How Do You Replace Honda Accord Piston Rings?

Replacing the piston rings in a Honda Accord is a complex process that necessitates the use of specialized tools, mechanical knowledge, and strict adherence to proper procedures. However, with the proper preparation and knowledge, most moderately experienced DIY mechanics can successfully replace their Accord’s piston rings. 

This guide will walk you through the entire piston ring replacement process, providing instructions and tips gleaned from years of automotive repair experience. Follow along to learn everything you need to know about changing the piston rings on a Honda Accord.

Gather the Proper Tools and Materials

Replacing piston rings requires having the appropriate tools for each step of the process. Trying to complete the repair without the right equipment can lead to damage of engine components or personal injury. Here are the essential tools needed:

  1. Socket wrench set – for removing nuts/bolts
  2. Torque wrench – for tightening bolts to specification
  3. Piston ring compressor – compresses rings to fit into cylinder
  4. Ring expander pliers – expands rings for easier installation
  5. Feeler gauges – measures piston ring end gap
  6. Piston ring filer – files rings to proper end gap
  7. Solvent/degreaser – removes oil and grease from components
  8. Clean rags – for wiping away grime and fluids
  9. Cylinder hone – resurfaces cylinder walls if needed
  10. Piston ring installation tool – positions rings correctly on piston

You’ll also need the proper replacement piston rings, which are specific to the year/model of your Accord. Only use OEM Honda rings or equivalents of the highest quality.

Remove The Engine From The Vehicle

Before the piston rings can be accessed, the engine must be removed from the Accord. This requires disconnecting components like:

  1. Radiator hoses
  2. Electrical connectors
  3. Exhaust system
  4. Fuel lines
  5. Engine/transmission mounts

Use proper precautions when disconnecting fuel system parts. Once all attachments are removed, carefully lift the engine using an engine hoist and lower it onto a sturdy work surface.

Disassemble The Engine

With the engine out of the car, now the top end of the engine can be disassembled to access the piston rings. Follow these general steps:

  1. Remove intake manifold, valve cover, cylinder head
  2. Remove oil pan
  3. Remove crankshaft pulley/timing belt/cover
  4. Remove connecting rod caps
  5. Carefully remove pistons from the cylinders

Thoroughly clean all engine components before disassembly. Label fasteners and parts to aid reassembly. Be organized and work methodically.

Replace Honda Accord Piston Ring
Replace Honda Accord Piston Ring

Remove The Old Piston Rings

With the pistons removed from the block, the old piston rings can now be taken off. Use ring expander pliers to gently pry the rings away and upward off the pistons. Be careful not to bend or break the old brittle rings. Also remove any ring spacers or other hardware from the pistons.

Thoroughly clean the piston ring grooves using a degreaser or solvent to remove all traces of oil, carbon deposits, and debris. Any contamination left behind can prevent the new rings from seating properly.

Inspect Cylinder Bore Condition

Before installing new rings, inspect the cylinder bores for damage or excessive wear using a bore gauge. Out-of-round, scored, or worn cylinders may require honing by a machine shop to restore proper clearance and sealing for the fresh rings.

If cylinders are in good shape, clean thoroughly with solvent and lint-free rags. A light coat of oil will help the new rings adhere and conform to the cylinder walls.

Check Piston Ring End Gap

Correct piston ring end gap is critical for proper sealing and engine performance. Use a feeler gauge to measure the end gap of each new ring when placed into the corresponding cylinder.

Compare your measurements to the ring end gap specification in your Honda repair manual. Use a piston ring filing tool to increase the end gaps of any rings that are below spec.

Replace Honda Accord Piston Rings
Replace Honda Accord Piston Rings

Install The New Piston Rings

It’s critical that the new piston rings are installed correctly onto the pistons. Refer to your manual for the proper ring orientation, spacing, and installation order. Using a ring installation tool can aid proper positioning.

Stagger the piston ring end gaps around the perimeter when installing. Gently compress each ring into the cylinder using a ring compressor tool. Take care not to damage or distort the rings during installation.

Reassemble The Engine

Once all new piston rings are properly installed, reassemble the engine in the reverse order of disassembly. Torque all bolts and fasteners to OEM specifications.

Be methodical, work cleanly, and refer to your manual for any assembly details. Double check all connections before reinstalling the engine into the vehicle.

Tips For A Successful Piston Ring Replacement

Follow these additional tips to help ensure safe, effective piston ring replacement on your Honda Accord:

  1. Use only the highest quality replacement rings designed for your specific Accord
  2. Clean all components thoroughly and avoid contamination
  3. Closely follow all proper disassembly/reassembly procedures
  4. Take pictures during disassembly to aid reassembly
  5. Carefully inspect all engine components for damage
  6. Measure and adjust ring end gaps precisely
  7. Use proper tools for safe ring installation and removal
  8. Confirm proper ring orientation/positioning during installation
  9. Lubricate rings and cylinder walls to assist seating
  10. Torque all bolts to OEM specifications

Also Read: Honda Accord Rear Defroster Not Working

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Piston Rings Does A Honda Accord Have?

Most Honda Accord engines have 3 piston rings – 2 compression rings and 1 oil control ring. Some performance variants may have an extra compression ring. Always confirm the number of rings per piston in your owner’s manual.

What Tools Do I Need To Change Honda Accord Piston Rings?

Essential tools include a socket set, torque wrench, piston ring compressor, ring expander, feeler gauge, ring filer, solvent/degreaser, clean rags, and a cylinder hone if needed. You’ll also need a new set of OEM or equivalent quality piston rings.

Should I Take My Honda Accord To A Mechanic For Piston Rings?

While advanced DIYers can perform this repair at home, it does require specialized tools, expertise, and patience. For those not comfortable with major engine work, having a professional mechanic replace the piston rings may be advisable.

Are Piston Rings Covered By Honda’s Warranty?

No, piston rings generally wear out over time and are considered a maintenance item. Unless caused by a defect, they are not covered by Honda’s powertrain warranty. Expect to pay parts and labor costs for a piston ring replacement.

How Urgent Is It To Fix Piston Ring Problems?

Signs like blue exhaust smoke, low compression, oil consumption mean rings should be replaced soon. Continued driving on bad rings risks further engine damage. Schedule the repair as soon as possible.


Replacing worn piston rings helps restore engine compression and power in a Honda Accord. While complex, with the proper tools, knowledge, and mechanical skills, the piston ring job can be performed successfully at home. Adhering to the steps outlined in this guide will assist in a smooth piston ring replacement and get your Accord back on the road. 

Consult your factory service manual for any model-specific details not outlined here. With some care and patience, you can breathe new life into your Honda’s engine.

Author's Image

Ammar Masoud

I have had a long and fulfilling career in the automotive industry, primarily with Honda and Acura. With 15 years of experience as a Honda service technician, I became highly skilled in repair and maintenance, gaining a deep understanding of these vehicles. After many years in the automotive field, I decided to embark on a second career in industrial manufacturing. It was a significant change, but I found that the skills I had honed in the automotive industry were incredibly valuable in my new role. In my current position in industrial manufacturing, the demand for quality workmanship and meticulous attention to detail is paramount. Fortunately, these are traits that I have cultivated throughout my years in the automotive industry. I take pride in applying these skills to meet the high standards expected in the manufacturing sector.