really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,070 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Honda Odyssey Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Aug 262016


  • 170,000 miles


1.starting in early July 2016, my Honda Odyssey began randomly accelerating on this own, without a human depressing the gas pedal. While in drive, the car accelerates on its own. 2.when this happens, I have to press extremely hard on the brake to get the vehicle to stop. Then, when I place the car in park, the RPM increases to between 5, ooo and 7,000. Again, this is without a human depressing the gas pedal. 3.this issue seems to occur when the air conditioning is turned on, and it feels like the cruise control system is taking over even though it's turned on. 4.this issue doesn't always happen immediately once the car is turned on. It sometimes takes a random amount of time to manifest itself while the car is being driven. 5.I've faced this issue at least 15 to 20 times over the past 2 months. 6.obviously, this issue is extremely dangerous and may result in severe injury or death for the driver and other motorists. And therefore, it must be dealt with immediately. The Honda dealer said that there is nothing wrong, but only checked the vehicles cpu. This is insufficient because, as indicated above, the cpu will not register an issue in idle mode or when the problem isn't actually happening.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #24

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 #23

Jan 012015

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate past 20 mph when the accelerator pedal was initiated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 220,000. Updated 05/11/15 the consumer stated the vehicle must be stopped completed then accelerated again or powered off then on again. The consumer has a recording of the failure. Updated 9/16/2015

- Garden City, KS, USA

problem #22

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 #21

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 #20

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 #19

Sep 152014


  • 181,231 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving approximately 50 mph, the vehicle independently accelerated. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 181,231.

- Sugarland, TX, USA

problem #18

Mar 012013

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The car has an automatic transmission system. I was driving just fine when the transmission slipped and it felt like the car was in neutral. I was pressing the gas, but no power was given to the car. I could brake and steer just fine so I pulled over and put the car into park. It engaged into gear fine and I continued on. This continued to happen slipping in and out while driving. I wouldn't even have to stop and put into park, I would slip "out" of gear and feel like it was in neutral. I would pump the gas a few times, and rev up the engine and then it would magically engage into gear. Honda dealership stated the transmission was bad, stated that pieces of metal were in my fluid and my entire transmission needed replacement. Estimate $2K-4K - will know more when they break it open to find out. Honda America states that I had taken the van in for the transmission recall in 2005 - I don't recall doing that, but if I did why is it happening? now the van will not pass the ca smog test simply for functional check portion. The emission portion is fine. Seems the repairs exceed the value of the car. Working with Honda America to get warranty or recall to offset the cost of repair. At this point, the car is deemed non operational.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #17

May 232013


  • 202,389 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that while driving 2 mph, the vehicle accelerated independently. The contact applied the brakes but the vehicle continued to accelerate. The contact applied the emergency brake to no avail. The contact maneuvered the vehicle to drive over several small trees to slow the vehicle down and eventually crashed into a large hedge. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and current mileage was 202,389.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #16

Dec 092012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,331 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that while the driver was entering a residential driveway, the vehicle erroneously accelerated and crashed into a home. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where the contact was awaiting diagnosis of the failure. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure and current mileages were 113,331. The consumer stated days later at the collision center. When the vehicle was started up it continued to accelerate. Updated 2/11/2013 updated 03/28/2013 updated 04/23/2013

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #15

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 #14

Dec 212011

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 68,464 miles
The vehicle was moving at the speed of 55-60 mph. Suddenly few jerks were noticed and vehicle failed to receive torque/speed from the engine. Engine was otherwise appear to be on and functional. Vehicle came to complete stop on a very busy highway and started rolling backwards (since the highway was up sloping), while in drive mode. Vehicle was then put in park mode. On further attempt, it would not engage in any other gears. Further diagnostics suggested "transmission failure" code P0730, which needed transmission change.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #13

Feb 082012


  • 153,000 miles
As original owner of 2003 Honda Odyssey engine buying car from weir canyon Honda in anaheim hills California. My engine block light, tcs, lit up at 153,000 miles. I have been experiencing a major transmission problem between 2nd and 3rd gear as car seem stuck and I am unable to accelerate. This is not safe at all since my van can be rear ended when it's stuck in this mode. My mechanic advises everyone from not to buy any Honda as his shop rebuilds Honda transmission all the time and makes a fortune from the poor victims of Honda owners like me. Go to www.odysseytransmission.com/home/whattodo consider yourself forewarned! if you're looking for a reliable and safe mini van, do not look at Honda Odyssey.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 112012

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • miles
Accelerator stuck while traveling on highway. Vehicle would not slow down. Gas pedal was like a sponge and the vehicle just kept accelerating. Rode the brake until I could get to a parking lot where I could not stop the vehicle. Slammed the car into neutral while the engine continued to rev. Then slammed into park and turned off the van. When I tried to start the vehicle 30 minutes later it would not start. I will call triple a to tow me to dealership. Very scary incident especially because I had my 13 year old in the car. Came close to crashing into other cars while trying to slow down.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #11

Jul 312011

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • 103,400 miles
Minivan started to accelerate upon push of accelerator (rpms jumped significantly). Jerky/harsh acceleration from 0-40. Severe shudder of van when decelerating between gears. Malfunctioning overdrive (will not down shift to D3, 2, or 1st gear while rolling. Reverse gear did not work unless the car was started again.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #10

Sep 212003

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that the vehicle was experiencing sudden and unintended acceleration. The contact stated that they have had thirty-two separate occasion of the sudden acceleration since purchasing the vehicle. The contact stated that the failure only occurred when they were coming to a stop and traveling no faster than 5 mph. The engine rpms would then increase and the contact would have to turn the vehicle off. The contact stated that the vehicle had been at the dealer for six weeks. The dealer had eliminated wear and possible electronic causes for the failure. The contact stated a regional inspector for the manufacturer inspected the vehicle as well and advised that there could have been a bunched up secondary floor mat that caused the failure. The contact does not feel the floor mat caused the failure. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 118,900. Updated 07/27/11 the consumer stated the gas pedal only returned to the upright position when the then engine was turned off and sometimes it required two or three cycles to get the gas pedal to return. Updated 08/31/11.

- East Lansing, MI, USA

problem #9

Sep 012010


  • 67,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey van (85K) shudders when accelerating at about 22 mph, particularly uphill. I have taken it in twice for this, to the dealer, who says they can find no cause. While I was picking my van up today from being serviced and to address this issue I overheard another customer talking about his van shuddering. His is a 2004 and it happens at 45 mph. The customer service rep told me that they had 3 vans in today, all with the same complaint. No problems found, but if I wanted to take a technician with me and replicate it I could give them a call.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #8

Dec 182009


  • 90,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey has a unintended acceleration and had to apply brakes severely to control the vehicle this happened twice for the vehicle and was informed to the dealer and Honda of usa.

- Paramus, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jan 272010


  • 121,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey nothing wrong with the car. Driving home about 40mph, slowed to about 20 to cross a street that is crowned. Started to accelerate, the engine just revved. Coasted to the side about 100 yards ahead to get off the street into a parking lot. Car started working again, proceeded home. Had to stop 2 other times to get back home. Checked the web and there are hundreds of other complaints. Called a reputable transmission service, told me that the entire 2009 year was filled with Honda coming in! in fact, he had an identical Honda Odyssey there when I got there.this is a giant safety problem! I cannot imagine being in the left 5th lane doing 70 and having this happen- or a lock up! from what I have read on the net, it seems Honda does not want to address the issue. This is my second Honda. My first went 248K miles w/O any major issue whatsoever! that is why I bought another. This is truly a bad safety issue.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #6

Aug 112005


  • miles
2003 Honda Odyssey lunged forward while pulling into a parking space. The consumer also experienced this problem three times with her 1997 Odyssey which she purchased new in January 2, 1997. All these incidents occurred on extremely hot days.

- Louisville, KY, USA

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