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2002 Honday Odyssey Transmission Problem - Repair or Sell

I have a 2002 Honda Odyssey with 85,500 miles. I am having problems with the transmission (gears not shifting, engine just revving) and the dealer said the solution is replacing the transmission and the transmission computer which would cost $4,600. Honda USA said they will pay half. I have read a post saying the same thing happened to them and the new transmission lasted only 10,000 miles. There are additional regular maintenance things that I need to do which would cost an additional $1,500 plus I probably need new tires in a couple of months. I am concerned about safety and reliability of the van since I always have my small children with me.

Is it worth it getting the transmission fixed if I will eventually trade in the car? Can I even trade in a van with transmission issues? I found web sites that says they will buy cars even with transmission problems but not sure how much they would pay. Or is it worth repairing the transmission and just wait for the car to die? Are there other options?

How long do vans normally last after the transmission is replaced?

Thanks for the help!

I can’t understand why so many posts about 6 to 8 year old vehicles whose owners question if they are good for anything but scrap.

If you took care of your vehicle and ALL it needs is a transmission and Honda will pay half the answer is a easy yes.

How could anyone consider not fixing a 85,000 mile Odyssey? unless it’s is a victim of abuse and neglect. 85,000 is not a lot of miles.

Psy half and get at least another 86k out of it. The truth is you may end up with another 100k-150k out of the transmission. Honda knows what the issue is and the factory rebuilds have revised parts so it does not incur the same failure.

You can after having a dealer do the tranny replacement, use an independent mechanic who is likely less than a dealer for future repairs/maintenance.

Tires & maintenance happen on any car and should not enter this equation.

Andrew, I would like to know what you do about the revised parts in the reman transmissions.

O.P., Ask the dealer why they are not replacing the transmission for free like they are for everyone else.

The Accord, Prelude and Odyssey extended warranty is for 2000-2001 model years. The O.P. might be able to push it to get some help on the cost. Those Honda automatics are expensive. The new trans should give them many years of good service, and more if they service it properly and regular.


Thank you all for your replies. We are on top of the regular oil change and maintenance of the car. Only major problem we had was this transmission issue. Honda offered to pay half of the transmission repair. Transman is correct - there was a recall and extended transmission warranty on earlier Odysseys (up to 2001). Our Odyssey got repaired on 2004 for a different transmission recall. It is good to know that we can expect more milage from our van after the transmission repair.

How can I find a good independent mechanic in my area? I am from Bergen county in NJ. Where would be a good place to start looking/asking?

Thanks again for all your help.

Independant mechanic for what?? I’m sure Honda is not going to pay for half of an independant mechanics bill to fix your transmission. Check with them before you do anything. They probably wont pick up half the tab unless the service is performed at an authorized dealer.


I agree. Car’s aren’t disposable items IMO, it’s not they are $10 toasters that aren’t worth fixing once they break. Honda is being more than reasonable about this. And like Oldschool said, unless there is some other big issue than the OP isn’t forthcoming with, there is no reason not to fix this vehicle.

As an owner of a 2003 Odyssey I say, yes, fix it. The money you would pay would
be a down payment for a new vehicle. Save the money you would pay for car payments
and use it for maintenance or to eventually purchase a new vehicle.

Independent mechanic to do the future service and maintenance after the transmission is fixed by the authorized dealer.

I don’t live in Bergen County anymore (grew up in Tenafly) but an independant shop shouldn’t be too hard to find. As you drive around you’ll see shops, if you see one with several Honda’s parked around it that is a start. Ask other Honda drivers for referrals, especially if there cars are 5 or more years old.

Kelly845: No matter what Honda agrees to provide, get the warranty in writing. Although the service mgr. told me in aug. 07 that the free replacement transmission was warranted for 3yr/36k, it is not in writing. When that transmission failed in Dec.2008, the service mgr. told me Honda would again replace it free of charge. Since it has only 18k on it, I was not surprised. I was surprised 3 days later when I arrived to drop it off and the service mgr said he had made a mistake–Honda will cover nothing. First, they said it was out of warranty at 109k but since I brought it in w/108k, they then said it was out of warranty in Aug. Now, they say it would be warranted if I had paid some portion of the cost but nobody ever told me that: they just installed a replacement as required by the settlement. In fact, I had spent nearly $1000 on transmission repairs before they replaced it. Many people have had multiple replacements because the transmissions are all defective. Also believe dealer has disconnected the trouble code display. Car is currently undriveable and I am waiting for Honda to come up with a solution.
In addition: this car has had every service required. Since October (just 3k ago) we have had the 105k service ($1400), a new catalytic converter ($1200), a new IAC valve ($363), and will have to have new motor mounts ($800). The car is not worth what we have spent on it. It is not reliable or safe so we will get rid of it and buy a Hyundai.
Get everything they tell you in writing, clearly stated. If they won’t give it, call Edward Lopez at American Honda. american Honda customer service told me replacement is at the discretion of the dealer. The dealer said that is not true: it is at the discretion of American Honda. Either way, this strategy is designed to avoid responsibility for a serious defect.

My 1999 Honda has 280,000 miles and original transmission and I drive it like hell. But, I drain 12 quarts of Honda only fluid through it every year or so.