definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,000 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.

2004 Honda Element drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Honda Element Owner Comments

problem #1

May 152006


  • 40,000 miles


Honda issued a service bulletin on the CRV model Honda. The Element has the same running gear, but no bulletin was issued for there Element....the service bulletin was necessary because the rear axle differential lubricant is failing at about 30,000 miles; causing a partial lock up of the rear differential. The service manual calls for replacement of the rear differential fluid at 90,000 miles for normal service and 60,000 miles for severe service.. one notices a judder on turning the vehicle at slow speeds, as the differential clutches bind with the failed lubricant. I see a potential sever safety problem as a result of the failed lubricant and a locked up differential. If the differential is only partially binding, this forces the vehicle to attempt to always go in a straight line, as no differential action is occurring, not compensating for the different track of the inside when turning through a curve. At the most severs situation - wet slick, or icy roads, this locked differential will cause the C=vehicle to track in a straight line, instead of turning through a curve; causing the vehicle to leave the road and potentially crash, injuring the occupants. I called Honda service and expressed my concerns. They agreed such could happen, but felt the bulletin issued on the CRV was satisfactory to cover the Element. I disagree, as owners were not contacted and notified of the potential serious problem, and the need to replace the oil at the earlier mileages. I suggest that Honda must be required to notify all owners of the el;emanate version, about the need for replacement of the require differential oil, and the potential of a serious incident if the rear differential locks up from the failed differential oil. I first noticed this when the differential became noisy as I turned through a "U" turn. On calling my dealer, I was told about the CRV bulletin.....though it did not apply to the Element, the dealer was aware of the potential problem.

- Elliston, VA, USA

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