really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
194,167 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Honda Element Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 132009


  • 185,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Element. The contact stated that the vehicle would not recognize the key remote unlock feature. In addition, the key would not unlock the driver side door even when it was manually inserted. In order to unlock the driver's door, the passenger door had to be unlocked to get to the driver's door inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, but the results were not provided. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 185,000.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #5

Jul 012014

Element 4-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
Both door locks (driver and passenger) are jammed. At times the key goes in and others it doesn't but do not turn. I have two keys and neither of them open either door. I have to enter through the back door, climb over the back seats to get to the driver's seat. This appears to be an issue with many Honda Elements made in 2003. I have read many reviews and see that many people have this same issue. I have back problems and cannot be climbing in through the back of my car to open the driver side door to enter my car. I think Honda should be responsible for replacing these locks.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #4

Aug 102011

Element 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Like many others, driver side door key was difficult to insert. Then it inserted and was unable to turn; despite greasing lock. Now using passenger side door lock. I am hoping this does not get stuck on me too like it has happened with many others. Lock costs ~$33 on ebay and $55 from dealer, but this does not include installation and it lock will have a separate key. I was quoted around $350-375 to have a matching lock installed. I am worried to even do this because it sounds like it is a recurring problem even after replacement. This needs to be made a recall.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #3

Jul 122011

Element 4-cyl

  • 700,000 miles


Windshield leaked water, dealership refused to fix. Windshield cracked and was cited by police officer for not fixing, dealership refused to fix. Upon replacement the repair guys just laughed and said that that glass was seated improperly and asked who had replaced it. I responded that it was the original, they told me not to buy any more Honda. Key would no longer work in the driver side door. Replaced something at dealership for $800 as well as the driver side window as it stopped moving due to the motor dying at around 60,000 miles. Now the keys don't work in the passenger side of vehicle nor does the window. In another incident the vehicle failed to stop after fully depressing the brake when traveling about 5-10 mph and drifting into another vehicle causing moderate damage. Honda has not responded to any inquires made by consumer. Nor has dealership. I still owe 10,000 dollars on this car, have spent over 3000 in repairs and at this point want to drive it into a tree at a high speed.

- Newville, PA, USA

problem #2

Oct 212011


  • miles
The drivers side and passenger side door locks will freeze up and not allow the keys to be removed. This keeps the car from being able to be locked. Honda will not honor a warranty or recall on this item they charge $250 per door to fix the problem. This happened to both the drivers side and passengers side doors, and is a very common complaint among Honda Element owners.

- East Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 022003

(reported on)


  • 0 miles
Driver's side door has about a half an inch opening between the rubber and the door. This lets air and debris in.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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