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Odyssey 01

Fix (major or minor repair not known) or get out while the getting is good.

?? ("??" gives as much info in reply as you gave in the post).


We have an 01 Odyssey. The idiot light came on. Our mechanic ran the diagnostics and said it was the transmission but could not determine exactly what the problem is with the transmission. Unfortunately, I do not trust the nearest Honda dealership - not all Honda dealerships, just this one. It would be another 100 miles or more to another dealership as we live in a remote, rural area. So my husband changed the transmission oil, reset the light, and the van did good for 7500 miles. The idiot light can back on. He flushed the fluid again and got 1,600 miles. The van is running fine, but I wonder for how long. So we are debating whether we should replace the transmission (if that is needed) or just get a new van. My instinct is to buy a new van. My husband drives to remote areas and uses the van to sleep in. I’d hate to see him stranded in the desert miles from anywhere. We are both in our 60s, another plus as I see it to getting a new van.

So, what would be a good bet. My husband says the problems with these vans are that the they put in a car transmission instead of a truck transmission. Before the Odyssey, we had an Aerostar. The transmission went out, but he found a used one, installed it, and sold the Ford.

He takes good care of vehicles and is always on top of maintenance. The van has not been abused. I realize Honda has had problems with the Odyssey van, even a class-action lawsuit.

I look forward to hearing some opinions on this from neutral readers. Thanks.

The 1999-2001 Odyssey transmissions were terrible. A bearing inside the tranny disintegrates over time. The debris plugs up small passages in the tranny causing it to not shift correctly. Eventually you get hard shifts and the transmission eats itself up.

Since you don’t like your Honda dealership, trade this van in there. Do it tomorrow. Get the Check Engine light off first.

Get a 2005 Odyssey or newer on trade-in. They fixed the tranny problem by sometime in 2004.

Based on the info in the post, would you recommend repair or replacement?

All you can do is sit down w/ a little math and ask yourself about the rest of the van.

First, as Goldwing said these transmissions were terrible (but not from the car/truck thing. The car transmission in van problem is universal to all minivans which is why the weakest point in all minivans has always been the transmissions). So you can’t buy a used one. (Ok you could, but that would be a bad idea). You’d want to get a rebuild with a decent warranty. The problems were so extensive that I’d imagine there are plenty of people supplying rebuilds. Do a little research, find a good one, calculate the costs.

Now ask about everything else. How far are you from needing tires? Brakes? Suspension work? etc. If your husband does take really good care of it then the rest of the van should be pretty solid.

Now figure out what you’ll end up with for a car payment PLUS how much higher your insurance premiums would be PLUS any other higher costs (e.g. in VA I pay personal property tax on my cars).

Chances are that if the rest of the van is in really good shape, the $$ math will work out to putting a rebuilt trans in it. Of course, you might just be tired of it.

Honda had horrific rates of failure in these transmissions when they were installed in cars as well - it isn’t a car/truck thing - it is a bad transmission thing.

Thanks! You are right, thinking along the same lines I am. Good tires, everything else fine. I think he’s beginning to think along the same lines. When we bought the Odyssey, it was reported as a great buy. Guess it took a few years for rating agencies to figure out there was a problem. Maybe Honda knew and didn’t tell until problems showed up. We’ve had Honda autos and been delighted, so we assumed anything with Honda on it was a great product.

Now the problem will be what to get. The 2010 Odyssey is ranked high as is the Toyota and Kia Sedona. What will be the rating be in 2015.

The insurance would be higher. Money always counts, but safety, to me, is more important.

Any thoughts on whether buying extended warranties on vehicles is worth it after the mfg warranty expires?


Guess I need a crystal ball.