"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."
"The transmission went at 30k, just after dealer service - they replaced under warranty. One front disc brake locked up at 60mph and burned up the seals in the master cylinder. Front wheel shimmy was a problem for 30k miles until we got new tires. Overall a bad experience with a name that supposedly represents "quality"."
Pros: "Fun to drive, handles well and get's up and goes."
Cons: "Need a new transmission roughly every 100,00 miles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased van new with 28 miles on it with the intent of many family vacations so we splurged and got the EX with leather and DVD rear entertainment. We have kept up with the regularly scheduled maintenance and service bulletins. Took it in to the dealer for the transmission "recall" fix when it came out. It has been a wonderful car meeting all of the family's needs. Then at about 108,000 miles the transmission suffered "catastrophic/total failure"! Luckily it was in town and I was able to get it to a shop. Ironically the shop had 3 other Hondas of the same vintage that were in there for transmission failures, all V-6's with automatic transmissions between 70,000 and 145,000 miles.
After $3000 I had a new transmission and complete explanation of what had occurred. In short the clutch pads on 3rd gear had deteriorated and fallen down in the transmission fluid. Since the transmission is never completely drained and this filter is not changeable, over time more of the clutch pad from the other gears as well as 3rd build up. Once the big chunks of the pad start to fall off of 3rd gear they start to get sucked up by the filter that sits in the bottom of the transmission. This filter feeds fluid directly to the transmission pump and so the pump gets starved and the transmission ceases to be lubricated and fails.
In the beginning phases you may shift from reverse to drive and notice that the transmission doesn't engage like it should. Then you will shift it to park and try shifting again skipping past reverse and it will probably engage. You may also turn the car off and let it sit thinking it will work when you turn it back on, and it will work, but this only works because the debris in the transmission fluid has settled to the bottom. However, after starting back up and driving a little the debris gets stirred up and starts to clog the filter again. You may also notice a new high pitched "whine". This is the transmission pump being starved for fluid. Get to a reputable transmission shop ASAP! Unfortunately by the time any of these symptoms manifest themselves, if they do at all, it's to late!
After talking with several transmission shops and Honda dealerships this seems to be a common occurrence on the larger Honda vehicles (Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline). It may be due to the extra torque generated by the V-6 along with the increased vehicle weight on the larger vehicles. It appears from further web searches that it has occurred on some of the V-6 Accords.
While I feel that the transmission should have lasted longer, say 200,000miles, I would still have purchased this vehicle. That being said I would have liked to have know that around 100,000 miles I would need a spare $3,000 to keep it running. Hence my reason for posting this review, to let others know to start saving up for a new transmission/rebuild now."
"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."
"I'm 62, have owned a lot of cars. My 2000 Odyssey is the best one. Still tight, rattle free at 150,000 miles (orig. owner). Motor sounds like new, great power. The exterior and interior design is better than the current model which went a little overboard.
The transmission went out at 120,000 but Honda gave me a rebuilt free because I was a good customer and took care of the car with regular maintenance. If you buy a used one just make sure the transmission is good (have it checked by a Honda service center) or has been replaced by Honda. By the car from the original owner or a Honda dealer. Don't buy from a third party. I suspect many of the negative reviews are of cars that were mistreated. The transmission was a known problem that was fixed in later models. Honda stood behind the replacement even up to 100K for most cars (120k on mine). Beautifully designed car. I would rather drive it than my wife's 2005 Camray."
"All I could say having this van at this mileage with the original transmission and engine I could not find any complains at all. Major works that were done on this van were timing belt replaced x 2 every 110,000 miles and a catalytic converter that got replaced at 180,000 miles. Had changed all gasket seals on oil pans both transmission and engine. Never had a major breakdown. The Secret Oil changed and transmission oil changed regularly retains the life of it. I'm proud of this Odyssey. Not to mention original rear drum brakes which I have to replaced soon. My rating falls short only on value as I have to pay MSRP at that time when it first came out. I was lucky enough since some other dealers were selling it @ $2500+ over MSRP due to its popularity."
"A minivan is not my dream car. But, it is perfect for tail gating, hauling my three kids to all their activities, etc... Nice pick up merging onto the highway and really like the responsive breaking. Have not had to put any additional money into the vehicle except the usual brakes, tires, filters, and oil changes."
Pros: "great seats; long lasting engine and tranny"
Cons: "automatic doors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We purchased this vehicle used with a little over 200,000 miles. According to the previous owner, they had not made any major repairs (only minor things like new tires and brakes) and had driven it to Florida a couple of times and also to California and also back and forth on the interstate for their work. We put the additional 65,000 on it and have only had to get new tires and replace the wheel bearings on one side. It has never left me stranded. It isn't the fastest off the line and it doesn't really have any bells and whistles but it runs good. The transmission is starting to get sluggish, which I think is appropriate at 265,000 miles. We still drive this vehicle daily and I'm feeling sad knowing that her days are numbered and I need to choose something else. My only complaints are the "automatic" doors. They don't work properly and it was going to cost over $200 a piece to fix them. Since they still work..just annoyingly slow and when it rains you have to help them a little, we opted not to fix them. The seating is very nice. The chairs are very comfortable and large."
"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."
"EX with 102,000 miles. No transmission problems, shifts fine, Power sliding doors had some initial problems fixed under warranty, have been perfect for last 60,000 miles. Replaced 2 motor mounts at 100,000 (common issue). Did EGR update at 95,000 (missed warranty cutoff). Needs cat and/or O2 sensors. I do all maintenance, it's pretty easy to work on.
Powertrain and chassis stiil feel tight and responsive.
Hit deer at 40 mph. No airbag deploy, $3500 damage, protected family.
Good van. Would buy another."
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"
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."