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Honda Element Maintenance and Repair



  • I feel and share your pain. My 2006 E blew the passenger side airbag several years ago from a hard bottom scrape. No body damage. After several months of research and costs above $1000 I decided to cut off the airbag (puny bag anyway) and stitch up the seat - and live with the light. As for replacing the airbag - I'm told there are several items that need to be replaced when a bag deploys. The impact switch for one, and the bag, and a seat belt tensioner, and a few other annoying goodies. It just isn't worth it for a car that rarely sees a passenger anyway. My lingering concern is weather the other bags will work when the dash light is on - and I have heard differing opinions on that one. I hope never to need to find out.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    As a general rule they should still work. They all run to the warning light but they are on seperate circuits so they should all have power to them still. I stress though that is a general rule and everytime an airbag blows off its a differant situation.
  • I just purchased a 2011 Honda Element. Unfortunately, after driving the vehicle I have found that there is a constant vibration in the steering wheel at 55-70 mph. I have taken the Element to the dealer 4 times now. They have rebalanced all the tires, rotated them, and completely realigned the wheels. The last time, they put on better quality tires. At first I thought the issue was fixed, but it only changed the vibration speeds. The steering wheel has a constant vibration from about 45-72 mph now. The dealer is not sure what to do to fix the problem. The dealer had one 2011 Element on the lot, and when the service manager and the mechanic drove the other 2011 Element, they found it too had the same vibration. Now that Honda America has approved the new tires, they are not sure what to do to get rid of the vibration. I love the Element, but I cannot stand the vibration.

    Have any of you out there had this same issue? If so, how did they fix it. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.
  • jbar0907jbar0907 Posts: 1
    edited October 2011
    I'm trying to narrow down possibilities as I don't know mcuh about cars and at the present time, I cannot afford the possible expense of "un-needed" repair costs. My 2003 Element EX wouldn't start on a very cold AM recently. Cold AM starting is not a new problem, but usually within many tries-it's not a problem. This time it seemed the same, but after lots of tries and following Manual in cold temps at elevation- nothing worked. Still now, all dash lights come on and power has not yet failed completely. At first when I tried to start it-it sounded as if it tried to turn over normally, but if I tried too often (before waiting 15-20 seconds between attempts) it would not turn over at all. Then after I went inside to cancel all early AM appointments, another member of my household attempted to try to turn ignition. It did not start, and they left key in ignition and battery on! I caught this within 10 +/- mins and turned off. After that-the car wouldn't even turn over (but dash lights still on).
    Today, I tried to jump battery and upon moving the battery cables would car give small attempt to turn over (and still all dash lights on). It did not start. I also noticed grounding cable coming from battery and waving around unattached. I had the car towed to closest shop-but not my trusted and normal shop. I've been trying to troubleshoot online and found this sight-great info!!! From this info, I have decided no question to have battery replaced and either fix or replace battery cables. I am not sure what else to think. I'm sure the garage will have ideas, but I want to be as informed as I can by that time. This forum seems to have been the best info and posters seem to know their Elements-so I thought I would seek advice here. Any helpful information would be appreciated.
  • At about 130,000 while in Baltimore, MD our Element began to exhibit an intermittant failure to crank. When it failed to crank we got lots of instrument panel lights - though I don't remember what they were. The dealer was going to replace the key switch (big bucks). Fortunately one technician suggested that we replace the starter relay (PN 39794-SDA-A03). It solved the problem! It is now a year and half later (150K miles now on the car) and the starter relay has failed again. That was a month ago. Now the same symptom is cropping up again. Any ideas about what might be causing this relay to fail. Our battery is good and both battery posts are clean and the clamps are tightly attached.
  • Does your Element have an auto transmission? If so, when you have a failure to crank in park, can you shift to neutral and start then? If so, then you have a duplication of the problem I had with my '04 and it is likely that your starter relay wasn't bad at all and it was just coincidental that your problem seemed to go away.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Invest in an engine block heater. They're well worth it in cold climates. Good luck.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    I am looking to replace the fluids in the tranny and transfer case in the near future here. I have no idea about how much its gonna cost me, any body have a ball park price for me? (And yes i am WAAAY too lazy to just pick up the phone and ask someone!) THANKS!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,003
    edited February 2012
    lol, we've way spoiled you over the years, Bigfur.

    There's always the Edmunds Car Maintenance Guide but you'll have pull the numbers out, since the transmission service is included with some other stuff. (Forgot what year your Element is so just guessed).

    Don't forget the rear differential service (~$50) at 90k.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    We have been spoiled i agree, but i love it. I have an 07 with 76K on it right now, was thinking of doing tranny, transfer, and the diffs all at once and replace with synthetic. Any suggestions?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,003
    You probably shouldn't listen to my suggestions. :shades: I did a simple transmission fluid change and fill on my '99 van at 154k and I'm pretty sure that's all the love it's received, other than some "inspections".

    Honda's recommendations are a bit more rigorous than Nissan's it appears, but I'm lax about maintenance and I'm not too excited about using a synthetic if the manual doesn't require it.

    Hopefully some Element owners will pop in here.

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  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    I just want to make sure the drive train out lasts the body on mine is all.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,003
    Well, you're in MN and I moved to the UP a while back. Assuming you have as much salt on the roads there as MI uses, we're both in trouble. :-) Another winter here and the body of my van will probably start looking like Swiss cheese.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • I had this happen to me yesterday and ended up rear ending someone. Every time I took it to the dealer they said it was fine. Now out thousands of dollars and have 4 points on my license because the car lurched like a bat out of hell when i let up off the break after sitting at a traffic light for two lights.
  • turtle2turtle2 Posts: 2
    My car started to vibrate about two weeks ago when I bought new tires. One car mechanic said it was the
    control arm bushings. I had them fixed but the car still vibrates. It is worse uphill and less
    on the freeway - at higher speeds. Someone else said it could be the engine mounts, bad axel..... Has anyone experienced similar problem? If so, please share - before I spend ridiculous amounts of money.... Help!
    I have a 2005 element with about 140,000 miles on it. Everything else is great.
  • tesprotespro Posts: 6
    It seems so obvious that your vibration problem relates to the tire change that I'm sure you tried to eliminate that as the cause. What exactly did you do?
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    I will freely admit im not the brightest bulb on the tree but.... sounds to me like they didnt balance the tires properly.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    This year we have had maybe 16 inches of snow and none of it has lasted more then a few days. The greenies can kiss my bumper (or rear end either way) im all in favor of "global warming" lol
  • Thanks for the get back - no, the car would not start in either park or neutral.
  • jodyinnjjodyinnj Posts: 1
    I actually received a recall notice on my 2004 Element for this transmission malfunction. It said that in some models the transmission appears to be in park or engaged but isn't and if I noticed my car rolling after I parked I was supposed to take it to the dealer for a complete replacement on them. My car hasn't shown any signs of having this malfunction although I have experienced the oil spraying out for no apparent reason and the airbag light staying on after my car was hit during a hurricane. If you have an older model Element with either problems starting or parking/taking off from park you should contact Honda to see if your covered under the recall. Perhaps you moved and never received the notice or you bought the car used and the former owner got it. Good luck!
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