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2000 Honda Odyssey

I’ve been considering buying a used minivan, and I ran across a 2000 Honda Odyssey in (allegedly) “near perfect” condition. I’ve always heard really good things about the Odyssey, but when I did some research, it seemed that there’s been a fair amount of transmission issues. Am I just finding the “complainers” that happened to have transmission problems, or are transmission problems in Honda minivans akin to head gasket issues in Subarus. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

The legend is true. Find out about the history of the transmission and make sure it can be documented. If you want to go for it anyway budget for a rebuilt transmission sometime in the near future.

1999-2001 transmissions were really bad. 2002-2003 better but a lot still go bad. They seemed to figure it out by 2004. Look at Consumer Reports, their reviews show this.

(I own a 2002 with 103,000 miles and no problems yet, but I’d look for a late 2004 model or redesigned 2005 if I had to replace my Odyssey.)

This is not just a “fair amount”… these vehicles, by modern standards, were reliability nightmares when it comes to their transmissions. I know a good dozen people who own them, and only 2 (maybe 3) have not replaced their transmissions. Several have had to replace them 2 or more times.

Ironically, one coworker had one of these and a 1996 Taurus at the same time. The Taurus cost him ~$700 in repairs over 12 years (half of which could have been avoided had he taken the car in when its idler pulley was squealing, rather than wait for it to fail catastrophically). The Odyssey had 2 transmissions replaced.

He sold the Taurus and bought a Fit saying that he couldn’t stand the “low quality” from Ford.

A real shame, because otherwise those Odysseys were very nice.

Thanks for the responses, guys. That’s what I was afraid of.

Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t allow for a “newer” model, that’s why I was looking for a 2000-ish model year. That said, my budget doesn’t allow for a $3500 tranny bill on top of the purchase price, either. So, I’m wondering what the chances are that I’ll still have a tranny problem if the vehicle has gotten past a certain mileage. That is, would it be “safe” to consider if the vehicle has gotten to 140k without any issues? I found another 2000 with 96,700 miles. Low miles, but a safe bet?

This sounds about right for a lot of Honda owners. Transmission failures on a Honda are acceptable, but an idler pulley failure on any aging vehicle other than a Honda points to low quality. Those Odysseys were very nice, if not for the transmission issues. Some of those vans were on their fifth of sixth transmission by 100k miles.

NO. Mileage does not improve the tranny. Odyssey transmissions can go out at any time without much warning. Avoid the 99-01’s.

Maybe there’s a 2002 or 2003 around that has an updated transmission recently put into it. Something like this could be worth the risk, but I’d want to know more about the replacement tranny.

Maybe you should look for a Sienna in your price range.

Hey, I have 2 Honda products. And I don’t find the transmission problems they had (pretty much across the board in their larger vehicles, not just with the vans) acceptable at all. Especially from a company like Honda, which has built its entire reputation on quality, these issues should have been caught before the first one shipped.

But I do appreciate that for most of these vehicles, Honda significantly extended the transmission warranty (in some cases to over 100,000 miles) in order to address the problem.

I find that better than GM and Ford, which both calculated that the wrongful death payouts would be cheaper than fixing the exploding fuel tanks, and therefore put human lives distantly lower in value than profits.

I find it better than Chrysler, which acknowledged major problems with the brakes on the PT Cruiser rusting out, and in fact issued recalls on those vehicles, but only in certain states, Minnesota not being one of them despite the fact that Minnesota has some of the saltiest roads in the country thanks to its winter.

It’s all relative. Honda definitely stumbled badly on the quality front, and I no longer believe them to be as reliable as they were in what I think of as their golden years - mid 80’s to late 90’s - but I also feel that they do more to address problems than many other car companies.

Shadowfax, So To Cut To The Chase, To Answer The Question, " . . . or are transmission problems in Honda minivans akin to head gasket issues in Subarus." The Answer Is, “Yes !” ?

Your “Asian Car Myth” is showing.



A transmission fix is around $3500. Keep that in mind.

However the chances are far in your favor you will never encounter the issue just like Subaru owners with head gaskets. I seriously doubt the the failure rate exceeds 30% in Subaru or Honda.

You know the risks so it is your decision.

I am guessing budget leads you to purchasing a 10 year old minivan? $3500 is significant chunk of money for most anyone especially those on a budget.


The true answer is I’m not sure. Quality wise, yeah, absolutely. Both problems are unacceptable. Company-response-wise, I don’t know, because I don’t know what Subaru is doing to address their particular problem.

But as to what’s showing, just because Honda built a crappy transmission and Subaru built a crappy motor doesn’t mean that GM isn’t still building crappy cars :wink: We’ll have to wait and see what the current fleet’s longevity is.

"I find that better than GM and Ford, which both calculated that the wrongful death payouts would be cheaper than fixing the exploding fuel tanks, and therefore put human lives distantly lower in value than profits. "

Do you honestly believe that Ford and GM are the only companies that do these kinds of calculations?

You do realize that Honda didn’t extend the warranty on the transmission until they were facing class action lawsuits over it, right? And then they faced MORE class action lawsuits when owners found out that their vehicles’ odometers were counting more miles than they were actually driving.

And don’t believe for a second that GM and Ford are the only ones that calculate costs of payouts. In fact, in the infamous example with the Pinto, Ford was actually using formulas which NHTSA themselves had published for use. Toyota had the same thing go on with their recent problems - cheaper to pay out than to fix.

And has Honda changed? Well, it took a class action lawsuit to get them to address premature brake wear problems on the 2008+ Accord.

Look, NONE of them are perfect… and Honda is no exception, and really no better than the others…

I second the Sienna recommendation - it is the ONLY full-size minivan from that era I recommend.

Somehow, though, I’ve found I actually cannot fit behind the steering wheel of one - it is WAY too tight for my 6’6" frame… But a Camry fits fine.

Any vehicle almost 11 years old is a crap shoot unless you know the history. How many miles are on this Odyssey and what repairs have been done?

I’ve had no experience with Honda minivans. My son had a 1999 Ford Windstar and now has a 2000 Windstar he purchased from me. He had a $1200 transmission repair on the 1999 and a $1600 transmisison repair on the 2000 Windstar. Both repairs were at about 140,000 miles. If this Honda Odyssey you are considering has over 100,000 miles, it will no doubt need some kind of repair in the near future. If the transmissions are a weak point, I would steer clear. I well remember the 1955 Buicks that had automatic transmissions (called Dynaflow) that were very troublesome and were cars to stay away from as used cars. It seems that the 2000 Honda Odyssey has taken the Buick’s place in transmission problems.

Sorry, guys, I was on vacation so that’s why no reply until now.

Thanks again for everyone’s input, and I think I have my answer: It’s not worth the risk.

I’m a subaru guy myself and wish to heck they would make a minivan in the US (there’s one available in Europe), but having had the head gasket problem on my '99 Outback, I’d likely have to deal with that again in a minivan. Anyway, I’m not REALLY in the market for a minivan; I just saw this one at a “good” price and started researching them, and that’s how I got to this point. I will look into the Siennas, but I will likely end up back with Subaru.

Thanks again, all, for the input and especially the lively debate!

I would just like to suggest that buying a quality older Odyssey (95-98) might be an option. I have a 98 that I did have to replace the transmission on, but not until 206K. We spent about 2K on an after market transmission from Japan, including installation. So far, so good. The Odyssey has 225K now, and is doing well. The older Odyssey’s are also 4 cyl engines, which makes their gas mileage better (about 26mpg highway).

I worked at the Honda Dealer in 2002 and put a trans in a 2000 that failed on the test drive. The manager did not have any problem believing it was a part failure and not something caused by an installation error. The trans was brand new from whom ever builds them for Honda,it made a big bang and failed to proceede, I looked underneath the Odyssey and it was bleeding heavily, replacement went faster the second time.