2018 Honda Odyssey Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, vehicle speed control, engine, structural and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

It is no surprise that so many people continue to flock to the Odyssey minivan as a family vehicle. It has a storied history of reliability, which is why the latest round of difficulties affecting the 2018 Honda Odyssey is so surprising to enthusiasts. The modern lineup is labeled “The Fun Family Minivan,” but there’s nothing fun involved when you have to sit at the dealership for electrical system, powertrain and engine repairs.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019

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Electrical System

One of the reasons so many families purchase the Odyssey is because of all the high-tech gear included. With a navigation system, rear DVD player and other amenities, it’s simple to keep the kids entertained on long drives. Sadly, most kids aren’t able to enjoy their favorite movies, mainly because of some electrical complaints.

Here is what one customer said on Edmunds, “In October 2017 my family leased a 2018 odyssey. We were so excited because it was our first car with navigation and the rear entertainment system!  My kids were so happy to have this feature however our excitement was short lived. Almost immediately we noticed problems with the car – the navigation system didn’t work and the DVD system was broken – it constantly lost connection. Needless to say, my kids never have been able to watch a movie from beginning to end without it losing connection. The car was brought in for service to fix the issue. The first time I was blamed saying I used scratched DVDs. The second time I was told there is nothing that can be done and I must wait until they figure out how to fix it which could take months even years. For the last 6 weeks I’ve been dealing with corporate – they are no help and will not offer any compensation for a brand new car that does not work. I always thought Hondas were reliable cars built to last but the only thing I can rely on is the car not working properly!”

What’s interesting is that the majority of the manufacturer communications related to the electrical system talk about these situations. Even Service Bulletin #A18090F talks about how the Bluetooth system freezes after a phone call. This is one of the many problems that require a software update. In the meantime, owners have to deal with driving a van full of kids without a working radio, DVD player and other equipment. It’s likely those parents are driving less frequently until the systems get fixed.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Honda Odyssey Electrical Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 HONDA ODYSSEY. WHEN THE CONTACT PRESSED THE REMOTE KEY TO UNLOCK THE DOORS, THE WINDOWS AND SUN ROOF WOULD ERRONEOUSLY OPEN. IN ADDITION, THE ALARM WOULD RANDOMLY ACTIVATE ON OCCASION AND, AFTER TURNING OFF THE VEHICLE, THE INTERIOR LIGHTING WOULD REMAIN ILLUMINATED. THE FAILURES WERE NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER AND LOCAL DEALER WERE NOT NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURES. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 1,000.

THE REARVIEW CAMERA ISN’T FUNCTIONING. THE INFOTAINMENT SCREEN WILL NOT SHUT OFF WHEN THE VEHICLE IS TURNED OFF, AND THE REARVIEW CAMERA IS NEVER DISPLAYED WHEN THE CAR IS IN REVERSE.

WHILE DRIVING ON I65 THE DRIVER’S SCREEN THAT DISPLAYS SPEED, RPMS, FUEL GAUGE, ETC WENT COMPLETELY BLACK FOR APPROXIMATELY 30 SECONDS.

AT RANDOM TIMES EITHER STATIONARY OR MOVING, THE AUDIO MULTI FUNCTION UNIT WILL LOCK UP AND DISABLE VARIOUS FEATURES OF THE CAR INCLUDING SECURITY SYSTEMS AND CLIMATE CONTROL. I HAVE TAKEN THIS VEHICLE TO THE DEALER AND THEY STATE THAT THERE IS NO FIX FOR IT AND THAT I SHOULD TURN IT OFF AND BACK ON TO TRY TO RESET IT. SOMETIMES THIS WORKS AND SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T. AS THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL RECALLS ALREADY CONCERNING ELECTRONIC CONTROLS AND SAFETY SYSTEMS I’M CONCERNED THAT THIS RANDOMLY PRESENT MALFUNCTION COULD CREATE A CRITICAL SYSTEM FAILURE AT AN INOPPORTUNE TIME RESULTING IN AN ACCIDENT.

Powertrain

A properly working powertrain keeps everything running smoothly. It helps the driver to go from slow to fast speeds with ease.

One NHTSA reviewer wrote about a problem with the transmission. It says, “Transmission slipping when accelerating from stationary position or whenever more speed is needed. Happens when going uphill or lane changing when more speed is needed.”

While this exact situation isn’t addressed, it’s essential to take note of a dangerous powertrain recall on the Odyssey. It’s labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 19V299000. It appears that loose battery connections cause the TCU to reboot and shift the van into Park. When this happens, it’s possible to damage the parking rod, let alone drivers become targets for an accident. What’s worse, a minivan that Parks itself while driving or kids that don’t have a DVD player? The verdict is still out.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 HONDA ODYSSEY. WHILE PARKING, STOPPING, AND SHUTTING OFF THE ENGINE, THE VEHICLE ROLLED 4 TO 5 INCHES WHEN THE BRAKE PEDAL WAS RELEASED. THERE WERE NO WARNING INDICATORS ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO DEALERSHIP WHERE IT WAS DETERMINED THAT IT WAS PERFORMING AS DESIGNED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS CONTACTED AND DID NOT ASSIST. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 30,000.

WITH APPROXIMATELY 10,000 MILES ON THE VEHICLE, THE TRANSMISSION UNDER PERFORMS. WHILE DRIVING, USUALLY AT SPEEDS UNDER 30MPH, THE TRANSMISSION STRUGGLES TO SHIFT SMOOTHLY. IT ALSO MAKES A LOUD JERKING SOUND AND MOTION WHEN SHIFTING GEARS. THE TRANSMISSION ALSO SOMETIMES HESITATES TO SHIFT, ALLOWING YOU TO BE ABLE TO FEEL THE VAN SLOW DOWN WHILE IN PROCESS OF SHIFTING, APPROXIMATELY 2 SECONDS LATER YOU CAN HEAR AND FEEL IT GO INTO GEAR. LASTLY, THE PICK UP ON THE VAN IS SLOWER THAN MOST CARS I HAVE DRIVEN.

TRANSMISSION SLIPPING WHEN ACCELERATING FROM STATIONARY POSITION OR WHENEVER MORE SPEED IS NEEDED. HAPPENS WHEN GOING UPHILL OR LANE CHANGING WHEN MORE SPEED IS NEEDED.

Structure

To be one of the best family vehicles, the Honda Odyssey must have a functional and solid structure, but it doesn’t seem to.

One reviewer wrote this on Edmunds, “I owned this minivan for 5 months so far and I’m not satisfied with the reliability. First I need to point out that this car is made in USA. So I will except some little issue will happen but it is too soon to my expectation. I have a 1999 Honda Accord and never had any issue, only replaced one light bulb and turning bulb (regular maintain not included) for 18 year of ownership. So for this 2018 Honda Odyssey, I have a couple issue so far: 1. Passenger power sliding door just not opening yesterday, I can hear the motor is trying to open the door but can’t. I tried everything such pullin the outside handle, remote control, inside button and driver side main control button. No succeed. 2. Auto shut off idling function is not working most of the time, when I activate it, do nothing, engine not auto shut off. 3. The motion sensor from the tail door is not working most of the time, I followed the video from you tube and I can only open it 2 times so far. (Lol) 4. Driver power sliding door sound weird now, hopefully it won’t break.”

While this person suffered from a sliding door that wouldn’t open, other drivers face the opposite situation. Just look at the recall labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V795000. It talks about how the power sliding doors won’t latch, which increases the chance of injury. What a scary situation this creates for a family. Hopefully, all of the kids’ toys are correctly secured before that happens. Otherwise, the roadway might become cluttered with stuffed animals and LEGOs.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Honda Odyssey Automatic Sliding Door Problems.

WHEN AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOOR OPEN/CLOSE IS ENABLED THE DOOR WILL OPEN, BUT WILL NOT CLOSE. WHEN THE DOORS ARE PLACED IN MANUAL MODE, THE DOOR PANEL COMES LOOSE FROM THE FORCE OF THE DOOR CLOSING MAKING IT SO THE DOOR CANNOT BE OPENED BECAUSE THE LOOSE DOOR PANEL EXTENDS OUT JUST FAR ENOUGH TO WEDGE ITSELF LIKE A DOOR STOP.

THE ELECTRICAL SLIDING DOOR IS OPENING ON ITS OWN AT NIGHT. I WAS NOT SURE IF THIS WAS RECALLED ON THIS VEHICLE. I COULD NOT FIND IT. WE ALSO HAD A 2007 HONDA ODYSSEY THAT THE SLIDERS HAD THE SAME ISSUE AND WAS RECALLED. I BELIEVE THIS IS RECALLED FOR DOORS OPENING WHILE DRIVING. IT HAD HAPPENED PREVIOUSLY BEFORE HAPPENING LAST NIGHT.

Engine

When a vehicle’s engine runs well, everything seems to fall into place. When it is defective, driving becomes a nightmare. That’s exactly what 2018 Honda Odyssey owners experience.

One NHTSA reviewer wrote, “Our 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite has a feature called idle stop. The feature has many criteria that must be met before it will activate. It should just turn off the engine when the criteria have been met in an effort to conserve fuel in lieu of idling. We are seeing a random issue when this feature activates where the vehicle will shut off the car entirely and place it in park. We must manually start our vehicle again, then place it back in drive to proceed.”

It seems this problem should have been considered for a recall as well, but it wasn’t. All the automaker says is they want to investigate the situation with Service Bulletin #APaS07272018903. In the meantime, vans are turning off in the middle of operation while on the roadway. This sounds closely related to the earlier powertrain problem. Of course, there are so many issues with this minivan; it’s difficult to tell where one stops and another begins.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Honda Odyssey Engine Problems.

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 HONDA ODYSSEY. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE ENGINE MADE AN ABNORMAL KNOCKING SOUND DURING ACCELERATION. THERE WERE NO WARNING INDICATORS ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO SACO HONDA  WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT A NEW LOWER BEARING, SHORT BOX, PISTONS, CYLINDERS, AND CRANKSHAFT NEEDED TO BE INSTALLED. THE VEHICLE WAS REPAIRED, BUT THE FAILURE RECURRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE AND WANTED THE CONTACT TO SIGN OFF ON A $2,500 PROMOTION TO KEEP THE VEHICLE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 9,373.

THE VEHICLE HAS STALLED WHILE STOPPED AT A TRAFFIC LIGHT. THERE ALSO APPEARS TO BE A PROBLEM WITH THE ELECTRONICS BECAUSE THE CAR WILL REPORT THAT “THIS SYSTEM HAS LOST POWER. PUSH AND HOLD THE POWER BUTTON FOR MORE THAN TWO SECONDS TO ENABLE THE SYSTEM.”

Vehicle Speed Control

Modern vehicles have sophisticated equipment such as vehicle speed control. These are valuable tools that help keep people safe when the equipment works properly.

One Edmunds user wrote this about the system, “We purchased this van brand new in March 2018. This van is scared of vacations. At 800 miles, van speed derated from 70 mph to 40 mph on vacation journey through north Florida. Drove van in limp mode 16 miles away to Lake City, FL Honda dealer. Van was repaired several days later for a stuck valve solenoid. After returning home to north Georgia @ 1,700 miles, van derated again on highway. After parking, van would not shift into gear and had to be drug onto tow truck sent by Honda Roadside assistance. Van was down for an additional week as spool valve assembly was replaced. Today, at 3,800 miles and three months old, oil is leaking on back side of motor and is dripping onto catalytic converter. Heading back to dealer again. We have created our third case file with Honda N.A. After second break down, Honda NA response was that they didn’t see the van as having an issue and told us they would not be offering any trade assistance towards an another Odyssey in an effort to get us out of the apparent lemon. So much for Honda customer service. This will definitely be the last Honda in our family.”

This is one problem that Honda doesn’t want to address at all. They’ve issued zero recalls and no communication within the company to acknowledge the concern. If the DVD player is working, owners could convert this minivan into a movie theater parked in the driveway. Taking it out on the road is just downright unsafe.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Honda Odyssey Vehicle Speed Control Problems.

I WAS DRIVING THE CAR AT 40 MILES PER HOUR ON A BACK ROAD WITHOUT CRUISE CONTROL ENGAGED. THE ROAD WAS ONE LANE EACH DIRECTION, FULLY MARKED WITH LINES, AND GENTLE ROLLING HILLS. IN A ABOUT ¼ MILE LONG STRAIGHT STRETCH I CAME UPON A CYCLIST USING THE CENTER OF MY LANE AND CLIMBING ONE OF THE HILLS. I COASTED A LITTLE BIT SLOWER AND THEN MOVED FULLY INTO THE ONCOMING LANE TO GIVE THE CYCLIST PLENTY OF ROOM. AT THIS SAME TIME A CAR POPPED OVER THE FURTHEST VISIBLE HILL A LITTLE LESS THAN ¼ MILE AWAY. AT THIS MOMENT THE CAR STOPPED TAKING ACCELERATOR INPUT. I WAS GOING UP A HILL NEXT TO A CYCLIST AND LOSING SPEED RAPIDLY. WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PASS WITH MAYBE 4 SECONDS TO SPARE ENDED UP BEING LESS THAN 2 SECONDS AND A LITTLE FRIGHTENING. I PULLED IN FRONT OF THE CYCLIST MUCH CLOSER THAN I WOULD HAVE LIKED. ONCE I WAS BACK IN THE LANE THE CAR GAVE ME CONTROL OF THE ACCELERATOR AGAIN. DURING THE INCIDENT THE WERE NO WARNINGS AUDIBLE, VISIBLE, OR HAPTIC PROVIDED BY THE CAR. THE ONLY THING THAT WAS UNUSUAL WAS THE ENGINE GOING TO IDLE AND THE ACCELERATOR NOT RESPONDING.

IF ACC (ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL) IS ENGAGED (AS WELL LKAS — I HAVE NOT TESTED WITH ACC ALONE) AND THE CAR GOES DOWN A HILL (EVEN WITH MODERATE SLOPE), THE BRAKES DON’T APPLIED PROPERLY, AND THE CAR SPEED KEEPS ON INCREASING VIOLATING THE CRUISE CONTROL SETTING. AT SOME POINT DURING THE VIOLATION, THE CAR EVEN ACCELERATES WITH THE ENGINE ENGAGING IN HIGH RPM; I.E., 100% OPPOSITE TO SUPPOSED BRAKING. FOR INSTANCE, LET’S SAY CRUISE CONTROL IS AT 45MPH. THE CAR KEEPS ON INCREASING DOWNHILL TILL SAY 51MPH, AND THEN SUDDENLY THE ENGINE GOES TO HIGH RPM FURTHER ACCELERATING THE CAR DRAMATICALLY!

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