts about the same exact issue that happened to me this morning. I was driving a 2001 Honda Accord on side streets going about 35 mph and noticed that the car was accelerating on its own without me pressing on the gas. I had to press the brakes to slow the car down but as soon as I lifted my foot a bit off of the brake it started to accelerate again as if it was set to a fast speed on cruise control. As I was driving I checked if I had accidentally hit cruise control, but I know that by pressing on the brake, this cancels it, plus I checked the check engine light and pushed the "cancel" on my steering wheel; nothing changed. I was so afraid that I had lost complete control of my car, so I had to use as much force as I could on the brake to slow the car down enough to turn into a side street, then I put the car in park, the engine was revving at max speed, and then I just turned it off. I tried turning it back on a few minutes later, which lead to the engine revving like the gas pedal was floored. I turned it off immediately and then back on again about 20 minutes later to try to put it into Neutral, and it was revving again and I couldn't move the handle (it was stuck on park). Finally, a tow truck came and by that time (about 2 hours later) the car started fine and was running okay. I took it to the honda dealer where they inspected it and they said everything checked out fine. I called Honda Customer Service and they said they will have a technician look at it, but based on previous posts, I'm afraid they will not find anything wrong with the car. If they don't fix whatever caused that acceleration problem, I don't think I'd ever drive that car again.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Alexandria Snider

I've had the same problem will cleaning the iac valve with carb cleaner help this issue? I can't afford a new one it's outrageous and it my only transportation


Hi, I wrote about this a few years ago and have since sold my Honda as I did not feel safe. I did have it all cleaned - and maybe it helped but I still felt very uncomfortable driving it as they didn't think that would help - I am sure the mechanics thought I was crazy but it always did surge a bit when idling so I sold it and now have Toyota. Good luck!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jeanne Hein

My 2003 Honda Accord accelerated on its

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Jeanne Hein

Own twice, no cause was found but the second time my car went through my bank because it wouldn't stop and the car was going so fast. The car was totaled but Allstate is blaming me even though they Couldn't find a reason. I have contacted the American Honda Association, They looked up my Case and told me they stand behind the Allstate findings, raised my rates, and I had nothing to do with either accident. I am so Disappointed and sad that they blamed me but since I was driving, they held me responsible regardless that no cause was found. Does Anyone know of anything else I can do? Thank you, Jeanne


sorry to hear - I am not sure what else you can do - I am not from the US so I don't know about insurance issues - I never could find out any reason for this surging but I know it happens and I have read of others who had same problem. It was always very "testy" when I hit the gas pedal - that is to say it would jump ahead as soon as my foot LIGHTLY touched it. Mechanics never found a problem and as I posted they didn't believe me either. It was very frustrating. Good luck.


My 1999 Honda Accord EX V6 sedan has done this twice previously to me. Scared me. Seemed the car was possessed. I stepped on brake with all my might and managed to slow it down enough to shut it off. TODAY it happened to my son, TWICE. He almost ran into a car the first time. The second time almost went through the auto part store window. ANYBODY have a remedy for this??? HELP !!


I had similar issue. Spent lots of time and money and changed everything, coolant, belt, clean throttle, water pump... Still nothing.. Heard from someone that cruise control might be an issue. So took it my mechanic and told him to just yank out the cruise control cable. Accords have two cables. One for throttle and one for cruise control. He looked at me funny but did it anyway. Problem completely gone!


@meandragon81, it's been 4?weeks since you posted this. Any problems since? My mechanic couldn't find anything wrong with car, but I'm scared to drive it again. They won't yank the cable since they didn't get code for it. Guess I'm doing it myself.

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