Honda Odyssey back in business

We bought a Honda Odyssey just over three years ago and have enjoyed it a lot. It holds the four kids, our dog and piles of kid related stuff that I don’t understand. I don’t understand why my three year old daughter needs three pillows, two dolls and a Nintendo DS to make a trip across town. But I’ll leave that blog post to Kim.

But over the past few months our Odyssey would shift abruptly from first into second gear. It become increasing worse until this past week when it would not engage 2nd gear at all from a cold start. I took it to an independent Honda specialist called Auburn City Import, who diagnosed a major problem with the transmission. Bad news. But the service manager informed me that Honda had issued a warranty extension on our transmission and it would be fully covered at the local Honda dealer. He told me to expect to be quizzed and basically hassled. I asked him who he would recommend I talk to at Hinshaw’s Honda and he gave me the name, John Matteson, who is a service advisor.

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I called John and told him about the problem and asked when he could take a look at the van. I took it in the next morning and he quickly diagnosed the same problem Auburn City Import did. At this point I assumed that I’d be barraged with questions about how I had the van serviced, my driving habits and the like. But that never happened. John turned the monitor screen to me which displayed the transmission warranty extension sent to all Honda dealers and said, “We’ll take care it for you, no charge”. He ordered the transmission that day and installed it the next. We had some other maintenance performed at that time but the $5000 transmission replacement was done at no cost. I feel very lucky because we have 107,000 miles on our Odyssey and the recall is good up to only 109,000 miles. Had we taken another trip to Utah to see family we would have been outside the warranty extension restrictions.

I am very impressed with the high level of service John provided me and will return to Hinshaw’s the next time I’m in the market for a minivan. We took our van for a drive tonight and it’s much improved. It drives as well as it did nearly three years ago. I had the front brakes replaced too and it sure feels a lot more secure. I hope to get another couple of years out of it.

This specific problem affects the following Honda vehicles with automatic transmissions.

1999-2001 Honda Odyssey

2000-2001 Accord

2000-2001 Prelude

You can find the details of this Service Bulletin 02-061 at this link which opens a PDF.