2002 Odyssey - Is it worth the repair?

I bought this car used about three years ago for around $8000 and, as a mom with kids, I LOVE it. A few months ago, my Honda service center found torn compliance bushings and gave me a service estimate to replace them. Approx. $500. Now, I have a new estimate and a much larger problem. In addition to the bushings, I need a power steering fluid exchange service ($109.) and, a big slap to the sad story, they found an engine oil leak and are wanting (needing) to reseal the oil pump and replace the gaskets ($1400.). Also needed: brake system fluid exchange ($100.) and replace a sway bar end link ($250). So, that brings us to approx. $2400 in repairs. This car has about 158k miles on it. Should I pay up, or start the frustrating journey of car shopping?

Holy cow. Your only problem is that you’re going to a Honda service center. Get that thing out of there and ask around among people you know for a trustworthy, local, independent mechanic.

Red flag: “power steering fluid exchange service.” Get a $.99 turkey baster and a quart of the proper power steering fluid. Open the reservoir, suck out as much as you can with the turkey baster. Replace with fresh fluid. Do it again a week later, and maybe once more and presto! PS fluid exchange. You probably don’t “need” to do it. But its not a bad idea. Its only a bad idea to pay someone $109 to do it.

Red flag: “they found” an engine oil leak. Do you have to add any oil between oil changes? If so, how much oil per how many miles? Are you leaving puddles on the ground wherever you park? If none of this applies you don’t need to spend even $.10 right now on an oil leak - let alone $1400.

The brake fluid exchange is never a bad idea - every 3 years or so. Usually good to just do it when the brakes are done. But any decent shop can do this.

The other stuff? Get a second opinion from an independent repair shop. I’d bet my lunch that this place is just trying to make you into a cash cow.

The power steering fluid exchange is a big profit generator that can either be declined if you are not hearing any power steering noise, or done yourself with a turkey baster and a quart of Honda power steering fluid (don’t use the cheap stuff, Honda uses different power steering fluid than other makes). Wait on the brake fluid flush until you are having brake work done. They may need to bleed it anyway. If one sway bar link is broken, the other should probably be replaced at the same time as it is probably not far behind the first one. Their diagnosis of the oil leak leaves me scratching my head. Resealing the oil pump sounds kind of bogus to me. There is a relatively common issue with these engines that arise from time to time that causes an oil leak. They have main bearing cap bolts that pass through the side of the block. The bolts are coated with a sealer before installation, and this sealer can fail with age. The solution is to remove the bolts, either clean them up or replace them (replacement is a good idea to prevent future issues), and apply fresh sealer. Make sure this is not your problem before allowing these guys to tear into your engine. It’s way cheaper to reseal those bolts than it is to tear into the engine and replace a bunch of gaskets that probably aren’t even leaking.

“They found an oil leak”…$1400 KaChing! Do YOU see any oil leak? Is there a noticeable mess under your car where you park it? Slide a sheet of cardboard under it and see how much it’s actually leaking…

The dealership is milking you like a cow…You need to find another shop not another car…

I agree w/others that this has all the markings of making the dealership’s shop a profit center. Still, it’s possible the dealership is absolutely correct. With 158K on it, all that stuff may need to be scheduled on the routine service agenda at least. Perhaps one or two can be done now, the the others deferred for 6-12 months. Ask about that. If it were my car, I’d be inclined to take the car to an independent mechanic, someone who specializes in Hondas, and ask him what he/she thinks. He/she may agree it all has to be done, but might say some of th things can be deferred, or may offer a lower quote for the services.

The dealership usually has excellent mechanics who are well trained and have access to the right parts and tools and up-to-date service bulletins. And they have experience working on Honda’s every day. But once a car gets 158K on it, in my opinion using the dealership is sort of like using expesive extra-virgin olive oil for sun-tan oil. It works, but it maybe isn’t that cost effective.

Try to round up a recommendation from a friend or co-worker for an independent mechanic. Someone who only works on Hondas, or at most works on a couple of makes, like Hondas and Toyotas. That’s what I’d do.

I agree with the others, find a good independent mechanic. This dealer is ripping you off. I even doubt you ever needed the compliance bushings. Rubber “checks” over time. It looks bad to the uninitiated and some less than honest mechanics use it to scare customers into expensive but unneeded repairs.

Thank you so much!!! I am not a mechanic. Not even close. So, these comments are invaluable!! My car drives great! No noises. No visible leaking. No engine lights. Off to an independent or two I go!

Click on “mechanics files” at the top of this page to find an indy mechanic with good reviews.

Indeed, time to find a good independant mechanic. Very light oil leaks can be tolerated and sometimes just stay the same without further deterioration making it into a larger leak. Have someone show you the leak and see if you can 'live with it". A 10 years old and 160K miles you can expect to see some signs of oil on the motor, but that doesn’t mean it is a serious problem.

The fluid exchanges are a good idea, but an independant can do that for less. Compliance bushings and sway bar end link may or may not be a significant problem. If you aren’t experiencing any rattles, they could be minor too.

I’m not a mechanic but have done my own work if I have the tools and gumption to tackle it for more than 45 years. Some people go the whole life of the vehicle and NEVER change either the brake fluid or power steering fluid. It’s a good idea to change it but - Just saying. On the oil pump seal - $1400?!!! Not me. if it’s true I’d have someone else put a pressure gauge on it to check that out. IF! you’re using oil at a ridiculous rate / a quart every 500 miles and have low oil pressure I’d get it fixed. I suspect these guys are playing you like a violin. The most important thing is the components on the front suspension. IF they’re worn. And make sure you change your transmission fluid on schedule because these things are famous for trans problems.