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5 Most Problematic Honda Odyssey Models You Should Totally Avoid

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Learn what year model of Honda Odyssey is the most problematic and least reliable through my guide

Even though not Honda’s most popular product, the Honda Odyssey has many loyal customers, some of whom even say it is the best minivan ever made. And judging by the fact that it has constantly been in production since 1995 and has had five generations, they might not be wrong.

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However, there have been pits and crests throughout the 27 years of the Honda Odyssey’s history. Here I will list down the worst years for Honda Odyssey, starting with the bad ones.

So, without any further wait, let’s jump into the details of these years and why they belong to the category in which they are labelled.

Even though the Honda Odyssey is one of the top minivans of all time, numerous bad models have come out, each with a variety of issues that affected this car.

1999 Honda Odyssey

1999 honda odyssey
1999 honda odyssey

The second generation of the Honda Odyssey would not be remembered fondly. It was riddled with a lot of problems. The 1999 model kickstarted this generation.

Even though the engine’s performance was significantly improved with a new five-speed transmission and 3.5-litre engine, it did not come without faults.

Numerous transmission issues were reported, especially after the minivan had crossed 100,000 miles. The main fault caused by transmission failure was rough shifting in the gears. Other than this, there were issues with the airbag, as it sometimes did not properly inflate, or more accurately, underinflated.

This later caused the car to even be recalled in 2020. Minor issues like easily eroding paint, traction control warning light malfunction, etc., were also present.

2002 Honda Odyssey

2002 Honda Odyssey
2002 Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey sales dropped to an all-time low this year. Mainly this was caused by the lingering transmission failures that Honda took very little effort in addressing.

A new fault of rattling and squeaking noises while shifting gears was introduced in this 2002 Honda Odyssey model.

All problems of the previous models remained, including the airbag inflator, which still did not properly inflate after all these years. In some cases, the transmission failed when the minivan crossed 10,000 miles.  One major issue placing this model on the haywire is the abnormally high chance of exploding in case of an accident. That is a big red flag for any vehicle.

2004 Honda Odyssey

2004 Honda Odyssey
2004 Honda Odyssey

As in previous years, transmission issues remained. Even after all this time, Honda did not fix this problem and remains a mystery, although there were some improvements in this model.

Transmission fluid leaks were a new thing added, with them being just too high not to notice.

A slightly better thing for this model was that the complaints about this 2004 Honda Odyssey were reported after it crossed an average of 117,000 miles. However, a not negligible part of the customer base reported complete transmission failure when the Odyssey crossed 130,000 miles.

A model built to last at least 200,000 miles is very concerning and indicative of the transmission’s poor quality. Because of all this, this model of the Honda Odyssey was given a 1 out of 5 score for its reliability by Consumer Reports.

2005 Honda Odyssey

2005_Honda Odyssey
2005_Honda Odyssey

According to reviews, the 2005 Honda Odyssey model registered the highest number of complaints of all the Honda Odyssey series.

The most-reported problem was air conditioning, easily broken by road debris. After the minivan had completed 40,000 miles, this issue became more prominent, as reported by customers.

As always, transmission failures lurked around. They started as early as when the car completed 86,000 miles. Symptoms of transmission issues were gear shifting into neutral while driving and transmission shutters at about 35 to 45 miles per hour.

Among other major issues was also the problem of spark plug blowouts. In some cases, spark plugs got dismantled and hit the engine bay, causing several dents to the car’s body.

Not only was this a serious issue that could lead to accidents, but repairs were also very expensive.

2014 Honda Odyssey

2014 Honda Odyssey
2014 Honda Odyssey

This is widely regarded as one of the worst models- if not the worst model of the Honda Odyssey series. So much so that numerous of this model’s cars were recalled for its various issues.

Some of these issues were unsecured seating, braking failures, and of course, the age-old faulty transmission systems. The second-row seats were the target of the majority of the complaints. Their main problem was that they failed to properly latch in a secure manner.

The top reported complaint in this was that drivers of this model of minivan reported feeling a vibration when applying the brakes at inclines or at high speeds.

  • How Reliable Is A Honda Odyssey?

Overall, the entire series is pretty reliable. The first generation of these minivans was some of the most reliable minivans of all time.

Then the ones in the second and third generations did not live up to that standard. However, since 2016, there has been a resurgence, both for the minivan series itself and its reliability reputation.

  • How Long Do Honda Odysseys Last?
the 2021 Honda Odyssey
the 2021 Honda Odyssey

For the longest time, transmission issues really limited the time span in which these vehicles could be used. Some of them could not even go past 100,000 miles.

However, since 2016 this has improved, especially in the 2017 model, which could last up to 300,000 miles with just some regular maintenance.

  • What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Honda Odyssey

If proper care is not taken, you will not enjoy more than a decade’s time with your Honda Odyssey.

2022 Toyota Sienna and 2022 Honda Odyssey back view
2022 Toyota Sienna and 2022 Honda Odyssey back view

Thus, here I am listing some things you can do to increase the lifespan of this car:

  1. The oil change needs to be done ideally every 5000 miles the vehicle is run. This is done so that the performance of the engine stays at its maximum.
  2. Only if the engine is healthy can you expect to have a vehicle with a long life.
  3. Similar to the oil change, tires need to be changed and/or rotated every about 5000 miles. Unless the tires are not changed, the vehicle will not fully live out its life.
  4. In order to not let dust and debris collect on the engine, the air filter needs to be changed.
  5. This is typically done every 15,000 miles to 30,000 miles or once every year or two.
  6. Lastly, you need to take care of the minivan’s battery to improve its life.


Honda has had a roller-coaster ride with the Odyssey series. It suffered major setbacks as lawsuits and vehicle recall.

But despite that, it still ended up being one of the most popular minivans of all time. In fact, it can even be credited with revitalising the minivan market all by itself. The worst years for Honda Odyssey are such that the bad years are just riddled with loads of problems.

But even then, the worst years are considered a smart choice to buy as a family vehicle in the used automobile market. That just goes to show the popularity of the Odyssey.

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