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9.5

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$3,310.00
Average Mileage:
102,801 miles
Total Complaints:
52 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (31 reports)
  2. have it rebuilt (10 reports)
  3. not sure (6 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 1 of 3)

problem #52

Nov 292013

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,500 miles

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

I realize at this point I may be merely adding another sour fruit on to the Odyssey lemon pile. Ours likely took longer because I've been babying the Lemon-mobile the past few years by coasting to stops, gently nudging the beast forward, and avoiding the dastardly chattering/shuddering at 2nd/3rd year transitions by pushing through the 35mph hot zone quickly. And what do I get for these efforts: a big fat lemon in our driveway that can only go forward, not backwards – kinda ironic, ain't it?

It's been a protracted death: first, slight gear slippage when auto shifting at approximately 35mph (usually going up slight grade), then losing ability to downshift lever to lower gears this winter, then putting van into reverse on cold mornings causing a jolting "thunk" as gear engaged or slipping out of reverse gear leading to a skid before reverse reengaging, and finally, reverse stopped working.

When I brought our problem child to the local Honda dealership to deal with two safety recalls, they said it would take about $3.5K to fix the other "safety" problem, and surprisingly no mention of how often Odysseys were experiencing transmission problems. (Thanks for the full disclosure!) Needless to say, I was still left in the dark about the pervasive nature of the transmission issue. I then brought the van to a reputable transmission specialist who checked it out, was able to reproduce the reverse "thunk", but could only state that maybe they could fix the problem for about $2K, but also mentioned there's been lots of problems with Odyssey transmissions. That's unfortunately when I found out how bad the situation was by researching this and other sites.

Now I'm sitting here watching the Tour de France contemplating how to make 2 tons of lemonade out of our Odyssey.

- , Concord, NH, USA

problem #51

May 082013

Odyssey EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,893 miles

2003 Odyssey's transmission was a complete dog. Stay away from this van, unless you really love rebuilding transmissions.

- , Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #50

Nov 082011

Odyssey EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,133 miles

I have been a loyal customer of Honda since I bought the car in 2003. I have always brought it to them for the regularly scheduled maintenance. When something came up that needed to be checked out, they always informed me, and most of the time I would go along with their suggestions. As an example, at about 60,000 miles they told me that I should replace the timing belt. Costly, but good for protective maintenance. I told them OK. At times they checked the brakes for wear, etc.

When my transmission went out I had it towed, (kudos to AAA), to their facility.

They told me that they wanted $4,350.to replace the transmission. I nearly s*** a brick. I told them that at that price I will have it towed back to my house and have someone else do it. He told me to hold on and he'll see if he can get me a better price. After a 3 hour wait, I got the price down to $1863, which I felt, at least, was somewhat reasonable. He told me that they are giving me that, "wonderful price", because I am such a loyal customer. My response was that if I was such a loyal customer why did they not offer me the lower price in the first place.

(Later on I checked on the web to see the general prices of the transmission that I would need and most ran about $1250.)

Then they tried to tell me that it was all my fault since I did not tell them at the right mileage to check the transmission fluid. I told them that since I was such a loyal customer, they should have told me when it was due, as they have in the past with other issues like timing belt and brakes.

I'd like to think that this kind of thing happens only with Honda or with the dealer here that I use, but it is probably a business practice that all dealers in the industry follow, ie; how to get the most out of your customers.

- , Inverness, FL, USA

problem #49

Mar 152007

Odyssey LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,541 miles

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

My list is to long from the transmission to the engine, the leather seats , power doors, power widows, instrument panel . It burns oil it stinks so bad when it runs, it's hat to keep running, the ignition had to be replaced. This is the wort vehicle I have ever owned. JUNK LEMON, expensive piece of SH#t ever

- , Edgewood, MD, USA

problem #48

Dec 152011

Odyssey V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Transmission failed about 100 miles from home, had to have Van toed to Charlottesville to have transmission replaced, was told there was no warranty on this unit. However the tow truck driver told us that he had towed several 2003 Odyssey's with the same transmission failure. After a little research I found out that honda had changed transmissions the year after ours was built, we had bought the van new in January 2003. if Honda knew that it was a problem they could have at least let us know about it!

- , Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #47

Jul 032011

Odyssey EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The Odyssey , overall, is a great car. We have made many long and memorable trips in it.

However, the transmission went in July 2011 with 120k miles on it. It was an expensive repair. I started doing a little internet research and realized that it was a very common problem. I've had other Hondas and Acura's in the past and never had to deal with such a well publicized flaw as the transmission issue.

- , Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #46

Jun 022013

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

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

Honda and Acura are the only brands in my family since 1992. Honda has less recalls than other car makers, and they usually took care the problems. I was believing 2003 Honda 5 speed transmission failure can not happen to me since Honda recall install transmission cooler. I also believed as long as replacing transmission fluid with Honda genuine ATF every 12K, my Odyssey can work as good as other Honda in my family. I was wrong, and transmission failed on me this morning.

I will contact Honda customer service tomorrow, and hoping they will take care transmission repair at their expense. If they do not take any action, NO HONDA EVER in my family.

- , Irvine, CA, USA

problem #45

Jan 302012

Odyssey

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

I was told by the transmission place that I was lucky that my Honda Odyssey transmission lasted so long, because most were failing at around 120,000 miles.

- , Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #44

Oct 092011

Odyssey EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I'm as disappointed with the dealer that sold us this vehicle as I am with the product. We were first time Honda owner and this will be the last. We purchased the vehicle used in April of 2011 with about 97,000 miles on it. The paperwork showed regular routine maintenace on the transmission. In September of that year we abruptly got a check engine light warning. The codes that were being thrown were P0700,P0740 and P1740. My mechanic told me I was a now a member of the "Odyssey Club" and that I needed a new transmission. I discussed my issue with the Honda dealer we purchased the vehicle from just 6 months prior. There was no longer any customer committment or product accountability here. The dealer offered nothing except to try and profit from our situation by offering an insultingly low trade-in credit towards another vehicle. The replacement cost for a rebuilt transmission (one of the most expensive in the industry..) ended up running around $3700.00.

I can accept the fact that problems occur from time to time but for Honda to have no accountability in this instance was shocking to me and made a lasting impression that will influence my purchase decision from this point forward. I'm sure this behavior made good business sense in the mind of the dealer that sold us this vehicle but it wasn't good business.

- , Mooresville, IN, USA

problem #43

Jan 012009

Odyssey EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Bought my Odyssey Certified from a Honda dealer in 2008, a month later the car started shaking while changing from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 and also sometimes from 4 to 5. Complained to a Honda dealer about it, their answer: I dont know how to drive Hondas. Went to three independant garages, specialists, turns out they know Honda tranny problems very well. They wrote an evaluation to Honda explaining the problem. It took me three months of phone calls visit to Honda dealers (2) to finally get a new tranny from Honda. This second tranny has never been smooth, harsh shifts from 2 to 3 and 3 to 4, slight vibration barely noticeable at 80-90 Kmh, it only has 60000Km. Im pretty sure is going to start shaking badly, like the first tranny, soon.

Hondas reliable?

- , Montreal, Quebec, Canada

problem #42

Oct 292012

Odyssey LX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,141 miles

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

Transmission failed while driving in rush hour interstate traffic right before a busy interchage. The transmission slipped and I was able to coast off the side of the road. Had it towed to a Honda Dealership who told me that the "discounted" rate to replace this transmission is $5585 to include a new PCM. The PCM is the computer that controls the shifting of the transmission. They admitted that the PCM in my van is in working order but after plenty of questioning it came out that there has been an engineering change to help fix this issue.

Honda needs to recall and repair (AT THEIR EXPENSE) these transmissions. By making the PCM change they have already admitted that the transmission is not capable of handling the torque od the 3.5L motor.

My Son was in the van with me at the time and this could have easily caused a vehicle collision. Yes, I put "vehicle collision" instead of "accident". "Accident" would be appropriate if the did not know.

We had already planned on trading this vehicle in on a new civic. Time to rethink that.

- , Fort Mitchell, KY, USA

problem #41

Mar 102012

Odyssey ES 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Honda of America paid via class action lawsuit minus labor,tax and motor mounts $1300 total. A rebuilt trans. installed with a 2yrs./24,000 mls warranty.I got a smooth 80,000 more mls. before I traded it in.Leather seats deteriorated quickly also.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #40

Jan 262012

Odyssey EX-L DVD 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,295 miles

This seems to be a known problem as Honda has a few recalls related to transmissions, such as transmission computer updates, and the dealer advised me if the 2nd shaft was broken/scored, blue in color or burnt it may be covered under recall. Naturally mine was not covered and I had to fork over $1800 to have it rebuilt. I elected to go to an independent transmission shop that was kind enough to give me a 2yr/24K warranty. The repair shop said the torque convertor had failed and there were broken pieces in case. Basically the V6 Odyssey Engine is too powerful for the undersized tranny Honda designed for this heavy van. Also its important to note I NEVER towed with this van. The timing of the repair was awful as 2.5 weeks prior on 1.6.12 I had extensive preventive maintenance done at Don Davis Honda, Buffalo Ny (timing belt, water pump, tensionor, power steering belt and the power sliding door caster replaced $998. in all)! I would espect more from Honda as I buy their vehicles for the reliability and good reputation!

Looks like I would have been better keeping my 2000 Ply Grand Voyager V6 3.3L.

I think Honda makes good 4 cly manual cars such as the Civics and I have had 55K trouble free miles on my 2008 Civic EX sedan.

- , Hamburg, NY, USA

problem #39

Sep 152011

Odyssey LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Just had it towed! Transmission Failed on Highway!

- , Monument, CO, USA

problem #38

Nov 232011

Odyssey

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

There was transmission recall on 2003 Honda Odyssey . But they are not standing by it. They do not want to do anything about it.

- , Sidney, OH, USA

problem #37

Jul 072011

Odyssey LX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,217 miles

TOTAL TRANSMISSION FAILURE AFTER ONLY 68,000 MILES IN A WELL MAINTAINED AND PROPERLY OPERATED VEHICLE. A VERY POOR DURABILITY FACTOR FOR ANY AUTOMOBILE.

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #36

Jul 222011

Odyssey LX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,000 miles

Second failure. First failure at 89,000 miles. Local (Muskegon, MI) Honda dealer said "too bad" and wanted $3100 to fix it. Had it towed 40 miles south to a better dealer in Holland, Michigan who fought with Honda and got them to pay for it.

50,000 miles later, and long after the 36,000 mile warranty, it failed again going 70mph on the highway. Very scary. Coasted off an exit and stopped to become enveloped in a cloud of vaporized transmission fluid. Called both dealers. Honda says "no, its out of warranty."

This might fly in the case it was the first failure at the high mileage; but it wasn't. With the hundreds/thousands of people having multiple failures with this transmission (and with the same year, 2003, Accord), this is obviously a major defect in the design of the vehicle and should be taken care of by the manufacturer, or the vehicle bought back at high market value. The burden of their major flaw should not rest on the customer....

- , Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #35

May 282011

Odyssey EX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

My Honda van has been a very reliable vehicle for my family, until now. About three weeks before the transmission failed, I had taken it in for a regular oil change service at the dealership from where I bought it. The check engine light was on and I asked them to look at that also. I was told that I would have to make an appointment with the service department to have that checked but not to worry about it until the next smog check. On Memorial Day weekend my family had a trip to Six Flags planned but we never made it there. On the freeway the van started making a loud whine and the van started losing power, We were lucky to get off the freeway without getting hit. I had the van towed about 75 miles back to the dealer and it has sat there ever since. They have given me a quote of about $5,500.00 to replace the trany with a rebuilt one and a 36 month / 36,000 mile warranty. That's not going to be possible and the also want to charge me $110.00 to tell me that the trany was shot I'm really pissed off about the whole thing. One of the service guys has called the regional service people and they are not willing to offer any assistance with this.

- , Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #34

Feb 022009

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,623 miles

In Feb of 2009, I started experiencing problems with the Transmission. It first appeared as a short delay when changing gears from Reverse to Drive. Within a few weeks, the transmission began slipping. I contacted Honda with no resolve. How can a transmission with only 104Km (or approx 60,000 Miles) fail? (That was only 4000 km over my extended warranty) I have been a devoted Honda for many years when I purchased my first Honda in 1984. Honda representatives were extremely rude and did not want to help out in any way, shape or form. For those of you are thinking of purchasing a Honda Odyssey, and found this site as a result of research, be aware, there are major problems with the tranny and don't expect any help from Honda.

I have not replaced the transmission yet. This is primarily due to the fact that we do not drive this vehicle much given the severe problems. As of 2011, I have only put an additional 30,000 KM and I change the Transmission oil twice a year. (this is not a misprint, I have to change it twice a year given the slippage issue)

After owning three Honda Accords, I was very confident in my choice of buying an Odyssey. Truly a mistake. Shame on you Honda! This is a known problem that has been talked about for a long time. When people buy your product, they should believe that major issues like this would be looked after. As a quality producer of Consumer Products, Honda should strive for zero defects. Instead, I got zero satisfaction. I’m truly embarrassed for Honda.

- , Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

problem #33

May 092011

Odyssey ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,400 miles

In my eyes, Honda is losing it's reputation for reliability. This is a known transmission failure issue - between 2nd/3rd gear. They should own up to it and re-design it or make good on it.

- , Toledo, OH, USA

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