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2015 Honda Odyssey - Bugs?

I have a 2015 Honda Odyssey which has broken down (gone into Failsafe mode) four times for what I am told by Honda mechanics is due to bugs flying into my Air filter. can this be true? Isn’t there a better reason than what seems to be a design flaw?

Did they show you the insects that were filling up your air intake? There is no know “bug in the air intake” design flaw in the Odyssey. Tell us more.

Is the check engine light on (if it’s going into limp mode, the CEL should be on I would think…)? If so, do you know what the codes are? Like @GorehamJ I doubt that “bugs in the air intake” is the issue… If you’re not under warranty anymore, try a good independent shop instead of the dealership.

Who are these Honda mechanics ? Is this a dealer you are with and is it possible there is a communication problem . Bugs in air filter , does not even make sense.

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Thanks for the reply. I may have miscommunicated in my Car Talk history, but I think both Honda dealer service departments understood

that my Odyssey has had five incidences of suddenly stopping. three needed towing. My service reports state " Moth found in the mass air flow meter." my question is how do the bugs get past the air filters so easily?

thanks for any suggestions.


Thanks for the reply.

The CEL does not come on. There is no dashboard notice of being in the Failsafe mode to my understanding.

The car just stops or sputters. no steering. no power.

I have an extended warranty, but it has not covered the removal of moths “found in the mass air flow meter.”

my question is how do the bugs get past the air filters so easily?

I did find an independent Honda mechanic who may take a look at it. The bugs causing so many problems just seems hard to believe.

thanks for any suggestions.


yes. I was shown the moths. two different Honda dealers. similar service reports:

“Moth found in the Mass Air Flow Meter.”

On this third towing incident, the dealership stated that they ran computer testing, tested the throttle, and

did a lot of other testing not listed on the report. They were pretty certain it was the moth.

Any other information needed?


The air flow meter is downstream from the air filter. If the air filter and its ductwork are intact, no moth will get there. Even very fine particles of dust will be blocked by an intact correct air filter, if its gaskets and ductwork are not damaged.

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This one is fascinating. The only thing I can think of is that the moths are living and reproducing downstream of the air cleaner element or there is a broken part in the ducting allowing them in. Crazy. Four times is the key part of the story. And why are they ending up on the mass airflow sensor instead of being aspirated. Maybe those are just the ones that hit that spot and many were.

I asked about gaskets and cracks as this makes no sense to me either. Both dealers say these are fine and that this problem ( bugs getting past air filter) just happens.

I called the Honda complaint line and they say I am the only person on record who has called with this complaint.


Tom and Ray would say, in chorus, “Bo-o-o-gus!”

Insects somehow getting stuck to the mass air flow meter could definitely cause drivability problems. I can’t imagine how they’d get there though, unless the air filter was in really bad shape. Like it got wet and that resulted in a hole through the element. Sometimes air cleaners can catch fire if the engine back-fires, so that’s another possibility. Occasionally small rodents will make a home in the air filter box, and chew on the filter. More likely imo, during a tune-up or debug session techs (or somebody like a diy’er) ran the engine without the air filter. A moth incident could happen then.

Have the MAF cleaned, new air filter, all the rubber boots for the air intake tract inspected. You should be good to go at that point. If somebody who’s not experienced in auto repair has been working on your car, ask them if they ran the engine without the air filter. Just doing that for 2 minutes could cause this. I should know, I had that problem myself idling my truck without the air filter, for testing purposes. The engine suddenly died, for no apparent reason. Inspection showed some sort of substance had got sucked into an air bleed port.

The only way I could see that happening is, if a K&N air filter was installed.


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Thanks for the suggestions, but I had just had my car serviced and it had a new air filter. I have it regularly serviced by Honda. Also, this is at least the fourth time this has happened, although only two have been diagnosed as moths.The gaskets etc were checked at this last tow and no problems. The air filter was hardly dirty.

The first stall was looked at as a fluke and didn’t require towing. The second time was a mystery, too, but needed a tow from the middle of a busy intersection. Honda engineers were stumped, but guessed it was the EGR valve and it was replaced. There may have been a time earlier, but the car just stalled and restarted. the problem seems to be worsening. Two additional tows from very busy highways now.

My problem is that I am rather gun shy to drive this car. three tows in the past 30K miles. How do I get some attention from Honda that this is a seriously flawed minivan? I do have their extended warranty.

Where is STUMP THE CHUMP when I need it!!


I have had almost exclusive Honda maintenance. I like the dealer I usually go to. They open early and are reasonably priced. They are stumped on this problem, but hold that Odysseys and Pilots have this problem with bugs.

What is a K&N air filter?


I expect they already know it has a flaw. And I presume they’ve already done the basic tests, fuel pressure, battery voltage, egr operation, etc, & checked the computer memory for diagnostic codes, etc. And done the stuff suggested in my post above. It seems like their plan is for the problem to either fix itself, or get worse, at which point it will be so apparent they’ll be able to diagnose it. That’s a pretty routine way for shops to handle this sort of intermittent-stall thing. Doing anything more is just not practical or economical in most cases.

But I can see how such a thing would be frustrating. There has to be an explanation for how moths got into the air flow meter, as an engine properly buttoned up in the oem configuration, with a new air filter, that’s all but impossible. The only plausible explanation is that there were months in the air filter when it was installed, or they were flying around in the shop and got in there and trapped.

If I had that problem myself, as a diy’er I’d ignore the moth issue, thinking it is some kind of weird one-of-a-kind problem, and instead install some simple instrumentation so I could monitor the battery voltage, fuel pump voltage, ignition system primary voltage, fuel pressure, and egr status as I drove. I expect one of those would show a fault at the same time as the stall; then I’d have a clue what went wrong. I doubt your dealership is able to do that for you. So the next best thing is to ask them to have a staff-tech drive your car as their daily driver, and bring along their test equipment in the truck. And lend you one of their cars in the meantime. Whether they’ll do that for you, don’t know, but doesn’t hurt to ask. One idea: Politely remind them that you’d like to continue to be a loyal Honda customer for your future car purchases. Best of luck.

Great advice. I agree that it just probably not economical for them to spend much time on it. Since the moth explanation has been used for two of the three tows, it must be a standard excuse. And the car works after they take out the moth… how does that happen?


I would think this would be the one area where a K&N would be better, because it uses a metal mesh to support the filter medium and the moth would have a hard time eating through that to get past the filter. And eating through the filter is the only way I can think of for a moth to get back there without a hole in the intake.