Hi, I have a 2002 Odyssey and love it. Great family car, 121,981 miles on it and runs perfectly. It has only one problem, the side doors are hard to open. Our doors are manual, no fancy buttons here. Usually, my kids enter the van through the driver’s side sliding door. It can be a bit hard to open, but only freezes shut in the winter. When I drive them to school, we go into the parking lot loop and the safety patrols open the door for them on the passenger side (slider) door. That one always sticks, not matter what time of weather we are having. The drop off line backs up, people start honking, it’s ugly. The solution is to have my kids unbuckle their seatbelts while in the parking lot and hit the door with their bums to loosen it, that way, it opens easily and we are spared the embarrassment of the door refusing to open. I have tried many things, Vaseline, armor all, ect…to keep the doors lubricated and the dealership tells me that there’s really nothing to be done about it. We do try to the passenger slider as much as we can, but it sticks no matter what!
Try cleaning and lubing the tracks, the associated hardware, and the lock/handle mechanisms. I like using “dry PTFE spray on lubricant”. It comes in a spray can at any hardware store, and leaves a coating of Teflon (PTFE; Polymerized TetraFlourEthelyn) on the tracks and parts.
To prevent the doors from freezing, try wiping the neoprene (rubber) seals with silicone lubricant, also readily available anywhere. It repels the moisture that forms the ice.
Postscript: the reason I added the technical terms is because the can of Teflon lubricant I just bought has “PTFE” promenantly on the label, and it’s easier to recognize as the right stuff if you know what you’re looking for.
I like mountainbike’s comments. I would go further and suggest lubing the rollers also. A good chain lube would also doe well.
If it is just that initial opening from the closed position, by far the most common is the top seal on the body that runs the length of the door and sits almost horizontal. This can make the door so hard to open, the outer handle can break. (aftermarket handles are available at EBay stores for much less than at Honda) Silicone spray or paste is the only lube you should use on any rubber seals, as per Honda. Shinetsu is the best paste, the dealer can get it, I’ve seen it on Amazon. Rub a small amount into the seal by hand. Honda’s spray silicone lube is the best I’ve used. Make sure you get a straw with it. It is also the best to lube window tracks, spray it down into them with the straw. With your hand and an acid brush, rub the Shinetsu into the top of the window seal so the windows seat well. This applies to all Hondas, and every other brand that I have worked on. NEVER use an oil based lubricant, like Vaseline, WD-40, etc. on any rubber. The rubber will swell up and be ruined.
And by all means avoid graphite based lubricants. I swear a single gram of graphite will continue to spread a black mess over an entire vehicle for the rest of eternity.
Having lived through this on two doors, I think your center roller assembly is shot. There is nothing you can do but replace it. Check out the link above (if you want to try it yourself). It is not difficult but requires some confidence with disassembly and replacement repairs. A dealer will charge you much more than the problem is worth (in my opinion) so I would not recommend that route. Simple tools, a jack to support the door while the roller is out, and some help will probably get it repaired.
Thank you everyone for your advice with this issue. We have a 2010 Odyssey and the sliding doors have been hard to open since day one. I think it’s just a heavy door with a sticky latch. My kids have trouble getting it open even in good weather. The dealer told me it looks fine and just to lube it when needed. I’ll try the products mentioned like the Honda silicone and see what happens. Now that it’s cold weather I’m afraid someday I’m going to pull the plastic handle and it’ll snap right off in my hand.