Top 8 Things To Know About
Honda Odyssey And Honda Pilot Transmission Problems

Recurring Honda transmission problems have allegedly plagued many consumers that own or lease a Honda Odyssey minivan or Honda Pilot SUV. If you own or lease a Honda Odyssey or Honda Pilot with repeated transmission problems, you may have a defective vehicle on your hands.

Multiple class action lawsuits filed against Honda claim that many Honda Odyssey and Honda Pilot vehicles have faulty automatic transmissions and experience violent shaking, acceleration problems, gear shifting issues and transmission failure. If you own or lease one of these vehicles, you may be included in at least one of these class action cases, and your Honda may be a lemon.

Anyone who purchases a vehicle deserves the assurance that the vehicle is reliable and safe to drive. If your Honda vehicle has repeated transmission problems that make it difficult or unsafe to drive, you may be entitled to certain awards under the California Lemon Law.

Preserve your California lemon law rights.

1. What vehicles are affected by this transmission defect?

Some Honda Odyssey minivans and Honda Pilot SUVs may be equipped with defective transmissions that make driving unsafe. The affected vehicles include:

  • 2011–2019 Honda Odyssey
  • 2014–2019 Honda Pilot

MacDougall v. Honda alleges that 2011–2016 Honda Odyssey minivans have defective transmissions that cause acceleration problems, gear shifting issues and sudden transmission failure. Another lawsuit, Mobayen v. Honda, represents owners and lessees of 2017–2019 Honda Odyssey and 2014–2019 Honda Pilot vehicles.

Owners and lessees of 2011–2019 Honda Odyssey minivans and 2014–2019 Honda Pilot SUVs should opt out of one or more class action lawsuits in order to retain their individual right to sue.

2. Why should I opt out of a class action lawsuit?

You have to opt out if you want to retain your right to sue individually. If you stay in the class action, you waive your right to sue as an individual both during and after the settlement. Additionally, class action lawsuits often have thousands of members. If you stay in a class action lawsuit, you may only get a meager cut of the final settlement. A lemon law attorney can help you opt out of one or more class action lawsuits and retain your right to pursue an individual case.

Opt out of your class action lawsuit.

3. What’s wrong with my Honda Odyssey or Honda Pilot’s transmission?

Many consumers allege that transmission defects in their Honda Odyssey and Honda Pilot vehicles cause recurring safety problems such as lurching, stalling and sudden transmission failure. One lawsuit alleges that these transmission defects are caused by faulty materials or poor workmanship.

According to one lawsuit, Honda has attributed the recurring transmission problems to problems with computer software or deteriorated transmission fluid. The lawsuit cites several documents issued to dealers, which instructed technicians to update the software and replace the transmission fluid.

Another lawsuit alleges that these vehicles experience repeated juddering from the torque converter clutch. The torque converter is a component that sits between the engine and the automatic transmission, and it serves a similar purpose that a clutch would in a manual transmission. One consumer alleges that a technician told him he had a bad torque converter or a bad transmission assembly. When replicating the problem, the technician allegedly said he could feel the torque converter clutch lock up.

A cross section of a torque converter, a component that is shaped somewhat like a snail shell. This component sits between the engine and the automatic transmission.

The juddering from the torque converter clutch is allegedly caused by deteriorated transmission fluid. According to the lawsuit, the transmission fluid deteriorates faster than expected when exposed to “intermittent high heat loads under specific driving conditions.”

4. How has Honda responded to these recurring Honda transmission problems?

According to these class action lawsuits, the recurring Honda transmission problems were never adequately addressed. As a result, safety defects continue to appear in these Honda Odyssey and Honda Pilot automatic transmissions.

One lawsuit alleges that Honda has known, or should have known, about these recurring transmission problems since at least 2016. To demonstrate Honda’s knowledge of these recurring transmission issues, multiple lawsuits cite several technical service bulletins (TSBs) that Honda has issued to its dealers.

One TSB issued in 2012 allegedly shows that Honda knew of juddering, hesitation and surging in 2011–2012 Honda Odyssey minivans. Technicians were advised to update the transmission’s computer software and/or replace the transmission fluid. Another TSB issued in 2015 acknowledged hard downshifts or “clunks” when accelerating or decelerating at low speeds, recommending that technicians update the Powertrain Control Module software.

Another TSB, issued in 2016, reported that 2011–2013 Honda Odyssey vehicles experienced transmission problems due to “deteriorated” transmission fluid resulting from “high heat loads” under certain driving conditions. The TSB advised that technicians replace the transmission fluid, though a later document admitted that the fluid flush was a “temporary fix.”

After years of releasing these documents for Honda Odyssey vehicles, Honda released TSBs for 2016–2017 Honda Pilot vehicles with nearly identical problems and proposed fixes. However, consumers allege that none of the proposed fixes permanently remedied these Honda transmission problems, and Honda has yet to develop a software update that adequately fixes the alleged transmission defect.

5. What have consumers reported regarding the faulty transmissions in Honda Odyssey and Honda Pilot vehicles?

These class action lawsuits cite several complaints that consumers have submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A few complaints can be read below.

2011 Honda Odyssey

A 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L with 300 miles on it stumbles/hesitates at low speeds (15-20 mph) when a light throttle is applied with transmission in “D” on a slight incline. A Honda dealer in Boone, NC could not resolve the problem. On 7-25-2011, the owner drove the car from the dealer and the problem happened three more times. Immediately returned the car to the dealer, but the dealer could not duplicate the problem and said they would contact Honda for advice. This problem has happened six times since [it was bought] new. The car has just 525 miles on it and gives the driver the sensation that the engine has stalled.

2014 Honda Odyssey

We were driving in stop-and-go traffic in California, and our 2014 Odyssey engine began to clunk and the whole car jerked (like running over something like a speed bump) each time we tried to accelerate through second gear. It felt like hitting something or an engine falling out. The car’s transmission continued to do this every time we tried to accelerate between 20-30 miles per hour. It continued to jolt/jerk and clunk for 20 miles as we drove on the freeway. This is dangerous and made my heart skip beats, as it felt like the engine was going to fall out/like being in a crash.

I contacted Honda, but their service was about to close. We pulled over to do our errand, and when we restarted the car, it stopped. The shifting on the vehicle is not smooth through gears. I took it the next day to Honda and they will not fix it, as no diagnostic codes came up and they cannot get the car to duplicate the issue now. Now, there is a TSB to update software, but the dealership will not do it unless the issue is duplicated again. Safety issues that your brand new vehicle may have: the engine transmission fails at any point during travel. The jolting is so severe when it happens that it could cause you to have an accident.

2017 Honda Odyssey

The vehicle is having intermittent issues with transmission shifting. The speed seems to vary, the range is between 24 and 33 mph. It seems to be most prevalent after being on the highway for a longer period of time, 45 minutes or longer. Then, when accelerating gently from a stop, it can lurch when shifting, or shift hard and make an audible clunk. Other times, not having been driven for any length of time, in the same speed range, 24 to 33 mph, during gentle acceleration, it does not shift easily or smoothly. […] It does not shift normally or smoothly. I would describe it as a miss or a lurch. In both cases it will shift, but not as it should. This began around 17,000 miles. I am noticing very fine vibrations in the steering wheel and throughout the front end. I am unable to associate it with any particular speed or stretch of road, but it did not do this when the vehicle was new.

2017 Honda Pilot

“While driving on a busy road with my wife, my vehicle shuddered while accelerating, and began jerking and slowing down before losing all acceleration. Multiple warning lights went off, and the transmission automatically shifted to neutral. The transmission is a 9 speed, push button shift. We were almost rear ended by the vehicle behind us while attempting to coast to the shoulder. While attempting to figure out what was going on, I was unable to shift the vehicle into any gear. It would not reverse into park, shift or drive. I contacted the Honda dealership and reported the issue and had to have the vehicle towed. While waiting for 2 hours on the side of the road for towing, I was unable to get the transmission to shift into any gear.

It was only after the tow truck arrived and I shut the vehicle off that the car finally shifted into a gear. The vehicle is currently at the Honda dealership and being diagnosed. There were 4 error messages I received when all of this occurred. I have photos and a video of it as well. This is not my first issue with the transmission. It has been to the shop twice before shuddering when shifting at low speeds, and not shifting properly. The vehicle currently has around 18,500 miles on it. Fortunately, this transmission issue happened on a side access road and not on the turnpike, or the end result may have been an accident. The dealership cannot explain why the transmission shifted to neutral and completely locked out the ability to shift or move under its own power. I do not feel safe driving the vehicle, and feel that it is a hazard to other drivers.”

2018 Honda Pilot

Transmission jerks, hesitates and/or clunks when changing and/or attempting to change into next higher gear, hesitates and/or reverts to next lower gear when it should shift to next gear. This happens when driving on level surfaces and down hills, causing passengers to jerk forward suddenly and without expectation. The Honda dealer kept the vehicle for 2 days and did not find any issues. Purchased vehicle new in April 2018, had same problem since Week #1. When shifting manually, does not experience hesitation or gear hunting, but clanking still exists. These events happen regardless of road surface type, speed or incline of road. I noticed a transmission fluid leak at the transmission gasket during the 1st oil change at 7,500 miles.

6. Is my Honda a lemon?

According to these class action lawsuits, 2011–2019 Honda Odyssey and 2014–2019 Honda Pilot vehicles experience the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, Unexpected Shaking
  • Violent Jerking While Shifting or Accelerating
  • Hesitation Before Acceleration
  • Unexpected Acceleration (Surging)
  • Hard Downshifting or Clunking
  • Torque Converter Clutch Locks Up
  • Repeated Shifting Problems
  • Sudden Transmission Failure

These transmission failures are particularly dangerous when the Honda Odyssey or Honda Pilot vehicles are accelerating from a stop, merging into traffic or shifting gears onto highways from low speeds, drive uphill, or shifting gears at low speeds. If repeated Honda transmission problems in your vehicle seemingly cannot be fixed, we can help you opt out of one or more class action lawsuits and pursue an individual claim with your Honda lemon.

7. How do I opt out of a class action lawsuit?

If you are affected by a class action lawsuit, you may receive a notice. This notice outlines the allegations and tells consumers that they can opt out of the class action lawsuit. Though these notices usually contain instructions for opting out, you should consult an attorney on the specifics. An attorney can tell you how to opt out and what deadlines you should know.

Once you opt out of a class action lawsuit, you can request a free consultation on your current legal options.

Opt out of your class action lawsuit.

8. I’d like more information. What do I do next?

If your Honda Odyssey or Honda Pilot is experiencing recurring problems with its automatic transmission, your vehicle may be a lemon. Our California lemon law firm can help you obtain the reward you deserve for your faulty Honda vehicle.

If you are included in one or more class action lawsuits, we can help you opt out. If you opt out before the specified deadline, you retain your right to pursue an individual lemon law claim. If you are not sure whether you are included in a class action lawsuit, we can help you find out.

Opt out of your class action lawsuit to retain your individual right to sue. Under the California Lemon Law, you will be eligible to receive cash compensation, a replacement vehicle or a lemon law buyback.

If you want to opt out of one or more class action lawsuits and pursue an individual case, fill out the form below or call us at 877-222-2222 for a free consultation. You have rights! Take action now!