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Honda Element Maintenance and Repair



  • I have the same problem on my 03 Element. It only happens at very low speeds (like turning into a parking lot. Or parking.)Did changing the fluid solve the problem?
  • n4sern4ser Posts: 5
    I got a 04 EX element automatic transmission. The other day, it wouldn't start. I turned the key and there was no noise and it didn't start, all the lights came on in the dash but there was no cranking. I had to get it towed to the dealer. They couldn't start it either and had to perform alot of tests. They tell me that it wasn't the battery or the starter. They think the car's gear wasn't in park all the way. So they told me that they reset the gear. So I got the car back. The car is starting after they supposidely fixed it, but today I went to the mall and while in the parking lot when I was ready to go home, the car wouln't start again. I moved the gear to make sure it was in park and I made sure it was in park. But still the car does not start. I don't know what to do now, I think I got to take it back to the dealer and they need to figure out what the problem is. The car is only two years old and I'm still paying for the financing. I'm thinking about selling it because I don't want to get stuck with an unreliable car. I have no way of predicting if it will start or not start. No one seems to know what the problem is. What if the car does not start in the morning and I have to go to work that day? This can be a big problem, I am just thinking about selling the car and getting what I can for it and buying a new car that works.
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    ...This cannot be anything major. It may be as simple as a corroded connector or a limp relais... My bet is that the starter relais is intermittedly failing. This would give you the symptoms you describe. Sometimes you need to go to more than one shop before you find a clever head that understands how the systems work together... If you were to drive a GM, Ford, or Chrysler, you would be likely repairing a lot more serious stuff... This is an annoying inconvieneience but not a deal breaker, -- agreed silly stuff like this should not happen to HONDA. Call their service hotline and complain loud, they will fix you up.
  • Hi, I could not find the link for the OEM manual that you spoke of, can you give tell me where I can find it?


  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    ...follow this link and scroll down to the very last item....
  • n4sern4ser Posts: 5
    Thanks, I'm going to call Honda. The car is starting now, I didn't do anything to it. So the problem seems to be intermittent. Its going to hard to explain to the dealer!
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    Not if you had it there before. Nobody is crazy enough to go to a dealer and complain about a non-existing problem... What you describe has all the ingredients of a $2.00 part failing causing you to lose use of the car. Honda should be very concerned with annoying stuff like this. This is what turns off customers,when ignored. Ford effectively got me to NEVER EVER own a ford again!!! I even made my mother in law park her mercury down at the curb. She now has an '06 Accord and is allowed to pull in the driveway now... :-)
  • I just took my Element in this morning because it wouldn't start... It's pretty annoying when a car isn't even 2 years old and you go out to go to work and it doesn't start. I tried to jump it thinking it might be the battery... but NOPE!!! Then when I had it towed in they told me they probably won't even be able to look at it today. It's still under warranty- but christ- they can't even look at it to see if it is something little. I have had a ton of other cars- american and foreign... This takes the cake. I know everyone says that Hondas are great- but I don't like it when my car doesn't start.
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    Do not take a crap answer like that! ...unless they give you rental, then you can care less. There are always jerks (anywhere) who will try to push you around. Call Honda directly and tell them that your two year old car isn't statring and the lousy dealer is trying to push you around. Do not take this laying down!!! Ask to talk to the mgr. if you do not get satisfaction there, talk to his boss, or call the franchise owner. Tell them you expect BETTER from a Honda!!! All my Honda contacts have been positive, but I clearly project, from the get go, that I will not be pushed around, (without being rude or offensive - of course.).
  • n4sern4ser Posts: 5
    did you find out what the problem was?
  • It sounds to me like a "Dealer" problem, the Dealer is not able to diagnose the problem correctly and fix it. Since the problem is intermittent, it would seem that the problem is likely a loose connection somewhere in the starting circuit. You don't have to explain "intermittent" to the Dealer, they know what that is, and they have ways of finding intermittent faults, such as the "wiggle test" and such other tests. With all their expertise and knowledge base, they should be able to find the problem and fix it. Maybe you should try another Dealer.
  • One thing I hate to hear is people saying things like "you would likely be repairing a lot more serious stuff" when talking about "American" vehicles. I will probably be buying a 2005 AWD Element EX this weekend. It's sweet. But I'm not buying it because I think Honda is better than all "American" brands. I actually prefer GM products as I have always had good luck with GM and so has everyone else in my family. In fact, I currently own a 93 GMC Jimmy 4x4. (The Element will be an additional vehicle...NOT a replacement.) I bought the Jimmy in 1996. It had just 33,000 miles. It now has 255,000 miles and is still going strong. I fully expect to get another 100,000 miles or more. It has broken down and left me stranded exactly ZERO times! How many car owners of any brand can say that? I know of people who have owned Honda's and Toyota's who can not say that. And I have had to do absolutely nothing to the motor or transmission on my Jimmy other than follow the maintanence schedules and change the fluids and filters when required. I have also had no problems with the 4x4 other than one switch when it had 190,000 miles on it. It cost a mere $75 to fix. Because of this and experiences my family has had with GM, I know GM is as reliable and as good or better than any and all long as the owners take care of them and follow the maintenence schedules. If you do not do that your car will not last no matter what brand it is. The only problem for me right now is they simply do not make any vehicles that I find as appealing as the Element. No car company does. That is the biggest downfall with GM right now. The vehicles simply aren't that appealing to me or a lot of other people. On the other hand, I can honestly say I don't find Honda cars to be very appealing either. I like the Element, and the 07 Ridgeline and CRV, but I do not care much for the Civics or Accords. :surprise:
  • n4sern4ser Posts: 5
    got an update. i had an appointment with the dealer on friday, guess what happened? the car did not start that day! the problem has been intermittent and it was starting but all of a sudden didn't start again. i had it towed again to the dealer. when the car arrived at the dealer, they took it off the tow truck and it started!
    they have the car all weekend and now they tell me they are ordering a part that is not in stock and will get back to me. fortunately its still in warrenty. they gave me a loaner car. i'll need to stop by and see what exactly the problem is.
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    ...everybody can recite stories of everrunning cars, and unquestionably some will run better and longer than others. I had a '91 Linoln Continental that I couldn't keep on the road for week. Fact is that a Honda, Nissan or Toyota statistically is less likely to be needing major repair compaired to the US or European brands. How many Yugos do you think reached the 250,000 mile mark under their own power? I own three Hondas, and while they are not perfect, in my world they represent a good value for the monies paid. I have a lot less trouble, maintenance is straight forward and when dutifully followed inexpensive.
  • n4sern4ser Posts: 5
    good news, the dealer has found the problem- the solenoid was malfunctioning. they tell me that they have not seen this problem in any other element and they were suprised when they discovered this problem. the car is under warranty and i got it fixed free.
    i stopped by the show room and i'm considering trading in my 2004 EX AWD for a brand new 2007 Element. I paid about 20,000 for the 2004 and I think i can get 16K for it now that its 2 years old. That sounds like pretty good resale value to me. Do you think I should do upgrade to the 2007? The 2007 apparently has better gas milege and more horsepower and 5 speed automatic compared to the 4 speed I got and it looks better too. The only down side to this car is the ride, when I go on the bumpy roads, I can feel everything and I don't like driving long distances. but thats expected as this is not a lexus. I wonder if the 2007 is improved in that department.
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    Naaa, you are throwing away $$$$$$!!! What is the motivator? 5-speed auto? Color? Seatbelt location? If you get $16K, and the 2007 will cost you $25K drive-off, for what? 1.5 mpg? Drive the wheels off of the one you have! It will provide good service for another 20 years! On second thought, just send me the $9K check and I will look after it really well! :-)
  • I have an 03 Element and lately my engine light goes on right after my Element starts to act like its out of gas and hesitates everytime I get to about 3000 RMP's. Ive checked everything from the oil, fuel enjectors etc...Has anyone else had this problem..Please let me know. Id like to fix it myself cuz my warraty is already out. Thanks..

  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    First... -- ... go down to your local Auto Zone, they'll read you OBD2 code for free. Once you got that you can worry some more... :-)
  • :sick: I love my Element! It was my first brand spankin' new car!
    From the first time I saw it/ sat in it, it reminded me of my grandmother's old Scout. *ahhh* Nostalgia.
    I do hate the fact that repairs are costing me a small fortune, the rear brakes DO wear out faster, I HAVE had my radiator punctured by tiny rocks, I HAVE hit my head on the metal above the door and getting out in tight parking places is a [non-permissible content removed]! However, when my kids puke I just hose it down, I don't have little feet kicking my seat, I have just enough room for me and my 3 kiddos, I've put a couch and 2 kayaks in the back, the dashboard is perfect for my bobble head creatures and it's so nice laying across the seats to look up at the stars.
    Recently I've a major problem with it. Maybe it is to be see...I have an 03 Element EX with 120,000+ miles on it. Right before Christmas it was towed to the Honda dealership. I was driving to work and had a loss of acceleration. I was stepping on the gas pedal (When I stepped on the gas my engine did not rev) but my car continued to slow from 70 mph to 40 mph and downward. It then accelerated back up to 65 and proceeded to do this until I managed to pull off the highway. Anyway, I had it towed and they said it was the Catalytic Converter. $2,300.00 repair. $1,800.00 for just the part. *sigh* needless to say Christmas was pretty [non-permissible content removed]. When I paid the bill. The tech told me that it was rare for a converter to go, but now my Element will run for another 100,000 miles. "It is as good as new!" HAH! RIGHT! When I drove it away it ran really rough. A LOT of engine noise. *rattling* *shaking* It then started experiencing some of the symptoms I had right before my car broke down, but to a greater degree. Now like clockwork, between 35-45 mph my Element's engine does this "shimmy" It's almost as if it is going to stall out on me. When it does this I give it a little gas and it seems to come out of it. It never does it outside this 35-45 mph zone. After they repaired the converter I specifically asked if they found any other problems when they ran the diagnostics. The tech said "no, this is the only thing we found!" Since then I have had a tune up performed by a senior automotive tech who I completely trust. He works for a Ford dealership and unfortunately was unable to run another diagonstic test, but when he did the tune up he found nothing wrong. This is good news? He even drove the car and of course it wouldn't replicate what I had been experiencing! He did say that whatever the persisting problem could have led to my converter failing. Just this past week I got new tires. They also did an alignment. I thought that maybe the shimmying could be a non-engine thing. Nope. Still doing it. Any ideas? Hints? Suggestions? I love my Element, but I can't afford any other major repairs!
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    ...cats do not fail from one second to the next and sure not at 120K miles. You do not state where you live... If you are in a region where you see a lot of salt and ice and may have had a fender bender in the front needing body work and intruding the engine compartment, you may have corroded connectors or contacts. They tend to act up intermittently at first and then more frequent acting up on hot days more than on cold days or by cold weather... I have such a gremlin in my '99 Ody door right now... I have a pretty good idea what I am looking for. I think they mis diagnosed you on your cat though...
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    "you may have corroded connectors or contacts. They tend to act up intermittently at first and then more frequent acting up on hot days more than on cold days or by cold weather"

    Electronics are funny things...

    I have an '02 Hyundai Elantra with 90K miles on it. This is my "spare" car that I use as my daily driver, and my wife and I use it for running our weekend errands. The throttle position sensor started acting up a while back (30,000 miles ago). On hot days, after the car has sat for 8 hours or so, the first time you get in it and hit the gas, it stutters for about 1-2 seconds, and then is fine from then on. I live in the southeast, and during the months where the daily high temperatures is under 80 degrees, it doesn't do this. However, come May, it starts doing it again like clockwork.

    The same car has 1 other "electrical quirk". It has the remote/keyless door locks, and 1 out of every 20 presses of the button, all the doors will lock/unlock except for the driver's side door. I suspect there is a crimped wire or bad connector in that rubber sleeve in the driver's side door jam, but I'm not certain.
  • boho1boho1 Posts: 1

    Are you sure it was Catalytic Converter, because last time i shopped for Catalytic Converter for another car it was around 70 bucks for the part, my quick search got me some universal Catalytic Converters for around 100 bucks for Element, with some modifications you can get it fit Element easy. 1800 for the part was too much. Are you sure it was just Catalytic Converter.
  • eneiseneis Posts: 2
    I have the tell-tale grinding from the back end of my 2003 Element EX. I will try changing the fluid, but I'm wondering if this has been an issue for others, and what it took to fix it. I hear the CRV has had many rear differential problems.
  • eneiseneis Posts: 2
    this may be of interest to others, so I'm replying to my own message. I had the rear differential fluid changed (at about 51,000 miles) and that took care of the noise.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    Typically, I replace the rear diff fluid and the auto transmission fluid every 30K in my vehicles - regardless of what manuals suggest. The 30K intervals have never let me down.
  • grs34grs34 Posts: 1
    What fixed the problem? My Element started this today.
    Thank you
  • krave73krave73 Posts: 2

    Actually nothing fixed the problem. I did change my oil with some good oil and that has seemed to stop it for now. Ive heard that if the oil is old or something there is a sensor that shuts down some cylerders so you dont over heat. Maybe that was the deal. [non-permissible content removed] oil leads to a [non-permissible content removed] Other than that time will tell.
  • willmdwillmd Posts: 1
    My 2004 Honda Element with 44K miles has been fine until last week when it unexpectedly stalled while turning left on a very hot Florida afternoon. The clock display also went off. I shifted into park and restarted it easily. There was no warning, no engine or other noises. About an hour later, it happened again after making another left turn. The next morning there were no problems turning left, and no stalls now for two days. I think it is an electrical problem somehow associated with left turns. The Honda dealer found nothing wrong, and no error codes. Anyone have any ideas about diagnosing the problem?
  • colloquorcolloquor Posts: 482
    I'm considering a 2008 Element, and am wondering if the cracked windshield anomaly with the Element is no longer a concern. I understand the problem was with the windshield mounting flange in the lower left-hand corner - perhaps improper finishing at the factory?
  • Have a 08 Element SC. Was installing a tekonska control unit on it. Only thing I did to violate the wiring I guess was to tap in at brake pedal switch for signal to control unit. I have used this control unit on 3 different vehicles. Tapped into lights in rear at taillights. Well, the check engine light came on, vsa light on, engine idle lopping from 2500 to 3000 rpm. Not much throttle response. Of course the Honda dealer is no help at all, duh, u have to bring it in, so we can plug it up. An idle relearn procedure is all they could suggest... Its in the manual they say. Wrong, but found it on net.. Did not help anyhow. Anyhow, just was wondering if anyone has ever had this happen, and what caused it. Besides me.

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