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 1 of 10)

problem #191

Dec 092016


  • miles


While in motion, my vehicle will sporadically not shift into a higher gear. This results in lack of acceleration and has caused problems when trying to merge into traffic, crossing highways and intersections which cause the need for other drivers to swerve around me. No matter how much gas I give the thing, it will not speed up or shift into gear until something happens that causes a sudden jolt, and then it will jump into gear. On the contrary, it also gears down on its own while in motion or does not shift into a gear at all after stopping at a stop sign or red light. This has happened several times while trying to cross the highway near my home. When this happens, I must shift into park or reverse and then back into drive until it goes into gear. I cross many highways daily which put my children and I at an unnecessary risk. I have researched this, and I am not the only owner experiencing these issues. It continues to happen without a permanent resolution. There was a recall on the transmission "power train:automatic transmission-recall for 2003 Honda Odyssey" and my particular VIN shows as being repaired. However, it seems that it is still causing hazardous issues for my family. The recall on the tranny states that a defect causes the gears to "chip". that sounds like what I am experiencing. I will say that during these instances, the tcs light will come on. Sometimes I have to manually turn it off, and sometimes it goes off on its own after it finally goes into gear. I am at a loss for what to do. Did Honda fix the problem with the tranny or did they simple put in another defected component? other examples of owners with same issues: www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Odyssey/2003/transmission/transmission_failed.shtml www.odysseytransmission.com/ forums.edmunds.com/discussion/6155/Honda/Odyssey/Honda-Odyssey-transmission-problems

- Strawberry Plains, TN, USA

problem #190

Oct 062016


  • 175,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. After the check engine indicator illuminated, the dealer diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 175,000.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #189

Sep 142016


  • 130,370 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The rpms increased while the vehicle was idling. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the clutch was slippery and the entire transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,370.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #188

Jun 062016


  • 195,000 miles


Honda refusing to address the following recalls on my vehicle Jan 16, 2003 - NHTSA# 03V014000 - fuel system April 15, 2004 - NHTSA#04V176000 - power train December 11, 2012 - NHTSA# 12V573000 - electrical system vehicle was towed to braman Honda of manhattan located at 627 11th ave New York NY on June 6, 2016. They have had my vehicle for 93 days. On September 8, 2016 they call me to tell me to pick up my vehicle and they are not completing any repairs because there are no current outstanding recalls for my vehicle. The above mentioned recalls for my vehicle were never addressed by any Honda service location.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #187

Jul 102016


  • miles
Can't accelerate from 20 mph to 30 mph. Only has 104,000 miles on the vehicle. Took the car to the dealer who said transmission failed and it would cost over $4,000 to fix it. This is totally wrong from the manufacturer. Honda should pay for it. See attached diagnostic invoice from the dealer.

- Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #186

Mar 012016


  • 141,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While the vehicle was at the dealer for a routine service check, the technician noticed that the transmission and motor mount failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 141,000.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #185

Jul 072016


  • 253,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While the vehicle was parked with the key removed from the ignition and the emergency brake engaged, the vehicle rolled away in reverse and crashed into a tree. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was not towed, diagnosed, or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was previously repaired per NHTSA campaign number: 12V573000 (electrical system). The failure mileage was 253,000.

- New Melford, CT, USA

problem #184

Jun 012015


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train), which experienced heat build-up between the counter shaft and secondary shaft second gears in the automatic transmission. The vehicle began to move slowly when transitioning from second to third gears prior to the repair. Once the vehicle was repaired, the failure recurred and the vehicle began to jerk when in second gear when or while driving 22 mph or higher. The vehicle would also emmit a whining sound under the hood of the vehicle. The brake warning light, the pcs warning light, and the engine warning light illuminated. The contact returned the vehicle to the dealer who stated that the vehicle needed to be diagnosed a second time and the vehicle would no longer receive a repair under the recall. The contact had the vehicle diagnosed by two certified mechanics who stated the transmission failed, causing malfunctions when in second gear. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 89,000. Updated 06/17/16

- Greenville, TX, USA

problem #183

Nov 102015


  • miles
Takata recall. The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to be serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train) and after the recall remedy was performed, the vehicle hesitated to shift gears. In addition, the vehicle violently surged forward and jerked. The contact stated that there was no failure experienced prior to the recall remedy being performed. The contact later received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 15V045000 (air bags) and the part was not available for an extended period. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Wilsonville, AL, USA

problem #182

Jan 052015


  • 10,500 miles
Based on NHTSA recall 04V-176 - transmission recall, any car below 15K miles will have a return line installed to lubricate the 2nd gear. Above 15K miles needs to be examined by the dealer for discoloration of the clutche plates inside the gear box. Honda stated that they fixed the problem with a return line, but in fact if the 2nd gear had this issue, this is not a fix, but just a work around to save repair cost for Honda. How did NHTSA approve such a temp remediation, when the transmissions are faulty. Opened up a case with Honda and I was told that if the tranny has an issues but is operational, it is not considered as faulty. How can Honda state if the car is operational, it is not faulty, in that case does Honda expect the van to break and be unoperational in the middle of the road in order to claim the issue as a recall " my servce report from the dealer clearly states that the recall of the return line to the 2nd gear should only be done if the vehicle was below 15K miles, how was this done on my car with 40K miles and above. And how was this authorized or is it legal " got a report from the dealer recently which clearly states the problem is with the 2nd gear not shifting to the next gear. Every Honda Odyssey owner knows the transmission problem is due to faulty transmissions and inferiror clutch plates in the 2nd and 3rd gears. I anticipate NHTSA take actions on such corporations who try to evade the systems and provide a patch/work around solutions which is not a permanent fix. Service reports will be provided if required

- Lewis Center, OH, USA

problem #181

Feb 012016


  • 197,000 miles


We could have died yesterday 02-01-2016.the transmission went into a wild violent downshift as we we approaching a red light. In the vehicle were my wife whom is 38 weeks pregnant, my 5 sons ages 12 (autisim),age 5, age 4 (adha),age 3 (autisim),and age 2. I luckily avoided being T-boned due to the grace of god. We made it home eventually and it failed to go into reverse and when it did it was a very hard engage and a very awful smell was coming from the dipstick tube when I got it parked. What I can not understand is that these very rich owners making billions thrrough Honda and seem to have no care for anyone. I can not afford another family vehicle. But the sad offense is Honda cares for no one. It will take an absolute tragic death dealing with these very cheap transmissions.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #180

Dec 012015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Odyssey. Consumer writes in regards to transmission had to be replaced with less than 127,000.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #179

Nov 202015


  • 130,000 miles
Vehicle went idle while in motion on a highway and have almost got rear-ended because the transmission slips. The mileage reading is 130,000 and the car was well maintained in a Honda dealership.

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #178

Sep 112015


  • 169,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving approximately 55 mph, the transmission failed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 169,000.

- Millerton, NY, USA

problem #177

Jul 222015


  • 120,000 miles
The vehicle was moving at 70mph on cruise control when the transmission suddenly shifted down to either second or third gear causing the vehicle slow down and move at a maximum speed around 20mph. This could cause a serious accident if there was another vehicle behind us.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #176

Jul 262015


  • 147,000 miles
My tcs light had come on a few days prior. I was going down highway at 55mph the engine light came on and drive light began to flash. My car lost all power and acceleration with no warning causing the person behind me to almost hit me. I pulled over my RPM's were going up but car failed to accelerate unless floored and then barely. No prior warning or slipping.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #175

Jul 112015


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving approximately 40 mph with the brake pedal depressed, the vehicle started to violently shake and the traction control and check engine warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 94,000.

- Morton Grove, IL, USA

problem #174

Jul 112015


  • 94,000 miles
The vehicle was driving fine, and then the transmission started slipping. Trying to stop at the light, the ABS seemed to engage, the car had a hard time stopping and downshifting, the check engine light came on, the D light started flashing, and the tcs light stayed on. The car almost didn't stop in time, and there was 5 passengers in the minivan. Updated 10/9/15

- Morton Grove, IL, USA

problem #173

Aug 062012


  • 103,000 miles
Was driving from desoto state park back home to tuscaloosa when the transmission began to slip between 2nd and 3rd and then again between 4th and 5th. Ended up having to drive home doing 40 mph on back roads. Rebuilt the transmission to the tune of $4000. Two years and 40,000 miles later the transmission failed again...same exact issue. This is a well known problem to every mechanic I have dealt with. This issue has existed since the car hit the market. This needs to be investigated. Now I have a gigantic paperweight sitting in my driveway. The vans value is less than it will cost to fix. Pease investigate.

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #172

May 202015


  • 150,000 miles
Transmission failed at 150K miles. Honda is aware that the transmissions of the older Odyssey are not lasting long.

- Byron, GA, USA

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