really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
113,142 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 Odyssey drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Honda Odyssey Owner Comments (Page 2 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #171

Apr 232015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 149,823 miles


I was driving my van with my two kids in it when I noticed that the van was jerking frequently and there was no pick up. The RPM went to 4 and 5 thousand but the speed was not able to go beyond 50 and 60 mph. This incident occurred while I was on a freeway. When I took the van to our usual mechanic shop, they found that it was a transmission problem. Getting a new transmission was very expensive and I had to settle for a rebuilt transmission. After researching online, I found that this is a common issue with Honda Odyssey built during the year my van was built. I would like for NHTSA to ensure Honda pays for our repairs and ensures the company fixes all remaining vans on the road with this issue.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #170

Apr 292015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 134,219 miles
My wife was driving down the road at 40mph when the transmission started making real bad grinding noise then stopped working.

- Traverse City , MI, USA

problem #169

Apr 262015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 132,000 miles
I parked my car and took the key out of the ignition. Only problem was that the car was still in drive. I know this was an known issue (recall) with the car. I had it fixed at a dealer to address the recall on this specific issue. Obviously it didn't fix the problem.

- Hollis, NH, USA

problem #168

Apr 092015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 168,000 miles


Traveling on an interstate highway, transmission failed. Fluid exited transmission and "smoke" appeared at rear of vehicle. Dealership diagnosed transmission failure and estimated repair costs at $2500-3500. Since we were 1000 miles from home and did not want to put that much into repairs, we bought a new car from the dealership. Later found out this transmission frequently fails under these circumstances due to lack of fluid circulation. Fluid is "blown" out of transmission and to rear of car. It may be due to a defect in design.

- Tabernacle, NJ, USA

problem #167

Jan 282015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 158,630 miles
Car was running on city road and suddenly stopped running and check engine light came up immediately. It was good that I was not busy and not running fast or not in the freeway, and there is no car behind my car. I stop engine; after sometime I started and it was running again and after 20 minutes it stopped on the road again. I drove to a nearby Honda service center for checking and they gave me documents that said a transmission replacement needed that cost more than 6,000. I drove back in my parking lot and park there and did not drive on the road again. I tried in the parking lot and found it runs when the car is cold, but when it heated it stop, but after sometimes it run again. I do not feel safe and do not drive this car on the road. Some of my friends also brought the same car and they faced the same problem after 100,000-180,000. If a car transmission failed like this and if it happen on the freeway with 70 speed it can make serious accident. Honda co. Must recall this model and fix this problem.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #166

Nov 102013


  • 138,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated while driving 60 mph, the vehicle independently decelerated and failed to accelerate. The vehicle was towed eight days later to an independent mechanic. The mechanic stated that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 138,000.

- Bay Town , TX, USA

problem #165

Jul 012014


  • 72,600 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving approximately 40 mph, there was a loud noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The failure recurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 72,600. Updated 5/12/15

- New Smyrna Beach, FL, USA

problem #164

Mar 132015


  • 267,000 miles
I was driving down the road at 20 mph and I had to use the brakes, my car jerked suddenly twice while I was gently pushing the brakes (as if I slammed on them twice). I accelerated slowly and once I got back into second gear my car wouldn't catch and started to make a whirring noise. Once it got past second gear it drives slower than usual for the amount of rpms being used. This is a serious and dangerous problem. It's only on the second gear that it glitches up. I know this car has a lot of miles but it has a newer motor and we have kept up on the fluids for the vehicle. It should not be acting this way and I expect a recall on this promptly. Every time I drive my van it is not like it use to be. It's slower and as stated before the rpms it uses should makes its speed faster but the speed slowly increases while the rpms increase drastically and quickly. I want this fixed and I want this fixed now!! I will not allow my children in this vehicle because of the way it's acting and it is completely unsafe for anyone at this point. I will be contacting corporate if needed. I expect a response from Honda promptly.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #163

Jul 152012


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving at approximately 30 mph, the transmission locked and a loud noise was heard. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection where it was diagnosed that the transmission exploded. The vehicle was repaired. The contact was made aware of NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train); however, the VIN was not included. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Isabela, PR, USA

problem #162

Dec 032014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving 45 mph, the contact heard a loud noise and the vehicle stalled. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The transmission warning light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The mechanic diagnosed that the second gear transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #161

May 062014

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 210,000 miles


Please have one of your investigators' to look into this: Take a look on the internet you will find thousands of complaints ( only a small percentage of Honda owners', vans & sedans on the road who have this same problem occurring) 2003 Honda transmission slipping between 2nd & 3rd gears - all the owners' complaints are identical. Unexpectedly, the vehicle loses all acceleration power, a very dangerous & serious safety defect, hazard as the driver loses control of their vehicle & acceleration. Researching on the internet, I found thousands and thousands of complaints about the exact same problem occurring in our model year 2003 and from many Honda and Acura sedan owners are also experiencing the same problem: All have the V-tech engine with automatic transmissions. This is a very dangerous situation for thousands of Honda & Acura drivers on the road -a mother's with a van full of children or really any driver trying to accelerate on a busy road from a dead stop. A driver loses control of their vehicle speed unexpectedly could cause a serious accident, even death. Honda dealers are hitting customers' for $4000 for a new transmission install, replacing the same malfunctioning one that was in the vehicle previously, not reimbursing owners' for the very expensive repair bill. Honda should be held accountable for this serious & dangerous safety defect which they ignored, hid, kept installing the same transmissions when it was well known to Honda insiders' that they had a major problem - they were well aware of the problem occurring for years & did nothing. They need to be forced to fix the Honda transmissions affected at no cost to the their customers'. Honda refused to re-manufacture, re-engineer the transmission or reimburse owners' for the expensive repair bill ($4000.). it is extremely hard to believe that NHTSA has not issued a safety recall yet!

- North Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #160

Jan 022015


  • 85,775 miles
The gear in the transmission broken in to pieces, shot in to bearing and broken the case of transmission, made a terrible big sound. The car on free way in more than 65 miles, all the lights is on. Engine died and speed out of control. I have asked just answer, the expert told me that is not normal accident! if you like we will sent pic to you and feed back center. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Hacienda Heights, CA, USA

problem #159

Mar 222005

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Purchased 2003 Honda Odyssey new in 12/2002. Had issue with trouble light within weeks of purchase. Dealer said it was nothing to worry about. Transmission began to slip at 25,000 miles and got worse. Dealer replaced the transmission at 35,000 miles. The trouble light would come on from time to time and dealer would turn it off. A few days ago, the transmission would not move the vehicle and I had it towed to the dealer. Dealer says I need a new transmission. I have done no trailer towing or any other unusual uses of the vehicle. All of the 157,000 miles have been over the road or in town.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #158

Jan 152015


  • 147,112 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While parked in front of the contact's residence, the vehicle suddenly rolled across the road and collided with a fence. A police report was filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 147,112.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #157

Nov 132014


  • 138,000 miles
I paid $9,998.48 for my Odyssey. I bought it used. I was told that all the maintenance was up to date and they showed me the paper work indicating that as well. I also took the van to a shop to be sure that all the maintenance was up to date. I bought a 5yr/100,000 mile warranty from the dealership where I bought the van as well, just to be sure that if anything was to happen I would be covered. I put less than 40,000 miles on my van when it left me sitting in the middle of the highway with my three kids in the van on my way home from work. I was driving home from work when my van started acting crazy. I was driving and the rpms would go from 2 to 5 and the van would slow down. It kept doing this, when suddenly I was at a full stop. I had the vehicle in drive and was pressing the gas pedal but the only thing that moved was the rpms. The van would not move at all.I have only had my van for 2.5 years. I keep all the maintenance up to date and took very good care of my van. Now this van that I paid dearly for is sitting in my driveway and will not move. I had it towed to a shop and the mechanic said that the diagnostics indicated that my transmission has failed and needed to be replaced. The warranty company that I purchased my warranty through is now saying that they will not cover the cost of replacing my transmission. There is something very wrong with that. Now my kids and I have been without a ride since before thanksgiving. What kind of help can I get with this" can anyone please give me some information"

- Baytown, TX, USA

problem #156

Nov 172014

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 124,515 miles
Like many other complaints about the 2003 Odyssey, we have experienced a transmission failure. Like others, our van has had the original recall notice work performed (Honda recall number 'P30' in early 2004, after the announcement), and yet at a relatively low 125,000 miles the transmission went out in Nov '14, as confirmed by a local Honda dealer. Honda stated that, since the previous work has been done under recall, they are not liable for any more work to be performed. My complaint is this: If so many other '02-'04 Odyssey owners are having the same problem, it is obvious that Honda did not properly correct their earlier mistake, and they should pony up to fix the transmissions, or reimburse owners who already had the work performed. My request: NHTSA place pressure on american Honda to do the right thing, and own up monetarily or service-wise to myself and the thousands of other owners who have had/are having/will have these issues.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #155

Dec 152014

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • miles
Passenger airbag light came on for a few seconds while driving at highway speed limit. Then vehicle seems like the transmission was slipping or took a few seconds to engage from a starting movement forward leaving a stop light. At idle the tachometer started to rev between 1100-2000 rpms at standing idle in park.the sliding doors get jammed stuck when attempting to open from the dash controls. I know these could cause and accident and not be able to get NY children out of the vehicle via the sliding power side doors.vehicle was purchased on 12-12-2014.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #154

Dec 032014

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 155,000 miles
The transmission disengaged at 65 mph and I had to keep cycling the gas pedal until the trans caught on at 40 mph and this went on until I brought it home. I was able to take it to the Honda dealer and they said I need a new transmission.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #153

Dec 312013

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 168,000 miles
At lower speeds automatic transmission goes into neutral. The transmission will not reengage unless you place the transmission in neutral and back into drive. Unfortunately this happens during periods from completely stopped thru 2nd gear. Once past 2nd gear shifting patterns are always normal. This has been happening for over a year, yet the transmission still continues to operate, (ie..not completely failed yet) I have noticed that there has been a recall on my particular model (recall# 12V-573) however my dealer says that my vehicle is not part of that recall. I feel since this is a daily driver, that the malfunction of transmission will eventually cause an accident due to the fact that it happens during initial acceleration. I believe that if this was not a defect, then the transmission would have completely failed long ago. I merely think Honda should make corrections as stated in their recall notices.

- Springdale, AR, USA

problem #152

Jun 072014

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 93,128 miles
I am an original owner of a 03 Odyssey. Perfect maintenance record. Carefully driving and never tow anything. Transmission started to slip and lock up around 93K miles without warning. Crash almost occurred on a busy highway twice. Have two dealer checked up and both said need a replacement. Call Honda and got very bad customer service. Honda denied responsibility, but offered 25% replacement cost. 02-04 Odyssey had transmission recall in 04. My van was over 20K and only got an oil injet kits installed. I believed the faulty transmission has already been damaged at that time. The recall is a scam from Honda to cheat, to delay the problem and to save cost. Everyone knows an oil injet kits costs a fraction of a new transmission. This is the same kind of scam as another Japanese product, takata air bag recall. My van also equipped with takata faulty airbags. I requested airbag replacement through a Honda dealer two months ago and was told they were ordered, but have to wait. Driving a Honda product everyday to sent my daughter to school with faulty transmission and airbags, I have higher risk to be killed or injured because the transmission could fail and result in clash, and the airbag could deploy and kill or injured myself and daughter. What a nightmare! I just got my transmission replaced with $3K out of my pockets. I sent the invoice to Honda CEO 3 times to request full imbursement and was denied.Honda has the full responsibility for its faulty products. I request a full investigation on Honda's handling on its recalls.

- Sarasota , FL, USA

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