really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
106,400 miles
Total Complaints:
62 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (36 reports)
  2. have it rebuilt (12 reports)
  3. not sure (9 reports)
  4. honda is replacing the transmission (4 reports)
  5. valve replacement to circulate fluid (1 reports)
2003 Honda Odyssey transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Honda Odyssey:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Honda Odyssey Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #62

Jun 202016

Odyssey EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,790 miles


This van (2003 Honda Odyssey) had the so called oil jet for the transmission recall done in June of 2013 with close to 90k miles on it at that time, however, the damage had already been done to the transmission by then. It eventually failed now 3 years down the road and it would shut itself off on the road while driving or while standing at an intersection. Very unsafe vehicle to drive. Honda says they washed their hands off with this by putting in the oil jet which is supposed to lubricate the transmission further from getting hot and failing.

This is the worst Honda I have ever owned. Honda should have put in a new transmission in it at 90k instead of just the oil jet kit which wasn't going to do much against a poor quality transmission. Honda needs to own up to this problem. Their case manager said that unless the wheels locked up on you while driving, it's not considered a safety recall. Seriously, you want the consumer to have the wheels lock up due to a faulty transmission and get into a car accident before you decide to do anything. Honda dealership wants $5800 to put in a new transmission. Very disappointed with Honda. Will not buy a V6 Honda ever again. If anyone knows about any class action lawsuit against honda in this regard, please let me know. Thanks.


problem #61

Jan 012017

Odyssey EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

I have a mint condition 2003 Honda Odyssey with 114000 miles on it which I have had since it was new. the van is in perfect like new condition. Looks almost new, perfect engine, new timing belt..... And now a bad transmission! Due to the cars age, blue book value is a jokingly $3500, about the same as a rebuilt transmission would cost me. I'm sick. I guess all I can say is misery loves company. I have a lot of company with this bad transmission. Shame on Honda for not standing behind this issue. I am now a Toyota fan.

Update from Apr 1, 2017: Update: After reading tons of reviews of honda not helping customers with this known problem, I called Honda USA and stated my case, knowing I was outside the extended warranty honda put on this defective transmission but I felt they way I had maintained this van up until now, it wasn't fair for Honda to walk away from helping me out. Honda USA told me to take the van in to my local honda dealer to get it diagnosed and they would go from there on deciding wether to help or not. I did and the service rep said more then likely it is just a bad solenoid, he sees it all the time, I was pretty excited. Unfortunately the not so surprising call came back from him telling me I wasn't so fortunate and the transmission needed replacing. I wasn't surprised due to all the info I had read about this vintage Odyssey with a known bad trans. I stated my case and asked the service rep to go to bat for me to see if Honda would step up to the plate. He said he would. Fast forward this story, and Honda came back with a 60/40 deal. They would pay 60% and I would pay 40% equating to around $2300 for me. 1 year warranty. I know this probably isn't the most screaming deal I could have gotten, but I was ok with this. My van is back on the road for hopefully another 100k miles (Longer then I'll need it) and Honda kept me as a customer. Just wanted to pass this along.

- Joe H., Littleton, US

problem #60

Sep 192016

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,451 miles

After I dropped my daughter off at school, I was turning right onto the main road and tried to accelerate to merge into traffic. Although the rpms went to 7, the car barely moved. Finally it kicked into gear and I was able to get the van up to 30 mph but I could tell the transmission was slipping the rest of the way home. Luckily, I was only 3 miles from home. When my husband got home, he took the van for a test ride. After about 5 minutes, the transmission started to slip again especially trying to go uphill. The the engine light came on. Now it's parked in the driveway waiting for the tow truck to take it to the junk yard where it belongs.

I am so disgusted with Honda because they knew that there was a serious transmission design defect that destroyed the transmission especially in the 2002 and 2003 models and they didn't stand behind their product. We have owned Hondas in the past but this has really eroded my faith in Honda as a quality product. Honda boasts having a great trade in value, but ours is worth a -$100 since we now have to pay to have it towed. We

are now in the process of shopping for a new van. I've heard great things about the Chrysler Pacifica.

- Betty G., Springfield, VA, US

problem #59

Sep 032016

Odyssey EXL 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 270,000 miles


It is hard to believe Honda was able to duck a recall on so many vehicles.

From my research, I learned all the V-Tech Engines from 2001- 2003 put too much a strain on the automatic transmissions. The engine was too powerful for the Transmissions and Honda was aware of the problem and took several years to fix it.

They did very little did to nothing to accommodate all the vehicles out there that they knew most likely had the problem.

This problem happens on Honda Accords, Odyssey, Acura's any vehicle that had the V-Tech.

I did find they had a recall in Canada for owners who had under 15,000 KM on their vehicle. It is very unlikely you would be aware you were have a transmission problem with so few miles.

Honda always had a high quality reputation as a manufacturer and with customer service, but this was a safety issue and a very expensive repair for the customer.

They will lose some loyal customers and repeat customers like myself.

I am not sure who they paid off at the NTSB, but it was a deceitful at best and criminal at worst.


One successful fix I have heard that worked for my brother in law on his acura, was to replace 2nd gear in you automatic transmission.

- cbva, North Chesterfield, VA, US

problem #58

Jun 092010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

This is my third Honda vehicle. A 1985 Accord LX, a 1998 Accord LX and a 2003 Honda odyssey van! I have replaced the transmission in all three of the vehicle, more than once. I love the performance and luxury of the vehicles when I DO NOT HAVE TRANSMISSION problems!

My 1985 replaced transmission twice and got 379,000 miles on it. The 1998 replaced transmission twice and had 301,000 miles on it. The 2013 van, the trans had to be replaced at 92,000 miles and THANK GOD it was under warranty, the cost was $5,200 at the HONDA dealer in Lancaster, PA. Now, I have 182,000 on the same van and the transmission needs to be replaced again! THIS IS A SHAME AND RIDICULOUS!!!

Loyal Honda customers should not have to bare this problem! Actually, for the price you pay for the car, NO ONE should have to deal with this situation!! Another transmission is an estimated cost between $3,200 and $5,000. I am considering not purchasing another Honda again because of this problem. My car is maintained properly every 3000 to 3500 miles (I have receipts to prove it)!

I feel Honda is aware of the problems that have occurred with all of there transmission and should be held liable!!! If there is an answer or help, I feel I am entitled to it for being faithful to purchasing the HONDA vehicles!

- defranco, Kirkwood, PA, US

problem #57

Oct 012012

Odyssey LX 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

No "ass" sistance what so ever from Goodson Honda where we purchase it brand new. Even paid extra 600 to have it shipped from Japan.

Also currently have:

* oil leaking from engine block * water leaks on driver side * power loss or hesitation when taking off * paint peeling off on top of van * broken rear side glass motor * RR heater blower not working

- Armando J., Spring, TX, US

problem #56

Aug 132015

Odyssey LX 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles


Bought a 2003 Honda Odessy with 113K mile. Just drove 500 miles then the transmission failed. The repair will be more expensive then the car. Very bad. It left me a thousand miles away from my home. If I had read the car complains about Honda Odyssey problem, I would never buy a Honda car. Very bad experience with Honda.

- Ying W., Fort Collins, CO, US

problem #55

May 052008

Odyssey LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

This vehicle's transmission is horrible. After spending 5000 replacing the transmission I was only given a 3 year warranty. I know people that are on their second transmission.

- Hector T., Abimgton, PA, US

problem #54

Feb 062015

Odyssey EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Entering ramp to highway and vehicle stopped accelerating. Check engine and TCS lights came on. Immediately put on flashers and pulled to shoulder. Cars behind me had to slam on brakes, but luckily avoided an accident. Slowly made it to an exit and pulled in to parking lot. Turned vehicle off and checked manual. Restarted vehicle and check engine light came back on, but issue seemed to resolve. Temporarily.......

- Gina C., Austin, TX, US

problem #53

Aug 092014

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

I purchased my 2003 Honda Odyssey brand new maintained it and everything we were headed to Florida from Pennsylvania when about a quarter of the way in to the trip my traction control light came on as well as my engine light. My son was driving, so I told him to pull over shut off the engine. We got out and checked under the hood. I did not see anything wrong so I assumed it was a sensor or something.

We started it back up and traction control light was off, but the engine light was still on so we continued on we went about 3/4 quarters of the way when all of the sudden Transmission fluid started coming out on to the exhaust and my rpms went higher. It also downshifted really hard so I pulled over. I thought maybe a line broke. So I called roadside assistance they came and got us after about an hour and we went to the closest Honda Dealer which was in ST.Augustine Florida Coggin Honda.

They checked it out and told me my transmission was gone. It threw codes, one was clutch deterioration and another was something about gears spinning at different speeds. I could not believe what I was hearing. He told me it had to be replaced 4000 dollars. I almost fainted he also said we could try replacing the fluid and see what happens for 250 dollars. Of course I tried that.

The mechanic did it and road tested it and said it seemed like it was OK. It was grabbing so we left there and made it to our destination. I did not feel real comfortable with it so I contacted AAmco Transmission's, to have a free check done. They told me it was throwing codes again. My options were to rip it apart to further diagnose the problem to see what could be done 850 dollars. I did and it turned out to need a total rebuild $3800.

I contacted Honda to see if they would stand behind there product and after about an hour on the phone with them, they told me there was nothing they could do for me. So of course I was not happy about that contacted a lawyer to see if there was something I could do and I am getting mixed answers. Does anybody have an advice on this?

- Steven Marigliano M., Collingdale, Pennsylvaina, US

problem #52

Nov 292013

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,500 miles


I realize at this point I may be merely adding another sour fruit on to the Odyssey lemon pile. Ours likely took longer because I've been babying the Lemon-mobile the past few years by coasting to stops, gently nudging the beast forward, and avoiding the dastardly chattering/shuddering at 2nd/3rd year transitions by pushing through the 35mph hot zone quickly. And what do I get for these efforts: a big fat lemon in our driveway that can only go forward, not backwards – kinda ironic, ain't it?

It's been a protracted death: first, slight gear slippage when auto shifting at approximately 35mph (usually going up slight grade), then losing ability to downshift lever to lower gears this winter, then putting van into reverse on cold mornings causing a jolting "thunk" as gear engaged or slipping out of reverse gear leading to a skid before reverse reengaging, and finally, reverse stopped working.

When I brought our problem child to the local Honda dealership to deal with two safety recalls, they said it would take about $3.5K to fix the other "safety" problem, and surprisingly no mention of how often Odysseys were experiencing transmission problems. (Thanks for the full disclosure!) Needless to say, I was still left in the dark about the pervasive nature of the transmission issue. I then brought the van to a reputable transmission specialist who checked it out, was able to reproduce the reverse "thunk", but could only state that maybe they could fix the problem for about $2K, but also mentioned there's been lots of problems with Odyssey transmissions. That's unfortunately when I found out how bad the situation was by researching this and other sites.

Now I'm sitting here watching the Tour de France contemplating how to make 2 tons of lemonade out of our Odyssey.

- odyssey begins, Concord, NH, US

problem #51

May 082013

Odyssey EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,893 miles

2003 Odyssey's transmission was a complete dog. Stay away from this van, unless you really love rebuilding transmissions.

- onlyusedcars, Cleveland, TN, US

problem #50

Nov 082011

Odyssey EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,133 miles

I have been a loyal customer of Honda since I bought the car in 2003. I have always brought it to them for the regularly scheduled maintenance. When something came up that needed to be checked out, they always informed me, and most of the time I would go along with their suggestions. As an example, at about 60,000 miles they told me that I should replace the timing belt. Costly, but good for protective maintenance. I told them OK. At times they checked the brakes for wear, etc.

When my transmission went out I had it towed, (kudos to AAA), to their facility.

They told me that they wanted $4,350.to replace the transmission. I nearly s*** a brick. I told them that at that price I will have it towed back to my house and have someone else do it. He told me to hold on and he'll see if he can get me a better price. After a 3 hour wait, I got the price down to $1863, which I felt, at least, was somewhat reasonable. He told me that they are giving me that, "wonderful price", because I am such a loyal customer. My response was that if I was such a loyal customer why did they not offer me the lower price in the first place.

(Later on I checked on the web to see the general prices of the transmission that I would need and most ran about $1250.)

Then they tried to tell me that it was all my fault since I did not tell them at the right mileage to check the transmission fluid. I told them that since I was such a loyal customer, they should have told me when it was due, as they have in the past with other issues like timing belt and brakes.

I'd like to think that this kind of thing happens only with Honda or with the dealer here that I use, but it is probably a business practice that all dealers in the industry follow, ie; how to get the most out of your customers.

- dogie, Inverness, FL, US

problem #49

Mar 152007

Odyssey LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,541 miles

My list is to long from the transmission to the engine, the leather seats , power doors, power widows, instrument panel . It burns oil it stinks so bad when it runs, it's hat to keep running, the ignition had to be replaced. This is the wort vehicle I have ever owned. JUNK LEMON, expensive piece of SH#t ever

- Sue G., Edgewood, MD, US

problem #48

Dec 152011

Odyssey V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Transmission failed about 100 miles from home, had to have Van toed to Charlottesville to have transmission replaced, was told there was no warranty on this unit. However the tow truck driver told us that he had towed several 2003 Odyssey's with the same transmission failure. After a little research I found out that honda had changed transmissions the year after ours was built, we had bought the van new in January 2003. if Honda knew that it was a problem they could have at least let us know about it!

- edsjeeps, Charlottesville, VA, US

problem #47

Jul 032011

Odyssey EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The Odyssey , overall, is a great car. We have made many long and memorable trips in it.

However, the transmission went in July 2011 with 120k miles on it. It was an expensive repair. I started doing a little internet research and realized that it was a very common problem. I've had other Hondas and Acura's in the past and never had to deal with such a well publicized flaw as the transmission issue.

- elias3, Norwalk, CT, US

problem #46

Jun 022013

Odyssey EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

Honda and Acura are the only brands in my family since 1992. Honda has less recalls than other car makers, and they usually took care the problems. I was believing 2003 Honda 5 speed transmission failure can not happen to me since Honda recall install transmission cooler. I also believed as long as replacing transmission fluid with Honda genuine ATF every 12K, my Odyssey can work as good as other Honda in my family. I was wrong, and transmission failed on me this morning.

I will contact Honda customer service tomorrow, and hoping they will take care transmission repair at their expense. If they do not take any action, NO HONDA EVER in my family.

- hhsu168, Irvine, CA, US

problem #45

Jan 302012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

I was told by the transmission place that I was lucky that my Honda Odyssey transmission lasted so long, because most were failing at around 120,000 miles.

- medlaw100, Peoria, AZ, US

problem #44

Oct 092011

Odyssey EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I'm as disappointed with the dealer that sold us this vehicle as I am with the product. We were first time Honda owner and this will be the last. We purchased the vehicle used in April of 2011 with about 97,000 miles on it. The paperwork showed regular routine maintenace on the transmission. In September of that year we abruptly got a check engine light warning. The codes that were being thrown were P0700,P0740 and P1740. My mechanic told me I was a now a member of the "Odyssey Club" and that I needed a new transmission. I discussed my issue with the Honda dealer we purchased the vehicle from just 6 months prior. There was no longer any customer committment or product accountability here. The dealer offered nothing except to try and profit from our situation by offering an insultingly low trade-in credit towards another vehicle. The replacement cost for a rebuilt transmission (one of the most expensive in the industry..) ended up running around $3700.00.

I can accept the fact that problems occur from time to time but for Honda to have no accountability in this instance was shocking to me and made a lasting impression that will influence my purchase decision from this point forward. I'm sure this behavior made good business sense in the mind of the dealer that sold us this vehicle but it wasn't good business.

- jitterbug, Mooresville, IN, US

problem #43

Jan 012009

Odyssey EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Bought my Odyssey Certified from a Honda dealer in 2008, a month later the car started shaking while changing from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 and also sometimes from 4 to 5. Complained to a Honda dealer about it, their answer: I dont know how to drive Hondas. Went to three independant garages, specialists, turns out they know Honda tranny problems very well. They wrote an evaluation to Honda explaining the problem. It took me three months of phone calls visit to Honda dealers (2) to finally get a new tranny from Honda. This second tranny has never been smooth, harsh shifts from 2 to 3 and 3 to 4, slight vibration barely noticeable at 80-90 Kmh, it only has 60000Km. Im pretty sure is going to start shaking badly, like the first tranny, soon.

Hondas reliable?

- odysseynomore, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?