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Honda Element Maintenance and Repair



  • dglundydglundy Posts: 1
    I bought a 2005 LX 2WD last August. Everything is fine, except for an engine surge problem. The engine will speed up without the accelerator being pushed. Disconcerting to say the least. It appears to happen mostly when the engine is cold, but it happens at operating temperature as well. The engine speed does not increase a large amount, but enough to cause problems if you are not quick on the brakes. Anyone else heard of this problem?
  • lezablezab Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 honda element and my check engine light came on at about 50,000 miles and my mechanic said it was a service light. He did my service and turned it off. Only reason I question the O2 sensor is Ice cold air doesn't have the best reputation here in Florida for repairs. I would skip the dealer, and Ice cold air next time and find a mechanic recommended by friends.
  • When I make a sharp or full turn a clicking noise occurs at the rear of the vechicle. I called the dealership to get some hints on what it could be and the rep informed me that perhaps the rear differential fluid needs to changed. Any ideas?
  • haikunaluhaikunalu Posts: 8
    Does anyone have any solutions /advice in getting wax off the Elements plastic panels? I find it hard to wax my car without leaving a few places with wax residue.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Peanut butter, toothpaste, WD40, all kinds of stuff ...

    tcasboy, "Honda CR-V Owners: Problems & Solutions" #4547, 19 Jun 2006 8:37 am
  • zabethzabeth Posts: 3
    I bought a 2005 Element last year and have loved it. Recently the air conditioning stopped working. I called the dealer in Seattle who said it was under warranty unless something had blown into the condensor from the road. Sure enough, they claimed that something had flown in and tore up the air conditioning system. The repair bill was $835. Even more difficult is the fact that another rock from the road next week could blow out the air conditioning again. The attendant I worked with said he's seen in before in an Odyssey and a CRV, because the condensor is unprotected. He suggested taking it to a body shop to have some kind of grill fabricated that would protect the condensor but not impede the flow of air.
    Anybody have such troubles or hear anything like it?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    You may want to contact Honda and question the diagnosis. See this discussion:

    CR-V: AC Compressor Issues
  • gonzo3165gonzo3165 Posts: 3
    I have seen discussion of this problem on another Element Forum. Basically, people are buying Home Depot gutter guards (usually the black ones) and using black zip ties to attach it to the lower grill, either directly to the outside or from the inside if you want a little bigger challenge. It doesn't look that bad, allows air flow and saves you an $835 repair bill. The gutter screens are to keep leaves out of gutters on your house and can be had for around $5 or so. That and 10-15 minutes of your time are well worth it. More expensive options exist if you really worry about appearance.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    Why can't Honda make an "add on" grill to solve this problem? After paying for a NEW vehicle, the customer, has to go to "Home Depot" to purchase "gutter guards" to solve a Honda design issue! Is this the image that Honda wants to portray in the "new vehicle marketplace"? ---- (Honda and Home Depot perfect together)! ---- (or)---- (Get your Honda fixed with Home Depot parts)! ---- What is wrong with this picture? ----- If "gutter guards" can solve the problem, why can't Honda make a grill to do the same thing, and look better in the process?------- Best regards. ----Dwayne :confuse: ;) :shades: :)
  • zabethzabeth Posts: 3
    Thank you for your responses. I contacted American Honda who stated it was probably a rare occurrence and had no intention of being responsible for the problem. I became a squeaky wheel and so a case was opened on the issue... They also indicated that they don't endorese modification of the car in such a way to protect the exposed condensor, covering themselves further from liability, in case leaves or something gets caught in the added parts and a fire starts... They siad that it has also happend to Odysseys and CRVs. A service person at a dealer in McMinnville, OR suggested I look at billit grilles that kids use to soup up there cars. I found plenty on line, made to fit my car precisely, $46. plus shipping. I'm going to talk to my mechanic about installing one.
    It's unfortunate that Honda doesn't design retrofits. It looks like the 2007 Honda has a new front grill design. I'm drivng my Element tentatively and I guess the honeymoon is over.
  • gonzo3165gonzo3165 Posts: 3
    zabeth, check out There are numerous discussions about grille modifications, ranging from the Home Depot solution, to aftermarket grilles, to the billet grille (I called them cattle guards when I lived in Texas) you mentioned. Some cost over $100, and if you can't do the installation the price goes up even more. I can't tell from pictures if the billet grilles do a whole lot to protect the grilles, and I have not seen one in person. Let us know how things turn out for you.

    Dwayne, I hear you, man! Why would a reputable company simply bury their heads in the sand and pretend there is no problem when a fairly cheap solution surely must exist. Maybe this will be addressed in the 2007's, but who knows.
  • wamba2000wamba2000 Posts: 146
    zabeth, I installed the "gutter guard" solution on my 2004 EX. Lowes had black plastic gutter guard, so you can't really see it and it matches the factory black grill area. Between cutting the guard to length, then installing with black zip ties, the whole thing took about 20 mintes. I picked off about 6 bugs that woudl have hit the condensor on a recent trip. The gutter guard still has some flex to it, but won't stop the airflow.

    Sorry to hear you had to pay the $800+. You can see pics of the gutter guard install on the elementownersclub website as refernced in another message. Look in the Do-It-Yourself Modifications tab.
  • bwong06bwong06 Posts: 43
    When are the 07 elements due to hit the lot? I really want to get a Element but the upgrades on the 07 might make me wait
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    If a stone was to be sucked into the engine, because of a poorly designed air intake system, would Honda make the customer responsible for that damage TOO? Honda is putting a "spin" on this entire issue. A grill could be easily designed to clamp onto the existing grill network. They know that there is a problem, but they will do nothing about the problem! They are giving sales away to Hyundai and Kia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Best regards. -----Dwayne :confuse: ;) :) :shades:
  • dhnsxdhnsx Posts: 5
    i would rather walk than drive a Hyundai or Kia.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    I will be "test driving" a "Top of the line" 2007 2WD Honda Element, as soon as they hit the lot at my local Honda dealer. I can't wait to discuss this A/C issue. I want to see their reaction!!!!!!!!!!!-------Best regards. ------Dwayne :) ;) :shades:
  • I am seriously considering the purchase of a 2006 Element. My concern is with the ground clearance. My daily commute to work includes 4 miles of maintained dirt and gravel road. Winters are long and sometimes severe here. I live at 8700 ft and sometimes the spring mud season turns the dirt road into a pretty sloppy drive. I would appreciate any advice and/or experiences. My old 1986 Toyota 4Runner has mastered the road well but now has 295500 miles on it. Your help is appreciated!
  • zabethzabeth Posts: 3
    In the AC discussion, I thought I read a message that someone sent me about having the AC blow out because fo external damage and the dealer paid for it. Now I can't find the message. Please write again. Thank you, Zabeth.
  • In general, I have been quite happy with my '03 EX, but there are some dumb design issues that are really fraying my nerves, to the point where I'm seriously considering trading it in.

    #1 is ground clearance, or the lack thereof. I just pranged the gas tank guard on a small rock in a dirt road, and have come pretty close to stranding on a berm top several times. If Honda wants to advertise this car as a "go anywhere" toy, it should build it so (compare with the new Toyota cruiser for instance).

    #2 is that damned suicide door, which makes loading in a parking lot pure misery. Nissan solved the problem in its trucks with a rear door that opens flat against the vehicle side. Honda could have, but chose not to.

    #3 is closely related to #2. I've lost count of the number of times I've bashed my head against the projecting piece of metal in the roof of the car that holds the two doors where they meet. Stupid, stupid design.

    #4 the back seat is good for five minutes of travel. Any further, and the claustrophobic heebie-jeebies set in.

    With regards to point #1, I posted this in the tires forum, but got no response: looks like there's no way to lift the vehicle, except to use bigger tires. Has anyone done this? How much bigger did you go? How did it work out?
  • muckelroy, I have an '04 Element EX AWD and have been down lots of forest service and back roads without an issue. Haven't driven in snow, but mud and rainy conditions with passenger style problems.

    In your case, I would suggest purchasing new All-Terrain tires in 235/70x16 size (BF Goodrich and Bridgestone Revos are popular on the Element owners club web site.) There should be good enough clearance; if you run chains in the winter, you might want to drop to a 225. Consider it a cost of ownership, the stock Goodyears that are 215/70x16 are terrible in wet conditions, noisy and you'll be wanting to replace them almost as soon as you buy the Element anyway. (Mine lasted less than 20,000 miles of city driving).

    Hope that helps
  • gunga64gunga64 Posts: 271
    My friend has a 2005 Durango and supposedly a rock hit his
    condensor and broke his AC. Dodge also used the same excuse that they weren't responsible. I for one would like to know the scientific way they prove the damage came from outside the condenser and not just a week weld or low spot in the condensor itself. I would like the dealership/Manufactor prove to me that it was not a defect. Get the part after the repair.
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    This is actually quite simple. I have been in the tooling business (Large Aircraft) for 20+ years. All I need to see is the damaged part and I will be able to tell you with great accuracy how this damage has come about. External impact damage is VERY different from faulty weld failure, home made modifications are easy to spot, and abuse and neglect can also easily be recognized. I would be surprised if a any external impact would be covered by anyone.... A seasoned and sincere pro cannot be fooled by a half baked amateur...
  • Many of you have responded by discussing adding some kind of Grill or Guard in front of the Condenser to protect the Condenser, but all of you are skirting around the REAL problem. The problem is NOT the lack of PROTECTION on the CONDENSER. The REAL problem is the WEAKNESS of the condenser! Look at all these other cars on the road, with condenser failures being very rare, and you see all kinds of bugs, sticks and whatever stuck in them. WHY? Because they are made STRONGER! For a Problem to exist, the Tubing of the Condenser must be damaged or penetrated to cause it to leak and fail. The cooling fins are around the tubing for heat transfer, AND they are also THICK enough to provide protection to the tubing. If something hits the fins, they should extend out far enough in front of the tubing so that objects would strike the fins, and the fins will bend, absorbing and spreading the impact force so the tubing does not get damaged. The fins act like a cushion around the Tubing, if the fins are LARGE ENOUGH. Just go look at the condensers on ALL the OTHER cars out on the highway, check them at the Interstate rest stops to see all the big bugs and objects that get stuck it them and they still work fine. THIS is what I'm talking about, the Honda Condenser is made too weak and flimsy, and the REAL PROBLEM is that Honda should have made the condenser STRONGER. Trying to protect the condenser now is only an afterthought of BAD DESIGN! You should not have to be rigging up something on the front of your vehicle to protect the condenser, trying to fix Hondas mistake! You need to address the SOURCE of the problem. Complain Bitterly to Honda about their weak Condensers and also their lousey compressors on the CR-V's. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    I think you did something bad for lunch today. I have had leaaky heat exchangers in many other cars. A Pontiac Sunbird blew the radiator for no reason at all, and a linc conti blew EVERYTHING for no reason at all. I habd a radiator explode on an '82 Rabbit diesel truck for no reason at all... Carp just happens. I have owned Hondas since 1978 and NEVER had a problem with a heat exchanger of any kind. I currently own three Hondas from a 1991 Accord to a 1999 Ody to a 2005 CR-V and so far I have had nothing but bliss!!!! I would NEVER trade any of them for a ford EVER! The Conti cured me of any desires towars any fords...
  • rosetvrosetv Posts: 2
    Hello, I am having a problem with my shift lock release on my 2003 Element. I called the dealership and they said that brake pedal switch gets stuck sometimes and I need to reset it to get the shift lock release to stop freezing up. Where the heck is this brake pedal switch? I have looked through the manual and online. Can't find anything on it. The dealership says it's on the brake pedal but I can't find it. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks. :confuse:
  • rosetvrosetv Posts: 2
    My transmission seems to be slipping and this has coincided with the shift lock release. Are they related?
    Thank you! :confuse:
  • I was not talking about all those other 'heat Exchangers' that you mentioned in your response, such as radiators. I was addressing ONLY the AIR CONDITIONING CONDENSER COIL that is located in FRONT of the radiator. Anything that hits the front of the vehicle can hit the condenser. This is the same setup that all the other car use. I simply stated that the condenser should be made strong enough to withstand the abuse that it is likely to recieve, like all the other cars out on the road. I've never had a Ford or Chevrolet or a Chrysler ever have a leaking air conditioning condenser, and I've drove many of them for many years all over the country. Judging by all these previous posts, this possiblity of the air conditioning condenser leaking caused of damage from an object hitting it from the front, seem rather high. I just simply believe that the condenser should be made strong enough to withstand the abuse that it is likely to recieve, no more, no less.
  • My Windshield Washer Pump does not appear to be working. When I pull on the washer trigger, I don't even hear the motor. It works for the rear windshield, so I don't think the motor is a problem. Is there a relay that I can check. For some reason, Chilton and Haynes quit making manuals for foreign vehicles. I just know that this is a simple problem, and I don't want to spend the hundreds on diagnostics at a dealership. With winter coming, I'm going to need my washer soon.

    Thanks in advance for any help in this.

  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    I always buy the OEM manual for all my cars. Go to the bottom of this page, and you will find such a manual. It contains MORE information than you will need in 50 years. It is complete, comprehensive and specific to your vehicle... You might find it for less money too, I just poked at the first listing... Chiltons blow big time, I never had any luck with those rags...
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