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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

9.3

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$3,366.00
Average Mileage:
106,035 miles
Total Complaints:
60 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (34 reports)
  2. have it rebuilt (12 reports)
  3. not sure (9 reports)
  4. honda is replacing the transmission (4 reports)
  5. valve replacement to circulate fluid (1 reports)
2003 Honda Odyssey transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Odyssey Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Oct 022010

Odyssey LX 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,355 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My wife and I leased a 2003 Honda Odyssey brand new and then purchased it after the lease expired. What a mistake! Our van now has 122,355 miles and this past weekend my van broke down. Today from the dealership we find out that we will need a new transmission and a updated poser module. The cost to me was quoted as $5,143.00 (USD) Ridiculous since the wholesale value of the van is around $8,000.00 (USD).

Since the quote was so high, I asked the service technician for an explanation of what the power module purpose was to replacing the transmission. He stated that it controlled the shifting of the transmission and that it would be required when we repaired our transmission. My thoughts to the service technician are that this sounded like the reason for the transmission failing anyway and why should I pay for a Honda design flaw. He was silent for a few seconds and stated that he had called Honda but they were refusing to do anything for us.

The humorous thing about this (if one can find humor) is that we bought a Honda because we had transmission problems with our American made Plymouth Grand Voyager at about the same mileage. My wife and I both agreed at the time we bought our Honda that paying more for a Honda would be worth it since we believed at the time that make a better quality vehicle. WRONG!!!!

Chris Tyler

Chandler, AZ

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #19

Sep 152010

Odyssey

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Like many Honda buyers in 2003, I looked past a total lack of style to buy an incredibly boring but also incredibly reliable Odyssey.

What a shock. At 45k the transmission wouldn't go in to 2nd gear. The dealer claimed by fluid was burnt due to poor maintenance. Reminding them that they had provided the 30k transmission service at 31k miles I commented that the car had serious problems or they failed to do the service. The dealer back peddled saying they didn't mean to say burnt, and that they took care of the fluid and replaced a part under a recall.

It seemed safe to assume the transmission 90k service wouldn't be needed until 105k since the transmission was serviced at 45k. The tranny failed at 107k about the time it needed to be taken in for servicing.

The dealer acknowledged that they had NOT serviced the fluid at 45k. 5 minutes of research regarding the 03-08 transmission made it clear I was one of many victims of Honda's fraud. Rather than admitting that they have a problem, Honda recommends transmission replacement with the same defective model they've been building since 2003.

Honda has taken a lesson from the 70's playbook of the American car manufacturers - shoveling down short term profits while sacrificing a reputation that they worked so hard to earn. If the trend continues, in 10 years S. Korea will have climbed to the very top and the American companies will have returned to their position above the Japanese has-beens

- , Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #18

Apr 112010

Odyssey LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Got the check engine light and TRC light at the same time. Transmission started to slip badly, got maybe 30 miles out of it before complete failure. Honda wanted 5k for a rebuild, offered 1/2 off if I had proof of tranny service at 30 and 60k...which I don't. Took it in to a local mechanic who, $2700 later, rebuilt.

- , Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #17

May 282010

Odyssey EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,900 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Our 2003 Honda Odyssey began slipping out of gear while we were driving it. A trip to the dealership verified what we already knew: the transmission was failing and we were out of warranty. The dealership said 'Feel free to call Honda if you want, but we can't help you.' [How's THAT for great customer service?? They didn't even offer to call for us.] So we called Honda, and after telling them that this van has been babied and serviced on schedule for the entire 88,900 miles we have owned it, they said MAYBE they would pay 50% of the $3,800 transmission replacement cost we were quoted if we could fax to them the service paperwork to prove we have had two transmission flushes done according to the maintenance schedule. We faxed the paperwork, and they followed up by saying that they would only pay 37% of the cost because the second transmission flush was NOT done at a dealership (It was done at a Tires Plus shop), and they did NOT use the Honda ATF-Z1 transmission fluid in their flush, as specified in the Honda Owner's manual--Tires Plus used VersaTrans fluid instead. Called Tires Plus and asked them how they decide what transmission fluid to use: "we just type the vehicled into the computer and it tells us what kind to put in." When I asked how much extra it would cost to put in the Honda fluid, he said "No extra charge, if that is what you want."

SO BUYER BEWARE: when you get oil changes or transmission flushes, you better ask for the fluid that is specified in your owner's manual or you will be up a creek with no paddle if you are driving a Honda (or if you happened to be stranded along the roadside one).

We bought this Honda because of the company's excellent reputation for quality and service, after having a 3-year Chrysler van nightmare that wouldn't end. Since Honda doesn't stand behind their vehicles either, I guess I will cross them off the list too, just like Chrysler. I suppose I will take their 37% deal, consider myself hosed, and trade in the van for something else. Too many reports online of repeat transmission failures in Odysseys, and I'm just not that lucky today.

- , Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #16

Feb 232010

Odyssey LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Just as others stated, tranny failed at 103K. Drove directly to dealer, they said tranny needs to be replaced at a cost of $3300. Ouch. Called Honda America the very next day and told them car broke down and the cost of repair. A manager at Honda America called me back to tell me our case was being reviewed. In the meantime, I called our Honda dealer to let them know I contacted Honda America. Long story, short. Honda America agreed to pay 80% of repairs. The things in our favor, we bought the car new and had it serviced at the dealer (really just oil changes) and we also own another Honda (Accord) shows we are loyal customers. If this happens to you, my advice is, be concise and very polite while dealing with Honda America. Good Luck!

Update from May 15, 2010: The number for Honda America in CA in 800-999-1009. Another piece of advice is to record ALL correspondence even if you feel it is insignificant. Good Luck!

- , Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #15

Mar 192010

Odyssey EX-RES 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

What's new, here I am, another Odyssey tranny failure! I just had my van serviced for the timing belts and all. The dealer gives me back a van with a broken throttle cable which I had to fight them and they fixed it finally. One week later, the transmission starts acting funny and then the engine light comes on. I take it in and they cannot find anything wrong! "Your Odyssey is fine" Come the next week and it starts smoking right before the tranny dies. I tow it back to the dealer and they tell me it is a "freak random internal transmission failure"...wtf?!!! I research the Odyssey tranny online and find a shipload of the same issue. I call American Honda who tells me that they have nothing to do with my situation. The case manager, Ray, had the nerve to tell me that Honda ONLY manufactures the car and after that it goes to a independently owned & operated dealership! Therefore, they don't interfere and I have to resolve my case with the dealership! The service manager, Kevin, at Honda North in Fresno, CA tells me that American Honda is offering to pay 50% which amounts to $2200. I told him that I was told American Honda isn't getting involved. He said again the 50% is not from him, it's from Honda. I call back to Honda and they tell me it's the dealer paying 50%. What the hell is going on??? I am still fighting to have the complete cost covered so I may sell the van and minimize my financial loss. I was supposed to get a call from Honda three days ago...still waiting today-Friday April 2, 2010.

- , Fresno, CA, USA

problem #14

Mar 032010

Odyssey V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

i just found out about the recall on my transmission, but mine is not under the recall to many miles , had i known i would have had it checked out,honda can kiss my ass i will never have another honda i will proudly push an american auto that drive a honda

- , Bayou la Batre, AL, USA

problem #13

Oct 292009

Odyssey EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

I took the van the day before the transmission failed to tell them something was wrong. They said to bring it back the next day. It crapped out. It was $5,200 with a $1,800 discount. I guess that means we paid $3,400 and now they want either $2,300 or $3,000 to replace stripped bolts in the head gasket.

- , Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #12

Oct 152009

Odyssey LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

My transmission on my 2003 Odyssey failed at 140,000. The dealer (Tameron Honda in Birmingham, AL) is quoting a repair cost of $5,900!!! That is outrageous. That is probably equal to the value of the automobile at this point. The whole reason for spending extra money on a Honda is for automobile reliability - so that the repair costs in the long run do not add up or one does not have to purchase a new car so quickly. This was a low mileage vehicle without a lot of hard driving and I've repeatedly spent $300-500 to take the car into Honda for regular maintenance, including very recently a transmission check! Ha! This is just a disaster. One should expect a car like this to go at least 200,000 to 250,000 before such catastrophic failures. It is especially troublesome given that I'm now finding out that this is an endemic problem for 2003 Odyssey owners from hundreds of complaints. I am in the process of contacting Honda, but I doubt I'll get anywhere.

Honda has lost my business that's for certain.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #11

Jun 202009

Odyssey EXL 3.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

This is our second transmission failure with this vehicle.

While en route to South Carolina for vacation ., we were traveling at highway speeds. We were in a long line of vehicles in the left lane. Traffic slowed, I slowed as I accelerated with traffic the transmission seemed to hesitate/slip. then all seemed well. after a few miles my daughter said, "dad something smells like it's burning" No indicator lights, then came the smoke and I noticed all the traffic behind me falling back, Ah the dreaded oil on the windshield. I pulled to the berm and coasted to the next exit. To my delight i discovered the car had blown out all the transmission fluid and my engine was coated and smoking.

No car for the rest of vacation, $3200.00 rebuild for the second time in 2 years.

The Transmission Doctors, were able to provide a tow, and have it rebuilt by the weekend,,,,no specific diagnosis for what caused the failure, but I asked and have most of the parts. All clutch rings are burned and the overhaet caused the fluid to blow out the front of the bell housing. Round two with HONDA here I go.....

Update from Jun 29, 2009: second time the transmission failed, this was an overheat do to unknown reason, transmission fluid blew out the front of transmission causing tranny to overheat and burn out several items inside.

Update from Jun 29, 2009:

- , HONESDALE, PA, USA

problem #10

Jun 202009

Odyssey EXL 3.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

second time the transmission failed, this was an overheat do to unknown reason, transmission fluid blew out the front of transmission causing tranny to overheat and burn out several items inside.

Update from Jun 29, 2009: This is our second transmission failure with this vehicle.

While en route to South Carolina for vacation ., we were traveling at highway speeds. We were in a long line of vehicles in the left lane. Traffic slowed, I slowed as I accelerated with traffic the transmission seemed to hesitate/slip. then all seemed well. after a few miles my daughter said, "dad something smells like it's burning" No indicator lights, then came the smoke and I noticed all the traffic behind me falling back, Ah the dreaded oil on the windshield. I pulled to the berm and coasted to the next exit. To my delight i discovered the car had blown out all the transmission fluid and my engine was coated and smoking.

No car for the rest of vacation, $3200.00 rebuild for the second time in 2 years.

The Transmission Doctors, were able to provide a tow, and have it rebuilt by the weekend,,,,no specific diagnosis for what caused the failure, but I asked and have most of the parts. All clutch rings are burned and the overhaet caused the fluid to blow out the front of the bell housing. Round two with HONDA here I go.....

- , HONESDALE, PA, USA

problem #9

May 052008

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,847 miles

I was very surprised when the transmission on our 2003 Odyssey failed last spring, but it did explain all the phone calls offering an extended warranty. Silly me, I didn't think I would need one for a Honda. The only good thing was that since I had the vehicle serviced regularly at my local dealer where I bought it Honda offered to pay for the transmission and I only had to pay for the labor. The dealer even payed for my rental car when they could not get the job done on schedule. My only concern now is how long the replacement transmission will last. Does the replacement have a fix or is it a design floor that could not easily be fixed by Honda? If somebody knows the answer to that question I would love to hear about it.

- , Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 012008

Odyssey

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,500 miles

Traveling to SC to pick up a U-haul trailer to bring furniture back to FL. Picked up the U-haul trailer got it within one block of my SC home and the transmission went out. AAA hauled the van to the Honda dealer. It was determined the cost to fix the van would be $4,800.00. Since it was Saturday the service representative said the transmission failed was not due to driver error and could not have been avoided. The rep said that Honda may replace the part but would have to wait until Monday to contact them and that I would have to pay the labor $1,150.00. I had to rent a car that would not allow one way to FL and with no transportation to get to another rental dealer; so we were stuck in SC. Rental car does not allow towing of any kind and was unable to get U-haul to pick up the trailer. Expensive and a lot of stress that I did not need.

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #7

Mar 242008

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,967 miles

Honda Dealer in 2004 does a recall and scopes transmission and then installs recall fix which is an injector to cool 2nd gear. Dealer refused to change oil and replace with my purchased Mobil 1 synthetic trans oil. The flushed with Honda Trans. fluid. Honda Corp. now tells me now they do not recommend the flush. Flush at 34,000 miles granted I went to 81,000 miles of easy driving never towing. Transmission failed. If they would have done the fluid change with the synthetic I would not be here with a failed transmission. Bottom line transmissions of marginal design increase maintenance schedule to 25,000 miles on easy driving. Very poor for a Honda. Looks like a GM, Chrysler for me next time. Good news for the US Automakers.

- , Moline, IL, USA

problem #6

Feb 012008

Odyssey LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,028 miles

This is the third repair on this transmission so far. Honda will not replace it at there expense, I believe I will need to take them to court.

I am aware that another car maker with the same transmission is having a total recall on there cars, why can't Honda stand behind their cars?

I have had nothing but problems with this van, it totally sucks and I now tell all my friends about my van troubles, and I have a ton of friends.

Hate Honda For Ever.

- , Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 172007

Odyssey LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,028 miles

I took the car to Aamco to get the transmission fixed, they ended up rebuilding just about everything, then it broke down a month later, they replaced more parts that were put in bad. And now it failed again. Not even a year later.

I really hate Honda, they do not stand behind there cars. I contacted them and they say it is not there problem.

- , Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 092008

Odyssey ELX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I seem to have had the same trouble as a lot of other people... We bought this car new, drive it gently, have done all the recommended maintenance, yet the transmission now needs to be replaced to the tune of $4,000. I am working with our Honda dealer/repair people now to ask Honda to extend the warranty and cover the repair, since there is clearly a LEMON issue with this transmission -- well documented on many websites. Questions for other folks: what number did you call and who did you talk to at Honda corporate to get them to address the issue? Also, is it wise to get a rebuilt Honda transmission put in as a replacement if they totally stink and will break down again? Did Honda pay for a new, rather than a rebuilt transmission for anyone out there?

Interestingly, even though I asked a lot of questions, my dealership would not say "Yeah, these transmissions break all the time" until I brought up the idea of asking the factory rep to extend our warranty and replace it for free. Then and only then did the person helping me say "I'm so glad you said that. Because now that YOU have brought it up, because I am not allowed to, I can now tell you that we will try that possibility." The kid I was dealing with was only following orders -- but sheesh -- what a slimy way to do business. If you can keep a happy and loyal customer buy owning up to the repair, why do you have this secret policy?

I used to own a Civic that had more than 120,000 miles and virtually no repairs -- it was fabulous and that is what we expected when we dished out the dough for an Odyssey., which in 2003 was the most expensive minivan available just about. We were planning to replace our second vehicle with a new Honda later this year, but this is seriously making us reconsider.

- , Athens, GA, USA

problem #3

Dec 242007

Odyssey LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

A few years ago I received a recall notice from Honda regarding the transmission. At that time, they just checked the transmission for a particular type of wear, if there was evidence of wear - they were supposed to replace the transmission. On Christmas Eve, while going up a hill, my car started making a noise like it was dragging a tree and it just wasn't going. Eventually (what seemed like forever but was only a few seconds) the transmission caught. I drove right to Honda and left it with them (Merry Christmas to me). Anyhow, they called this morning and told me the clutch was gone and I needed a new transmission but Honda was going to pick up the tab. Merry Christmas to me again.

- , River Vale, NJ, USA

problem #2

Nov 062007

(reported on)

Odyssey EXL 3.5

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,734 miles

MY WIFE WAS ON HER WAY TO WORK AS SHE WAS BACKING INTO A PARKING SPOT THE TRANSMISSION JERKED. I TOLD HER TO TAKE IT AFTER WORK TO A LOCAL TRANSMISSION SHOP, WHILE SHE WAS EXITING THE PARKING LOT AT WORK SOME OF THE GEARS BROKE IN THE TRANSMISSION CAUSING IT TO NOT GO IN REVERSE, AND LOCKED UP MOMENTARILY. SHE LIMPED IT TO THE SHOP.

THIS MECHANIC HAS BEEN IN THE TRANSMISSION BUSINESS FOR 25 YEARS AND KNOWS HIS JOB. HE EXPLAINED THE PROBLEM. I NOTIFIED MY LOCAL DEALER TO FIND OUT ANY INFORMATION AND WAS PROMPTLY TOLD SINCE MY MECHANIC TOOK IT APART IT WOULD NOT BE COVERED.....

THIS IS A WELL KNOWN PROBLEM WITH THE HONDA TRANSMISSIONS BUT NO RECALL HAS BEEN DONE.

- , HONESDALE, PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 152007

(reported on)

Odyssey EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

don't buy a Honda, lost transmission driving down interstate, pieces flying out

- , Nixa, MO, USA

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