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Honda Ridgeline Maintenance and Repair

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  • sparklandsparkland Posts: 108
    Does your driveway have a slight incline? The noise is normal, but you should set your parking brake when on a slope to alleviate wear and tear on the parking pawl.
  • Have 2001 MDX Acura that tranny failed at 70K miles, but car was out of warranty (we had it since new and took good care of it). Fixed it for $3000 an it's making noises again. Acura MDX forums are blazing with reports of tranny issues. Acura handled us and several others very poorly. We also own our 2nd Odessey. I am scared to death of the tranny issues again as I hear they are prevelant with the Pilot and even Oddesseys had some issues. You guys that have had your RLs for a while....good or bad on the tranny? I don't see any major blurp posts so far. We contemplated Sport Trak Ford but they are ending this year and Tacoma but they have had some negative stuff written about them as well. Nothing else will fit my family of 5 and fit in my garage! Would love to hear love/hates from everyone!
    Thanks, Julie (PS: Madmommy was my screen name post Acura burn!)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    There is no such thing as a "good" F/awd system, that is a system that starts out being a base FWD vehicle, cross-wise mounted engine. Also, you CAN NOT have a FULL-TIME all wheel drive system. So the best that can be done is either a reactive system, engage rear drive ONLY after wheelspin/slip develops, or a pre-emptive system such as the SH-AWD system.

    Subaru's "symmetrical" F/awd system also has its shortcomings, it is patently DANGEROUS to have drive torque on the front wheels when lateral forces are fairly high. So you can have "traction" as in Subaru, or you can have "life", as in any R/awd system, or even most RWD vehicles.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..you CAN NOT have a FULL-TIME all wheel drive system.."

    Sorry, I stated this wrong....

    You can have, obviously, a FULL-TIME all wheel drive system, it's just not "serviceable" in the very conditions for which most of us have need for all wheel drive traction. The Highlander has such a system, it will DRIVE all four wheels equally as long as all four wheels have relatively equal TRACTION.

    Once any one wheel breaks traction and begins slipping, you're STUCK.

    That's the point in which TC will activate, REACTIVELY. But with TC activation DBW is used to dethrottle the engine to prevent brake component overheating should the driver not quickly release gas pedal pressure.
  • Mine had the same problem. I have 61,000 miles on it. I brought it in. It turns out that the head gasket had blown. Once they took it apart, I got a call and they told me that the engine was gone and needed to be replaced. Does this make sense to anybody??? The dealership came up with this. I told them that this was unbelievable and that I never take the truck off the highway...I told them that since they servive the truck all the time either they screwed up or Honda made a mistakle when they built the truck..
  • As I recall, the transmissions used in the Ridgeline starting in 2006 were the first "new" 5-speed transmissions used by Honda since they had all their transmission problems in most of their vehicles--like the problems you have had with your MDX. The same transmission has been used in the Odyssey since 2008.

    We just picked up a new 2010 RL RTL to replace our 2008 RL RTS. It turns out that while the 2008 was a great truck, we found ourselves wanting the additional bells & whistles in the RTL. Trust me, we would NOT have bought a 2nd RL if the first one had given us any problems.

    I follow a couple of RL forums, and while the older (2006-2007) RLs are starting to have some problems--mostly due to high miles and hard use, no one has reported any transmission problems that I recall. If they have, they were only a couple of unrelated things, and not the hundreds/thousands of total failures reported a few years ago across the Honda product line.

    Given Toyota's recent disasters & recalls, I would avoid them like the plague. We had two Tacomas, a 1995 and a 1999 and both were total disasters. I have also heard the new Tacomas are not any better than the old ones.

    FYI: The 2011 RL just may be the last one. Honda treats the RL like a [non-permissible content removed] step-child, and spend no money on it. Sales numbers are likely not what Honda would like and of course, will get worse if it is never advertised. BTW- there is not any difference whatso ever between the 2010 and 2011 Ridgelines. Why not save a bunch of cash and get a 2010 if you can still find any? No need to spend more on a 2011.
  • newlungsnewlungs Posts: 3
    I am getting ready to get a new truck. Either the Ridgeline or Nissan Frontier. I have an 03 GMC Sonoma. It has a bunch of spots on the front end that need to be greased. I like to change the oil myself but hate greasing the front end.

    Does the Ridgeline have grease fittings on the front end? Anyone know if the Frontier has grease fittings?

    Thanks for your help.
  • ljc2tallljc2tall Posts: 9
    My 2007 does not have any grease fittings. I do my own oil changes.
    Had a friend who bought the nissan and after a year he traded it for a dodge.
  • rcummelinrcummelin Posts: 179
    edited March 2011
    Nope, no grease fittings! No suspension squeaks either. I also do my own oil & filter changes and that is a super easy job on the RL. Just turn the front wheels all the way to the left & then reach in behind the front of the r/h tire to remove the oil filter. So simple.

    FWIW, we had a new 2006 Frontier, and it couldn't hold a candle to the RL. Yes, it had a bit more power, but at a big price--gas mileage was dismal, like 12-14 in town and maybe 17 on the highway. Plus, it still rode like a truck. We kept it for about a year.

    Before you buy, take a LOOONG test drive in each of the trucks you are considering. At least 25-30 miles over a variety of roads & surfaces. You will definitely notice some big differences between the RL and any other smaller-size truck.
  • newlungsnewlungs Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info and input. I have friends with both and I like both vehicles. The reliability and reviews of the RL impress me. Either is an upgrade from my Sonoma. I expect much less maintenance and issues.

    I'm looking at the RT base model to help with cost. Looks like most people buy the other more loaded models. I hope to get the RL but not if they try to charge MSRP. Sounds like I should be able to get it for the reasonable TMV in my area.
  • 604doc604doc Posts: 182
    edited March 2011
    It's funny. I'm in the exact same boat.

    I'm researching between a one or two year old Ridgeline RTL /w nav, , and the Nissan Frontier SL.

    I've sat in both, but haven't driven either one yet. My current lease expires in December, so I don't want to waste anyone's time quite yet on a test drive.

    It seems that with rebates or low financing, you can get a new frontier for about the same price as a used Ridge.

    I'm leaning towards the Ridgeline. I live in a city with bad streets, not much snow, but do have the occasional trip to the slopes. I think from what I've heard, the Ridgeline is way more comfortable than the Nissan.

    I don't tow, or haul much besides the basic Home Depot stuff, so i don't need a full size truck, but when you need a truck, you need a truck.

    I ruled out the Tacoma for a couple reasons that may seem minor to some folks. One, is no rear disc brakes available, which seems so backwards today. And the other, believe it or not, is there are no heated mirrors available.

    Like I said, minor issues to most folks, but they would bug me the whole time I owned it.
  • rcummelinrcummelin Posts: 179
    edited March 2011
    From what I've seen, Frontiers have consistently been cheaper than Ridgelines when new, by several thousand dollars, which was a major motivation for my Frontier purchase back in '06. At the same time, used Ridgelines hold their value much better than used Frontiers. There's a message in there somewhere.

    Toyota is treating the Tacoma just like Ford has treated the Ranger for many years--basically making only minor trim changes every few years without really adding meaningful features, or making any major improvements--both the Tacoma & Ranger just keep soldiering along though. I'm sure some Tacoma owners will disagree, but that's how it looks to me.

    IMHO, the two biggest differences between the Frontier & Ridgeline are comfort and gas mileage, where the Ridgeline totally whips the Frontier every time. Also, the drivetrain & suspension in the RL performs much better in snow and ice than the Frontier. You just can't beat Front-Wheel-Drive that automatically & seamlessly kicks in the All-Wheel-Drive when things get slippery.

    On the flip side, the Frontier & the Tacoma are better for off-road use. Sounds like you use your truck for the same thing I do, and since I no longer have the desire for driving challenging off-road trails, I sure prefer the Ridgeline for my day-to-day chores, hauling and long road trips.

    BTW- Rumors from Honda indicate that the 2012 RL will remain essentially the same as the 2009-2011 models. Maybe a new color or two, and maybe dual exhaust, but that's it. If Honda decides to keep the RL around, there might be a major re-design in 2013, or maybe not. It looks like Honda is trying to decide if a re-designed RL has a good ROI or not. I think it's primarily dependent on better gas mileage. If that can't be improved, Honda will likely kill the RL, just like they did the Element.

    One last thing: Don't waste your money on Honda's NAV system. It's horrifically expensive, not too user-friendly and difficult to update. You can buy a top-of-the-line Garmin for just a few hundred dollars and not only save at least a thousand dollars, but have a NAV you can move from car to car.
  • 604doc604doc Posts: 182
    Thanks for the reply.

    Regarding nav, I agree, it's way more expensive from the factory, and not as good as aftermarket units.

    I have a Tom Tom 920, which I use when traveling, but I don't keep it in the car for day to day driving. Sometimes it's nice to have a nav system at your fingertips. I figured if I bought a year or two old RL, the extra cost is "sort of" offset by the depreciation of buying used.

    The other issue, is that you can't get bluetooth without getting nav on the RL.

    I haven't looked, but are there aftermarket nav systems with bluetooth, that can be installed for a factory-ish look and sound quality? I don't have a garage, so keeping the factory look would be helpful as far as break ins go.

    Thanks again for your reply. I really like Bali Blue on the ridge!
  • rcummelinrcummelin Posts: 179
    Our Garmin spends most of its time in the trunk of one of our vehicles, as we live in a small town where everything is only 15 minutes away. We only use the Garmin on road trips to unfamiliar places & we take it on vacation if we're renting a car.

    We have factory Bluetooth in our 2010 Accord, and once again, it is pretty user-unfriendly. It took over an hour for me to initially program it, and now it only recognises my voice. It ignores my wife entirely, which irritates the heck out of her . So ok, I don't even carry my cell phone with me too often, so I don't much need Bluetooth at all. It won't work with every cell phone and it won't download your phone list/book from your phone. It's one of those irritating/frustrating options where the best I say about it is: "Yeah, it works more-or-less as advertised, but I'm not likely to use it much, if at all."

    Given all that, I'm not aware of any aftermarket NAV systems that include Bluetooth, but I do know there are numerous relatively inexpensive aftermarket Bluetooth systems that can be installed and remain invisible to the bad guys.

    Google the Ridgeline Owners Club and visit their forums for more info on the RL. In the electronics section there are several Bluetooth threads. Use their search function to find them.

    Bali Blue is a great color, but too dark for our dusty environment. Our 2010 is silver and our old 2008 was white. We like the gray interior color best.
  • 604doc604doc Posts: 182
    I actually signed up with the Ridgeline owners club a few months ago. Great site with excellent information.

    After I replied yesterday, I poked around and found quite a few in dash nav systems available. You can get nav, bluetooth, sat radio, HD radio, ipod, and live traffic all in one unit. You can even install a module that allows your steering wheel contols to work.

    It's actually changed my thinking completely regarding factory nav. I think I'll look for one without, and use the savings for an aftermarket all in one unit.

    Thanks for your help and advice. My current lease runs out in December, so I'll start looking for a RL around November to purchase.
  • dboedboe Posts: 69
    Been a member of ROC for a while now.. probably the best 'virtual' friend a Ridgeline owner can have. Lots of great information and helpful folks.
  • jhnfrmrjhnfrmr Posts: 2
    I just got a Honda ridge line my father had and gave to me iv always wanted that truck but for the last few years I noticed a creak when you turned and gave it some gas when it was his and asked his employee who had one also and worked on all my dads employee cars and he said he thought it may need some grease but couldn't find any fittings so they have been just going with but I have truck now and it seems to have gotten a little worse and wonder what it could be... My dad got his employees a total of 6 ridge lines 3 of 6 do it I am wondering if it's something I may have to remove and grease.... Any ideas?
  • I had a strange honing noise in my front passenger wheel area since I bought the Ridgeline in 2005. Not really a creaking sound but more a unpredictable honing or almost grinding I could often feel, sometimes quite loud. Always at low speeds when turning on an incline. Very obvious in a parking structure. I took it in to Honda many times and asked them to look into it over the years but they could never find anything. Honda told me it was likely glazing on the rear brake rotor and I should cut them when I change the brakes. I knew the sound came from the front and did nothing. Just this past month Honda was changing the fluid in the transmission and did a full inspection at 65k miles. They found damage on the front passenger side CV boot with some leaking from the axle. I was a little inconvenienced having to wait a few hours for my Ridgeline but got it back after lunch with the repairs to the boot finished. I have been very happy ever since as the mystery hone is now gone, I have not heard the tiniest sound since. I hope that helps with your vehicles. Good luck! ALOHA
  • lem888lem888 Posts: 7
    I've had two creaking and/or grinding noise issues - one was a defective strut assembly, but in was in the rear (I believe there was a recall on that issue). The other was noise caused by the ABS system when going over a bump or turning while on a downward incline. Apparently, the stability control system can't handle that particular situation, so it applies the brakes. Honda had no solution for that other than "live with it".

    Almost a great truck, but build quality is definitely questionable. Wait until your dash starts rattling.

    Good luck.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    If your dash rattles, it may be the speaker covers, at both top corners. Pry the cover off and put a little bit of padding in there, this stops the speaker rattle.
  • jhnfrmrjhnfrmr Posts: 2
    This is when I make a left or Right turn while rolling if stopped and cut wheels and give it a little gas it won't do it but if it goes over 5 mph it does but only then I'm a little concerned I'll take to dealer cause everyone else doesn't know I thought again it may need greasing but there's no fittings on the front to grease! I hope to hear more it's been doing since about 65000 I got 102000 I love the truck and plan on keeping to start my refrideration buisness but in school so I hope it's not an expensive fix!
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Mine 'rattles' a little when turning and hit a rough part of street. Many Ridgelines are known to have problems with the struts. Turning on a smooth street and and straight line at high speed (even hitting potholes), I don't have any noise at 43,000 miles.

    Car and Driver, or one of the magazines, blew out the struts on a new Ridgeline when they did a 'test drive'. I'm not sure exactly how many miles they drove it on a rough dirt road, but it wasn't a lot. Something like 100 miles or so. At 45mph or so. And the struts were leaking, gone.
  • My Question Is: Are there any widely reported/known ignition problems in the 2007 Ridgeline? My narrative/pertinent information follows.
    I started my truck ('07 Ridgeline) to go to the store-no problems starting. I stopped at a gas station on my way. I got back in the truck-started fine no problems. I went to the store and was inside for 15 minutes at most. I came back out and turned the key in the ignition and nothing. I released the key from 'Start' so it would flip back to the 'Run' position and when I let the ignition flip back to 'Run' the Tachometer needle began making a 'rumbling' sound as the needle jumped up and down rapidly between 0-1. I tried several more times with the same result each time. Each time I turned the key there was no 'Click' of the starter, which usually points to battery problems. Each time I released the key from 'Start' to 'Run' the Tach needle rumbled and shook/jumped rapidly between 0-1. The only indicators that illuminated on the gauge panel were the Emergency Brake indicator, the 'VSA' indicator and one more that I cannot remember at the moment (I do remember thinking the 3rd indicator was unimportant and would have nothing to do with ignition). I live a few blocks from the store so I came home to get a second vehicle and Jumper Cables and see if that does it. I wanted to post this on here before I go back to jump it in case it does not work and hopefully I'll have some more information to go with by then. I thought it could be the Coil and/or Distributor cap & rotor. However, it has been so long since I've worked on my own vehicles or even looked under the hood regularly that I'm not even sure what modern ignition systems consist of anymore (it is slightly shameful, but you reach that age when crawling in/under/over/through/around your vehicles becomes more of an embarrassing physical spectacle that leaves you sore, stiff and hobbled for 3 days after, than an actual successful repair/maintenance expedition). Also, the reason I buy newer Honda vehicles is so I don't have to deal with this type of problem. I'm too old and lazy to work on my vehicles anymore. One final bit of information: I just had my truck serviced a month ago at the dealership and it was basically a tune-up/oil change/preventative maintenance job ($700). So I am a bit concerned that this may be more than a simple battery problem. Try not to laugh too hard when I confessed that it has been a long time since I worked on my cars and that I'm not sure what ignitions even consist of. I earned the right to be lazy after spending the first 30 years of married/family life maintaining/fixing everything on all of our vehicles and house, to make sure we could save and provide for our children's educations. I joke-I can take the mockery!
  • That is easy. You need a new battery. Jumping needles are a common problem with a weak battery
  • spaafspaaf Posts: 1
    I was in Florida last week and notice my passenger side mats was wet. By the time I drove back to Washington DC, I was in several rain storms. The driver and passenger side both got wet. I used a wet vacuum and pulled more than a gallon of water from the carpet and floor mats. This water problem has been going on for many models now. Is there a fix for this problem or is it time to trade?
  • ktnrktnr Posts: 255
    According to discountacparts.com:
    "Your compressor failed for a reason. The number 1 reason is contamination in the system. Cleaning out this contamination is crucial to ensuring that the new compressor is not also contaminated. Always flush and evacuate before changing parts. Always use A/C system flush solvent. If it is not perfectly clean after the flush and vacuum, we recommend re-flushing the system."

    My Atlanta Honda dealer botched my A/C system repair by initially just installing a new compressor and running the system to note poor performance. Only then did they inspect the accumulator/drier (replacement of this part is REQUIRED by every compressor manufacturer as part of the warranty) and noted it was leaking desiccant balls and other black junk into the system. THEN they decided to flush only the evaporator line and replace the clogged dryer and also the contaminated condensor (the A/C radiator at the front of the car, often difficult to flush). This is noted right on my invoice! The invoice doesn't mention cleaning or replacing the expansion valve nor purging the other line - things any half-trained A/C technician would have done. Obviously, my new compressor now has it's oil flooded with seven years of accumulated black crud. So I just paid $1,800 for a brand new compressor which WILL fail prematurely.

    I have a case open with Honda corporate to see what they can do given that the repair ddn't follow the Honda's - or anyone's - service procedures. You have to watch your dealer closely to ensure they perform the A/C repair correctly. The warranty on the repair will be only 90-days labor / 12 -months parts so, if the new compressor fails again within a year, you get to hassle with them all over again on the labor. After a year, you're just out another $1,500-$1,800.
  • ktnrktnr Posts: 255
    Honda got back to me regarding my case. I had faxed them Denso’s warranty on their compressors (requires system purging and dryer replacement or the warranty is immediately void) along with industry articles describing the importance of thoroughly cleaning A/C systems to avoid contaminating a new compressor. I faxed them a copy of the Honda Service Bulletin showing the easy and very inexpensive alternative to the dealer’s suggested $480 power steering pump rebuild to cure a minor noise issue. I explained how the Service Advisor switched from protesting AGAINST additional work that would be wise (but would have required him to come in on his day off OR split his commission with someone else) to pushing unnecessary and over-priced work the next day (once he was resigned to protecting his commission by coming in on his day off, the Service Advisor wanted to make it damned worth his while). I explained how the dealer tried to charge me 8.976111 shop hours (a plugged number they made up) before they backed off their “mistake” and cut the labor charge by 40%.

    Bottom line: Honda said repairing a contaminated A/C system just by replacing one part at a time was “proper”. The attempted over-charges and commission wrangling are solely between me and the dealership. Honda suggested I contact the dealership Service Manager again to see if he can explain what they had previously refused to explain. In a word, Honda offered me NOTHING.

    If you’re looking for Honda dealer service in downtown Atlanta, you’d be wise to go far North (Woodstock, Georgia) or far South (Morrow, Georgia) instead. Even then, ask in advance to insure that your Service Advisor will be working the next day too in case your car needs to stay overnight. If anyone quotes you a price over the phone, get their full name to avoid hassles over service prices and commissions. Better yet, find a small, local shop who works off their reputation and repeat customers.
  • bkdrakebkdrake Posts: 1
    Bought a 2006 RTL new. Within a year I was replacing the power steering pump under warranty. Exactly 1000 miles after warranty, it went out again. Honda replaced it under warranty again. As I write this, the truck is having the steering rack replaced - NOT cheap! Other issues have been premature replacement of brakes, the seat heater stopped working at 40K, the digital odometer stops working intermittently. I am VERY easy on vehicles, never abused, never off-road. Just freeway miles on the wet roads of the Pacific Northwest. This is by far the most expensive vehicle to maintain that I have ever had. I'd dump it now if I could afford to. Anyone else with similar issues?
  • jesserkjesserk Posts: 4
    The issues with my 2006 in the cab are due to an excessive amount of dust coming into the cab. CD player was replaced and a week later it stopped working again. They would not replace it. Seatbelts have been replaced numerous times due to dust in the retraction mechanism. Dome lights have to be taken apart constantly to remove the dust to get them to work again. I had the side airbags deploy from hitting a pothole which i am convinced was due to dust causing it to malfunction. I had leather seats treated from new with lifetime warranty from the seats wrinkling or cracking, and they will not replace seat covers because they say that the dust caused it. They will not do anything or even admit they have a dust problem. In dry conditions it would be cleaner to ride in a convertible. As for the steering!! My truck steered hard from new. I thought that was just the way they are. After warranty was up a Honda mechanic drove my truck to check out another issue and came back and asked what was wrong with my steering. He said that there was something wrong, but Honda did nothing for me. Honda's customer service is bar none the WORST that I have ever experienced. And I feel your pain about dumping it. I spent alot of money on this vehicle new and cannot afford to dump it either. I will never buy another Honda product again. Very disappointed.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    About your dust issue. I, and probably all Ridgeline owners, have this problem. And just recently in cold weather people riding in the back seat complained about cold air coming in around, under the rear seat.

    Anyway, there is a solution. I almost always drive with the climate control in 'recirculate' option. Second buttom on bottom row pushed, and light on the button lites up.

    I would think having it in 'recirculate' mode would be best to keep dust and cold air out. This is NOT the case. Do not run it in recirculate mode, and if you are driving on a dusty road, turn the fan UP. With the fan running fast, it will push air back out of whatever holes the dust is leaking in, and reduce the dust a lot.

    I don't know the exact place the dust comes in, but this is a Ridgeline problem. I still run in recirculate while on paved roads because I think not bringing in outside hot air in the summer means the AC will operate better. But, if you hit a dirt road, get it off recirculate and turn the fan up to a faster speed.
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