really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,006 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Odyssey Owner Comments (Page 5 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #252

Nov 072010


  • 83,000 miles


I experienced a catastrophic breakdown of the transmission in my 2003 Honda Odyssey while I was driving on a local highway. The car literally stopped while driving and turned completely off, rendering the car uncontrollable. We narrowly missed being hit from behind. My car has 83,000 and has been meticulously maintained including transmission power flushes. This is the 2nd transmission in this vehicle. At 40,000 the first transmission would not shift into reverse. American Honda agreed to replace that transmission for free even though the car was out of warranty because I had been complaining before the warranty ran out. The Honda dealer assured me that the new transmission was of a different design and would not experience the same problems. About 40,000 miles later the second transmission just stopped dead. Had I been on the parkway or turnpike I would not be here writing this complaint. The new transmission will cost over $3000. NHTSA must stop this corporation from ignoring their liability and make them recall and reimburse all Odyssey owners for their faulty transmissions before a family is killed. After all this is a family van!

- Matawan, NJ, USA

problem #251

Oct 292010


  • 84,500 miles
Two weeks ago, my 2003 Honda Odyssey began to manifest a delay as it shifted from 1st to 2nd gear, and then from 2nd to 3rd gear. This delay quickly worsened and was characterized by a sudden decrease in power, a powerless lull, then a sudden revving....finally, a jarring clunk as it shifted into the next gear. An observer also smelled a strong burning odor as my car passed by. The slow and irregular acceleration and clunk are clearly a safety hazard. My local mechanic told me on November 5, 2010 that my car needs a new transmission. I am the original owner of this car. Have maintained it very well, and it only has 84,500 miles on it.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #250

Oct 272010


  • 120,325 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey transmission totally went on palisades parkway leaving my wife and friend stranded on the road. They were very lucky that there was not a major accident. The care had to be left partially on the roadway until helped arrived. There was little warning before the transmission totally went. My wife said that the transmission slipped once or twice before it totally went leaving my wife with no power to get the car off the road. The car was towed to my residence. The car did whined at times but nothing was found.

- Salisbury Mills, NY, USA

problem #249

Oct 262010


  • 102,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Odyssey. The contact stated that the vehicle was exhibiting an abnormal noise and driving hard. The dealer replaced the motor mounts and the jet coolant for the transmission under a manufacturers recall. Later while driving 35 mph in clear weather, the check engine and traction control (tcs) warning lights illuminated. The vehicle began to drive rough and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer where a diagnostic test was performed that proved that the transmission was defective. The contact noticed numerous complaints online regarding the failure for his vehicle and contacted the manufacturer. The manufacturer advised the contact that they would return his call at a later date with a response. In addition, the contact stated that he was not informed that the transmission fluid was black, which should have indicated a failure. The vehicle was not further repaired and the contact was awaiting a return call from the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #248

Oct 302010


  • 102,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey - as we were driving on hwy I-24 w, tcs and check engine indicators lighted up. We checked the handbook given by Honda in which it was said that the vehicle can be driven even when these lights are on. We drove for 30 miles when there was a smell like gas and it got stronger in couple of minutes. I asked my husband to pull over and stop the vehicle. The vehicle did not move after that. Had to call a tow truck and had it towed back to the dealer at home. The dealer inspected the vehicle and tried flushing the transmission fluid, which according to the service personnel was so burnt that the transmission needs to be replaced. The dealer quoted $3750 for replacing the part. Called american Honda to report the problem. They said that nothing could be done since we were not the original owner of the vehicle. Case# N012010-11-0103469. Based on research we found that there was a recall for this vehicle in 2004, your campaign id# 04V176000. There are many other complaints of the same and everyone saying that Honda has not done anything to resolve this issue. This was a dangerous situation for us, since we had two children in the van and if the transmission had given out before we pulled over we would have surely been rear ended by someone since everyone is traveling at such high speeds.

- Paducah, KY, USA

problem #247

Oct 272010


  • 155,000 miles
Without any warning the engine light and the tcs light came on in my van, I was told by the dealer just from that information "oh you need a new transmission" I had Honda perform all required servicing on the vehicle as defined yet it still failed. Also my van has the same ignition issue (key can be removed without the vehicle in park) that Honda recalled cars for, yet when I contacted my dealer he said it's not part of the recall so they would not fix it. I guess it's unsafe in a car but safe in a van.

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #246

Sep 152010


  • 112,000 miles


2003 Honda Odyssey van, transmission down shifted at 72M.P.H. on interstate.went to two Honda dealers 1st. Dealer said trans. Gone replace for $4,000 dealer where purchased said trans. Gone will replace for $6,000 called Honda Corp. They said to bad. Bought van new serviced at dealers 112,000 miles. Honda has built a bad product and will do nothing about it !

- Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #245

Oct 192010


  • 179,000 miles
2003 Honda/Odyssey/5dr ex vehicle # [xxx]. transmission does not shift to 3rd gear, frequency 2-4 times in one hour of city driving, consequences almost had a serious accident unable to merge into traffic because of sudden down shift. @40-60 km/H the day before this almost serious accident, I took the vehicle to maple Honda 98 auto vaughan drive, Ontario. They stated it was a lack of fluid in the transmission added fluid the problem the problem still present and progressively getting worst. Please note Honda had a recall on there 1999-2001 Odyssey with the same symptoms that I have been experiencing sudden down shift,3rd gear clutch pack. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Woodbridge, 00, USA

problem #244

Oct 202010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles
Automatic transmission failure. Car was making a whinning noise when accelerating, took to the dealer who flushed the transmission. Soon after there was the smell of fluid burning. Dealer informed that the transmission has failed. The recall issued in 2004 for the transmission problem was installed on this vehicle. I have researched where transmission failure is a common problem with the model year and vehicle. The dealership acknowledged that transmissions are an issue on this vehicle, however the manufacturer has not done anything to address the defects and failures with this vehicle. This is a major safety hazard considering the transmission can lock at high speeds and may cause a serious accident.

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #243

Oct 172010


  • 108,119 miles
I own a Honda 2003 Odyssey with approximately 108,000 miles and the transmission locked up on me and would go forward very slow. The car has been maintained, but after research, I come to find out that Honda has had numerous complaints about transmission problems with the 2003 Odyssey and Honda has done nothing.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #242

Oct 102010


  • 124,800 miles


The transmission began to slip and race on I-95 in heavy weekend traffic. Diagnostics by the dealership resulted in the root cause being transmission and throttle-body failure. Unacceptable for a 2003 model Honda with 124K miles.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #241

Oct 022010


  • 111,000 miles
For the past several years a significant jolt was felt when gears shifted on 2003 Odyssey. Sometimes the shift would come with a slight delay. Finally, check engine light came on. At the end I had to replace transmission and PCM.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #240

Oct 092010


  • 107,000 miles
Own 2003 Honda Odyssey with 107,000 miles. Just had timing belt replaced at dealership, full inspection, changed transmission fluid. Only two weeks later transmission failed on I4 on way to orlando with family. A harrowing experience.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #239

Sep 282010


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. The contact stated that while driving, the vehicle suddenly began to slow down as if it were in neutral, despite the contacts attempts to accelerate. He pulled over, turned off the engine and restarted the vehicle. When he attempted to shift in gear, the vehicle would not move; it did move in reverse since the vehicle was parked on an incline. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and inquired about recall 04V176000 (power train:automatic transmission) but the dealer refused to repair it. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The current and failure mileages were approximately 130,000.

- Sachse, TX, USA

problem #238

Sep 042010


  • 103,347 miles
Faulty shifting by Honda Odyssey transmission. Random shifting, missed shifting leading to near red-line engine tachometer readings.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #237

Jul 142010

Odyssey 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Odyssey. While driving the supplemental restraint system light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosis located the failure as the seat belt sensor which caused the air bag light to illuminate intermittently. The manufacturer stated that they would not assist with the repair, because the vehicle was out of warranty. The vehicle wasn't repaired. The failure mileage was 76,000 and the current mileage was 77,000. Updated 12/21/10 the consumer stated the drive light was flashing and the vehicle would not shift out of park. The transmission temperature sensor failed. Updated 12/30/10

- Holland , MI, USA

problem #236

Aug 232010


  • 113,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey, the transmission failed (slipping between the gears) at 113,000 miles. Have visited Honda dealer where we bought the car, we have been told we need a new transmission (transmission is dead basically). A re-built one would cost ~$4500 - $5000. With all the major services have been done at dealer service center, the transmission is dead too prematurely. Honda needs to be responsible for the repair cost. The recall of 2004 didn't fully address the transmission issue which makes the transmission failed way too early.

- Coppell, TX, USA

problem #235

Sep 032010


  • 114,000 miles
03 Honda Odyssey while traveling at 50 mph, the transmission went into lower gear and back. Then continued to drop down a gear or 2 and go back up. I stopped the car and started up again, it continued, then the transmission would not shift. I was about 5 miles from a Honda dealer and decided I better drive there. On the way the check engine light came on plus all the other lights, it wouldn't shift and I couldn't go over 20 mph. I was on a major highway to get to the Honda dealer. My children were terrified and upset. The transmission was originally recalled, I had the recall fix and it still failed. I found numerous complaints online about this transmission and there is a class action lawsuit. Please check into this to prevent any deaths. If I had been driving during rush hour on a major road whoever was behind me would have slammed into me.

- Schwenksville, PW, USA

problem #234

Jul 102010


  • 90,000 miles
Tcs light came on, throttle surges and whole vehicle shudders at about 15 mph under steady throttle. Transmission hesitates when placed in drive and slips when shifting.

- Cibolo, TX, USA

problem #233

Aug 312010


  • 92,000 miles
2003 Honda Odyssey, transmission failure. Driving down the highway, the transmission slipped from gear. Honda said a total transmission replacement is needed.

- Snohomish, WA, USA

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