04 Honda Odyssey vs. 05 Town & Country

Ok, I promise I will eventually commit to a vehicle purchase, and I really appreciate everyone’s comments. My back story is I’m entering the minivan stage of my life. We have been a single car (2door) car for 2 yrs, and saved $6500 for the purchase of a second, larger vehicle. As I am only a few days from having another baby, we are in a bit of a time crunch bc the carseats won’t fit in the 2 door.

So, I found a 05 TC XL for $6500 w 97k miles, few bells and whistles, but have had it checked by mechanic. He said it looked like the headliner was “a shoddy fiix with wrinkles” (probably after hail damage on the roof was fixed) and that was the only major thing wrong with it (minor things like a few dings, minor hail on hood, coolant needed flushing and a small rust spot inside door). we were going to offer $5800 for this vehicle.

Well, i just got home and was researching headliner replacement when i found a 04 Honda odyssey exl with 149k mikes for $6000! It has lots of fancy options and I love our current Honda…my problem is my hubby thinks that mileage is just too high. Ugh! Soooo, I was wondering if I could get some opinions (hopefully lots of feedback saying the Honda is better :slight_smile: that I can share with hubby when he gets home from work?

Anyways, thanks again for any help and comments :slight_smile:

149,000 miles isn’t too many for the Odyssey engine - they have great engines. The problem with the Odyssey is the transmission. They die early and often. They cost around $4,000 to rebuild. They seem to be better in the 2005 and newer models (the 3rd generation of the Ody.) Is this the original tranny for this Ody, or has it already been rebuilt?

Has the timing belt and water pump been replaced? That could cost $1,000 to do.

Motor mounts also go bad on these and need replacing.

Unless there is a receipt that shows the timing belt was replaced, assume it hasn’t been done. That would add $1000 to the up front cost of the Odyssey, unless you can get it done by the current and not pay much more for the van.

On the T&C: where is the rust spot inside the door? You need to make sure that it isn’t just the outward view of a large rust problem.

Yes, the odyssey has a new timing belt, water pump, battery, and Front brake pads - I think it has only had 2 other owners.

The T&C was bought at an auction about a year ago by a 92 yr old man, who is now downsizing and doesn’t want it anymore. The rust spot was about the size of a half dollar on the inside of the back passenger door, and the mechanic said it was pretty minor.

I’m going to call the owner and ask him right now about the transmission. Thanks again for your comments :slight_smile:

The Honda sounds better to me, but you may need to budget for a transmission replacement at some future date, about $2 to 3K.

A Honda Odyssey transmission with 150K miles is as good/or bad as a Chrysler minivan transmission with 100K miles. I would stay away from a vehicle with hail damage unless it has steep discounts. I think most insurance companies would declare the car salvage. If your budget is around $6K, then a Caravan in decent shape might be better. You can start searching for a domestic minivan priced at ~ $8K and negotiate the price down.

Minivans are expensive new. Don’t expect to drive either of these many miles without major repairs, thus negating any savings in the initially low price. I would rather spend that money for a better midsize sedan and save until you can afford a Toyota or Honda minivan in the 50k mile range. You have trusted too many miles to someone else maintenance plan. Either could be good or bad regardless of our advice…save more !

Uncle is already telling you to save 2 to 3 k for a new trans. My daughter’s trans needed replacement in her Honda van at less then 150k. Chryslers have less reliable mechanics overall. Your lack of initial purchase funds for an expensive car will cost you more in the long run. You can’t afford ANY minivan now.

Galant, you’re knocking the T & C, then recommending a Caravan. You do realize that these are essentially the same vehicles from the same manufacturer, right?

There are probably better deals out there on better vehicles, but between these two vehicles, I would go with the Chrysler. They are cheaper and easier to repair and maintain than the Odyssey, no $1,000 timing belt to worry about, and even the worst case scenario, if the transmission kicks the bucket (much less common than in the earlier ones; I’ve only ever changed out the trannys in these vans from the late ‘90s), it’s half the price and double the reliability of the Odyssey transmission. If I were shopping in this price range, personally, I would not consider an Odyssey at all. Their resale value is so high you are likely to end up with a very expensive headache. Conversely, Chrysler minivans’ resale value is so low you are likely to get a nicer, newer, more reliable vehicle than you could if you were looking for a Honda badge. Personally, I think the Chrysler minivans are grossly underrated and have an undeserved bad reputation for reliability. If I were looking for ANY minivan in this price range, my focus would be on the Chrysler vehicles due to their low resale value (you can get a much nicer vehicle for the money), ease of repair, low priced repair parts, and better-than-most-people-think reliability.

We have a 2003 Odyssey with about 80K miles on it. Bought it used in 2007 with around 33K miles. It’s been a great vehicle overall; I’ve been very mindful of the transmission as I know that’s historically a weak spot. So far so good, though.

The only bit of advice I’d offer is to verify whether or not the Odyssey you’re looking at has a trailer hitch installed. Personally, given the transmission reputation of this vintage Odyssey, I’d walk away from one that had any indication of having been used for towing.

Good luck.

Sound advice from ledhed75. I know people who won’t even buy a pickup truck if it has a hitch on it for the same reason.

I could just copy and paste mark9207’s post. So put in a +1 on every point he made.

Your are looking at a seven year old vehicle and an eight year old vehicle. At this point, the condition and maintenance records are more important than the make. One thing in favor of the Chrysler Town and Country is that you mentioned is that it has fewer bells and whistles. That means that there is less to go wrong as opposed to the Honda you described.
I have owned 4 minivans and to me, a minivan is a minivan. I presently own a 2011 Toyota Sienna with quite a few options. My previous minivan was a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander with few options. While the power sliding doors on the Sienna are nice, I really didn’t have any problem opening the doors on the Uplander. There are power windows in the sliding doors of the Sienna, but I rarely roll these windows down. The Sienna has a power driver’s seat, but the non-power seat in the Uplander was just as comfortable for me.
I have a minivan because I play in three different musical groups and am frequently carrying musicians and their instruments. On one gig 50 miles away, we had 6 people, 2 cellos, 1 French horn, 1 trumpet, 1 violin, and 1 flute for the 100 mile round trip. You can’t beat the minivan for space which is particularly important when you have children.
In addition to the Uplander and Sienna, I previously had a Ford Aerostar and then a Ford Windstar. All of them were satisfactory.

@oblivion, I know T&C and Caravan’s are the same; mechanically. The T&C is the more loaded version and usually priced higher. The point I was trying to make is to search for a van priced closer to $8K with lower miles and then knock the price down. Any other Domestic make would probably be more affordable than Honda or Toyota.

First, oh my gosh, thank you for all your comments- it’s good to get a lot of different opinions, particularly since my hubby and I aren’t tremendous car people.

So, we finally tracked down the odyssey today…honestly, the inside was a lot nicer than the TC, but I think the TC drove better…the other troubling thing about the odyssey was that I found it on craigslist list dated 1 month ago and it was priced at $6k…but when we found the car, the owner had placed it on a consignment lot and there was a big yellow price tag that said $7995…ugh, I realize the consignment lot owner has to make a living, too; but that’s why I’ve been scouring craigslist everyday during my kids nap time- I’m trying to keep my costs down by dealing directly with sellers.

Sooooo, now for the super exciting news…my hubby and i are about half way through turbo tax, and it turns out we overpaid the IRS $3500!!! I know, it would have been better not to give them our money, interest free for a year, but the refund couldn’t have come at a better time! My hubby and have talked about it and we think we’ll just “advance” whatever our refund ends up being from our emergency fund(so we don’t have to wait for the check to get here), so now we are potentially looking at a NEW price range of maybe as much as $9k (assuming $1k for sales tax and registration)…so, sounds like I may make some new posts in the next few days. Thanks again for all your helpful comments…you guys are awesome!

You might not want to buy a more expensive van, but keep the tax refund to fix up the one you buy. Well, maybe keep $1500 to $2000 in case of unknown repairs. You may call me Major Buzzkill, but prices are low for a reason, and it is almost never good will.

I would check around for other options. Both vehicles are in a high risk zone.