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2011 Honda Odyssey needs $2K repairs....decisions?

Hi. I hope you can offer some advice.

Just found out (from trusted mechanic) that our 2011 Odyssey needs a new axle, sway bar and motor mount, to the tune of $1250. We were also told that we are due for a new timing belt and water pump…$700 more. Ouch.

We still owe $7300 on the car. It has 125,000 miles. My husband looked up the Blue Book value and it said $5.8-$8,000.

We can’t figure out what to do. We hate to put that much money into it, but we still owe a significant amount. The paint job is peeling on the roof in places too. Ugh. We aren’t “car people.” If anyone has advice, I’d welcome it.

The key is What other car could you buy for $2,000 that would be as good for you as the fixed up version of your Honda? I doubt there is one.


That KBB price means nothing with the work that needs to be done. If you trade you will have loan for what you buy plus what you owe after you get a low trade in for your present vehicle.
This is not a ’ car person or repair question ’ this is a financial question . Fix the vehicle problems plus the timing belt and increase your monthly payments as much as you can to pay this off then decide what to do.


The timing belt replacement is routine maintenance, so factor that out of the equation.


is van undriveable? or did mechanic say you have these worn parts that should be replaced? a bad motor mount usually results in odd noises due to excessive motor moving. does your van have an occasional clunk when you shift from park to drive?
you have a broken sway bar? not common. or is it a worn sway bar end link? that does cause a clunk over bumps. worth fixing? yes if you dont like the noise.
cv axle is making noise? or rip in boot?
sometimes these things are ignored or overlooked by owners who dont want to fix things. could you use new struts and wheel bearings? probably. or not

What ever you decide, the timing belt must be attended to.

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Spend the $700 for timing belt/water pump to ensure engine integrity.
Either of these failing could cause major engine damage.

Axle/sway bar/motor mount if not causing an immediate problem can be put off.

Thanks, everyone, for the input. It’s very helpful. The car was making a clanking noise, which is why we took it in. I guess we take care of the timing belt/water pump for sure and decide about the other stuff. Looks like I’ll be driving this thing for a while.

One thing I meant to point out in my earlier post is that some years of the Odyssey were known for problematic engine mounts. They are prone to failure and expensive to replace.

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Not necessarily. If they decide to dump the vehicle and spin the outstanding debt into a new loan, why would anyone spend a dime on the old one? Being underwater is a concern but it’s not necessarily unrecoverable. I’m betting a number of dealerships and loan companies would take the trade as-is and generate a new loan with the new car + residual debt. They will get less for the trade due to the outstanding maintenance but it’s not always 1:1 as the dealership can forego profit on the job to get a better return on selling a new car and then turning the old one or auctioning it off.

very common to go into shop when you hear a noise/clanking. tech may have said all can make noise and all may be driveable but a cv axle that is about to fail should be looked at. sounds like you got out of there without putting up a fight with tech. so, its hard to say online what is the extent of these worn parts. do you recall what he said was wrong with axle?

Adding $7300 on top of the debt for another car? Makes the $2K to repair look downright affordable! But I drive a twelve year old pickup, so I may not be the best judge of that.:rofl:

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I’d get it all fixed and drive it for another 7 years. Really, this is nothing unusual to have to do for a car of this age.


If you can’t afford the $2000 all together, I’d wait on the timing belt, unless the mileage is much more than 105,000 since 2011. The timing belt change is at 105,000 miles or 7 years, whichever is first. You shouldn’t put anything off more than two or three months.

Have to agree with this. What you owe on the car is about equal to the value of the car. Assuming you could get what you owe when trading it in, which isn’t likely, you’re basically comparing a couple of thousand dollars worth of repairs vs. a new(er) car purchase, more payments, higher payments, etc. The mileage on the current car isn’t extremely high. I say fix it and keep it, unless you’re dead set on something newer anyway.

Some production years of Odyssey were prone to transmission issues, but it looks to be not the case for 2011:

This year looks solid in other areas as well… other than “rodents eating wire insulation” :slight_smile:

I would agree with other posters, that considering tight finances, it would be better to fix the car and keep it for another 100,000 miles or so.

If the intent is to keep the car, the regular maintenance items need to be taken care of to make sure it has good chances to be road-worthy at 200K miles:

  • replace fluids: coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid
  • replace spark plugs when these come due by the maintenance schedule (probably already due!)
  • replace serpentine belt before it shreds and falls to the ground
  • etc…

All of these are not “do it immediately or it makes for sudden vehicle damage”, so may be planned and done as funds allow, but if the intent is to keep car for another 100K miles, these have to be taken care of

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The amount that you owe on the car should have nothing to do with this decision because it has nothing to do with this car. If you totaled the car tomorrow and it was not your fault but another drivers, you would get only what the car is worth and they would deduct a lot for the peeling paint. They would not pay you one penny more because of what you owe.

$2000 is not an unreasonable amount to spend for repairs and maintenance on an 8 year old van that might cost $30000 to replace and doesn’t seem expensive for the repairs it needs.

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You’re forgetting about the residual value of the van. It will still be expensive but not full amount outstanding. Sometimes it’s better to cut losses but only the person in that situation can decide what’s right for them. They should consider all options. Might not be quite as bad as feared…

I think your best bet $$-wise is just to pony up the $2000 and have all that stuff fixed. It all needs to be done it sounds like. routine stuff, happens to all vehicles. Nothing pointing to a fundamental problem w/the vehicle. Schedule it all, keep up the routine maintenance going forward, then you’ll likely have a good, reliable runner for several more years. My Corolla is 27 years old, has had that sort of stuff replaced or repaired from time to time. Just did the work. Car is still working fine.

If you, or especially if your spouse, would really rather have a new car to this one, and you can afford the cash flow issues, then that’s what to do. Happy spouse, happy life. Plus you give jobs to the folks who build them.

OMG… My educated guess is that the clanking is the sway bar bushings being hollowed out or non existent. Also to replace the sway bar bushings, an axle and a motor mount to the tune of $1250 is quite literally Highway Robbery.

Find another shop…because this one has painted a target on your back. If you knew someone in the business you could ask them their opinion also. Once you know which items you need you can call another shop and list for them what items you want replaced and how much they would charge you…do not ask them “What does my car need”? That question leaves all sorts of things on the table and many ways for you to get taken for a ride. You need a second opinion at the very least in this instance as this shop has already targeted you.

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