Categories: HondaNews

My 2008 Honda Accord VTC Actuator Problem | TSB 09-010

2008 Honda with “Engine Rattles at Cold Startup” aka VTC Actuator Problem

I took my 2008 Honda Accord to Fernandez Honda for an oil change yesterday and, as I have done since 2008, I mentioned to the new service advisor, Kevin Whitaker, that my car has always made a terrible noise when starting the engine cold. (It never does this when the engine is warm.)  For the FIRST TIME in SEVEN years, I received some feedback.  He told me it sounded like the VTC actuator, and I should not continue to drive the car if this was the case as it can cause catastrophic engine failure.

The result of VTC actuator complete mechanical failure is catastrophic.  The valves from the intake of either cylinder  2 & 3 or 1 & 4 WILL result in a tensioner to fail and a fantastic collision of the valve with the piston.  ~ drive

Rattle At Cold Startup

I was concerned.  I purchased my car brand new from Fernandez Honda, and have NEVER taken it anywhere else to be serviced.  I am fanatical about keeping my car running and looking nice.  As no one at the dealership ever seemed concerned about the “rattle” that I attempted to describe, (it never made the noise at the dealership as the engine was always warm), I put it down to a “quirk”.

At any rate, I drove straight home.  Within 2 seconds of typing “vtc actuator” the search engine automatically populated the search field with “2008 Honda Accord”.  I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.   I went to YouTube, and clicked on one of the videos.  I didn’t have to watch anything, the noise that I heard was exactly the same as my car has always made.  I couldn’t believe it.  Why in SEVEN years had no one suggested this could be the problem?  It took me less than 5 minutes to discover this after being given the “potential problem” information.  A HUGE thank-you to Kevin Whitaker, as without his input, I would still be driving around in ignorance.

Read My Latest Post

TSB 09-010

The amount of people who are on the Internet complaining about this problem is UNBELIEVABLE.  Honda has not issued any kind of recall, although they HAVE issued more than one TSB (technical service bulletin) to the dealerships.  *NOTE:  This vtc actuator problem affected all 2008 Honda Accords.

Honda TSB #09-010

This bulletin is a PDF, so you will need to have Adobe Reader installed in order to open.  Download it free at:

*Also note, this TSB is an older version,–for the latest version, (TSB 09-010 v5 updated February 2017), you can purchase my eReport here.

Honda TSB 16-012
*Link above is for 2016 v1.  Version 2, (dated February 23, 2017), is included in eReport.

I called Fernandez back yesterday and left a message requesting a call back.  Did not receive one.

Today I called Honda directly at 1-800-999-1009 and spoke with Leonard. He gave me a case number and said it will be dispatched over to a case manager and someone will call me back within one business day.

After hanging up, I called Fernandez Honda back and asked to speak to Kevin.  I was told he was on a call and I would be put through to his voice mail.  I’m still waiting for a call back…  I’ve always had excellent customer service from Fernandez Honda, so my expectations are high.  (Sadly, this isn’t the case anymore.  See my update as of August 2020.)

Honda Vehicles Affected by the “Engine Rattles at Cold Start-Up” VTC Actuator Problem

News flash for those people who own a 2014 Honda Accord, apparently they have problems too.  Click here for more information.  For ALL Honda owners, if you would like to know if there has ever been a recall or any other issues related to your vehicle, click here to be taken to their site where you can enter your VIN number.

Note:  See my post on how this VTC actuator problem can and has contributed to the “Sticking Piston Rings Resulting in High Engine Oil Consumption“.  Download the latest TSB’s and all information in my eReport in easy PDF format; only $7.97.

Purchase my 81 page eReport

VTC Actuator Replacement Part

Contact Information For Honda:

  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Honda Automobile Customer Service
  • 1919 Torrance Blvd.
  • Mail Stop 500-2N-7A
  • Torrance, CA 90501-2746
  • Phone: 800-999-1009
  • Twitter

Update August 30th, 2020:  Unfortunately, Fernandez Honda has sold out to a large conglomerate, Group 1 Automotive and I no longer recommend them.  Their ethics and service both appear to have disappeared with the new ownership.  (Read my Yelp review here.)

Update:  9/25/2014 For those who were wondering how this was resolved, Fernandez Honda graciously offered to fix my car for a very small charge of under $100.00.  So far, so good.  For the first time since 2008 when I bought my car brand new, it does NOT make any noise when I start it.  How much damage driving it with the VTC actuator like it was for over 100K miles…well, I don’t suppose we will really ever know. The fact that I purchased my car brand new from Fernandez Honda, and had only taken it there for service, probably had a lot to do with their agreeing to fix it for a very small charge. So far my car is purring along and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts for a little while longer. *I apologize to those whose comments I lost.  I am no longer hosting my site through GoDaddy, but through SiteGround.  When I transferred my site, I lost my comments.  Feel free to comment again if I haven’t answered your questions with my update. 🙂

Variable Valve Timing Explained

Honda Safety News

Honda fined for not reporting injuries and deaths.

Does your Honda have recalled airbags?

Tap here to check if your Honda has been affected by the airbag recall and here to read Honda’s press release.

Updated Airbag Info (September 2018)

View Comments

  • Very interesting Jay. I've been using full synthetic 0W-20 throughout but have been using after-market filters. I wasn't aware of the drain back valve. Like you, I believe that if you can keep the oil in the VTC actuator you can eliminate the rattle. l also suspect that the timing chain issue is a separate but inter-related issue. I don't think the VTC actuator will result in an engine failure but a worn or "stretched" timing chain very well could. I've had the VTC rattle issue on my 2014 C-RV for some time but just started to have the engine lights come on now and again. I'll be taking the engine apart to look at the chain and VTC next week to have a closer look at the situation. Are you aware of a service limit on the chain? I'd be curious to know once I have things apart.
    Take care and thanks for the information. I might try an OEM Honda filter to see if addresses the problem on its own.

  • Just had my vtc actuator replaced today on my 2008 accord by the dealer with parts and labor covered under warranty. Dealer asked me if the car was under 15 yrs old and under 150,000 miles. I said yes and he told me it is covered under the emissions warranty. I was super surprised.

  • I have been Having the same issue with my 2014 Accord which i purchased as certified pre-owned from Honda. Any info would help.

  • I bought my 2008 Honda Accord Coupe somewhere between 7 & 8 years ago used but with low miles. The awful grinding noise started over a year ago when I started the vehicle. After a couple of visits to the Honda dealer in Racine WI which has switched ownership while I have gone there the VTC was replaced. The labor charges were rediculous. The problem seemed to be taken care of then the dash lights started to trip again within a month the VSA triangle --the engine light --the exclamation point. I was out of town and it happened upon start when the lights are on the RPMs are all over the place and the car jerks forward or tries if my foot is on the brake. If I turn the car off the lights disappear so it's impossible to get it to the dealership. Every time I bring it there they can't find anything wrong. This has gone on since the replacement. Now since this past summer oil has been an issue. I have to add it. In July I brought the car in with grinding and an oil light that appears and disappears at times. They documented no oil in my car. They even supposedly measured it. The oil seemed low again so I scheduled an oil change even though my car was at only 50% use adding oil this week requesting they look into the oil issue and the grinding noise. I want the VTC replaced again. It is supposedly only warrantied for a certain number of miles or a year. The service rep told me my car was ready for pick up. When I questioned more nothing had been looked at due to the lights not being on currently. They are telling me now it's all my fault for the low oil. I need to pay for a new engine. I brought up the issues in this article. I was told it's my responsibility to tell them if it's using oil not theirs. I need help! I don't have $ for a different car or a new engine. They are the only ones who ever have changed my oil so if less came out then was supposed to they should have known. I also paid over $110 for my oil change last time to have diagnostics to see why oil was low with nothing found. I am beyond angry!

  • 2011 honda accord same problem. Called the 800 number and was told there's no recall or extended warranty associated with my vin number. I'd like to join in on any class action lawsuits regarding this issue.

  • Dot not wait to call Honda (1-800-999-1009) to report this problem, the more people to report, the better chance for Honda to recall this problem and fix it permanently.

  • Can we collect the Honda car owners who have this VTC actuator problem to sue Honda?

  • I have a 2008 accord. It was showing the same symptoms on cold starts. I took it to the dealership and they said the part (Vtc actuator) was under warranty for 15 years or 150k miles. My car is 10 years old and 70k miles currently. They fixed the issue by swapping out the Vtc actuator at no charge to me. With that being said they did want to collect $150 for diagnosing the issue even though I told them it was a known issue and that Honda issued a service bulletin on it. The reasoning was that anything could be rattling when the car starts. Luckily I got it done with out paying the diagnosing fee. They did say the fee would be refunded if in fact it was the Vtc actuator. I'm in California and the Vtc is part of the emissions system which is why the warranty on it was so long. It's strange because I called American Honda prior to going and they said I was out of luck because the warranty was only 8 years but I could try the dealership to see if they could fix it on good will ...

  • Just want to thank you all for the info here. I called the Honda to take a look at my car yesterday about the VTC actuator. lucky me that i had a extended warranty on my 2008 accord ex-l and it was about to run out if i could not find the info i found here.

    Just got my VTC actuator replaced today New part # 1 14310-R5A-305 also they did all the recall that Honda has submitted. Airbag Inadvertent Deployment
    Passenger Airbag Inflator
    Secondary shaft bearing

    if i had to pay to parts and labor on the VTC actuator problem total amount will be
    $540 Labor
    $167.87 VTC Actuator
    $10.07 tax
    total of

    and i just paid $100.00 for my warranty deductible.

    Thank you again.

  • My 2011 Honda Accord makes the same noise. I also bought it new From Fernandez Honda in San Antonio. It started making the noise in the winter of 2012 but the service dealer couldn't replicate the noise. Finally in October 2013 I took it back and left it over night. Rick, the service specialist checked it with Billy, who did the work and told me it was the VTC actuator. I was charged $196 for labor and $140 for parts. Now it's making the same noise and I'm taking it in for service again tomorrow. Not happy with Honda, I'll probably buy a Camry next time.

Published by

Recent Posts

Best Tony Robbins UPW Virtual Experience Ever Attending UPW Virtual was one of the best experiences of my life! I can…

1 week ago

Is Airbnb a Ponzi Scheme?

Is Airbnb actually a Ponzi Scheme? Head of Airbnb Ireland, Aisling Hassell seems to think…

3 months ago

Resignation From Shankx Web Dev

Notice: To Whomever may be affected or concerned: On Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, I emailed…

5 months ago

Fernandez Honda in San Antonio

For all those who have been reading my posts about Honda and the VTC actuator…

7 months ago

Sweet Cucumber Pickles

1 small jar dill pickles 1 teaspoon mustard seed 1 teaspoon celery seed 1/3 cup…

2 years ago

Best Banana Bars

1/2 cup soft butter 2 cups sugar 3 eggs 1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas…

2 years ago

This website uses cookies.