By on August 31, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX front

Update: Added statement from Honda Canada 

Surely part of the reasoning behind a minivan buyer’s decision to end up with a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna relates to reliability reputations. For most buyers in most trade-in situations, a similarly equipped Dodge Grand Caravan will cost a lot less. But the belief that the Odyssey or Sienna will be more reliable over a longer period of time supports the idea of spending more on the Honda or Toyota.

In our relatively short-term leasing case, reliability wasn’t a top concern, and we weren’t spending extra to acquire reliability anyway. (Because of trade-in issues, local Chrysler dealers wouldn’t play ball, not that we were desperate for them to do so.) And truthfully, there are other reasons a minivan buyer may choose an Odyssey or Sienna over a Grand Caravan: an eighth seat, greater space, more comfortable seats, exterior styling, unique feature content, or any number of things.

For our long-termer, we wanted a minivan that drove more like an Accord than a minivan. There was one option. 14 months later, our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX has spent three unscheduled days at the dealer and has by no means been a picture of reliability.

Stranded on the side of the road? No, not yet. But the front struts failed at 11,000 miles.

Faithful TTAC readers will recall that our van already spent a day at Portland Street Honda in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, because of groaning sliding doors.

This time the noises emanated from the front suspension. It’s possible — it is sometimes difficult to keep track between all the vehicles I drive in a given month — that the Odyssey’s noisy front end was briefly heard last autumn, but the sounds did not make themselves known over the winter. Intermittently, the groaning sound of flex made itself known as spring wore into summer. But in early August, there was no doubt as to the location of the noise or the nature of it.

Booked in for an unscheduled service appointment on Thursday, August 18, I drove a service technician around the block and over speed bumps so we could make sure he heard the noise, and that the noise he was hearing was in fact the noise I had described. There was no mistaking the groaning squawk entering parking lots, traversing speedbumps, and, periodically, arriving at a big dip at speed. (Usually, the noise couldn’t be heard once road and wind noise presumably drowned it out.)

Honda Canada had already issued service bulletin (B-1-16), applicable to 2015 and 2016 Odysseys, relating to such a noise. The repair procedure essentially entailed replacing the rubber bump stops above the damper spring and making sure “the damper rod and damper cap are clean and clear of any residual oil or grease,” and potentially performing an alignment.

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

As I was driven home in the third row of the dealer’s own Honda Odyssey — for the second time as the last passenger dropped off — a technician followed Honda Canada’s regimen, but to no avail.

I was called to return for pickup and an appointment would be scheduled for the installation of new front struts at the earliest convenience. We required use of the van that very night, as five people needed transportation from Eastern Passage to Fall River and we only had a four-seat Chevrolet Spark with no air con on a hot summer’s evening. Parts arrived quickly from Quebec, so the van was then returned for repair (and an alignment) the very next morning.

One more trip on the shuttle back to Portland Street Honda and I discovered that our van both sounded and felt new again. Leaky struts had clearly degraded the Odyssey’s ride quality, and the newfound front suspension silence left us wondering if, unaware of the fact, we had heard subtle noises for many months before we truly noticed the problem.

Our lifestyle possibly makes us more tolerant of extracurricular dealer visits than that of others. We work from home, live near the dealer, and exist quite comfortably as a one-car family that always has two cars because manufacturers supply us with week-long testers from the press fleet.

But if three days in 14 months turns into six days in 28 months, or nine days in 42 months, is it reasonable to think we’ll be back for another Odyssey by the time our lease is up?


Just before this piece went up, Honda Canada responded to our request for more information regarding the strut failures:

Honda Canada is aware that there is a squeak on certain 2015 and 2016 Odysseys and we have published a service bulletin to address the most probable cause: damper oil from the assembly potentially contaminating the bump stop rubber.

We are unable to share the content of the bulletin, however, it simply contains technical details of the procedure for the technician to follow to complete the repair.

In your case, we understand the service bulletin repair procedure did not fix your concern and the dealership determined that replacing the struts was required to resolve the issue.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

171 Comments on “Front Struts In Our Long-Term 2015 Honda Odyssey Failed At 11,000 Miles...”


  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    I dont know what it is about minivans but in my somewhat long time on this earth, ive never experienced one i’d call reliable. Be it Honda, Chrysler, or Kia, something about a living room on wheels is hard to make dependable.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Minivans push front-drive sedan-derived platforms to the absolute limit (as do three-row CUVs). So more problems and shorter service lives are to be expected. But this is still just unacceptable, and if I were Tim I’d be disinclined to get another Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        This stress and mileage on car platform consideration is what pushed me away from higher miles MDX examples when I was looking.

        • 0 avatar

          The MDX is well designed and drives well. I think of it as a Pilot that can dance. They cheap out on the sway bar bushings and end links….for the forces involved, weight and size of the truck, they are Civic parts. I replace them every 40k, luckily it isn’t too bad a DIY. Still, compared to an X5, tinker toy vs. heavy metal.`

          Shocks last 90k, and then are useless. I followed the same gen as my MDX today and was entertained by the clearly first set of shocks…boing boing boing. The OE replacements ( a work in progress, the part number changed a few times) are pretty good, which helps as there aren’t any Bilsteins for it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree, they do drive well (gen 1 is what I drove). I was not prepared for how agile and sporty it felt. I had expected more of a minivan feel. Was not ponderous or hard to maneuver in the slightest.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            Yeah, there seem to be quite a number of 1G and 2G MDXes still trucking away quite well around here, and they seem well-cared for judging by the body condition.

            We have a 2016, and I’m worried that all the new guinea-pig techy stuff (9-speed ZF transmission, new implementation of SH-AWD, cylinder deactivation with active engine mounts) will make a nice dent in the reliability stats.

            It’s otherwise a nice ride and one can almost drive it like a sports sedan.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve gen 2…the SH AWD is under rated…makes a big difference. Shame it was de-contented in gen 3. If you actually hustle the truck around, it kept things very stable…but I’m sure the vast majority of owners don’t ever, and won’t miss it. Oh, Porsche uses a system like the second gen, too…

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think that was one of the strengths of the early odd-ball rwd based vans before everyone switched to the transverse-engine and FWD formula: better long term durability. Astros, Aerostars, Previas, and my favorite MPVs that I love to extoll on here. The two MPVs in my family are on their original transmissions with 235k miles on the ’89 and 175k on the ’98. The ’98 has a factory external transmission cooler to boot that’s part of the tow package.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          An idiot recently broke into our C-Max through the front passenger window and stole stuff. I had to have a glass guy come replace the broken window while at my downtown office. The glass guy showed up in an old but immaculately maintained Astro with a slightly lowered suspension. He said there is nothing else on the market so far that combines the Astro’s durability, carrying capacity, and ease of getting into downtown parking garages.

          I expect if anyone ever brings a high-payload version of the new smaller vans into the US, his company will be all over them, but until then it’s lowered Astros or bust.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Couple years ago I saw my favorite Astro – because it had been Cadillac’ed.

            It was an old dealer service shuttle, I think. Black, AWD, gold pinstripe with Cadillac logos, and it said Thompson-McConnel in script on the back. Saw some dude driving it on the highway.

            I was like AHH my favorite Astro!

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            At one point the main cab company in my hometown in Ithaca NY (hilly, snowy in winter) was running a fleet of almost exclusively all Astros/Safaris, most in AWD guise. They would hunt down clean non-rust examples anywhere/everywhere they could to press into service. The mechanicals are dirt simple and cheap, of course you have some inevitable access issues with the engine being where it is. 4.3L Vortec is a freaking tank (just drain out that Dexcool) and just keep a stock of idler arms for the front end. 4L60Es are well studied and cheap to rebuild, the cabbie driving one told me that’s about the only thing that they saw go wrong on higher mile units.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh man, I just looked at the list of stuff the 4L60E is in. Tons!

    • 0 avatar
      GermanReliabilityMyth

      I have always wondered the same thing. Is it a case of having a small SUV’s worth of hardware and GVWR slapped onto what’s essentially a stretched car platform? My ’01 Sienna shares a platform with that generation Camry and many components with the Avalon and ES300. Hopefully, they put that extra mass into consideration for some of the suspension components and hopefully a radiator with a decent transmission cooler in it. Otherwise, I’ll have to look into installing an auxiliary cooler. Deep down, I believe in the utility and Swiss army knife nature of these beasts, but they seem to require more maintenance and have shorter parts life.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Siennas seem to be both the most reliable minivans and also the least reliable Toyota product. Such is life with a Minivan. The first generation with the 1MZ was developed at the tail end of the Fat Toyota years and seems better all around than any subsequent Siennas.

        What bothers me about this Honda story is that their TSB explanation brushes the noise off as fluid contaminating the rubber isolator. Since when is it a valid explanation and/or a non-issue that a strut is leaking hydraulic fluid within the new car warranty period? That would be grounds for replacement, IMO. Many state inspections consider a leaky strut, at a certain severity, to be a safety concern worthy of failure.

        • 0 avatar
          GermanReliabilityMyth

          This is a good response, if only because it just about sums up my understanding of minivans as an offering. I was just talking about this topic with my wife, as the Sienna was bought recently via private party, and mentioned your first sentence. We knowingly nodded our heads in unison with agreement.

          • 0 avatar
            KalapanaBlack

            Thanks for the kind words, and good luck with your Sienna. Make sure to do the timing belt sooner or later, as the VVT-equipped 1MZ-FE is a full interference engine. The weak point in the transmission is the reverse clutch – come to a complete stop before changing gears. The struts and front control arms may go bad around 100k if they haven’t already been addressed, and watch for rear alignment/tire wear issues, especially on the inside edges. VVT oil control valves will need to be replaced at 150k or so, especially if conventional oil was used. And about 5% of these engines sludged due to heat buildup in the valve/cam areas, then blocking oil passages. 3,000 mile conventional oil change intervals or the use of synthetic in the years leading up to now would put my fears to rest.

            Some othet tips on that platform are that catalytic converters last 150-200k, are rather expensive (especially for Cali emissions-there are 3 cats), and proper maintenance should include flushing the front differential in addition to the transmission, as it has a seperate capacity. And the PCV valve is an often overlooked, $2 part that takes 1 minute to replace (passenger side rear of engine) that often causes oil use at higher mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Just be lucky the Ody doesn’t have the 9-speed tranny from the Pilot that Motor Trend just had fail.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Norm,
        Could you tell us about the reliability of the GM minivan that competes with the Odyssey?

        Oh, wait…

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          I had leased a 2012 Odyssey ex-l for the wife. The cylinder management system failed, car ran rough all the time. Honda wouldn’t fix or even try to diagnose under warranty without out of pocket cost. Nobody ever wants to hear that Honda’ or Toyotas may have problems, always brushed off as an outlier. I replaced it with Buick enclave (competitive minivan), no problems in 2 plus years. Knock on wood. When a car is under warranty I expect bumper to bumper coverage. Not pleased with Honda in that respect.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I would’ve tried a different dealer, and taken the issue to Honda itself if it wasn’t resolved to my satisfaction.

            Yes, Toyotas and Hondas do have problems, as with any other man-made machine. Only a fool believes otherwise. Some are worse than others, of course, and I’d certainly trust an Odyssey over a Wind/Freestar or those awful GM minivans (Uplander, etc).

            I’d take a Ford Aerostar over any of them*, though! I’ve had several Aerostars, and my family bought one new in 1990 and kept it for 7 mostly trouble-free years (I think the power steering pump was replaced under warranty, otherwise it was excellent). They’re not perfect, but they are durable.

            *If only people moving were what I required, I would consider the first gen Odyssey, the ones without sliders. I used my Aerostar for towing and cargo, things they excel at.

        • 0 avatar
          KalapanaBlack

          (to VoGo)
          It’s utterly apples to oranges, but I’m game.

          The second gen U vans had rust issues and a nearly 70% failure rate of the lower intake gasket due to Dexcool. The contemporary Odyssey had an underbuilt suspension and a near 80% failure rate for transmissions. But vastly siperior packaging.

          The second generation Odyssey kept most of the same weak points with incremental improvements. The third generation U vans were hideous, cheaply made, poorly packaged, but largely excised the rust issues and engine problems due to the vvt pushrod 3.5 and 3.9. They also crashed competitively (finally) and offered AWD.

          The current, third generation Odyssey is Pilot derived. The market moved, and both GM and Honda followed. Honda by crafting a Pilot-based Odyssey (engineering wise, the first and second generation Odysseys were Accord derived, with a Pilot and MDX built off of them, while the third generation was backward developed from the second gen Pilot). GM replaced the U Vans and Trailblazer clones with the Lambda crossovers. If we leave the Trailblazer platform out of the discussion (since those vehicles sold far better than the Pilot competitor from Honda anyway), current (2015) sales of the three Lambdas were 278k and combined sales of the Pilot, MDX, and Odyssey for 2015 were 281k. Pretty even, if you ask me. Same market coverage, virtually identical sales, just two different responses to the market (Honda competed with a FWD Odyssey and AWD/FWD Pilot, GM offered FWD and AWD minivans instead; now, GM covers the midsize SUV and minivan categories with FWD/AWD crossovers).

          At a glance, GM seems to have retreated, but if you actually pay attention to facts and 15 years of market history, they actually are currently competitive, just through a different method.

          Of course, this doesnt take into accound fleet sales or transaction prices. And for what it’s worth, the current Pilot/Odyssey/MDX and Lambdas are avout average for overall actual reliability trouble spots, with many of the same trouble spots popping up in all of them – weak suspension components and wear-intensive automatic transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The good news is that the Pilots at EX-L and below trim levels come with the Honda 6-speed transmission instead of the ZF 9-speed. Edmunds tested both options. http://www.edmunds.com/honda/pilot/2016/long-term-road-test/2016-honda-pilot-ex-6-speed-transmission-vs-elite-9-speed.html

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      We had a Chrysler and had problems too. Mostly the doors and the transmission was replaced. Lots of nagging problems with switches and trim. Never stranded and we had a good dealer, but still a hassle.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I had 2000 Mercury Villager. It had broken door handle, broken window switch, cv-boots, wheel bearing and lower engine mount. This is for the duration of 115K miles. Seems like a lot but I hardly spent $300 on all these things fixing them myself.
      Where it did set me back is during selling time. Nobody wanted it so selling price had to go down.

    • 0 avatar
      silverw126

      I owned a ’06 Sienna (bought new), and I had a number of problems that I didn’t expect for a Toyota. One of my rear shocks failed at 20K, and I thought that was just a fluke.

      Then after 36K, a few more things went wrong:

      1 Broken motor mount,
      Power steering rack started leaking–rack and labor covered under warranty,
      2 failed HVAC servos (clicking sounds as the divider doors move so air can go to the dash versus the floor,

      After 60K, a few more:

      1 sliding door motor failed, then the other. $4K to fix, but Toyota reimbursed as “goodwill”,
      Power steering motor started to groan (though it didn’t fail),
      Power steering rack (#2) started leaking–rack replaced under warranty, I had to pay for labor.

      At 105K, the last straw:

      Transmission starting slipping (between 2nd and 3rd gear).
      Replacement power steering rack (#3) leaking again,
      Sheath covering the cables for the power door motors is worn, so power doors will eventually fail again….

      Tire shops never were able to get the wheels aligned correctly. The van has never been hit, but the tires had “cupping” on the outer treads.

      I sold the van at 108K miles, as I could foresee very expensive repairs down the road. The van was garaged and maintained well–located in San Jose, CA.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    So who’s the guilty supplier? KYB? Showa?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Sounds like Honda got a bad batch of struts. Far better than a bad batch of airbags.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Yeah, it might one of these TSB’S. I’m sure Tim has it printed his work order.

      http://www.odyclub.com/forums/54-2011-odyssey/244666-2016-honda-odyssey-technical-service-bulletins.html#/topics/244666?_k=qjgisg

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    No idea if it’s a trend or not, but I’ve been deeply unsatisfied with the build quality in my 2011 TSX, versus my prior Hondas (3 for me, 13 in my immediate family). Too early to tell if our ’15 RDX is going to be reliable long term, we’ll see. Based on my experience with my TSX, I likely won’t buy another Honda, and I rescinded my recommendation my mom look at an RLX to replace her beloved ES350.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The RLX is just so complicated and of the “unique parts” sort of design that it seems like a bad idea overall.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The RLX has a bad record to date by Honda standards, although it would be a pretty good record for a German marque.

      A shame as its long-ago predecessor, the first-generation RL, is one of the most bulletproof cars anyone has ever made.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The RLX sells in such small numbers you’d think Honda would have plenty of time for quality assurance.

        Tim’s site shows only 833 RLX sales YTD. For comparison the Chevy SS has sold 2140, the CT6 at 2806, the Equus is 1350. The only nonexotic and nondiscontinued thing it beats is the K900 (501 sales).

  • avatar
    Snowshoeman

    “And truthfully, there are other reasons a minivan buyer may choose an Odyssey or Sienna over a Grand Caravan: an eighth seat, greater space, more comfortable seats, exterior styling, unique feature content, or any number of things.”

    How about safety? That’s the first thing I look at when considering any vehicle.
    Check out the small overlap test on the IIHS website for the Dodge Caravan, dreadful. My family’s safety is worth the extra cost of an Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I like how a bunch of cars suddenly became “death traps” because IIHS cooked up a new test a few years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Exactly what I was going to comment, JimZ.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I’m personally waiting for the upcoming “Sideways spin into oncoming semi” and “40 foot plunge off overpass” tests to provide another source of disproportional paranoia.

        For vehicles acing the new small overlap test, I wonder what another 10 mph would do to the results. Vehicles have been getting far safer for some time yet I routinely see wrecks where the occupants of new vehicles didn’t make it because the crash severity exceeded the modest speed and mass of the standardized crash tests. As long as Ford sells 700,000 F150s a year, I’m not going to worry about the mass-dependent small overlap crash test results of smaller vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Snowshoeman

        The IIHS looked at real world data and found something like 2,500 people were killed in the US alone by small overlap collisions such as clipping an oncoming car or a utility pole. Look at the small overlap pictures of the Caravan under the multimedia tab versus the Odyssey, both not pretty but it’s the difference possibly of being stretchered away versus walking away. I understand you cannot design a vehicle for every real world collision but for me it’s an easy choice IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Sure, they didn’t just invent the test out of thin air, but its creation may be an artifact of available data. First, not all of those 2500 deaths would have been prevented by the new measures because some proportion occur outside the test parameters.

          Second, is anyone keeping track of how many fatalities are occurring during full head-on and moderate overlap crashes due to vehicle mass disparity? The test results look great for those crashes, but the results don’t apply if you hit a heavier vehicle or are going faster than the tested speed. Could be far more than 2500 since ~30,000 are killed annually in wrecks.

          • 0 avatar
            Snowshoeman

            I agree with you that some of the 2500 deaths would certainly be outside the tested parameters that’s why I stated you cannot design a vehicle for every real world collision. All I am saying is that given a choice I want to give my family a higher probability of not being injured (or less injured) from a small overlap crash and that’s why I would choose the Odyssey. I understand at some point it wouldn’t matter what van your in if you hit a semi or a brick wall at 70mph.
            It would be interesting to see the same crash tests at 55 mph, 65 mph etc.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Yup. A newer Caravan is vastly better than a ’97 Pontiac Montana.

        Now THAT was a death trap.

      • 0 avatar
        andyinatl

        Nah, they were always “death traps”; nobody just knew about it. Small overlap test is better indicator of real life accident than slamming a car into a wall. The accidents seldom happen with car perfectly lined up against the wall. How did Volvo SUV designed in 2003 aced that test without modifications, but a bunch of new asian produced vehicles didn’t? Contrary to what new Toyota ads say, they are not as safe as Volvos, Mercedes, etc. Asian/American manufacturers generally design their vehicle’s safety systems to pass the tests. While Volvos have been designing their cars with safety as priority from the ground up. I say this as a current 2012 Honda Civic owner, and i do like that car.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Yeah, how about a new IIHS “telephone pole through the windshield” test. Watch the automakers scramble to design for that one.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Deathtraps are deathtraps regardless of whether or not tests find them. Thousands died from collisions now tested for. They’d have died regardless of the presence of the test.

        The test identified deficiencies. It created nothing but awareness.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    well that sucks, the wife 05 pilot has been very good to use since we bought it new, just did the 105,000 miles service and damm are spark plugs expensive, I think we have replaced two batteries in the 11 years we have owned it and one wheel bering just done at 105,000.

  • avatar

    Wonder if it has air-filled, electric motor mounts too?

    http://www.autozone.com/external-engine/motor-mount/duralast-motor-mount/695558_0_4222/?checkfit=true

    No, this is NOT the old “turn signal fluid” joke. Enlarge the pic and there’s a ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR at left. They’ve come on Odysseys for at least ten years.

    Here’s another one for an older Honda. The connector is easier to see in this pic.

    http://www.autozone.com/external-engine/motor-mount/duralast-motor-mount/674652/?_requestid=306844

    This came to my attention when a mechanic friend mentioned in passing about a Honda Odyssey that needed them and the difficulty in changing them out.

    I’d think the older, “We make it simple” Honda would have simply designed a smoother engine or found a better way to minimize NVH than $200 motor mounts.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      And those are the cheapy Chinese replacement part prices. I expect they run around $600 each if you had the dealer do them.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        ELECTRIC MOTOR MOUNTS!

        Sounds like something from GM Motorama circa 1959, or in a futurist magazine in the 70s.

        “In the year twoooooooooo-thousandddddd!”

        • 0 avatar

          I know, Dan. I wondered if he was BS’ing me until I had a guy at Auto Zone look it up.

          How do you complicate what should be a $50 replacement part? Honda found a way.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            http://www.brakeandfrontend.com/tech-feature-active-motor-and-trans-mounts/

            In principle, active mounts let you make both idle and load NVH and stresses on the system less pronounced.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Hondas have used motor mounts with a vacuum line on them for a long time in several models. At idle they go soft to minimize NVH. Under load they tighten up.

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            Nothing like the Rube Goldberg solution to everything!

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      AFAIK it’s because of cylinder deactivation on a V6 makes it oddly un-smooth.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        What, does it turn into a V4 with three firing on one side and one on the other?

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          It goes from six to three. I wouldn’t think it’s *that* rough, but I don’t know how they do their crank; if’s it’s odd-firing or even-firing (for those who remember the old Buick 231 V6).

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Does anybody use an odd-fire V6 anymore? That seems like its more an artifact of 90 degree V6 engines rather than the narrower 60 degree engines which provided better balance characteristics (not ideal mind you since a V6 really needs a 120 degree bank angle – 720/# of cylinders)

            This just serves to remind me how intense the sales game is. Honda could have gone with a more conventional mount but at the cost of increased NVH which could kill a sale real quick if a competitor has a smoother riding vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      FWIW Honda’s been putting electronically adjustable engine mounts in their cars since the ’90 Accord. Nothing new there. I think my beater Maxima has one as well.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Is that the same thing as “active engine mounts” like they advertise on high performance cars now?

        What’s the alternative, regular hydraulic ones?

        And what was before those, engine mount bushings?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Back in the day it was just a chunk of rubber bonded to a couple of pieces of metal. Those plain old donuts were great for years and years. Then I think during a break one of the engineers said, I like Jelly filled donuts so we should put them in our cars as well.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            They do make a huge difference. Volvo 7/940s have hydraulic mounts, but some of the cheap aftermarket mounts are just solid rubber. Put those on and you would think the motor was bolted directly to the passenger seat.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            In my experience, across many brands, those plain old donuts are good for 3 years or 50k miles–then you start to get engine lurch at shutdown, more noise as the engine makes frame contact at full throttle, etc. and then gradually you start to get more vibration all the time. I’d much rather have an active mount, assuming it’s reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          http://www.brakeandfrontend.com/tech-feature-active-motor-and-trans-mounts/

          EDIT didn’t see that this had already been posted! Yes it is a very good and thorough summary.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The Siennas (at least the ’04-’10 models) use hydraulically damped engine mounts.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    There’s another reason to buy a Sienna. As far as I know, it’s the only minivan available with all wheel drive. That makes it the best choice for bad winter weather and camping trips in the mountains.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Agreed, and adding to your points. The Sienna is the only option to own a minivan without having all the breakdowns of a Chrysler or Honda. The odyssey is an extremely overrated vehicle. Many issues, from engines, transmissiona, engine mounts, and now struts.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Don’t agree. The best minivan for winter is one with winter tires.

        My Odyssey was $2K cheaper than the equivalent Sienna and has been flawless through 5 years/50K.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          2nd gen Sienna AWD also had the advantage of some pretty darn decent clearance, right around 7 inches.

          Between that, the older but more effective version of AWD, and the higher quality interior, a clean one of them would be my top pick for a used van.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          I didn’t know that AWD and winter tires are mutually exclusive in certain parts of the world.

  • avatar

    Hopefully someone at Honda furthered their career when they came up with an additional cost saving regarding the design/build of the front struts.

    It always happens when “someone” concludes that there is too much quality and durability in a component, they save money once, even twice, and then its the customer that gets it with premature failures, and service bulletins advising dealers of the premature failures.

    The dealer has to try the cheap fix first, and if the customer still complains then its the real fix which is less cheap. Even warranty work is under constant cost saving scrutiny.

    Just goes to show that the “street creds” of utmost reliability don’t always hold up. Good thing it broke under warranty, was fixed at no charge.

    Next time insist on a courtesy car, not a courtesy ride.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I recall the saying that shocks deteriorate 1% for every 1K miles. The times I have replaced shocks around 60K was like getting a new car, especially with Bilsteins. But the price of replacing shocks is a commitment to keep the car for a couple more years.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Not sure about the one percent per one K but you are right, struts have lost their edge well before 100K yet half the cars that end up in the junkyard do so on their original struts. Heck, plenty of the B&B think they are lifetime parts. If they only did a replacement at 90K they would think they got a new car.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know they do wear out and when their gone they make a huge difference but when I have changed them as maintenance (at around 80k miles on one car and 90k on another) I didn’t notice much of a change. These were both SUV’s and shocks not struts.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      It’s about as bad as replacing tires cost-wise. Shopping around you can generally find OE replacements around $80-100 a piece, sometimes even Konis or Bilsteins in the low $100s range, though they can crest up to $150 or so. Install is generally $2-300 depending on how much of a pain your car’s suspension is.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I wager we’ll see more of this over time.

    From the manufacturers viewpoint , the only people who matter are the first owners or lessees. After that the company doesn’t get a dime except for factory service.

    So why would the firm make a car that’s bulletproof reliable past the first ownership phase? If the car pulled a Star Trek and self destructed as soon as the first owner handed in the keys , the company wins.

    Naturally us buyers lose, but that’s the breaks with capitalism.

    • 0 avatar

      With the increasing popularity of CPO programs manufacturers have to have to build a good level of quality/durability in vehicles. If the first owner keeps it for 3 years on a lease and lets say 36,000 miles/60,000 kms then the vehicle becomes a CPO for another 3 years and comparable mileage.

      For 72 months and 72,000 miles/120,000 kms a vehicle has to be reasonably reliable to not generate high warranty costs be it when it was new or CPO on an extended manufacturer warranty.

    • 0 avatar

      But it’s a poor business model.

      What about the people who buy a particular vehicle new, based on favorable experience with one of their old models?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Resale value matters, a lot.

      Because that’s what keeps CPO lease sales or new purchases coming, isn’t it?

      If it’s worn out after the lease or first owner, it won’t have resale – and you’ll have to drop the price to get people to think it’s worth eating the depreciation.

      (As AGR said.)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yes, its awful how new cars are so unreliable and poorly built. Probably Bush’s fault.

      Too bad we can’t go back to the 70s when cars never had problems!

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    I know this is anecdotal but our 1999 Honda Accord EX-L was a gem of a car, pampered daily, purchased new by my obsessive compulsively meticulous father in law in 1998 from the same dealer he had it serviced at until at 80k miles, he gave it to my wife in 2006. We had the car until it hit 120k miles and that’s when we threw in the towel.

    In the last 20k miles we owned it, I spent nearly $4500 in fixing a damned check engine light (EVAP canister, EVAP valve, oxygen sensors, cat-converter, etc.) and then the transmission took a poop. After repairing the trans as cheaply as possible, we traded it in on a 2007 Mazda 6 in early 2008. THAT car was flawless from 16k miles at time of purchase to 135k when I sold it.

    I vowed never to own another Honda until my wife vetoed my decision and we purchased our Pilot. Lets see how this one shakes out.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      My 2001 Accord V6 coupe, that I bought used, began to show a lot of problem right after the 110k mile mark. The transmission was always wonky, shifting like a 70s Cadillac leaking tranny fluid.

      My other Honda, a ’04 Element, was great until the front end began making the most horrendous grinding noise. The mechanic – non-Honda – could replicate it on the road, but never on the rollers. That took a trip to the dealership where we ended up using it as a trade-in instead of having it repaired.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        Looking at a 2001 accord sedan full load 100,000km’s for my daughter(first car). Have not done anything yet, it is sitting on the street over with a sign in the window. Any words of wisdom on what I should know or look for if we proceed to actively consider?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You said km, so I’m assuming you’re in Canada. Seriously check for rust on something that old up there. Any/all of the fender wheel well areas, as well as around the doors. That dates before the auto transmission issues, but I’d check fluids to be sure they look okay.

          That’s -very- low mileage for something that old, which should be reflected in the excellent condition all around. Be sure the mileage is accurate.

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            Thank you. Timing chains I know I should research.

            Our part of Canada rarely gets snow so no salt used here. When I see a rusty car, I check the dealer tag to see if it is from back east. We are a military(and retirement) town so used car stock is a mix.

            Not that unusual to see older vehicles with low mileage due to the older demographic. really a good place to find a creampuff if you have patience

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            dash it’s a timing belt, not a chain so definitely ask about it. It hasn’t reached its mileage limit yet but it has in terms of age (every 9 years IIRC).

            Definitely check for a rusty underbody like Corey said. Investigate any check engine lights, this generation of Accord is known for EGR issues, and yes I’d make damn sure the transmission functions as it should IE not slamming into gear after a delay when shifted from park to drive, although some firm shifts when the transmission is cold is fine. The shifting should never be super smooth/’slushy’/soft on these, I’d be suspicious if it was. Finally check the color and smell of the fluid. Overly dark or burned smelling ATF would raise red flags for me.

            Overall in this late-90s/early 00-s generation, my pick of the litter is the Camry, just check for filthy oil or signs of oil consumption. Rock solid transmissions, engine accessories, non-interference motors, smoother riding and more durable suspensions than Honda. Same exact things apply to Corollas of that era, but check doubly so on the oil burning, and the benefit of a timing chain. Or find a 5spd Accord, another good way to avoid that era Honda Achilles Heel and as a bonus you get to enjoy some of the smoothest most satisfying manual shifters in all of auto-dom.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Especially look for rusty brake and fuel lines on that vintage Honda. Probably the biggest reason for them getting scrapped around here, very expensive to fix.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          dash riprock, the 4-cylinder models of the Accord sedan tend to last longer than the 6-cylinder models. The automatic transmission is a weak point for Honda and more torque or more mass equal shorter transmission life. A stack of receipts for ATF drain and fill every two years or a manual transmission would be a huge plus. I know the V6 version has a timing belt that needs to be changed at 100k miles. I’d budget for replacing it on a 2001 based on age. The V6 also has problems with the EGR passage in the intake manifold clogging that requires disassembly and cleaning. I had to replace window regulators after 10 to 12 years. I’ve had problems with an intermittent brake light switch, but that’s easy to fix.

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            Thank you gtemnykh and george b for the heads up. It is a 4 cylinder(my ignorant bias is for a v6). My assumption is that the age will over ride the mileage for a lot of the maintenance items.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Yes, the transmission will be an issue if it’s a V6.

            EGR, burned-out instrumentation LCD backlights, PCM problems leading to a “hot soak” condition, were all problems I encountered with my 2000 Accord V6 EX-L.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    Had the same problem on our 2015 model. They made me take a drive with a tech who spent the entire time convincing me that there was nothing wrong. Tried to make me feel like a whiner for complaining about the sound. Now we’re over mileage and out of warranty. I really dislike most honda service dealers I’ve used. I’ve often been treated like I’m the enemy.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My 05 Odyssey was out of service for about 20 days in its first year. Rather than giving me a new car to keep me as a customer, Honda gave me a check for $1700 via lemon court and lost me forever, possibly.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      A buddy of mine manages an auto center. The other day we were discussing how much Hyundai/Kia is willing to spend on what we would consider a warranty claim, but they seem to consider a goodwill gesture, before they’d decide to cut the customer loose instead. We arrived at the figure of $80, provided the customer is articulate and the car looks exactly like the new ones on the showroom floor.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    When I filled up my truck at a local station recently there was a late model Odyssey at the next pump. The owner was trying to get his side doors to shut.

    Groaning is a pretty accurate description, both from the doors and the driver. They finally managed to shut and lock them and then clambered in via the front doors so they wouldn’t need to open them again.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It was the electric doors which sent my 05 Oddy to lemon court. The other 6 problems didn’t count.

      The the most entertaining repair description the dealer provided was when they said they were ‘stretching’ the wiring harness for the door. Sometimes the door wouldn’t open, and sometimes it wouldn’t close. Once it jammed open about 5 mm; I don’t know how they fixed that.

  • avatar
    soberD

    No issues on our $20k Grand Caravan AVP after >50k miles in 2 years.

    Everyone is horrified by our manual doors, but at least they close.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    We had a 2006 Ody for almost eight years. I would say it was reasonably reliable, but it did eat front tires and brakes. it’s cost of operation was reasonable as well, but it did have two fairly expensive repairs that Honda paid for, one for its active engine mounts, and one for the power steering pump.

    We now have a 2014 Explorer, which has been in the family just short of three years. It’s been much better on tires and brakes, and has needed one minor repair, covered under warranty.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    “Honda Canada is aware that there is a squeak on certain 2015 and 2016 Odysseys and we have published a service bulletin to address the most probable cause: damper oil from the assembly potentially contaminating the bump stop rubber.”

    Did anyone else read this far? How exactly are bump stops getting ‘potentially contaminated’ with damper oil if the struts aren’t leaking? When is replacing the struts ever not a necessary part of the solution to this issue? “We used Tide to remove the red stain from your shirt, but your stab wound still appears to be an issue!”

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Chinese made struts, most likely the culprit here.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Toyota > Honda

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The Sienna has superior ride and is quieter. The Honda is more fun to drive.

      Pick your poison.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        For a minivan I’d be inclined to go for the former.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          I found when we were shopping in 2014, the perfect minivan would be one that handles like the Odyssey, is as quiet as the Sienna and has the interior from the current LE Quest, with some of the Pentastars character and go.

          It seems Toyota and Chrysler have made big changes where they had issues, as the Toyota has a much nicer interior now and the Pacifica is a vast improvement over the T&C.

  • avatar
    MLS

    Why always so eager to besmirch the Grand Caravan in every update on your Odyssey? We get it, you liked the Odyssey better, so you bought one. Grand Caravan really doesn’t even warrant mentioning here.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “At 11,000 miles our Odyssey finally looks and feels new again” is a really poor endorsement of the vehicle from my point of view. I know isolated issues pop up with individual vehicles that may not fit the overall trend, so I don’t want to be that guy, but…my 6 year old 81K mile VW has had 1/3 the service downtime of this van.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Over a 135k miles on owr 2006, it east brakes like candy but other than that so far it has been very reliable. Things like struts needed to be replace at 70k and 135k alnog with other items but nothing unexpected with teh number of miles and yearson it.

    I’d still bank on Honda or Toyota over FCA, not that it would preclude me from getting a new Pacifica or Grand Cherokee I just would expect more to go wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      Don’t all Honda products eat brakes like candy? I put new rotors in Acura at 25K miles, they didn’t even cover under warranty. The steering wheel is wobbling again at 42K miles. Pizza pies would work better than Honda rotors.

      • 0 avatar
        jthorner

        I’ve been putting new rotors on our Accord and TSX every 20k-40k miles for so long now that I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done it. As a DIY job it isn’t hard or expensive. I would be upset if I was paying dealership rates for the job.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    This article only proves that different people have different definitions of “reliable”. Struts (or a strut) breaking, and trashing the suspension to point that the vehicle is undriveable would define “unreliability”. Struts (or a strut) merely making noise (or groaning side doors as the article mentioned) with no other effect on being able to get from point A to point B does NOT define “reliability”.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    This is clearly false, everybody knows only import brands like VW and Fiat have issues ;)

    But seriously, I wonder how the Pacific would fare if you were making your decision today.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I have 11,000 hard miles (lots of washboarded dirt trails) on my Pacifica and the struts are still going strong. So there you have it.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        And for those consumers who think that a sample size of 2 is sufficient, we’re all set.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        My brother had 210k miles on his ’89 MPV when he finally replaced the front struts, which amazingly still didn’t leak. The spring perches were beginning to rust out, which prompted the replacement. Equally impressive were the original ball joints that were still tight. Mind you, he is an avid mountain bike racer and frequently had a van full of people and bikes and drove down fire roads and such. To be fair the steering rack was replaced at about 200k miles as I recall.

  • avatar
    Nurburgringer

    For the record, we have 58000 miles on our 2012 town and country with absolutely zero issues. I recently changed the brakes and trans fluid but nothing else has needed attention since buying it with 10k miles 3 years ago.

  • avatar
    JayDub

    After much deliberation, I just signed the lease on a 2016 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD.

    I have a 2009 Lexus GX470, and a 2006 Mitsubishi Montero Limited. Both are nimble and well-appointed 4WD rigs. Two of my favorites. However I now have three young kids, plus a ton of outdoor toys (surf boards, bikes, skis, camping gear). As such I am selling my SUV’s, and committing to the van (travel pod!) lifestyle.

    I’ve never leased before, but my accountant suggested it for tax reasons (side business write-off). I almost went with the Mercedes Metris passenger van. I really enjoyed the EuroVan feel, plus the size and towing ability (5,000 lb.). And the fact that it’s a mini-Sprinter, which fits in the garage. The lease was $1,500 down, and $526 per month including tax. I believe 15K miles per year. Cool rig, but pretty spendy for a hotel shuttle van that lacks interior bells and whistles!

    I was then going to save a grip of money and go with the new Pacifica. $500 down, $400 per month for two years, and 10K miles per year. It really drives well. Plus the stow-n-go, and new features. I would have even tried Chrysler Town & Country, if I could find the same amazing lease deal a few friends/family secured a couple years ago (well appointed T&C, for $280 per month). However none of the Chrysler dealers would work with me on the T&C because that vehicle is going away. Instead they all pushed me hard on the Pacifica.

    Instead I landed a pretty good lease for the 2016 Sienna XLE AWD. It’s $500 down, $415 per month including taxes, and 15,000 mile for three years. My friends and I have enjoyed hanging out in the van after surfing and climbing. And the Missus’ (who hated mini-vans!) now loves the comfort of helping baby in the back seat. Plus my young boys love the third row. I am excited to use the AWD for ski season and ice climbing season (several trips per winter).

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      You have impeccable taste in SUVs!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “However I now have three young kids, plus a ton of outdoor toys (surf boards, bikes, skis, camping gear). As such I am selling my SUV’s, and committing to the van (travel pod!) lifestyle.”

      I assume you have a job, so how in the world do you have the time to do all that stuff?

      Oh to be young again!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    That link Sigivald put up was a pretty good, concise explanation of these. I wonder if I have ever been in a car old enough to have solid mounts.

    (This was a reply to Scoutdude’s comment, which has vanished.)

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      And conversely, I don’t think I’ve ever had a car that didn’t have “solid” rubber or urethane mounts. (In my mind, “solid” means solid steel mounts for racing.)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Interesting that my comment vanished, I don’t think I said anything inappropriate.

      You’ve probably been in many a truck or truck based SUV that had plain old solid rubber mounts and a pretty good chance you’ve been in cars with them too.

  • avatar
    1audiofile

    My family bought a 2000 Toyota Sienna Le. The front and rear shocks had to be replaced at only 325,000 miles. Then it drove like new again. The most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. I sold the Sienna at 355,000 miles still running well. My wife bought a 2000 Camry with a V6 and so far the car is fantasti. It had 98,000 miles when she bought it. 128,000 now. Just installed new brake rotors on the rear and will do so on the front. The rotors were ok but a company provided the rear rotors (drilled) and ceramic pads for $65.00 with free shipping. The fronts will be $80.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Wow. So not only did they not give you a loaner car, but they made you basically take THE BUS and sit in the friggen 3rd row while other passengers are dropped off first? Seriously?

    I’ve been to a VW service dept many times (shock) and while they often had no more loaner cars available (shock) they would always give me, JUST ME, a ride home in a Passat or Jetta or whatever. In the front seat.

    And yet its VW dealers who get all of the hate, and Honda doesn’t. “Legendary” Honda reliability seems like more and more of a myth these days. Acuras now seem to have totally average reliability, and that was pretty much the only reason to buy their bland, noisy, cheap, utterly mediocre cars. If there’s a chance I’m going to have a few unplanned days at the service bay anyway, why the hell would I ever buy an Acura over a BMW?

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      If one of your paragraphs starts “I’ve been to a VW service dept. many times”, then you aren’t qualified to hate on Honda’s reputation for reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I think he was just hating on the customer service, not the reliability.
        And offcourse a VW dealer would have more experience with reliability issues, and always keep more loaners on site than most Honda/Toyota dealers would, just in case.
        I think some Honda dealerships/service depts. are so certain about their cars reliability(no matter if it’s real or not) that they just don’t trust any customer who claims their car is having issues.

      • 0 avatar
        Davekaybsc

        My point was, VW service depts are notorious for being terrible, and yet when your VW is inevitably in for service for this or that, you’re likely to get a Jetta loaner, or at the very least, a ride home right away from one of the service guys. There’s no way in hell I would ever put up with being shoved into the 3rd row of a Routan while 3 or 4 other people are dropped off first. And yet at this Honda dealer, that seems to be routine.

        That kind of experience would lead me to never go back to that Honda dealer. And since when does experience with a brand worse than Honda lead one to be unable to comment on Honda’s very real slide in quality and reliability? Ebola may be worse than Mono, but that doesn’t make Mono nice to have.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I guess they didn’t realize that you are a member of the royal family when they stuck you in the third row of an Odyssey.

          • 0 avatar
            Davekaybsc

            Just curious, how would you feel if when you dropped off your car for service, if they gave you a quarter so you could go call a cab? Or maybe they give you a ten-speed to ride home? Would you be annoyed by that? I guess you’re not a crown prince, so if there’s a garbage truck that happens to be going by the dealer, you’d be fine hopping on the back.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I got a 16 exl last October. No problems yet. I originally wanted a sienna le because it gets substantially better reliability ratings in CR (odyssey is average, grand caravan scores slightly below average but the Chrysler vans only sat 2 a cross row 2) but we went oddy cuz the 2nd row seats design is way better than the sienna for small kids and it drives like a car while the sienna drove like a bus.

    Struts and door problems by 11k is unacceptable. As much as I love our oddy I always noticed the fit and finish aren’t up to the levels of Honda’s past..and some parts like the interior sliding door panels remind me of an mid 2000s gm level of quality it’s still the best designed minivan today.

  • avatar

    Two years ago I bought a 56 Studebaker President Classic, used of course, and it has none of the issues described in this article. I also have a 2005 Odyssey EX-L that I purchased new. Just replaced the pads/rotors all the way around for the first time at 85,000. While I was at it, I changed the timing belt, serpentine belt, and water pump. The van is now good for another seven years.

  • avatar
    Funky

    My 2012 Odyssey (Touring model bought new) was not particularly reliable. I sold it as soon as I had a chance to do so. I bought it because it was supposedly the best of the best. It incessantly drifted to the right on highways, had some kind of transmission vibration, one of the seats was loose, it had some sort of odd pulsing/harmonic resonance at certain speeds, and regular maintenance for it was more costly than is is for my Volvos. And, of course, the Honda dealership always told me it was operating exactly as it was designed to operate. I was not impressed.

  • avatar
    formula m

    You and Mark cry like Internet princesses. Worn struts from over weight passengers or driving over a curb leading to such indecent treatment like have to be seated in the 3rd row or being the last to bed dropped off… The fact that you take the time to describe such things makes the rest of your articles much weaker. Same attitude with Mark chirping some red head and crying about a fork lift nicking the corner of his wooden Uhaul bin with such disdain. Hire movers and send an Uber

  • avatar
    nyexx

    Last week had the struts replaced in our 2011 Odyssey. 57,000 miles. $800 for the left side! Was not happy.

    After getting the vehicle back we realized the right side needed replacement too. Fixed that for much cheaper.

    We have a 2012 CR-V which has been trouble free so I don’t know what to say.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Lol, 3 days in 14 months is bad?

    14 days between dealership visits is a good run. But my perspective maaaaaay be scewed.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      My “unreliable” BMW has had one unscheduled dealer visit in five years, for a faulty power seat relay. I’d call 3 days in 14 months pretty bad.

      I feel for you Dave, your car fell out of the lemon tree and hit every branch on the way to the ground. I’ve only had one car that was truly unreliable, but it was a 170K Volvo 240 Turbo that was completely used up when I stupidly bought it. And the turbo was the only thing that never broke! If I bought a new car that acted like yours I would want to go postal on somebody. Your restraint is admirable.

  • avatar
    BillSellwood

    My sixth-gen Civic needed a manual trans rebuild after 140,000 miles – a chronic bearing failure, as I learned to my great disappointment. The days of Honda trailing Toyota by a close second in quality ratings seemed to be over after the early 90’s currency problems. All the Japanese automakers had to tighten their belts, but Honda apparently didn’t have the resources, or maybe the leadership by then, to continue the winning streak that had launched them. Still, the engineering is first rate, it’s mainly supplier problems that have popped up.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Honda has steadily over the years been dropping the ball when it comes to quality control. They used to be the gold standard. What happened? And many of these issues aren’t minor, like their transmission problems.

    I’d still though take my chances with a Honda minivan over a Chrysler any day.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Good example is the seat belt buckles with just enough “play” in the mechanism that they sometimes emit audible clicks from the buckle area while driving.

      I may need to tape a couple small pieces of electrical tape to the buckle, and take my chances that I can unbuckle after a crash (or keep a “life hammer” in the center console — device with a centerpunch to break a window, and a seatbelt-slicing blade).

      According to my dealer’s service manager, it’s a supplier issue.

  • avatar
    TAP

    I just drove an ’06 Odyssey on a 1,500mi. roundtrip to Maine, fully loaded with 3 people, 2 lg. dogs, etc.
    Has 230K well maintained(private shop)miles, and was almost flawless, with just a little steering lumpiness at parking speed.
    Must have gotten a good one!

  • avatar
    dms123

    “And truthfully, there are other reasons a minivan buyer may choose an Odyssey or Sienna over a Grand Caravan: an eighth seat, greater space, more comfortable seats, exterior styling, unique feature content, or any number of things.”

    We own a 2015 Odyssey EX-L, and although I looked at various minivan brands when shopping, we quickly ended up with the Odyssey since it was one of the only ones with a middle seat in the 2nd row. That was a really important feature to me for both safety (real or perceived) and logistics as well:

    Safety: We only have 1 child (and no plans for another) so only 1 car seat. Everything I read stated that they are safest in the middle seat as opposed to an edge seat since if someone drives into the side there’s more buffer/crumple zone/etc between the offending car and the child.

    The Chrysler/Dodge Minivan has 2 captain chairs in the 2nd row so the child seat has to be on the side, can’t be in the middle

    The Toyota Sienna has an option for a bench 2nd row, but it’s a weird “sunken” middle seat that’s so narrow that our normal sized car seat could not fit in the sunken area. Also no latch connectors for the child seat in the middle seat so you’d have a seat belt getting in the way all the time compared to the Honda. So not a “real” middle seat in any meaningful way for our purposes

    The Kia minivan had an option for a 2nd bench seat, but the dealership did not have that one to try sitting in (so I could get a feel for how much room the people on either side of the child seat would have) and they had no plans to order one in.

    In fact they had no minivans available to test drive period, only the one in the indoor showroom and the rest they said they sell as soon as they come in and don’t keep any to test drive, I was told if I wanted to buy one I’d have to buy one without a test drive (this is in Hawaii so maybe there are better Kia dealers on the mainland)

    Logistics: Even if I didn’t worry about having my kid right my the side instead of the middle, for us it’s a lot more practical to have seats available on either side of the child seat, since his grandparents stay with us for months at a time to help out with him, and we take lots of long (well by Island standards :) drives around the island with all 5 of us.

    With a 2nd row bench seat, while Dad usually drives and grandpa sits up front, the child can has mom and Grandma on either side of him, both interacting with him and having fun.

    On a minivan with 2 captains chairs, that means that only one person would be in the same row as the kid, resulting in:

    -The one person in the row with him is not that close, they are separated by a big empty center aisle

    -no one else can help with kid in 2nd row even if other people are in the car

    -if driving with 5 people (1 kid, 2 parents, 2 grandparents), someone is now in the 3rd row payback seats, probably less comfortable seats, harder to climb in and out of, can’t talk to anyone else easily

    -Rear cargo capacity is compromised since part of the split third row is being used as a seat. The person in the payback seats also now has cargo sitting next to them wondering if a sharp turn is going to send it all into their lap or face

    So for us anyway, I was really surprised that more minivans don’t have a proper 2nd row bench seat as the standard option, the way the Odyssey did. In my opinion it’s like all the companies were so worried about being able to advertise comfy “captain’s chairs” in the 2nd row, they did not think of all the drawbacks that come with losing that 3rd seat. I think with the Sienna there was even an option for an ottoman for your feet when sitting in the captain’s chair :)

    Thanks!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Our ’14 EXL Odyssey was delivered with the front doors misaligned with the front fenders. Nothing like showing people your new car and hearing the gronk of metal to metal contact. They delivered it to us with the doors open and we were busy trying to corral 3 year olds twins and put the seats in the van, so we didn’t hear it at the dealer. Nothing like taking delivery on a Friday and being back at the dealer Monday morning with an issue. So far, that’s been the only issue. I share Mr. Cains opinion on many of the other annoyances of the Odyssey. Though it is shifting much better after an ATF change.

    When the lease ends in 8 months, I’ll be very interested to see what Toyota and Chrysler have to offer. Possibly even the Kia.

    Our 08 Mazda 5 had a ton of suspension issues when new. According to the forum, it was a bigger problem with the 06-10 model than the later ones, but they still have them. The consensus is that since the 5 was based largely on the 3, Mazda didn’t do enough changes to the suspension to cope with the extra weight of the van body. But other than an odd A/C issue that the dealer worked with me on, it’s been a good vehicle after 7 years and 52k miles.

    Least problems I’ve ever had with a new car? My 04 Lancer Sportback. Put 72k on it in three years and only one unscheduled service. The battery died suddenly, but since it sat on the dealers lot for more than a year, I think that was a contributing factor. Mitsu replaced it for free.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I looked at a 16MY Civic sedan on a dealer lot recently. The body fits were really bad. I mean in a “Mark Stevenson vs. Ford Edge” bad. The rear doors were securely latched but sat above the adjacent quarter panel to where I thought they were on the secondary “safety” catch. The trunk lid wasn’t centered and was higher on the left side.

  • avatar
    lot9

    TTAC, gals and guys…

    I alway read TTAC and their write ups like this. And all the comments.. As you most already know or read on webs, the site complaints.com… have each brand and model that can be noted about problems.
    Sure wish TTAC would do the same format, where each brand and model could be noted that they tested or reviewed and comments could post their problems based on makes and models, etc.
    This way, TTAC readers could review these in much more ease and more informative for all.
    Keep up the good work.
    Would like to see some changes where one could find models and makes info and problems, easier.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Corey Lewis: I think they are ExtremeContact Sports. I’ll be using 93.
  • Corey Lewis: Dealer just issues a temp tag. The Texas ones are good for 60 days.
  • Corey Lewis: It was dark back there and I was more tired than anything. I did scoot too far back though. Nobody...
  • ajla: @Dan: I think every TTAC commenter has replaced their vehicle over the past 20 months so you pretty much have...
  • ajla: 0. What kind of Continentals? 1. What octane are you planning to use?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States