Problems With the Honda Odyssey

by Andy Joseph

The Honda Odyssey made its debut in 1995, built on the Accord platform. For its second generation, however, it was built on a brand new platform. Since then, the Odyssey has become one of the most popular minivans available. It is currently in its third generation.

1st Generation Problems

First-generation Honda Odysseys (1995 to 1998) have relatively minor issues. In some vehicles, the cigarette lighter or cupholders can come loose, and glovebox doors may pop off, requiring a replacement of the latch assembly. Also check the seatbelts, as they tend to retract slowly or not retract at all. They can be serviced under the Honda Lifetime Seat Belt Limited Warranty. Other problems include engine noise, which can be fixed with replacement of vacuum-booster check valve. Oil leaks can be fixed by checking the front balance shaft oil plug.

Major 2nd Generation Problems

Entries in the second generation of Odysseys (1999 to 2004) tend to have problems with failure of the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve passages and EGR valve, the evaporative canister vent solenoid and the catalytic converter. Any of these failures can cause the "Check Engine" light to illuminate. Automaker Honda has extended the warranty on EGR system problems to 8 years or 80,000 miles. Another common problem with second-generation Odysseys is automatic transmission failure. Honda has also extended the warranty on this part of the vehicle to 7 years or 100,000 miles.

Other 2nd Generation Problems

Other problems with second-generation Odysseys include failure of locking left sliding doors. This can be fixed with a replacement fuel-door clip. Sliding door alarms may also go off while riding on rough roads. This usually means the junction switch in the B-pillar needs to be properly grounded. The engine can also misfire, but this can be solved with revised PCV hose and a manifold end cap. Any engine noise, another complaint, can be fixed by replacing the serpentine belt tensioner.

3rd Generation Problems

Most third-generation problems come from the 2005 model year. They include noisy front brakes (can be fixed with reformulated friction compound); freezing door handles in cold weather (requires release cable and an electrical connector replacement); speedometer, tachometer and/or temperature gauge malfunction (reconnection at the fuse panel inside the vehicle required) and dimming headlights (can be fixed with replacement of the fuse box in the engine compartment).

Best Honda Odysseys

Any Honda Odyssey would be a good choice due to its strong history of reliability. However, always pull out a CARFAX report to check the history of any vehicle you want to purchase. Also, if you simply want a newer vehicle with more features, the second and third generation Honda Odysseys would be the way to go.

About the Author

Based in the D.C. area, Andy Joseph works full-time as a data analyst and technical writer. He has been writing articles about technology, health, politics, music, culture and automobiles since 2007. His work has appeared in The Express, Congressional Report and Road & Track. He has a master's degree in journalism and technology management.