How to Troubleshoot Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems

by Dianne Christensen-Herman
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The Honda Odyssey is a minivan manufactured by the Japanese automaker Honda since 1994. The Odyssey, which, as of January 2011, is in its third generation in North American and fourth in Japan, features a 5-speed automatic transmission with the 3.0L engine. Typical transmission problems include a bad engine bearing that could break, causing metal to get in the transmission fluid, and erratic shifting. Another problem is leaking transmission fluid. Many of the transmission troubleshooting techniques are similar for the Odyssey as with other vehicle models.

Step 1

Look for brownish-reddish stains beneath the vehicle. Check if the liquid is coming from the transmission or the power steering system; many power steering systems use transmission fluid as well and can appear on the ground in the same areas as transmission leaks. Inspect the fluid level often to prevent major problems. If the fluid gets too low in the Odyssey, it could cause erratic gear shift problems and eventually ruin the transmission. The transmission may feel like it does not want to relax and is in high gear or overdrive.

Step 2

Notice new noises, gear shift changes and vibrations in the vehicle. Modern transmissions should shift smoothly. If there are loud noises while you are shifting, have the transmission checked by a qualified mechanic. If caught early, this can prevent costly repairs. This could mean a bearing broke and scattered metal in the transmission fluid, which is a common problem in Honda Odyssey vehicles.

Step 3

Look at fluid color and odor if your vehicle is experiencing the problem outlined in Step 2. First make sure the Odyssey is running and on level ground. Remove the transmission oil dipstick, which is typically located near the top of the engine, close the fill hole for the transmission fluid. The transmission fluid should be a transparent reddish-brownish color. Place a drop of the transmission fluid on a white paper towel. If the fluid is cloudy or has a burned odor, or has metal fragments, have the vehicle's transmission inspected by a mechanic. He may advise you to have your Odyssey's transmission fluid drained and a refill or a transmission tune-up.

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