"Don't get me wrong. I love my van and it is a pleasure to drive, but i would now call it a lemon.
Honda replaced the first transmission after 40k miles free of charge. Since we are a Honda family and always have been happy with the brand + their excellent reputation, I assumed this problem was fixed and was looking forward to drive this van for the legendary 200k + miles Hondas are famous for.
Now, at 101k miles, the check engine & TCS lights came on. Had hubby take van in; dealer ran diagnostics for $90 and says: need new transmission for $3,300. Hubby said: "no thanks" and drove it home.
I called my regular service adviser at the dealership and she was astonished to hear that no offer of "free replacement" was made. I brought my van in the next day. Now it was more like "I'm sure we can do something for you". They would have to talk to American Honda (AH).
2 days later they reported that AH was offering to pay 50% on a rebuilt transmission. Anyway, somehow the price was set at $1300. I said: "NO, we shouldn't be having this problem in the first place". They went back to AH and now we are at $1024 for the tranny with a 3yr/36k warranty. I am willing to pay $500 and just consider it very expensive transmission maintenance / or insurance, since given the Honda track record on this, it won't be the last tranny I'm putting into this van.
I finished my negotiations with Honda yesterday... ended up calling American Honda because the dealership service wouldn't go any lower. End result: I'm paying 25% of the bill which is $630.
At this point the car has been at dealer service for nearly 2 weeks and I need it back! Otherwise, I would not have taken the offer.
I am the original owner, have never abused the car, and have had all my service done at the dealership.
This has left a very bad taste in my mouth, and has ended my 20-year love affair with Honda.
I have 3 young adult children that have watched this from the sidelines. They would have been lifetime Honda buyers, but are surely looking at other brands now. I wonder if Honda thinks $630 are worth that."
"I bought and have recommended Honda to many many others based on the assumption that they have a good reputation for building a quality product. The bottom line is that there is a known issue with the transmission on this vehicle and they aren't standing behind it. I paid a premium for this vehicle with the assumption that I would not have major issues for an extended period of time and I was wrong. I know that all cars will have issues, but if there is a known defect, stand behind your workmanship, fix it and customers will remember that when they go to buy a new vehicle. All I remember now is that they hung me out to dry with a $3000 transmission bill and the nagging thought that the new one may not last very long either. Besides the lack of Honda to stand behind their defective transmission, I enjoyed driving the Odyssey and it had no other major issues. It is very roomy, fun to drive and had no other major quirks. I would have continued to buy and recommend Honda's, but I can't.
Sorry...You lost a good long term customer."
Pros: "Reliability, roomy, quality human engineering"
Cons: "Locks, door and ignition wore out"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Owned this car for nearly ten years. It was not coddled. It has performed superbly this whole time. I did treat it to synthetic motor oil but other than that it has been driven hard. NO major problems. Even the battery went seven years without problems"
"After 200,000 miles I can say that this is one of the most dependable vehicles I have ever owned with one exception. The transmission was replaced just before 100,000 miles under warranty. Honda has a bit of history with transmission troubles in this era. Having said that, almost every other major system is still original. The A/C lasted to 195,000. Other vans I have owned cost far more in repairs than even the cost of a transmission so this is still a winner in my book."
"We purchased our Odyssey in '02, knowing the Honda reputation and planning on driving the van for 10 years. At 6 years and 139000 miles, we have replaced the transmission (AH gave us a "deal" with a cost of $2500) and had water pump, heat, and electrical problems with our van. At this point, I am ready to replace rather than repair it again- it hesitates when shifting. All maintainence was done with Honda dealership- expensive! I don't feel we got our $$ worth with this van."
Pros: "Fun to drive, A/C still cold with no maint, strong"
Cons: "electric windows and doors act up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Been Abused in every way possible! neglect, children, dogs, hauling, long road trips, limited maint, multiple wrecks, and victim of a fallen tree!! All this and it just keeps running great. Window and door motors beginning to fail, misc electric oddities, TCS now acting up. But- overall the best vehicle I've ever known of. Bought new and would love another someday! Not sure how many of my issues could have been prevented with proper maint, but that is WHY I bought the Honda brand."
"I bought this car used at 39k miles. Everything seems to be in working order accept for the AC. Had to change the compressor. Old owner never changed the cabin filter. I also had the transmission fluid changed with honda ATF. Remember only use Honda ATF fluid, or your will have transmission issues and eventually failure.
I used the van to haul people, furniture, garbage on and off for 3 years and the van just past 53k miles. The transmission started acting funny. I immediately went to the dealership to have the fluid changed with Honda ATF and the transmission seems better. The mechanic at the Honda dealer recommended changing the transmission fluid every 10k to avoid issues and to install a transmission cooler. That's my next To-Do for this van.
Let's cross our fingers."
"Drives great, seats 7 passengers, great power, great engine, safe care BUT 4TH TRANSMISSION REPLACEMENT before 150,000 miles. BEWARE of 2001 Honda Odyssey engine is too strong for the weak transmission. First two transmissions repairs covered by Honda, last two paid by me."
"Replaced transmission @ 100K mi. Keep it maintained and it just keeps on going. I use it in a small business. It's like a truck. The paint is starting to chip off. I haven't been good keeping it waxed. The interior is almost like new."
"Bought this van with 90k on it four years ago and now has 148k. In this time I have replaced timing belt and done routine maintenance, added a trailer hitch. Two things came up in the past year:
1. Motor mounts. Had to replace all five. It felt like transmission was slipping, but it was torqueing on acceleration. New mounts fixed the problem.
2. Creak/clunk from front struts. This appears to be a regular Odyssey issue. My mechanic fixed it by cleaning and lubricating the strut MOUNTS, not replacing the struts."
"Had this vehicle 9 years, drove over 135,000 miles. With proper maintenance I have never had a mechcanical breakdown. This car still runs as if it is new. I am not afraid to go anywhere with it. I would recommend this car to anyone with a family who wants a dependable vehicle that is going to last a long time. Just remember, proper maintenance is the key."
"My tranny went out 111,000. Then replaced under recall warranty and after 60,000 miles tranny is going bad again!! Honda said they will not warranty even though I brought honda in one year later saying tranny is not right!! Very disappointed with Honda again, BAD BUSINESS"
Pros: "Stylish, very roomy, lots of great features and drives great."
Cons: "Far too many transmission repair issues to be worth the high price tag."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The van itself is a great van, it handles great and is very comfortable and roomy for a nice growing family which is where I was when I purchased it in 2002. In fact, in my area there was such a demand for this vehicle at this time that some dealers had wait lists. I was happy with my purchase, initially. Then a couple of years later, around 36K miles on a family road trip to Yosemite the transmission completely gave out. The dealer where I had to get the vehicle towed installed a used transmission with about 6K miles on it from another Odyssey. This one cost me about $1000 and it lasted a bit longer, but when the vehicle reached about 130K miles, it, too, gave out. $4000 later, the transmission which was rebuilt and repaired, lasted for little over 1 year. Just long enough for the warranty to expire on it. So here I am again in need of another transmission and I'm done spending my hard earned money to get this fixed. I purchased this van with the intention of keeping it indefinitely, and am a firm believer that it's more economical to fix a car than to go out and purchase a brand new one. I do NOT recommend this van to anyone. In fact, I recently went into a Honda dealership to test drive the new and improved Odyssey and when I asked if the transmission problems that had plagued the Odyssey in the past had been resolved, they weren't able to give me any kind of straight answer, so I walked away.....FAR AWAY! Which is what I suggest anyone looking to buy a mini-van do from the Honda Odyssey."
"We bought our used 2001 Odyssey after our first child was born in 2003. It was reportedly one of the safest minivans on the market and we felt good about the purchase. Within the first year at about 90k miles, the tranny went out and the dealership replaced it. Two years and 40k later, the replacement tranny went out, this time we had to replace it. After only 21k miles on this tranny, it goes out and the dealership agreed to replace it but we had to pay the labor cost which was about $750.00. We did so and sold the van immediately after. We replaced this unreliable vehicle with a Lexus GS400 and have never looked back. If you are looking for reliability, stay away from this vehicle or you will be very,very sorry!"
"I purchased my '03 Odyssey with 110,000 miles. The motor has had a faulty EGR valve issue and Honda didn't seem to learn from the transmission problems they had with the 1999-2001 models. I've had to rebuild my transmission at 136,00 even after they performed the recall that was supposed to "fix" the cooling issues they have with the five speed transmissions. The van in general is noisy and the stereo is weak. My previous vehicle was an Audi A6 and I have spent just has much on repairs for Honda reliability as I did for German ingenuity:l. This vehicle is my eighth Honda and the most disappointing."
"I am currently getting ready to replace my transmission for the third time. I really like my Honda and its performance except the transmission. I had it replaced during the recall back in 2005. Now in 2008 it has just went up. The warranty has ended and now I have to try and come up with $3,658.50 for a new transmission. This would make this the third time in only 8 years that the transmission is installed. I currently have 118,000 miles on my 2001 odessey. It clearly is a major issue with the odessey's transmission. If I come up with the cash I will replace the transmission in hopes of at least getting 200,000 miles out of my Honda, but I am really starting to reconsider my position on the quality of Honda's cars. I usually recommend Honda to everyone. NOT SO SURE NOW!"
"At nine years this van is just starting to show its' age and we keep it outside.
Plus: Rides like a car. Carries seven comfortably. Last two rows of seets stow or are removable. Carries a lot of things.
Neg: Had to replace breaks because honda couldn't get rid of the squeal. Transmission just started acting up. Check engine light comes on for no good reason."
"Honda has a great reputation, and the Odyssey has lots of great things going for it. Roomy, comfortable, good power, good looking. A good ergonomic design and very good on long trips. However, this vehicle also has a few major defects that end up costing a bunch. The sliding doors and the transmission on this particular car were both repaired or replaced under warranty. But soon after the warranty expired, both items again needed big $ repairs. Many owners have reported the same problems. I would recommend a newer Odyssey, but stay away from the early decade version."
Pros: "A great drive, I feel very safe in my van."
Cons: "can't think of any"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My van rides like it's on rails. great gas mileage for such a large vehicle. I'd recommend ir for anyone looking for a great family van. Packs in all the kids and their stuff. and the cargo space is so big. I've had huge things in the back."
"Bought new in 02 and have not any major issues with the van. Gas mileage 20 in town, 25+ on the road. Great value for the money. Can haul lot's of stuff if you remove second row seats. Have not had any issues with transmission. Negative's: clock light goes out and costs about 60.00 to replace. Motor for rear quarter windows went out, cost about 200 to replace each. Not as quiet as a Toyota. Cost little under 25K when new now work about $6000. For some reason the same year Accord is worth more, but cost less."
"We bought ours new in 2000 and have put 167,000 trouble free miles on it and it runs today as good as when it was brand new! My wife especially likes the disappearing fold down in the floor, back seat and the dual Power slide doors. Other than regular oil changes and maintenance, we have never had to do anything mechanically to this van in the 7 years we haved owned it. It has been the most reliable vehicle I have every owned. I believe it will run for at least another 100,000 miles."
Cons: "Poor gas mileage. Failure prone transmission."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We bought this car new in 2001 and have always serviced it per the factory recommendations. In 2007 the original transmission failed at 70,000 miles. Honda replaced it under an extended warranty. 6 years later, the second transmission failed, again after ~70,000 miles. I can't believe that Honda thinks 70,000 miles is a reasonable expectation for a transmission. Judging by the volume of people complaining online, this appears to be a design flaw that should have resulted in a recall."
Pros: "roomy, comfortable to drive, quality interior"
Cons: "transmissions don't hold up to the Honda name"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"the vehicle itself is very roomy and comfortable to drive, no problems with the engine, always runs great and is very reliable. The problem is the transmission. I bought ours with 27,000 miles on it, always serviced and maintained the fluids as required for severe service in AZ. Trans went out at 83,000 miles. I replaced it with a rebuilt trans and now it is going out again at 125,000 miles. Another replacement is about $3800.00. After doing internet research, the Honda Odessey's (among other Honda models) are plagued with trans problems and they have had them since the 2000 models. I don't expect them to last forever, but they should last at least 150,000 miles as I have seen a lot of domestic trans last. I am an ASE certified Master Tech in auto and med and heavy duty trucks and I know how important it is to maintain a vehicle. I would not buy another Honda, I would go broke buying transmissions every 80,000 miles. Do your research before purchasing this brand !!"
Pros: "Good looks Comfortable Good mileage on the fwy"
Cons: "lots of road noise VERY BAD TRANSMISSION"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I bought this brand new in 03 runs good comfortable inside runs good looked good but has a lot of road noise and very bad transmission I would not recommend buying this van used because of transmission problem. In 2003 Honda had a recall on this problem because prior models where braking down within 2 to 3 years I know at least 5 people who had the same problem but the recall they had in 03 for the newer models was just a temporary fix where they installed some jet thing to give 2nd or 3rd gear extra lube so that the trany would last past the warranty thats why the trany on mine went out at 120000 miles. Replacement transmissions wont have the recall fix that Honda did in 03 so the replacement transmission wont last long maybe 2 to 3 years just like the prior models so if anyone is buying this van used or replacing the transmission make sure you get WARRANTY on the new transmission!!!( I have a friend that had to replace the transmission on his 4 times by the dealer )"
"We have been overall pleased with this vehicle. It is comfortable to drive and reliable. We have had our two children through car seats, boosters, etc and always found it very accessible and roomy. We have been meticulous with the maintenance, so I was very surprised to find that somewhere around 100k miles the transmission started to show signs of failure. We have been driving it in its degraded stated for a while since Honda gave us an estimate of ~ $6000 to fix the problem. I have read about numerous transmission problems with this model. Even with the transmission trouble it has been reliable - have never been stranded."