Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,006 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 Odyssey transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Odyssey Owner Comments (Page 6 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #232

Aug 232010


  • 111,410 miles


With no warning or indication, our 2003 Honda Odyssey, with 111K miles, shifted itself from D to second or first gear at 70 mph. The lever and indicator stayed in D the whole time and no warning light illuminated prior to or following the event. It was violent, like slamming the brakes, but of course with only the front wheels digging in creating a difficult control situation. Had it not been for the luck of a dry and straight three lane highway with no closely following traffic, with sharp skills at the wheel necessary, it would have wrecked us with potentially severe injuries. We have not driven the van at highway speed since that day and obviously cannot. We researched the solutions and paths that 1,000's of other owners have taken following reporting life threatening and other Odyssey transmission safety issues. Most owners have experienced repeat failures making this vehicle unsafe at highway speed even following current repair solutions. I plead with you to take swift action so that my voice may speak for the dead and injured that do not understand why their Odyssey or the Odyssey in front of them went out of control.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #231

Jul 212010


  • 104,000 miles
Transmission failure on 2003 Honda Odyssey.

- Columbia City, IN, USA

problem #230

Jul 162010


  • 89,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact was driving at normal speed when the transmission warning light illuminated. The dealer advised that the transmission had failed. The transmission was replaced. The manufacturer assisted with partial repair costs. The contact was advised that the vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission) and believed the failure was caused by the recall repair. The failure mileage was 89,700 and the current mileage was 90,000.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #229

Aug 112010


  • 110,000 miles


Key can be removed while in neutral on 2003 Odyssey.

- Wood River, IL, USA

problem #228

Aug 102010


  • 130,000 miles
Driving 55 mph West on hwy 30 Ohio heard and loud noise, vehicle locked up skidded 50 ft. Could not move the vehicle, called 911 a police officer, 2 semi drivers could not move the vehicle off the road. Vehicle started but could not turn wheels would not turn. A very dangerous situation as the van was blocking the right lane N a busy highway. Tow truck was called.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #227

Jul 072010


  • 97,000 miles
Transmission failure, occurred July 2010 transmission recalled by Honda 2004.

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #226

Feb 042010


  • miles


The transmission of my 2003 Honda Odyssey has failed after 130000 miles. It slips getting into and out of 3rd gear, and there is debris in the fluid, indicating that clutch disks are degrading and getting into the hydraulic controls. Meticulously maintained and driven gently and primarily on long trips. On more than a few occasions, the slippage happened as my learning-to-drive daughter was pulling into traffic from a stop sign on a busy road, only to have the engine rev way up while not moving and drifting into the path of crossing traffic. It is now sitting in my driveway undriveable.

- Damascus, MD, USA

problem #225

Jul 102010


  • 93,076 miles
My 2003 Honda Odyssey transmission died at 93000 miles. I spend $2500 to have it rebuilt. I want Honda to pay for it since they have a defective transmission based on the numerous complaints I read on the subject.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #224

Jul 092010


  • 122,500 miles
I have owned my 2003 Honda Odyssey for 4 years and never had a major problem till now. I had just gotten off the interstate and suddenly my van acted like I had slammed on the brakes and jerked me really hard. Thankfully no one was behind me or could have been serious wreck. My transmission light came on and I had it towed to Honda dealership. Even though this is a highly known problem with the 2003 Honda Odyssey, I was told by the dealership Honda would do nothing to help with the $3300 I had to pay for a new transmission. I was 8 months pregnant at the time and just so thankful that it didn't cause a serious wreck like it could have. Honda should have to fix this problem with the transmissions before someone gets really hurt or looses a life!!

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #223

Jul 222010


  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated the vehicle would sporadically hesitate to accelerate when driving at various speeds. The contact also stated that when shifting into reverse, there was a lengthy delay before the vehicle would register and engage in reverse. The dealer advised that the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer did not provide any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The current and failure mileages were approximately 108,000.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #222

Jun 032004

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that the vehicle began to make a high pitched whining sound while driving over 55 mph. The vehicle was serviced for NHTSA recall campaign id number 04V176000, power train, automatic transmission. The contact informed the dealer of the whining sound but the dealer could not duplicate the failure. The mechanic stated that the transmission needed replaced due to internal failure. The mechanic also heard the whining sound the dealer stated that the repair cost was approximately $3600. The contact stated that the failure occurred six years ago while the vehicle was covered by the warranty. Updated 10/13/10 at approximately 90,000 miles the vehicle started shiftng very hard from 1st to 2nd gear. The shift was so hard, that during rain or while conrering, it would cause the tires to spin.

- Alva , FL, USA

problem #221

Jul 142010


  • 60,000 miles
2003 Odyssey, purchased new, I am original owner, at 60,000 miles transmission began to slip, tcs light came on, check engine light came on, engine revved very high at low speeds, car would not go into reverse, erratic and abrupt gear shifts. I am being told car needs new transmission between $3500 and $3700. I notice on Honda's website there was a recall in 2004 but I was never notified. Please help.

- New Hempstead, NY, USA

problem #220

Jul 072010


  • miles
Failure of 2003 Honda Odyssey automatic transmission. After relatively good performance from this vehicle, the "check engine" and "transmission" lights both lit. The transmission began slipping, not able to operate during acceleration. More troubling is that during slowdown on highway, the vehicle was not able to downshift, causing a safety hazard for me, my wife and 3 children. This transmission failure occurs each and every time we operate the vehicle -- both during acceleration and deceleration. After having this checked at Honda dealership, it required a new transmission -- nearly $4,000. Since this time, I have investigated this problem and have learned that thousands of other Honda owners have the exact problem, it is a known design problem by Honda, they have issued a recall for vehicles in 1999-2001 for the same problem but they have not provided any remedy for owners after 2001 unless it is within factory warranty. This vehicle is dangerous, it is criminal to have this vehicle on the road. It should be recalled for correction and repair immediately by Honda.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #219

Dec 192008


  • 93,824 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving at approximately 55-60 mph, the check engine and traction control system warning lights illuminated. In addition, when shifting gears, the vehicle was hesitant to engage for a few seconds. The dealer performed a transmission flush yet the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where he was advised that the vehicle would need a new transmission and an updated PCM at the contacts expense. The contact declined and the vehicle was not repaired. The contact believed the vehicle was affected by NHTSA campaign id number:04V176000 (power train: Automatic transmission) but could not verify if his VIN was included in the recall. The failure mileage was 93,824 and the current mileage was 105,826.

- Roanoke Rapids, NC, USA

problem #218

Apr 032010


  • 74,000 miles
At 74,000 my Honda Odyssey's transmission needed to be replaced. I had purchased this vehicle in 2007 as a certified Honda vehicle at a Florida Honda dealership. We had then move to Massachusetts where I began taking my van to another Honda dealership close by. It was there at the end of 2008 I brought the vehicle complaining that it seemed jumpy, especially when put in reverse. I told them I was concerned it was the transmission. This was all while my car was still covered under its warranty. They assured me that my Odyssey was fine. Then in the beginning of 2010when you pushed on the gas the van seemed to not accelerate and my engine and tcs light came on. At the time we did not have the money to do any repairs so we stopped driving the vehicle for a few months. Then in April I took the van to a local garage who informed me the transmission needed to be replaced. I was in shock because in November of 2008 I had complained that I thought something was wrong with my transmission and was told nothing was found. I opened a case with american Honda who offered to pay $2000 of the repairs. I of course asked for more but they refused. I ended up having to pay out $2600 to replace the transmission and replace the timing belt. I have since seen on the computer all the problems that Honda has had with transmissions and am astonished that they are not being held accountable for poor quality automobiles. So much for buying a vehicle to last for our growing family. I am begging for someone to investigate and hold Honda accountable for faulty and poor quality transmissions. It is quite apparent that the transmissions on the 1999-2004 Odyssey's and maybe more are not large enough or strong enough to carry the load of a mini-van. They were faulty from the beginning and it is unfair to leave us vehicle owners holding the bag. I have also had the mounting bracket for the alternator replaced 3 times and had the mounting bolt broken off in the engine block. That was all covered.

- Watertown, MA, USA

problem #217

Jun 242010


  • 85,000 miles
Transmission light came on and vehicle jerked really hard then suddenly began to loose and gain in speed. Afraid to drive it with my four children. Car was towed to Honda care service center where they quoted 4600 dollars to replace transmission. Noticed many complaints about same problem and wanted to make sure my voice is heard!

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #216

Mar 132010


  • 122,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that while driving at 45 mph, there was a sudden and abnormal increase in engine rpms before returning to normal. The rpms began to rapidly fluctuate intermittently. The dealer advised that the transmission would need to be replaced at the contact's expense. There were no recalls on the vehicle. The manufacturer agreed to provide partial assistance for the cost of repairs. The vehicle was left with the dealer, but had not yet been repaired. The failure and current mileages were approximately 122,000.

- Andover , KS, USA

problem #215

Jun 142010


  • 95,000 miles
Our 2003 Honda Odyssey which was previously inspected under the original recall is now having major transmission problems. Honda has advised that the torque converter is coming apart and therefore the transmission, PCM, and a motor mount now need to be replaced as a result. My family relies on this vehicle for transportation, and I feel that the Odyssey is not safe to drive as the transmission jerks and slips and actually got stuck in gear on the highway the last week. My issue is that Honda offered to pay $2300 of the $5300 they say is needed to repair the vehicle. That leaves me to pay $3000 to fix an unsafe, faulty product that could fail any day due to manufacturer's defects. I have read articles online where the dealership actually paid 75% of the repairs to keep the customer happy since the transmission is defective. If Honda sold a faulty product they need to repair and/or replace the defective, unsafe components that may cause the vehicle to crash. In closing, if Honda "inspected" the vehicle under recall and it subsequently fails, the Honda needs to shoulder the responsibility to make their products safe and pay for a majority of the repairs or all the repairs.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #214

Jun 162010


  • 77,000 miles
My wife and I recently purchased a 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan. It only had 71000 miles on it at the time. Thought we had a good vehicle. Honda's are suppose to be great. Two weeks after we bought the van the transmission started slipping between 2nd and 3rd gears. We would be driving down the road and it would slip completely out of gear at times as well. The engine would race and not allow you to go and then jerk violently as it engaged into gear. Now at 77000 miles it jerks horribly at around 50-55 mph. Took it to Honda dealership and they said the transmission is shot and needs to be replaced at a cost of $5200 dollars. I started to research online and there are literally hundreds if not thousands of people with the same transmission complaint. Honda has a known defect in their transmissions and they should be held accountable. There are websites dedicated to Honda Odyssey transmission problems. Honda has already issued a recall for 1999-2001 Odyssey vans, why not extend it out for the 2002-2004 vans as well. They have the same transmission, and the same transmission problems. This could potentially be a devastating problem. My wife uses this van every day to Transport our two young girls. If the transmission were to lock up in the middle of an intersection, who knows what would happen. We don't have the money to fix this problem. That is why I am appealing to you to look at all the other complaints and see what can be done to help. It is not fair for them to get away with a known problem of this magnitude.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #213

Jun 172010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 166,670 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey automatic transmission failure. NHTSA please research the serious problem with the 2003 Honda Odyssey automatic transmission failure rate. Quickly just google it and you will see that thousands are having their transmissions fail and not just the original transmissions but also the remanufactured transmissions that Honda dealers use as a repair. Review comments made on the forum at and other websites such as This is an epidemic safety issue involving the automatic transmissions of Honda Odyssey. There was already a successful class action lawsuit against Honda for years prior to my model and there is much talk online about pursuing a class action lawsuit for years 2003-2005 as well! it is the job of the NHTSA to protect american consumers and I am requesting that NHTSA pull the data on all of the Honda Odyssey transmission failures plus do some additional research online. I am confident you will see there is a major safety issue here due to mechanical failure. My failure caused a complete loss of power which could have killed me and my family since we were turning out into a busy street when it happened. I was able to get the 2003 Honda Odyssey into the dealership and they told me it could very well be a transmission failure. I have maintained this mini-van far better than what Honda even recommends and yet this still happens to me and thousands of other citizens. The diagnostic code P0720 is an early sign of transmission failure. The dealership is replacing the sensor but I am told it is most likely the early signs of transmission failure. If it ultimately ends up being the transmission it will cost me over $3,500 to fix and they replace it per Honda with a remanufactured one that has a very high failure rate as well! some make it less than 36K on the remanufactured one and have to replace it a third time! major safety issue involving a major powertrain part - the automatic transmission.

- Brooklyn, MI, USA

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