really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
12,348 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.

2008 Honda Element brakes problems

brakes problem

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2008 Honda Element Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Aug 272008


  • 2,015 miles


Since purchasing this vehicle new in June 2008, I have experienced a soft brake pedal after driving the vehicle approximately 2000-5000 miles. Bleeding the brakes seems to correct the soft brake pedal. However, after driving for approximately another 2000-5000 miles the pedal is again soft and continues to get softer. I have been back to the dealer repeatedly and they have replaced the master cylinder and modulator which did not correct my soft pedal. I went through several trips to the dealer where they told me "no problem found" and basically told me that it was my imagination. Finally, Honda came out with the recall for exactly the issue I have been complaining about. Honda performed the recall "safety recall: Brake pedal may be soft or low" and it did not correct my soft pedal. After driving approximately 2000-5000 miles the pedal is once again soft and continuing to get softer. I have opened a case ([xxx]) with american Honda complaining about my brakes in an effort to get them to correct my brake issue. The dealer has rechecked the brakes and states "no problem found" since there is not a brake "failure". I am still experiencing a very soft brake pedal and cannot get anyone at Honda to correct the situation. I am afraid that if the pedal continues to get softer that I will experience a brake failure resulting in a collision. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #21

Jan 052011


  • 22,294 miles
At 22,294 miles my 2008 Honda Element, has severe premature brake pad, rotor wear. I heard and felt a severe grinding noise coming from the brakes. I had tires put on my car and the brake pads inspected and mechanic found nothing unusual. Two weeks later the noise returned louder and when I took my vehicle to the dealer, they found no rear brake pad on right rear wheel and my rotor was completely ruined. My front brake pads were fine and was given no explanation by Honda why this could've occurred. Honda would not cover the repairs under warranty and I have since discovered many other owners have had exact same problem occurring around the same mileage. I recently heard that Honda has recalled Accord of the same year for the same problem, but not my model or year. I'm appalled at the audacity of Honda to ignore the same problems from the same manufacturer on different models. Clearly Honda is aware of their faulty rotors and brake pads and chooses to overlook this problem. I did not expect to pay $400 for a problem of this magnitude for a car well maintained with such low mileage. I intend to go after Honda to be fully re-imbursed for their negligence.

- Boone, NC, USA

problem #20

Oct 282010


  • 22,644 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Honda Element. While having the oil changed by the authorized dealer, the contact was informed that the rear brakes had become worn. The contact noticed while driving that the brake pedal would extend to the floorboard when depressed. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 22,644.

- Brigantine, NJ, USA

problem #19

Oct 142008

Element 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles


Purchased a 2008 Honda Element in September 2010. Car had 29K miles on it. Brake pedal was soft during initial test drive (went to floor). Dealer bled brakes. Dealer replaced master cylinder on 10/14 due to soft pedal (goes to floor). Note that dealer confirmed the recall work had already been performed on this vehicle and did not work. This car is a safety hazard. I never know if it will stop.

- Ankeny, IA, USA

problem #18

Aug 022010

Element 4-cyl

  • 21,351 miles
2008 Honda Element, 21,000 miles, needed new rear brake job for 600$. this was 2500 miles after it was taken to dealer for brake recall modification of some sort.

- Warren, PA, USA

problem #17

Aug 242010


  • 10 miles
My 2008 Honda Element had the recall work done in June 2010 re; soft brake pedal. Back to dealer on August 24 for recurring soft pedal issue. Diagnosis was air in brake system. System bled again. Brake pedal firm for now. Service manager could not offer an explanation other than maybe we did not get all the air out during the recall work. Honda has known about this safety defect in certain models since 2003. I have no confidence in the fix.

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #16

Aug 022010


  • 10 miles


Previously filed a complaint (ODI # 10321852) via email with NHTSA regarding the "soft brake pedal" issue with my 2008 Honda Element. A recall was issued in 2010, the work was performed in June 2010, a positive improvement. Brakes are slowly but surely returning to their previous soft pedal defect. I am having to pump the brake pedal one time to get a firm pedal. This defect on certain Honda models has been going on since 2003. Honda re- issued a service bulletin # 07-045 on March 5, 2009 regarding "brake pedal is low and feels soft" covering certain models from 2003-2008. Apparently there were previous service bulletins issued as early as 2007, the 07 in the above referenced service bulletin (07-045) indicates 2007 issue. I am a retired career police officer who spent over half of my 25 year career in the traffic division investigating traffic collisions including those involving fatalities. I consider this brake problem a serious safety defect, that could ultimately lead to serious injury or loss of life unless a permanent repair or total recall of the affected Honda vehicles is required by NHTSA. Honda has known about the problem for years and has not found a permanent repair. I have researched the internet and found many reports regarding this defect. There are hundreds of posts regarding the soft brake issue @www.elementownersclub.com under the thread titled recalls, tsb's and notices. Thank you

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #15

May 012010


  • 16,000 miles
2008 Honda Element has had very soft brake pedal from day one. Dealer replaced vsa modulator per tsb with no change in pedal feel. Dealer did a recall placing caps on plugs in ABS unit and bled brakes with no change in pedal feel. Pedal will still go almost to the floor with very little pressure applied.

- Corinth, NY, USA

problem #14

Sep 212008


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Honda Element. While driving approximately 15 mph, the contact tried to stop abruptly to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of him; however, he crashed into the rear of the other vehicle when the brakes did not engage. The contact drove the vehicle from the scene. The body damage was repaired by an authorized dealer. On another occasion, while driving approximately 20-25 mph, the failure recurred and when the brakes were applied they failed to engage and the contact crashed into the rear of a vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the damaged body was repaired. The contact stated that he had previously received a recall notice for recall 10V098000 (service brakes, air). Police reports were filed for each crash that occurred. The contact did not report any injuries. The failure mileage was approximately 11,000. The current mileage was approximately 48,000.

- Miramar, FL, USA

problem #13

Apr 242009


  • 262 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) I purchased a new 2008 Honda Element ex all wheel drive [xxx] on April 24, 2009. From dobbs Honda, 2785 mendenhall, memphis tn. I returned to service dept immediately after stopping at 2nd traffic light because the brake pedal was soft and went completely to floor. Service rep advised me the soft pedal was normal. Returned to the dealership a couple weeks later on another issue and complained about the softness of the brake pedal, again was told it was normal. Returned to the dealership on July 20, 2009 and presented the service rep with a copy of Honda service bulletin 07-045 titled " brake pedal is low and feels soft" (exact symptoms I had described 3 times). My Element falls in the VIN #'s covered. I asked that the service mgr road test my Element. The work order # 368081 written narrative states "service manager test drove the veh and found veh operating to factory spec at this time). Commencing on the first day I purchased the Element I have been compelled to pump the brake pedal at least once to feel comfortable stopping, when I depress the pedal and it falls to the floor a sense of panic is felt. I recently learned from the Honda Element owners club web site that a recall had been issued for late April along with an immediate stop sell order on 07 and 08 Elements. Apparently Honda has been aware of this brake defect since 2007 (sb 07 indicates 2007 issue date). Between April 09 and July 09 the dealership on 3 separate occasions denied any problems with the soft pedal and pedal hitting the floor although the service bulletin clearly states the necessary part #'s and steps required to correct this defect. What has taken Honda so long to admit to and issue a recall to correct this known unsafe brake defect?

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #12

Sep 302008


  • miles


I own a 2008 Honda Element and the brake pedal has become even softer and the pedal travel longer than it was when we purchased it.....similar to what I noticed on the used Element we test drove prior to our purchase.

- Rosalia, WA, USA

problem #11

Sep 072008

Element 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
0tl* the contact owns a 2008 Honda Element LX. The contact was traveling at speeds of 10 mph depressing the brake pedal. The brake pedal fell closer to the floorboard than usual. The dealer performed a diagnostic test on the vehicle and stated that the brake seal tested normal. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 13,000. Updated 05/10/10 updated 05/12/10.

- Milwaukie, OR, USA

problem #10

Mar 052010


  • 19,500 miles
Soft, mushy brake pedal. When stopped at a stop light or stop sign, pedal slowly goes to the floor and must be pumped to maintain brake pressure.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #9

Feb 182010


  • 37,000 miles
Due to loose brake, it takes time to stop (at speed of 15 mph). I felt it could be dangerous if I were to be driving faster.

- Brisbane, CA, USA

problem #8

Dec 142009


  • 24,000 miles
Rear brakes failed 2008 Honda Element heard whining noise 5 months prior in rear brakes. Dealer checked and said nothing found. 5 months later dealer said rear brakes 'gone' and unsafe to drive. 1/3 of one of rear rotors was missing/eroded away. Vehicle only had 24000 miles. Rotor and pads replaced. Internet search reveals multiple similar problems with Element. See: Elementownersclub.com.

- Gilead, ME, USA

problem #7

Apr 242008


  • 63 miles
I have an 08 Honda Element that I bought new. From 1st day I've owned it I thought the brakes felt soft/mushy. I thought it was just me getting used to a new vehicle, at times now brakes when I've stopped hard it felt like Element pedal was at the floor and I wondered if vehicle was going to stop. I now know that several other Element owners have this same problem and Honda has issued a tsb on it. Several that have had the tsb done are saying that they still have the same problem. I brought mine in and the dealer has ordered the vsa modulator. I just want to be on record that this is a big problem that Honda may have to do more than they are currently doing to resolve this problem. Brakes are not a problem to take lightly. I bought my Element new in Apr 08.

- Oneida, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 052009


  • 8,500 miles
2008 Honda Element brake pedal travel is excessive and the brakes are at times soft.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #5

Nov 072008


  • 1,500 miles
Mushy brakes.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 192009


  • 0 miles
Purchased new 2008 Honda Element on 23 Sep 2008 during family emergency visit to Ohio while traveling to Florida. The car was to be licensed in Florida where I have a home so a thirty day tag was issued with arrangements for another thirty day tag to be sent to location in route if needed. After picking up the car I immediately noticed a brake noise and vibration when stopping. I was traveling to Florida the next day but did call the salesman, who advised me that as the car has been sitting, this was normal and I should drive the car and \"burn in\" the brakes. I then traveled in the car to boston to visit friends and then worked my way down the East coast. I stopped at a Honda dealer in Virginia beach, va where they were kind enough to make arrangements to have the second thirty day tag sent but they could not look at the car for a few days. My schedule would not permit a delay so I continued the travel to Florida. The car was parked in a garage in my home in Florida during December 2008 to February 2009 while I returned to germany to tie up loose ends. I returned to Florida in late February 2009 and took the car to blount Honda in leesburg, fl for 6000 mile checkup in early March. I asked them to specifically look at the brakes. As I was waiting for the car, the mechanic advised me that their was rotor distortion caused by the car sitting, the rotors would have to be turned, and it was not covered by warranty. The car did sit for two and a half months while in my possession but I dismissed this as the cause as the brake problem was noticed the instant I got the car in September 2008. It wound up costing me $160 to fix the problem. I have since found out that the car was received by jay Honda dealer in January 2008 and they had in their possession for almost nine months. I filed a complaint with american Honda who said that it was up to the selling dealer to reimburse me. Needless to say, they would not.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #3

May 122009


  • 22,500 miles
Premature right rear brake wear (out boad 2.9mm inboard tapered from 6mm)requiring resurfacing and new pads at approx 22,500 miles. Left rear out/inboard expected nominal 6mm.

- Canton, MI, USA

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