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Has Every 1994-1997 Honda Accord Been Stolen?

Every time I see a 1994-1997 Honda Accord driving down the street, I do the same exact thing: I whip out my phone, type the car’s license plate number into my Carfax app and peruse the report to see how many times it’s been stolen. It’s never less than two. See the used Honda Accord models for sale near you

This will not come as a shock to anyone who has ever owned a 1994-1997 Accord, because the car topped the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) list of most-stolen vehicles for many, many years. In fact, it still does. Despite the fact that the newest ’94-’97 Accord is now almost 20 years old, the August 1, 2016 edition of NCIC’s most-stolen vehicle list places the 1996 Accord at No. 1, making it the single most-stolen vehicle in the United States.

But haven’t they all been stolen by now?!

Apparently, the answer is no. In that recent NCIC release, the firm noted that an unbelievable 52,244 different 1996 Accord models were reported stolen during 2015. This leads me to wonder: Just how many of these 52,244 were being stolen for the third time? The fourth? The nineteenth?

I know what you’re thinking: Why this Accord? Why not an older one? Or a newer one?

I’ve wondered this myself, off and on, for many years. So I went digging a couple months ago, and I found the answer: because you can start them with a spoon.

I’m not kidding. Despite being tremendously trustworthy, dependable, long-lasting and every other synonym for "reliable" you can find on Thesaurus.com, the 1994-1997 Honda Accord had one major flaw: You could start it with a worn key that no longer had a unique cut to it. So as the 1994-1997 Accord aged and the ignition became less precise, you could start one with just about anything that fit in the keyhole. That could be a worn-down Honda key, an intentionally shaven-down Honda key specifically designed for car theft — or, yes, in some cases, a spoon.

As a response to the thefts, Honda added a microchip to its keys in 1997, which curbed the problem. No other generation of Accord has ever had quite the same issue as the 1994-1997 model.

Oh, and one more thing: If you see a 1994-1997 Accord on the streets, you might want to take a look inside. If there’s a spoon sticking out of the ignition, call the cops. Find a used Honda Accord for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Far from reliable. Mine had every problem imaginable, but was sadly never stolen. Would have been the happiest day of my life. Pick your transmission: weak 3rd syncro, or auto that will fail.

    • Actually the auto transmissions rarely fail. However the control units that manage them do.  I know because I have repaired a number of them that shops said “needs new transmission”. This is probably the cars only serious known issue.

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