Key Takeaways

  • The Honda Odyssey has been one of the most popular minivans in the United States for the past 25 years, and there is good reason why.
  • Honda is known for building vehicles that are safe, reliable, comfortable and stylish…and the Odyssey doesn’t disappoint.
  • Some of the most common problems with the Honda Odyssey are that the brakes can show poor performance, the fuel pump can stop working properly, and the paint can begin peeling way before it should ever be an issue.

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Anyone in the market for a new minivan is probably considering the Honda Odyssey, but you should know there are problems worth considering before you buy it.

Some of the problems with the Honda Odyssey are that the brakes can show poor performance, the fuel pump can stop working properly, and the paint can begin peeling way before it should even be an issue.

A few years ago, I was in the market for a new minivan. I had owned a Toyota Sienna for many years, but it was time to retire it and buy something new. A number of my friends swore by the Honda Odyssey, saying it was a far superior model minivan and gave me lots of reasons why. I did my own research and decided that the Odyssey was not the minivan for me. Whether you decide to buy a Honda Odyssey or not, maybe my findings will help make your decision a slightly easier one.

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Honda Odyssey Problems & Complaints: Are the Issues Worth Buying?

It’s hard to know anything about cars and not be familiar with the Honda brand.

Having made a solid name for itself in the United States as well as abroad, Honda has been producing high-quality vehicles for decades.

Not only is Honda synonymous with performance and reliability, it’s also known for the safety features that are installed in each of their cars, trucks and minivans, and their customer service and loyalty program is second to none.

The Honda Odyssey was introduced to the US market in 1994 and was the first minivan that Honda had designed, basing the model on the Honda Accord chassis.

With a four-speed, automatic transmission and an anti-locking braking system, the Honda Odyssey played a big part in revolutionizing minivans.

The Odyssey is clearly manufactured for and marketed to young families (mainly moms) who need the space for a handful of kids, cargo room for all their things, and has the level of safety that makes a family feel like they are all in good hands when on the road.

But the Odyssey is also in tough competition with other minivans in its class to bring families as much comfort as it does peace of mind.

And in this arena, the Odyssey definitely delivers. From cup holders galore, to an excellent audio system, the Odyssey can at times almost feel like an extension of your home…which is exactly what busy and big families are looking for.

The Odyssey offers seven-person seating, with two (very comfortable) bucket seats in the front, two bucket seats in the second row, and a bench seat in the far back that can seat three.

Some trim lines also come with a third seat that can be placed between the second row bucket seats and removed when not in use.

At a price tag of $28,000 to $43,000 depending on what features you want and need, the Honda Odyssey is still more reasonable than most SUVs, but isn’t exactly cheap.

For those prices, you are most likely looking for something that can check lots of your boxes – from safety and reliability to comfort and style.

The Honda Odyssey has been around for over 25 years, and there is good reason why. That said, there are still some issues with this minivan that can’t go unaddressed.

Let’s look more closely at the top complaints that past owners had had, and see if the Honda Odyssey is still going to make the cut as your next vehicle of choice.

1. The Honda Odyssey Brakes Can Show Poor Performance

For a minivan that ranks as high as the Honda Odyssey does in safety reviews, it’s a bit surprising that there have been so many complaints about the poor performance of the braking system.

Obviously, having an issue with your vehicle’s brakes is going to be cause for great concern.

Brakes are an integral part of our safety system in any vehicle. When you are carrying precious cargo - like your family - your braking system is going to be all the more important to you.

The Honda Odyssey’s braking system has been known to feel “soft” at times, and usually way early on in the car’s life.

Brakes are items that do wear out, and it’s not uncommon to need new brake pads or rotors throughout the life of your car.

In fact, most mechanics suggest you start to consider replacing your brake pads around 50,000 to 60,000 miles. They also suggest you replace your rotors when your car hits 80,000 miles.

Owners of the Honda Odyssey have reported that their brake pads and rotors have oftentimes needed to be replaced well before then.

2. The Honda Odyssey Fuel Pump Can Stop Working Properly

Another common problem that many Odyssey owners have had to contend with is a fuel pump that seems to stop working properly, way before it should normally need to be replaced.

The fuel pump is the part that allows the gas you are pumping to travel to the engine and allow your car to operate.

As soon as the fuel is pumped into your car, truck or minivan, the fuel pump will distribute it into the carburetor - the part of your engine that uses the fuel to work.

Most fuel pumps are electric in nature, and - if they quit working - this can be an annoyance, at the least or a serious problem, at the most.

I’ve known people who have been stranded in the middle of the highway because their fuel pump suddenly went out. Not a pleasant experience, especially if you have a minivan full of kids.

Because they are so crucial to the operation of your vehicle, most fuel pumps will last for hundreds of thousands of miles on your vehicle. Some will never go out.

So, it’s surprising that the Honda Odyssey has had so many issues with the fuel pump not working properly.

You can replace a fuel pump and it isn’t the biggest expense on your vehicle.

At around $400 for parts and labor, a fuel pump replacement won’t usually break the bank, but you want to feel confident that it isn’t going to happen again if you decide to invest the money and go that route.

One thing to note: Honda has recalled over 2 million Odyssey fuel pumps and has worked hard to replace and reimburse Odyssey owners who have had this issue.

That said, if a faulty fuel pump gives you cause for concern, the Odyssey may not be the best minivan for you and your family.

3. The Honda Odyssey Paint Can Begin Peeling Long Before it Should

Lastly, one other issue that seems to be a bit more problematic that owners would like is the tendency for the Honda Odyssey’s paint job to become damaged more easily than it should.

Granted, this is an aesthetic problem and not mechanical or operational in nature.

But, let’s be honest…when you are paying upwards of $25,000 for a brand new minivan, you would hope that the integrity of the exterior paint would not be something you’d have to worry about.

Some Odyssey owners have said that the paint seems to chip from even small items hitting it, like pebbles or road debris.

And when the Odyssey has had more significant environmental damage, like hail or a windstorm tossing branches toward it, some of the damage to the paint job has been pretty excessive.

Like I said, this isn’t a matter of life and death, like a faulty brake system or even fuel pump malfunction could be. But having a vehicle that’s made to haul around lots of kids and cargo needs to be pretty resistant to bumps, bangs, and scratches.

The Honda Odyssey was designed to take everything life throws at it. So it’s a bit concerning to think that your paint job is going to be something you’re going to have to spend time thinking about.

If the idea of having to constantly be on the lookout for things bumping, banging or bruising your minivan’s exterior sounds unappealing to you, then the Honda Odyssey may end up not being the best bet for you right now.

Honda Odyssey Problems & Complaints: Are The Issues Worth Buying?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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