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Honda Odyssey Transmissions

Ignorance is Bliss. At 15,000 miles our van received the recall fix of the oil jet installation for the second gear and we’ve never had a problem with the van or transmission at all. Now I see online and from many other various accounts, that the transmissions are going at 110-112-115,000 miles at $3500 a pop to replace them. The van is only worth $5,000 to trad-in. It is dealer maintained and we were hoping to get a return on that money by getting at least 200,000 miles from it. At 112,500 we see no symptoms currently, and I’d like to keep the car as we love it, but I’d be the first to kick myself if we don’t sell it before the transmission goes 2-3,000 miles from now!? I’ve read on line where this retrofit of the oil jet kit isn’t a good fix? Does anyone know? And should we keep the car or not? Is the transmission still likely to go? We’ve babied this car, but the testomonials on-line seem to indicate that it doesn’t matter that we’ve never towed or driven it hard. Advice please???

If I were to fathom a guess it likely is about 30% that fail. The odds are if you have maintained the transmission (regular fluid changes 30k-50k miles) it will not fail.

I have a 2002 Ody with 100,000 on it and no transmission problem. You didn’t indicate which year you have. I’m keeping mine. The internet website is over-represented by people who have had problems. The 10% of people who had to shell out $3,000 are much more motivated to share their experience rather than the other 90% without a problem.

I just changed the external, screw-on ATF filter. It sits right on top of your tranny on the driver’s side. I bought it for $26 on the web and put it on myself. Every Ody from 2002+ has one of these. I don’t know why Honda doesn’t recommend changing them, some dealers don’t even know about these until you tell them to look at the schematics. I also added an in-line Magnefine ATF filter. This was about $19 online.

Drive gently, come to a full stop before shifting from reverse to drive, keep your fluids fresh, clean, and filtered. You’ll be good for 250,000+ miles.

Thanks Goldwing. Sorry, it’s a 2003. Your comments sound like what my wife must have been told by a coworker, that I’ve been trying to interpret. She said the owner was told that if he had changed this “sensor” or whatever, before the problem, he would have been ok, but the shop didn’t mention this until after his $3500 “investment”. I’m not much of a gearhead myself, so I think I will print off your advice and ask the shop to do this for me. Sounds like a plan. I appreciate it.

My Vote is to keep it. The worst that can happen is the transmission fails, you shell out three grand to replace it, and drive another 70,000 - 100,000 miles. Economically far better then selling it and buying a new car.

The problem with this scenario is that I’ve also seen on-line that those that replace the trannie with a rebuilt/remanufactured “seem” to have another failure within 30-40,000. Indeed, my dealer’s service manager told me today he’s had several people with 2 replacements, but without a rhyme or reason that he can see as to why they are the unlucky ones.

How often have you changed the transmission fluid? You should change the fluid every 30,000 to 50,000 miles if you want it to last. Other than that, you’ve maintained it by the book, and you won’t know when it will fail until it does. Ignorance is bliss! Drive on!

I agree. Keep up the recommended maintenance and drive on. I don’t know of anyone that has a crystal ball that truly works. Your Odyssey may make the records book for the most miles ever driven in the future. Who knows?

Junkyards have row after row of FWD / AWD vehicles with blown transmissions…Few make it to the 150K mile mark. The transmission is the weak link in FWD vehicles.

The only thing you can do is to keep it serviced. How often do you drain and refill the transmission??


Every 30K per the dealers service garage and the manufacturer’s recommendations. Was last done at 90K and has 112,000 now

Make sure your timing belt was changed between 90k and now. If not do it ASAP.

What you read on-line about Honda Odyssey transmissions are from owners who have trouble. Honda Odyssey owners who aren’t having transmission problems don’t write in about not having a problem. This situation is similar to the one I had when I was assigned to teach a college freshman class of 200 students. I was called in by the Dean who said he had complaints that I was too demanding. “How many students complained?” I asked. “Four”, he replied. I told him that maybe he should interview the other 196 students in the class that weren’t complaining in order to see whether or not I really was too demanding.

If you estimate that your van is worth $5000 as a trade-in, I would bet that you could negotiate a no-trade price that would come close to what you would pay if you traded in your Odyssey. I don’t think you will lose very much if you run the van another year and then the transmission fails. You will also have the use of the money for a year that you wouldn’t have if you went out tomorrow and replaced the Odyssey. I was up against the same thing with the furnace in my house. I had the house built 20 years ago. The furnace was state of the art as far as fuel efficiency for the time. Unfortunately, the company that made the furnace went out of business. I was told five years ago that it would be wise to replace this furnace, since there were certain critical parts unique to this furnace. I decided I wouldn’t replace it as long as it was working. I kept using it until last summer at which time the bearings went bad in the blower when we were in the air conditioning season. At that point, I decided to buy a new unit rather than spend $600 to replace the bearings and have the shaft turned. The money I would have spent 4 years earlier grew interest over the 4 year period.

Pressure switches/sensors. Both externally serviceable. That’s the principle failure after the oil jet refit/re-engineering. Preemptively have them changed.

I believe the external trans filter is a common 20 x 1.5M filter.

Honda may refer to the ATF filter as a “strainer.”

I’ll trade you my '02 for your '03. The tranny’s kept getting better. 03 better than 02, 04 better than 03. By late '04 I think they were much much better. Most of those failed tranny’s were from before '03.

Perfect, just keep servicing it like that every 25-30k and use Honda fluid only and it should be fine.


Hey Gary, what are these pressure switches & sensors? What do they do? Why do they fail and what happens when they fail?

I’ve heard of people changing out filter screens inside the shift solenoids but I’m not clear on what you’re talking about. Maybe they’re the same thing. Would it be a good investment to change them out if there’s no symptom, or just make sure it’s clean inside there and perhaps buy new gaskets & filter screens?


Service manager at dealer quoted almost $100 for parts and labor to change the ATF filter.
Must be more involved than changing an oil filter eh?

Yup, and they did the waterpump at the same time. I saw the belt…sure still looked good to this untrained eye…so am guessing that the second one will take me to 200,000 and I may just let it go after that…

You have to remove some things to gain access to the ATF filter such as battery, battery tray, air filter housing. It’s not rocket science, with some patience anybody could change it. The dealer charges at least $50 for the filter but look online & you’ll find one for $26. I went through The dealer probably charges 30 minutes labor but the first time you do it, it might be 2-3 hours. Here’s a good link that describes the process:

The in-line Magnefine filter can be installed faster & cheaper. I did both at the same time. Magnefine filter website I think. You’d want the 3/8 dia & don’t need the smart connectors.