Fuel system, electrical, brake, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
When it comes to finding a family vehicle, many drivers turn to the 2019 Honda Odyssey. After all, the Honda brand provided numerous years of quality workmanship, which is why many of the older vans are still on the road. With the promise that the newer Odyssey has “something for everyone,” it’s easy to believe the 2019 Honda Odyssey will also exceed expectations. Sadly, that’s not the case for many owners. From the faulty electrical system to the malfunctioning engine, this van has more problems than anyone wants to deal with. Maybe the tagline should have been some defects for everyone instead.
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Problems with the Electrical System
Modern vehicles are filled with sophisticated electrical systems and tech features. In a family van, these amenities are designed to keep everyone entertained on the road. From the radio to the rear entertainment system, owners can’t seem to keep their equipment in good working order.
Just look at what this person said on Edmunds. “We have had to take our brand new Odyssey into the dealership for repairs 4 times now since October 2018. The dealership and Honda Manufacturing have been working together to resolve the issue but can’t seem to find the solution. We are starting to discuss the lemon law and how we can get out of the car. It started at only 800 miles on the car with the radio along with the instrument panel cutting in/out along with a static and popping noise coming from the dashboard. They have replaced several items and performed software updates which seems to resolve the issue temporarily. It works for a week or so and then we are completely inconvenienced of having to schedule a time to drop off the car, remove and transfer car seats to the loaner vehicle, and take time out of our schedule. We went with a brand new vehicle to make sure we had a reliable van for our family. I have always thought of Honda as reliable but not anymore.”
While this is quite the hassle for this family to deal with, some electrical problems create dangerous situations. Take, for example, the recall labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 19V299000. It appears that a loose battery terminal connection leads the TCU to reboot spontaneously. When this occurs, the van might shift itself into Park and damage the parking rod. This just proves that Honda didn’t get any part of the electrical system right – from the minor conveniences to the critical battery connection. This van needs a complete rewiring to be right. What’s worse, a van that shifts itself into Park or crying kids because the entertainment center isn’t working correctly? It’s hard to tell.
2019 Honda Odyssey Complaint Summary
|Number of Complaints
|Unknown Or Other
|Vehicle Speed Control
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Problems with the Engine
The heart of any vehicle is the engine. If it’s not durable and built to last, the entire vehicle suffers. That’s what many Odyssey owners find with this newer model.
One NHTSA user wrote, “Engine lurches and stalls while in motion. Stalling causes potential risk for accident.”
While this seems like an ongoing issue this customer faced, there’s a more serious concern with the Odyssey. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V298000 discusses a recall on the timing belt because the teeth might separate. When this happens, the van stalls and put occupants at risk for a crash. Aside from that, it can cause severe damage to the engine itself. The automaker is willing to replace any broken parts as a result of this problem, but who wants to deal with this? It seems that the timing belt was manufactured up to the same standards as the van’s wiring.
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Problems with the Transmission
What is a powertrain? It’s all of the components that transfer power from the engine to the wheels. It what makes the van move. When one part doesn’t operate properly, the entire system suffers.
One Edmunds reviewer wrote this about being an Odyssey owner, “Have a 2019 ex l with res. Previous van was a Toyota Sienna that provided us years of problem-free driving. The transmission on our odyssey is the major problem. At 1500 rpm, there is a noticeable hum, slight vibration in the steering wheel and the tachometer has a slight oscillation. Took to the dealer and the service manager saw/heard the problems I described during a test ride. Came back and took another van out and it had the same problem…. so he said it was “normal”. Called the Honda customer service and they contacted the dealer. Their final resolution was there isn’t a problem… seriously????????? Spend that kind of money and get a noise, vibration and oscillation. Totally unsat!”
It seems this is one of many powertrain issues that Honda is dealing with. Three of the major service bulletins discuss some crazy situations. One (A16-087) addresses how the transmission end cover leaks on vehicles with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It appears that during assembly, the transmission end cover sealing gasket was torn. Another bulletin (A19-071) points out that the PCM incorrectly calculates battery current, which prevents auto idle stop from working. A third bulletin (A19-047) discusses how the TCM reads the incorrect drive pulley oil pressure. What does this powertrain do right? Not much of anything. It could win awards for being the biggest dud of the century.
Problems with the Brakes
Maybe the brakes work the way they were intended? Let’s see what the users have to say in hopes that we will receive some good news about this van.
One NHTSA complaint reads, “Van randomly slammed on the brakes, with nobody in front of me, while I was going 75mph on the highway. Van will sporadically not accelerate when pressing gas pedal, then slowing start to move but not fast enough to pull into traffic on city street, causing me to almost be t-boned five times, then decide to start rapidly accelerating and make me fish tail. After putting vehicle in park, it rolls 6”-12” (depending on incline).
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are two brake-related recalls on this van. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V213000 discusses how the rear wheel speed sensor harnesses may have been routed to the incorrect rear wheels. When the anti-lock brake system can’t recognize the speeds, it might not engage. With NHTSA Campaign Number 18V777000, it seems that some rear brake caliper pistons don’t have sufficient coating. This reduces brake performance and makes it challenging to stop correctly. Again, Honda is willing to fix the problems, but why did they get it so wrong in the first place? Were the assembly workers sleeping while putting this van together?
Problems with the Fuel System
The fuel system is responsible for providing gasoline to the engine for propulsion. If something breaks down, it’s expected that the van won’t drive properly. As with most systems in the Odyssey, this is another area that was clearly not designed correctly.
One NHTSA user wrote, “Upon startup of the vehicle, a strong burning smell was sensed. The vehicle was briefly put into a slow reverse to take it out of the garage and a very rough idle started. Black smoke appeared out of the tail pipe and every possible error message appeared one after the other on the dash. The vehicle was then briefly put into Drive for a couple inches forward back into the garage with very little power on acceleration and an even stronger burning smell. The dealer was contacted and advised having the car towed in to be evaluated. Upon evaluation, the dealer advised that the issue was a leaking fuel injector caused by a faulty fuel rail design from the factory. The injector leak caused too much fuel to be put into the cylinder causing the spark plugs to fowl out. The dealer stated that Honda was aware of the issue also in the 2018 models and they assumed they would have corrected the fuel rail design for the 2019 model.”
If Honda is aware of it, there are no Service Bulletins we can find about it. Maybe the automaker decided it would be best to deny one of the problems in hopes to save face. It’s a little late; they have already buried themselves in a mountain of other issues.
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