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 6 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #91

Sep 032012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles


The transmission/ignition key interlock failed, allowing the car to be left in "D" while the ignition key was removed. The car rolled partly out of our garage before it was stopped.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #90

Oct 052012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 141,057 miles
I purchased this vehicle new in May 2003. In 2004, an oil cooler was installed by the dealership as a result of Honda America recall (NHTSA campaign id: 04V176000). On 10/05/2012, engine and tcs lights came on. I took the vehicle to repair shop the next day. They informed me the codes on the computer were P0700 - automatic transmission fault and P0740 - torque converter clutch malfunction. The codes were cleared and they test drove vehicle and lights did not come back on nor were there any symptoms of any transmission failure. They suggested that I take the vehicle to a transmission specialist for diagnosis. The next day the same lights came back on and shortly thereafter the transmission failed completely.

- Eustis, FL, USA

problem #89

Aug 302012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I can take my key out of the ignition while in drive. Because of the setup of the shifter, and the short space between gears, it's not apparent that the car's not in park, and fairly common for me to remove the key while in drive. I've not had this problem with other cars. Several times I've taken the key out and the car started rolling a little before I stepped on the brake and put the key back in and shifted to park. About 4 or 5 weeks ago I parked at a strip mall in front of a store, and when I came back out my car was backed up against the car on the other side of the aisle, having rolled back about 15 feet. Fortunately there was no damage. Another time my wife went shopping and came out and the car had been in drive the whole time (about an hour) but fortunately the parking lot was flat.

- Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #88

Aug 302012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


I parked the car in the driveway to pick up my 4 yr grandson. I left the car, with keys in hand, but left the car door open. I turned my back to the door to walk around the back of the car, and noticed the car was rolling backwards toward the street. I turned quickly in the direction of the steering wheel attempting to insert my right leg to press the brake. I hopped a few times on my left leg, as the car door was pushing me backwards. Unable to reach the brake, the force of the car door slammed me to the ground on my right buttock and right side. The bottom of the door scraped over my left knee, leaving two gashes and bruised knee, scraped up over my left arm and shoulder, compressing my shoulders, clavicle, chest cavity and base of skull (shoulder to shoulder measuring 19") so they would fit beneath the door (12" clearance).the bottom of the car door is crimped where "it gave" into the pressure of pushing my body into the ground. The car continued to roll across the street, up over the curb, and finally stopped with the rear wheels on the sidewalk and the front wheels still in the street against the curb. No tires rolled over me. When my daughter entered the car to reposition and park it, she found the car in reverse, and I had the keys in my hand. A neighbor had difficulty inserting the key, but was able to start and park it. I drove the van to mohawk Honda, with blood dripping from abrasions. They gave me a ride home while they replaced ignition cylinder, gave me 2 new keys, told me there were no recalls, and charged me $555. When I asked if this should be reported somewhere, I was told no. I saw the NHTSA article in the newspaper today 10/6/12. I have a no fault claim, head ct scan, continuing pt and therapy dealing with ptsd and constant head and neckaches.a brother of my son's classmate was killed 4 days ago as a Dodge Caravan rolled over him in his driveway. He was 11 yr.

- Glenville, NY, USA

problem #87

Apr 132012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 145,614 miles
I parked my van on my sloped driveway, setting the emergency brake. As I was getting out, the van started rolling backward. As I was trying to stop it, I tripped and my left leg was run over by the front left tire. I had an open fracture of my fibula and crush injuries on my shin area (and multiple bruises and pulled muscles elsewhere). I realized later that the van was still in "drive". I had been able to get my keys out without putting it in "park". [I have tested it since then and I still can remove my keys while the van is in "drive" or "neutral"] on testing the emergency brake, I found that it would not hold unless it was pushed all the way to the maximum position. Even though it sounded and "felt" engaged, it did not hold.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #86

Sep 032012


  • 98,000 miles
Transmission oil overheating while driving in the freeway causing it to leak and burnt the transmission on all gears and a costly repair of $2400.

- Elk Grove , CA, USA

problem #85

Aug 282012


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph the RPM increased excessively causing the vehicle to stall. The vehicle was towed to a transmission shop who inspected the vehicle and stated there was a recall and it should go to the dealer for the repairs. The vehicle was then towed to the dealer who stated the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000: (power train: Automatic transmission). The manufacturer was notified who stated the recall was repaired back in 2005 and they offered no other assistance. The failure mileage was 170,000.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #84

Sep 042012


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle decelerated and the RPM reading increased. The vehicle began to shake. The engine and traction control warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The driver stopped the vehicle on the shoulder of the road. After restarting the vehicle the engine light remained on but the traction control light shut off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated the transmission would have to be replaced. The vehicle was included in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission) and was repaired previously. The VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #83

Aug 272012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
While I was driving my engine light came on and soon after my tcs light came on. I was on the highway and when I slowed down to get off on an exit and tried to go up in gear my van stalled and would not go past 25 to 30 mph. I took it to an auto place to check the engine light and these codes came up P0740 torque converter clutch circuit malfunction and P0730 incorrect gear ratio.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #82

Aug 272012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 104,400 miles
I was driving carpool to the local school along a very crowded four lane highway when my transmission failed completely. It felt as if the car was in neutral. It was a bit scary, but we were able to coast across two lanes of traffic and into a parking lot. The transmission would not engage in drive, drive3, or reverse. After turning the car off for about 15 minutes, I was able to get the car to drive slowly in a very low gear. I drove it about a mile to my local mechanic. He checked the codes and got P0730 (incorrect gear ratio), and P0740 (torque converter malfunction). After doing some research and consulting with his transmission expert, he determined that the transmission needed to be replaced. I am the second owner of this Odyssey. Bought it from a friend in April of 2012. I have all of their dealership service records. According to those records, the original transmission was replaced at 7500 miles in June of 2004. As such, that means there are less than 97,000 miles on the transmission. The car has been driven gently in the city and on the highway. It has never towed anything. I talked to american Honda today and was told that they could not help because I am the second owner. However, when pressed, the agent did admit that they do help some second, third... fourth owners, but it is case by case. In my case the answer was "no". I asked what would have to be different in my case for them to help me and she simply said it was case by case. Basically we went in circles for the next five minutes.the conversation was polite, but frustrating. I then asked if I could speck to a supervisor. The supervisor suggested I talk with the local dealership, have them diagnose the problem and see if they would make a recommendation for assistance to american Honda.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #81

Jul 192012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • miles


Transmission went out on us while driving to Florida, took the van to trans pro in dothan Alabama. The tech who looked at the van said that we had no 1st or 5th gears. The discs had melted due to over heating, and that this was a common problem with Honda mini vans. It cost us over $2700 to fix money we didn't have. I think Honda should pay us in full for the repair. I will never buy a car/van from them again.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #80

Jun 172012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 176,000 miles
I was traveling with family on the highway, going 75 mph and suddenly saw a flume of smoke behind my car. I notice the RPM jumped to 5 and I stepped on the brake to immediately. It smell like some liquid was burning. Pull the car over onto the exit and look to find the transmission fluid had leaked and spray onto the exhaust and muffler - causing the smell. Towed it back to my house and call Honda but they said it's over 100K and they will not cover any repair cost. It's obviously a manufacturing defect but they will not repair it. Just the week before, I brother-in-law's van (exact same make and model - and about same mileage had to same problem - oddly enough almost at the same place on the highway. It's very unlikely that two identical vans broke down almost at the same spot with the same problem was a normal break down. Honda knows the problem but would not admit to it and will not recall it. I would like for you to tell Honda to recall the transmission and fix my car and my brother -in-law's. it's not only a defective transmission, it also a hazardous - what if it had caught on fire - when the fluid spray out. Please mandate Honda to recall the transmission of the 2003 Odyssey. Thanks.

- Thornton, CO, USA

problem #79

Aug 092012


  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated while driving 45 mph when she noticed that the vehicle was shifting gears independently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and the current mileage was 136,000. The VIN was not available.

- Humble , TX, USA

problem #78

Jul 012011

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Starting the vehicle up and trying to drive away it will jump out of first at which point the engine over revs. Must sit for a few seconds and it will "bang" into second gear shaking the entire vehicle. Driving down the road it will slip out of third gear at 55mph and then "bang" into 4th. This vehicle has had the transmission completely rebuilt four times since 07/01/2011. The second time for a rebuild was January 2012, then May 2012 and now it must go back a fourth time August 2012. On several occasions while pulling out into traffic the transmission has slipped out of gear and nearly caused accidents. This is a very dangerous vehicle that has a transmission that can not be repaired once it begins to fail. At highway speeds when trying pass another vehicle the transmission will stutter slip and "bang" into passing gear or slip out of gear and then re-engage in a lower gear preventing the over taking of the other vehicle. Another incident occurred on the expressway at 65mph I began smelling smoke and pulled off onto an exit ramp at which time the entire vehicle was engulfed in thick white smoke that smelled like burning transmission fluid. We had to exit the vehicle for fear of it being on fire.

- Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #77

Oct 032010


  • 125,380 miles
Transmission failed. When I stopped the transmission was severely smoking. Concerned of a fire, removed the family form the vehicle immediately, and then called for a tow truck. $3000 for a new transmission. Now having to replace the transmission again 20K miles later. Same issue with transmission overheated and has failed. American Honda motor is aware of the defective transmissions and will do nothing. This is clearly a design and safety issue Honda is failing to address. Spoke with transmission repair facilities and they confirmed it is a design failure and Honda is keeping from the public. 1-failed PCM module 2-failed torque converter ( low follow atf fluid causing drag and overheating).

- Hercules, CA, USA

problem #76

Jul 292012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
The transmission started slipping while our family was heading for a vacation going 75 mph on freeway in the middle of nowhere. Van jerked incredibly, then wouldn't shift into anything higher than 3rd gear. We made it to a freeway exit (not a town, just an exit) where after stopping for a minute we discovered that the van wouldn't go into reverse. We were able to turn it around by pushing and managed to make it to a small town limping along on the side of the freeway going 40 mph with our hazard lights on. Repair shop has quoted us at least $3700 to fix it.

- Ogden, UT, USA

problem #75

Jul 032012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 80,540 miles
Vehicle lost transmission at 65 mph while attempting to pass another vehicle. There was no warning, the transmission was working one minute with complete failure the next. No gear grinding noise, only indication was the loss of power and the high revolutions of the motor. Fortunately, there was no accident and we were in a safe place, able to coast to the side of the road.

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

problem #74

Dec 112010

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Transmission failed---car lost rpms & dropped from 70 mph to 5 mph while driving on the highway. We were not notified of the transmission recall by mail & never notified in person at the Honda (autofair Honda-manchester) dealership where our car's service was done. When we called american Honda to complain, I was told, ''what do you expect, the vehicle has 140,00 miles on it". Honda took weeks getting back to us & in the meantime we had an independent transmission shop replace the transmission (approx $3800). Honda dismissed a very serious situation & as I researched more & more, I became very angry knowing Honda has been allowed to endanger families for so long with this known problem. It was by complete luck that my children were not seriously injured or killed when the car went from 70 mph to almost a stop in the middle of the highway. Also, when the transmission was taken out of my minivan, the steering column and other parts were melted in spots. As the 2003, 2004, 2005 Odyssey get older with more mileage, there will be more reports/accidents. Also, Honda should be obligated to state they expect their cars to not make it to 150,000 so the consumer can be aware.

- Bedford, NH, USA

problem #73

Jul 092012


  • 74,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate. The contact was able to stop on the side of the road. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that they would cover 10 percent of the repair costs. The failure mileage was 74,500 and the current mileage 74,900. The VIN was not available.

- Middletown , CT, USA

problem #72

Jul 092012


  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that the vehicle would not accelerate to 60 mph and the transmission failed. The accelerator pedal was abnormally able to be depressed into the floorboard. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who advised the contact to allow the vehicle to cool down first and then it should run as normal. The dealer was notified and they informed the contact that the vehicle was already repaired once under NHTSA campaign id number: 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission) and provided no further assistance. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 117,000.

- Pittsburg, PA, USA

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