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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,426 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda Element electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Honda Element Owner Comments

problem #20

Sep 202016


  • 202,005 miles


Driver side door lock no longer working when alarm is activated. Key gets stuck sometimes in the lock. I then have to go around to passenger side to get in to open driver side door from the inside.

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #19

Mar 182016


  • 169,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Element. The contact stated that he could remove the key from the ignition in any gear without warning. The contact was informed by the manufacturer that the vehicle was serviced per NHTSA campaign number: 10V364000 (electrical system), but the remedy failed to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was invalid. The failure mileage was 169,000.

- West Friendship, MD, USA

problem #18

Mar 012016


  • miles
2003 Honda Element. Consumer writes in regards to unsatisfactory customer service at dealership with ignition switch and airbag repairs. The consumer stated the air bag light would come on occasionally. Also, the key would get stuck in the ignition and the vehicle would not start at times when the consumer turned the key in the ignition.

- Wallington, NJ, USA

problem #17

Jul 072015


  • 184,000 miles


While driving the SRS/airbag light on the dash. Had it resetted but doesnt go away. Called the dealer and was informed about recalls on the airbags and ignition switch. Nothing about the airbag light. Ive reviewed many form which countless people complain of this issue. Please update me on anything reguarding this issue! im scared the airbags may deploy as im driving, or not deploy when needed.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #16

Jan 152014


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Element. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition and failed to turn over in order to start the vehicle. After several attempts, the vehicle was able to start. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for a diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the vehicle was experiencing the failure in NHTSA campaign id number: 10V364000 (electrical system) however, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 58,000.

- Burlington , VT, USA

problem #15

Jul 072014


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Element. Upon entering the vehicle and attempting to place the key in the ignition, the key failed to engage with the ignition switch. Ocasionally, it took the contact ten minutes to get the key in the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, where it was diagnosed that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000. MA 10/25/15

- Cayucos, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 152015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Element. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 10V364000 (electrical system), 14V351000 (air bags), and 14V700000 (air bags). The parts were not available within a reasonable timeframe to schedule the recall repairs. The dealer did not give a specific date for when the part would become available. The manufacturer could not provide an estimated date for when the contact's vehicle would receive the recall repairs. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #13

Jan 012015

Element 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Battery dies after 10 to 12 hours of not using car, on 3rd battery in 3 years, battery is drained dead.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #12

Jun 172014

Element 4-cyl

  • 89,359 miles
The driver's-side key lock routinely does not accept the key without multiple efforts. Sometimes these efforts fail, and I must try the back hatch or passenger side door. As a single female, I find this disturbingly dangerous. It is obvious that I can't get into the car, marking me as vulnerable. This basically sets me afoot, often at night, often in uncertain circumstances. Should I find myself needing to move the car for any emergency whatsoever, a great deal of time will be lost as I struggle with entry. Until I checked for the airbag recall, I had not known about this site. I am appalled to find that this key failure is a common issue. My next car will be a Toyota, the brand I drove for many, many miles and years without trouble.

- Deming, WA, USA

problem #11

Jan 012013


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Element. The contact stated that the electronic door system failed to open or lock the doors, and the doors could not be opened with the key. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 98,000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #10

Jun 252014

Element 6-cyl

  • 194,150 miles


I was driving out of the parking lot of my condo, when my knee tapped the keys on my ignition inwards. As this happened the car shut off. I was worried but had to go on with my day. After hearing about the GM issues I became concerned because the issue with their ignition was the same one I was having with my Honda Element. I called Honda on July 1, 2014 and was told there was nothing they could do. I was told I would have to pay for the inspection at the dealership and would have to figure it out on my own. This is not the first time the ignition on my Honda has had an issue. A recall was initiated by Honda regarding the ignition allowing a car to roll away if not on park. I followed direction and had my car inspected by a Honda automotive service dealer. The problem was addressed, but now with a light bump on the key the ignition turns off. I am very worried I am not the only consumer with this issue and that Honda does not take this concern seriously, especially with all the GM issues going on. Please help.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 222014

Element 4-cyl

  • 232,000 miles
I have a 2003 Honda Element and I have to pay over $700 for a new ignition and my drivers side door does not work with a key or the keyless remote. I am not the only one and Honda should do a blanket recall. I cannot afford to fix the drivers side door at this time. It is embarrassing and unacceptable and it is a common problem. Come on Honda! now I will have two keys, one for the ignition and one for the doors. When I get my drivers side door fixed, I will have three keys to use. Urg.

- Golden, CO, USA

problem #8

Apr 012011


  • 65,000 miles
Keyless remote will not work for any doors. Key will not allow you to manually turn without getting stuck or jammed on the driver's side (from the outside). The door will only lock if you crawl through from the passenger side and lock it manually. This is inconvenient, unacceptable and a common problem among Honda Element owners. This issue should cause a recall for Honda to fix.

- Addison, IL, USA

problem #7

Jun 042013


  • 119,000 miles
Drivers side door would not open with key. Had to use passenger's side. Since that time, all of the door keys (including back) have become difficult to open. Have to move key up and down to get it to slide in. Now the ignition is also becoming problematic.

- Durango, CO, USA

problem #6

Aug 052010

Element 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
NHTSA recall 10V364000 I took my Element into bob boyt Honda; brandon, ms for this recall. They took the car, replaced some little plastic part. I took the car home and discovered that this did not solve the problem. I could still remove the key and walk away from the car with the car in gear. When the car shift is in the drive position and turned off, it will still roll, like it would if it were in neutral. I returned the car to the same dealership, left it, they tried again. But the plastic part would not fix the car. The service manager told me that there was some solenoid not functioning properly and it would cost hundreds to fix the problem as that part was not part of the recall. I left and the car is not fixed. Was my car supposed to be fixed, regardless of the part required? this is the second time I've had a problem with this dealership and recalls on this car.

- Brandon, MS, USA

problem #5

May 012012

Element 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
The dashboard light of the Honda Element goes dark intermittently. At the beginning I thought this was an isolated event - but found hundreds of complaints about the same issue on internet forums. I have taken my car to the dealership and the problem is so inconsistent that they are unable to diagnose it. From reading the complaint of the other Element owners it seems that the problem is with the electrical wiring system of the Elements. I request the NHTSA to perform a detailed investigation into this -as this poses a serious risk with the instruments cluster failing randomly.

- Potomac, MD, USA

problem #4

Aug 312011

Element 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Tumblers in ignition becomes mal aligned, key will not insert or turn, engine will not start. This is not part of the current active recall on the ignition system. I have replaced the ignition lock cylinder twice in 3 years. It is a common occurrence, ask any one who drives a 2003 Element, they've replaced this part too. Honda only warranties the part for one year.

- Kittery, ME, USA

problem #3

Feb 162010


  • miles
I like many other 2003 Honda Element owners have an issue with my driver side lock. Key wont always go in and if does go in wont un lock the door. I have to go through the passenger side door. I have seen many complaints online about this and hope to see more on here so we can get a recall on this issue.

- New Castle, PA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012006


  • miles
My ignition on my 2003 Honda Element, was no longer working, not only could you pull out the key when the engine was running after awhile the key would no longer even turn in the ignition even if you have warranty and paid extra for apparently the best coverage, they find a way the you have to pay out of your pockets, my ignition replacement cost me $1,000 and now there is a recall out on it, and again apparently my VIN number is not included in the recall. The brakes and the brake disc had to be replaced every 6 month. The service for Honda is the [xxx], I personally would never buy a Honda again. My windshield also cracked I have been a Honda service dept often for follow up on the truck they seen my windshield was cracked but would never tell me it was under warranty until the warranty expired. This was my first time ever to buy a brand new vehicle I wanted to feel safe and security, being stuck in a public parking lot a night because the stupid key wouldn't work did not impress me at all, there was a little garage close buy but he couldn't help me because apparently Honda does not deliver there parts to other garages, had to get the vehicle towed and stuck with out a car for a couple of days, because Honda do not have loaners. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Gatineau, 00, USA

problem #1

Mar 221993

Element 6-cyl

  • miles
Adsfkjlaewir;alkgjfa;lsdjfasfdiaj;lwefjds;flsadfdsafdsf. Not readable.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

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