Mom needing advice

I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey with 150,000 miles and now both sliding doors are both dead. My dilemma is whether to put the money into fixing both doors, which isn’t cheap, or to go ahead and purchase a different newer vehicle. I drive many miles currently and a vehicle with better mpg would be helpful.

“I drive many miles currently and a vehicle with better mpg would be helpful.” - OP

Congratulations. You’ve answered your own question. Pick up a Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers’ Guide at the local bookstore and enjoy the quest.

I would just add that having your sliding doors looked at might not be a bad idea. It could be a very simple and inexpensive fix. That way…you would know what the actual cost is for the repair and proceed from there.

Haha. Well, I was trying VERY hard to ask my question in as few words/sentences as possible. Some details…Single mom with 3 children. Tight budget. What is the cheapest route…?..probably fixing and driving and maintaining no monthly payment. What do I want to do? Get a “new” vehicle. This van is awesome but after 3 kids/10 years it’s been ridden hard and…well you get the picture. I want to be responsible and make a wise choice. So I wonder if I’m justifying a purchase of something different and therefore have a car payment with the “it’s getting old and this may be the start of pouring money into it” thought.

Still feel the same? (I know nothing about vehicles.)

Thank you missileman. I did have the drivers side looked at a year ago when it quit and it was around 1000+ for all the parts/motor/ball bearings/etc. etc. So now the other one…so I’m estimating around 2500 give or take…

You had it looked at by the dealer. Those quotes are no surprise from a dealer. They’ll want to throw the whole door innards out and replace them with brand new OEM parts.
Try a body shop. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much cheaper it’ll be. They may have to charge you $100+/- to pull the inner panel and look into it, but they’ll only change what’s broken.

If the rest of it is in decent shape, it’ll be way cheaper to fix and keep, you’ll be needing the room with 3 kids. With gas prices down, you won’t save a lot with a slightly smaller vehicle.

+1 for Mountainbike’s suggestion. If you aren’t familiar with body shops, ask everyone you know for recommendations. Eventually, you will hear at least one name more than once. They them.

In my opinion, there is no better vehicle for transporting passengers or hauling objects than a minivan. I don’t know the ages of your children, but as children get older, a minivan is very handy. I am retired, but have owned 4 minivan over the last 24 years. Every week, I transport musicians and their instruments to a rehearsal or a,performance. You can’t fit a string bass into a conventional car. This morning, I had agreed to replace a toilet at the church I attend. I picked up a new toilet and loaded if into the minivan with no problems. After I got into the job, I found the floor was rotting out, so I made a trip back to Lowes to pick up a sheet of plywood.
The downside of the minivan is that it is less maneuvable than a car like a Honda Civic and the around town mileage is less.
What should you do? Having no payments is appealing. With proper maintenance, your Honda should go another 50,000 miles. However, check to see if your model has to have the timing belt replaced. .Also, certain model years of the Odyssee had transmission problems.
The higher gas mileage of the right car is a plus. The right sedan should be adequate for three children. Only you ultimately know what is best for your needs and budget.

I knew I came to the right people/place. Thank you all very much for your advice (each of you!) I’ve taken it to an extremely trusted body shop (have taken other work there that Honda has advised and saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars). He has no issue working on any part of my van but doesn’t feel comfortable messing with the electric parts of these doors.
I feel the same about the hauling capacity…I haul my mountain bike(s) all the time and many other huge loads. It is absolutely incredible for that. (My kids are 9, 11, & 14).
Alright…I’m going to check on the transmission and timing belt “potential issues” as suggested. If that’s not an apparent problem my instincts fall with Texases in that it’s cheapest to stay put and being a Honda it certainly should drive for many more miles. Sigh. No “new” vehicle. THanks again for your input and all the little suggestions truly did help me with my decision.

Tridaq, Would I most likely be able to find the timing belt and transmission information for my Odyssey on this site?

You won’t find that information here. Fortunately, it’s located in your car’s glovebox. The owner’s manual.

If money is tight, just fix the door on the passenger side. The kids can climb in from there.

A 2005 Honda with that mileage should have some decent years left, assuming you’ve performed all scheduled maintenance, especially the timing belt. I’m sure you’ll have some repairs, but chances are it won’t turn into a money pit. It could be worth checking if the motor mounts are currently leaking or failing, as that’s a pretty common problem.

I don’t understand your comments about the timing belt above. That’s covered perfectly clearly in your owner’s manual.

JayWB…I’ll find out if a 2005 Odyssey is known for having transmission and/or timing belt problems by looking in my owner’s manual?? Hmmm…now wouldn’t that be helpful!! lol I think you misunderstood my question?

Thanks lion9car…so transmission, timing belt and motor mounts! OH! I HAVE had the motor mounts replaced…2 of the 4 …a year ago. According to my mechanic that IS a common problem. He said I definitely WILL have to have the other two replaced but felt at the time I could get more life out of them. I had forgotten about that issue…I should def. take that amount into consideration. Thank you

I have very limited experience with minivans. Do these electric sliding doors not permit manual operation as well? Maybe if your body shop guy doesn’t feel comfortable “working on” the electric parts, he would be OK with just removing those parts, and then you have manual doors that will never fail for a whole lot cheaper.

Cars don’t have “timing belt problems”, they have a schedule for replacement. Go beyond the recommended interval and YOU will have “timing belt problems”, because they usually end an engine’s useful life when they fail.

The recommended service interval, if it’s even a recommended service, is in your owner’s manual. The same is true for your transmission. As a rule, however, OEMs rarely recommend transmission fluid drain and refills often enough, so I’ll just say here that you should get it drained every thirty thousand miles.

I completely understand your suggestion of reading my owners manual and guess what, I actually do! Yes, timing belts should be replaced around every 6 years, I should have thought a bit before I added that to my post. I also take my van to get all the recommended oil changes and check ups since I’ve owned it.

What I was referring to, after the suggestion of the poster who was trying to help me, is not routine maintenance suggestions found in an owner’s manual. I’ve answered my own question by getting to know this site for a bit and have found some answers. Under the poster’s advice, I’m looking for “issues”. For example, Honda Odysseys ARE indeed known for having motor mount issues. This is what I meant and I will not find those answers in the manual. I want to make sure if I put the money into these doors, that any other “ISSUES” with my Make/Model/year are taken into consideration before I do so. I hadn’t not thought of doing that and I appreciate LIoncar and Daq’s suggestions to look into that.

Hey. I’m quite certain you get many people on here looking for answers daily and over and and over again the correct reply is “owner’s manual”. My comment/question didn’t warrant that quip.

THanks everyone for the help.

(bkj517…just to answer your question…I have to strong arm it open and closed then have to kick it once closed to make it flush with the rest of the van. The kids can not open or close it from inside. That’s a suggestion of which I don’t know the answer and I will check on that option. Thank you.)

Do your doors work manually? Did they used to work manually? If so giving up the power door and getting manual operation only, by maybe a body shop could be an acceptable cheaper alternative.

Barky, she just posted “I have to strong arm it open and closed then have to kick it once closed to make it flush with the rest of the van. The kids can not open or close it from inside.”

That is a safety issue in my mind. I wonder if the power assist mechanism can be disconnected so she can operate more easily manually?