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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 7 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #212

Jun 112010


  • 60,000 miles


Torque converter issue - car vibrates when driving at low speeds - and only stops with release of gas pedal. Has been an issue for at least six months. Honda replaced transmission mount at my expense.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #211

May 272010


  • 81,000 miles
The transmission in our 2003 Honda Odyssey. Severely jerks and losses power while driving at all speeds.

- Troy, TX, USA

problem #210

May 282010


  • 88,900 miles
Our 2003 Honda Odyssey began slipping out of gear while we were driving 10 days ago. It slipped three times, and we were driving the van on a highway with our child in the car. We no longer felt it was safe to drive the van, so we had it evaluated at the car dealership where we purchased the vehicle new in 2003. They told us our transmission is failing at only 88,000 miles. We have had all regular and routine maintenance done for this vehicle through the years, and have had the transmission flushed twice according to schedule. We researched this on our own and see that many Honda Odyssey vehicles have had transmission failures prior to 100,000 miles. We wonder why there has been no recall to fix this problem. There was a 2004 recall for the transmission, for which we promptly had our van serviced. The dealership's service manager assures us that the 2004 recall 'had nothing to do with your current transmission failure.'

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #209

Dec 292009


  • 112,060 miles


Eradicate behavior of transmission on my 2003 Honda Odyssey. Concerned about safety of my family.

- Hancock, ME, USA

problem #208

Jun 022010


  • 91,520 miles
We should be at kings island right now as I speak. My whole family was on the way there when about 25 minutes into the ride-our check engine light came on. A few minutes later-the tcs light on the dash came on! all of a sudden the thing started jerking like a bull and the RPM's revved up and we lost power & it kept jerking -scared us to death!! we were on the highway with the cruise on. We bought this 2003 Honda from a dealer with 10 miles on it and it's only got 91,000 now! I can't believe this happened. The whole reason we paid $30,000 for a van was because it was a Honda! anyway, we got off the next exit to a truck stop to get some transmission fluid but they didn't have any. The engine was all wet under the hood and the transmission fluid was low but we had no choice to turn around, cancel our kings island fun day, and head home (hoping and praying that we would make it)! we got back on the highway and I called our Honda dealer service department and explained to a tech. What happened and he basically said to pull over - call a tow truck and bring it in so they could look at it! that's it! that's all he said! no - let me call a tow truck for you and bring you a rental-nothing! we couldn't do that-6 of us can't fit in a tow truck! anyway, we started to head back only doing about 50 cuz of the RPM's-we had the flashers on and made it down the road to the next exit and my husband bought some transmission fluid. We then ever so carefully made it back home where it now sits in our driveway-I am very sad cuz it was my baby and now we have a major dilemma. We had decided to trade it in on another vehicle yesterday (before any of this happened!) but by the time we got everything done-the banks were closed. Our salesman knew about kings island and is awaiting us to come back out to trade. Now what? this will cost us thousands on our trade - if they still take it! oh-I forgot to mention the "D" for drive light started flashing and we lost our reverse gear too!! help!!!

- Beech Grove, IN, USA

problem #207

May 282010


  • 113 miles
I was driving my 2003 Honda Odyssey 65 mph on expressway and van started smoking from underneath the car. I quickly pulled over and the smoke increased. We thought the van was on fire! I emptied my children from the car onto the side of the road (extremely unsafe!) the fire department and police came. Fluid puddle was under car and fluid was all over under the hood and under the car. Said to be from the transmission. All my fluid levels were full according to dip sticks. I had to wait (alone with my kids) on the side of the road for an hour and a half (90 degree, humid day, with no water) to be picked up by aaa and towed home (80 miles) my gauges gave me no warning. My car is kept in perfect maintenance condition. I had the trans replaced in recall with a rebuilt from Honda a few years back. This was a scary and dangerous event for us and I am very sad to hear that Honda will do nothing to fix this problem for me. I am now in fear whenever I am in my van that it could happen again.

- Tinley Park, IL, USA

problem #206

May 102010


  • 103,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that the transmission suddenly failed while he was driving at 55 mph on May 10, 2010; also, the check engine light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a repair shop where the contact was advised to change the fluids and filter. The check engine light illuminated again so the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership where the contact was informed that the transmission needed to be replaced at his expense. The contact called the manufacturer who advised him to send in all his maintenance records. The failure mileage was approximately 103,000. The current mileage was approximately 105,000.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #205

May 092010


  • 109,000 miles
Transmission slipping between 20-30mph almost like engine is in neutral. Happens at least 3 to 4 times during 30 minute period of driving. Van slows down and causes traffic to slow behind us. Van has not been repaired yet.

- Chas., SC, USA

problem #204

May 252010


  • 130,000 miles
This week my 03 Honda Odyssey's transmission is getting worse and I can not longer shift to D3 or any other gear below D. I took it to aamco and it's going to cost $1800 to check it out. Replacing it will be over $3K. I call Honda America and they told me that they are not going to do anything because it's over the warranty limit. My is now not drivable because the transmission is out. I did not take it to the dealership because they told me it will cost $90 just for them to look at it. So I took it to aamco transmission they only charge $59 to look at it. The car has paint recall and transmission recall which had already been done. They repainted the upper half of the car and replaced a transmission cooler on the car. Now they told me that because they already replaced the transmission cooler, they are not going do anymore repair to the transmission so now I'm out of luck. Can anyone help me? I think that Honda motor should fix my transmission because it's a material defect.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #203

May 152010


  • miles
I bought a 2003 Honda Odyssey from koons Honda dealer in manassas, va in 2006 it was used car. I took extended warranty from Honda and it expired 2009 November. I have been doing regular maintenance on that van as recommended by Honda at that dealership, I got malfunction indicator lamp on my van and took to dealership today and they said there may be an issue with my transmission and just the parts may cost $3500 and then labor on that. I need american Honda to pay for this as eventhough I performed regular maintenance on that vehicle and I got transmission problem which is really unsafe to drive.

- Gainesville, VA, USA

problem #202

Jun 062005


  • 16,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that when accelerating or driving uphill, the vehicle would jerk abnormally when shifting gears. The check engine light would intermittently illuminate when the failure would occur. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for diagnostic testing yet the dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 16,000 and the current mileage was 77,000.

- Port Neches, TX, USA

problem #201

May 122010


  • 80,000 miles
Our 2003 Honda Odyssey at 80K suddenly had the transmission slipping between 2 and 3 gears, and the dealer says we will need a new transmission at $5200+ this van has been faithfully serviced at the same location since it was bought. We have since read hundreds of complaints exactly like ours - the van was not safe to drive and an obviously large problem is not acknowledged or being addressed by Honda.

- Fountain Valley, CA, USA

problem #200

May 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey automatic transmission has failed on several occasions (today, May 10, 2010, was the latest incident) including while driving and while starting out. Gears disengage, causing the vehicle to suddenly lose ability to power drive wheels. Vehicle sometimes does not shift into gear (from reverse to drive). This can lead to an accident if vehicle is trying to merge with traffic, and transmission gears disengage. My vehicle was recalled in 2004 for automatic transmission 2nd gear recall. Installation of transmission oil cooler was conducted as vehicle only had 14,418 miles. If it had 15,000 miles, transmission would have been replaced. This oil cooler device appears to be not very effective, and I believe Honda knew there would be long term damage to the transmission due to their original poor design or manufacturing errors. Judging by complaints on internet blogs, this is a widespread problem, similar to the Toyota acceleration problem. I would like to see Honda initiate a recall with a transmission replacement program to address their quality issues. I will be pursuing replacement of the transmission with Honda so I can have a vehicle available to Transport my children safely to and from school. This is a safety issue, and I hope the NHTSA pursues this case before people die or are injured because of Honda's defect. Thank you for your help in protecting the public.

- Laguna Hills, CA, USA

problem #199

Oct 012009


  • 110,000 miles
Just bought a 2003 with 130K mi has had excellent service from the original selling dealer. Transmission is now whining when accelerator is pressed at all. Was hoping for a cv joint, but turned out to be the differential going bad. We need to leave on vacation in a few days, and now will be renting a van at the tune of about $900 am very disappointed in Honda for not taking car of these transmission issues. Several motor mounts are failing. A couple of very high ticket items. Honda please step up to the plate to keep a certain level of customer satisfaction.

- Upper Sandusky, OH, USA

problem #198

Apr 072010


  • 72 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) I brought a brand new 2003 Honda Odyssey van from an authorized Honda dealer. The van is only has 72K miles on it and the second gear slipping as my wife drive on highway. The van is suddenly slowing down on a 65 mile zone with lights flashes on the dashboard, and stop completely. I later on find out the transmission is defective with the computer module. The VIN number is [xxx]. Honda is selling defective transmission which was not fix in the first place. The incident my wife had almost resulted in a crash on a busy highway. I also noticed that there are more than 350 cases similar to mine. I also informed that Honda did a recall back in 2004 but apparently didn't fix the problem. Now Honda is not willing to take the responsibility to fix it.

- Basking Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #197

Apr 152010


  • 135,000 miles
Since Feb 2010 our 2003 Honda Odyssey transmission has been slipping at 135,000 miles. A check engine light came on, was immediately taken to mechanic with the following codes PO845, PO730, PO700. The mechanic and Honda both confirmed that the car needs a new transmission and that Honda has had significant problems with these transmissions.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #196

Jul 152008


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving between 50 and 60 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate when the accelerator pedal was depressed. When the contact took her foot off of the pedal it moved forward at a very low speed. The check engine light was also illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the fuel cap was replaced. Within a couple months, the vehicle displayed the identical symptoms. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the ebv valve was replaced; however, the failure continued to occur and the rpms increased excessively. The contact stated that the vehicle performed as if she were changing gears. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who repaired the injectors to the transmission and replaced the transmission fluid. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be replaced when the failure continued to occur. The vehicle had not been repaired when the complaint was filed. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. The current mileage was approximately 110,000.

- Stromsville, OH, USA

problem #195

Apr 252010


  • 88,300 miles
On Saturday, April 24th, starting the van, a strange whining sound was coming from the engine compartment that changed pitch with engine revs. Sunday April 25th, at ~88,300 miles, vehicle failed to accelerate halfway onto the highway on-ramp. Engine just revved but transmission would not take. Both tcs and check engine light came on. Scared wife half to death with kids in the car. Luckily they were able to get off highway right away and limp along to meet me in safe place. Took it to the Honda dealership Monday morning. I barely made it and almost had a couple of accidents since car would not accelerate up any of the hills and rolled backwards a few times. Dealership said the transmission has failed and needed to be changed out at a cost of $3500 (Honda would provide a measly 10% assistance) which we cannot afford in this economy which now makes this van worthless. Looking at all the complaints here and on the web, this seems to be a serious problem Honda is turning a blind eye to. The NHTSA needs to be pro-active before someone really gets hurt in an accident. These transmissions have serious design flaw to fail at this mileage and with proper maintenance.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #194

Mar 252010


  • 141,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey torque converter came apart.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #193

Apr 242010


  • 89,875 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) Honda Odyssey late 2003 model - flashing D light and unable to shift transmission into D3. The mileage on this vehicle is less than 90K and has been very well maintained. This is not acceptable - vehicle VIN [xxx] - Honda web site is stating that this is not covered by the transmission recall.

- Richardson, TX, USA

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