Odyssey 2005 Brakes "freeze"

When the weather gets to below freezing (I’m in Maryland)when I start my van in the morning the brake pedal will not push down no matter how hard I push. The first time this happened I was moving and had no brakes for seconds. Luckily no one was in front of me. If I warm the van up just a couple of minutes I can feel it release and then the brakes are fine. I’ve taken it to the Honda dealer twice and also an independent mechanic and no one can find anything wrong with my brakes. I know I can wait until the van warms up but should this situation be happening? I never experience this in my Caravan or any other vehicle. Have others experienced such a thing?

[b][i]There Are Old Drivers And There Are Bold Drivers, But There Are No Old, Bold Drivers.

" The first time this happened . . . had no brakes . . . " This Was Mother Nature’s Way Of Telling You That Something Was Wrong With Your Brakes.[/i][/b]

You should not be driving this vehicle. Have it towed to a repair facility and have the brake fluid flushed and see if you’ve got water in the lines or find out what is wrong and get it fixed or have it crushed.

Thank You,

By Chance, Has This 2005 Honda Odyssey Been Checked For A Safety Recall On The Braking System ? Only A Relatively Small Number Of 05 Odysseys Are Eligible, But It Should Be Addressed.

A malfunction in the " . . . the ABS modulator/control unit may reduce the braking force to all wheels."

If the dealer hasn’t checked for outstanding recalls, have them do that now.


Thank you for your response.

I’m sorry I mistyped my year. It is a 2003. Yes, “had no brakes” is a warning and so what you suggested is what I did. The Honda mechanic also suggested it might be water in the line and flushed the fluid. This made no difference. Two additional trips to mechanics have not turned up anything. I was hoping that if someone had experienced a similar problem that I could point the mechanics in a certain direction. (I hope I’ve described it correctly ~ I cannot push the brake pedal down until the van has warmed up a several seconds (it remains in its most upward position)).

PS They have also checked the recalls on my particular vehicle (I also have checked on- line at the Honda website).

I’m wondering whether or not “no brakes” is really minimal brakes that are just really hard to push down. Power brakes work by using a vacuum-powered “brake booster.” In a sense, you can imagine someone sticking a vacuum cleaner to the back of your brake pedal and when you push the brakes down the vacuum helps pull the pedal down to apply the brakes. Without the vacuum applied the brakes feel really hard and you have a hard time applying enough pressure on your own to really clamp down on the brakes.

The vacuum in the brake booster is created by the engine - so basically when you start the car, the engine sucks air out of the brake booster to create the vacuum. There is literally a piece of vacuum hose there connecting the engine to the booster and there is also a check valve that keeps the vacuum in there even if the engine stalls.

If you have a lot of moisture built up in that line for some reason then when it gets below freezing it is possible for ice to interfere with the flow, probably at the check valve. So, do you know whether or not anyone has inspected the booster system?

You can get an idea of how the brakes feel without vacuum by just pumping the brake pedal a few times without the engine running. It should quickly firm up. If you then hold your foot on the firm pedal and start the engine, the pedal should soften up and get pulled toward the floor - because the engine has just “turned on” the vacuum.

Wow, I just went out and tried what you suggested - “pumping the brake pedal a few times without the engine running” - and the brake felt exactly like it does on those below-freezing days when I first start. Thank you for your thought on this. I have an appointment on the 21st to have the van checked again and I will print out your email and ask them to check the booster system. I very much appreciate your suggestion. It’s been frustrating that so far they haven’t been able to track anything down. I will report back if this suggestion helps fix it Thanks again!

So if you will be driving the van until it is checked out, just pump the pedal to get it firm, then start it every time with your foot on the form pedal. If you don’t feel the pedal sink to the floor when you start the engine, don’t drive. You can sit there and wait a while or pump on the brake pedal until it feels normal. Still be very very cautious though. This is all on a guess.