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Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems

in Reliability
Silver Honda Odyssey in a parking lot

2018 Honda Odyssey Touring by Kevauto CC BY-SA 4.0

Five generations in, the Honda Odyssey has proven itself time and again as one of the most reliable minivans on the market. Honda began manufacturing the Odyssey in 1994, garnering numerous awards for its status as a top-tier minivan.

With such an excellent vehicle on your hands, you want to make sure you get one that’s operating at optimal performance as well. That’s where CoPilot steps in - to ensure you know what to watch out for while you’re looking for a Honda Odyssey!

The Most Common Problems with Honda Odyssey & Costs to Fix

These are the most common problems reported by owners on platforms such as carproblems.com, carcomplaints.com, and Car Talk Community.

  1. Transmission failure. Cost to fix: $3,300
  2. Paint peeling. Cost to fix: $1,500
  3. Power steering pump malfunction. Cost to fix: $500


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Honda Odyssey: Transmission Failure

Cost to fix: $3,300

The Honda Odyssey’s most notorious problem by far is transmission failure, which can be a nightmare if it happens to you. Your transmission is essential for its role in transferring the engine’s rotation to the wheels, allowing the car to accelerate and move. This means that if the transmission fails, your car can’t move, potentially leading to a major road hazard if this happens in an unfortunate position. 

There are several signs that your transmission is failing or is about to fail, and due to the severity of this problem, it’s essential that you watch out for all of them. A major one has to do with the smoothness you experience when shifting gears. If it’s difficult or rough to shift, or your transmission slips unexpectedly without your input, something is wrong and you should get your transmission checked out right away.

Leaking transmission fluid is also a huge red flag. Look underneath your car for any pools of dark red liquid that may have built up. If your Honda Odyssey is in a dark place where it’s difficult to see, you can slide some cardboard or a similar material underneath, leave it for a while, and pull it out to see if any liquid dripped onto it.

Another telltale sign of transmission failure is a loud, clunking noise coming from your car. If you experience any of these symptoms, take your car into the shop as soon as possible so that you can avoid having an accident.

Transmission failure is an extremely serious problem that will likely require a total transmission replacement. It is of the utmost importance that your transmission works completely at every step. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the unit, it will cost around $3,300 to have your Odyssey’s transmission replaced.


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Problem Two: Paint Peeling

Cost to fix: $1,500

Multiple Honda Odysseys have had their paint begin to peel and blister, making them look unruly only a couple years after purchase. Luckily, this issue will only affect your minivan cosmetically and will not harm its actual performance or put you in danger. This does not mean you should ignore it though, as it may bother you more than you realize.

The bad news is if your paint does begin to peel there isn’t much you can do about it. Honda doesn’t have any solutions themselves, so the only real workarounds are to ignore it or get an aftermarket paint job somewhere. Paint jobs for a Honda Odyssey typically hover around $1,500, but this can increase or decrease depending on where you take it and how high the quality of the job is (in extreme cases, an excellent paint job could run you over $5,000).

A silver lining here is that paint peeling is often due to an incident happening while driving the car and not a manufacturer defect, but there have been several reports of this issue with Odysseys so it’s still worth looking out for when you buy one.

Another Common Problem with Honda Odyssey: Power Steering Pump

Cost to fix: $500

The Honda Odyssey has had a few dozen complaints of a noisy whine emitting from the vehicle when drivers turn the steering wheel. One of the most common causes of this is worn out power steering fluid that the pump is unable to properly move.

Another possible cause is a faulty power steering reservoir that may not be providing proper circulation. Either way, diagnosing the issue and replacing the power steering pump will probably run you approximately $500.


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How to avoid buying an unreliable used Honda Odyssey

First and foremost, make sure to take any Honda Odyssey you seek to buy out for a test drive, paying careful attention to the noises the car makes and the smoothness of the ride. If you notice any loud, clunking noises or a whine when you steer, avoid buying the car. While you drive it, try shifting into each gear at different speeds to properly test out the transmission.

You’ll also want to carefully inspect all over the Odyssey to make sure there isn’t any paint peeling. Most importantly, have your local mechanic approve the vehicle and request a pre-purchase inspection so you can look out for any concerning problems in its history.

The Easiest Way to Find Reliable Honda Odysseys in Your Area

The easiest way to find reliable Honda Odysseys in your area is certainly by downloading the free CoPIlot car shopping app. We’ll search every dealership in your area to create a personalized list of the best minivans near you. CoPilot is built using the same technology that car dealerships use to buy and sell their inventory, making it the smartest and easiest way to buy a used Honda Odyssey.

Try CoPilot Compare, the search engine for nearly-new cars if you’re interested in newer, off-lease cars. We’ll only show you models that are 5 years or newer with low mileage, most with CPO availability, and break down how much you save buying used with the best nearly-new listings in your area.

Not convinced yet? CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, meaning there are no ‘promoted’ or ‘sponsored’ listings - just the best cars in your area! Learn more about how CoPilot works on our About Us page.