Anyone else dissapointed by Honda cars?

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Feb 19, 2009
I grew up in a mostly domestic car family, Ford and Chevy to be exact. Growing up we had great luck with our vehicles, especally the Ford's. This was up until I met and started dating my current wife about 7 years ago.

Her family are all Honda buffs, that's all they own. Because of the great praise they gave the Honda brand name, the last 3 vehicles we have purchased have been from Honda.

After owning Honda's for the past 7 years, I am less than impressed. I'll give you a few examples from our last 3 honda's.

2002 Honda Civic, 11K Miles when when purchased, 28K when sold. Bad clutch cylinder, lost 3rd and reverse in the tranny, front struts and bushing plates.

2003 Honda Civic, 18K when purchased, still own today with 64K. front struts and bushing plates, front brakes including rotors, right front wheel bearing, fuel pump because loses pressure over night causing it to have hard starts, tranny does not always go into gear when cold or just harshly pops into gear. Dealer says trans is dying, right rear power door actuator, drivers door power window regulator, fabric coming off door trim.

2006 Honda Element purchased new, sold with 9K due to issues I was sick of dealing with, 3 dealers could not find. From 500 miles we would get a very loud metal on metal "twang" noise underneath the drivers floorboard on washboard or rough roads. They replaced almost the whole front suspension over the course of 6 Mos. It would come and go with outside temp so they couldn't always replicate it. The noise got so anoying on road trips that we finally just sold it.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with the Honda brand?

My latest car purchase was a 07 Hyundai Elantra which now has 47K miles on it. So far it has been 100% trouble free, no issues at all.
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My first Honda is a 2005 Element for my wife, It is OK. I cannot say that I am extremely pleased with it, but have not had any issues. I have had HORRIBLE issues with Ford's seems like every one I had, had head gaskets go out 5 out of 6 did this. Im very happy with Nissan. I am on my 5th now.
The old Hondas were good. For the past 10 years they have been cutting costs, the quality control is non-existent. The morale at the Hondas plants is so poor they have trouble keeping staff, despite good pay, and all the good people leave to go elsewhere.
Basically this is a dead brand. I would buy a Hyundai or a Subaru any day over a Honda.
A guy I know has a tranny shop in my area and he says he has a lot of Honda's in his shop with bad trannys. Sees them all the time. By the way he drives Fords.
Huie, sorry to hear about your troubles. I think all manufactures produce some lemons at times. My lemon was a '99 Ford F-150. My wife's Pilot had 187K on it when we sold it and the only issue I had was 2 sets of front rotors.

BTW, My two Subie WRX's have gone nearly 300k miles and the only thing I've replaced is a clutch--incredible cars meant to take a pounding on the rally circuit. In everyday driving they seem to last forever.
Domestics to me rode a lot better, my family is a big GM family. They've had minor issues, my Impala was and still is a headache(my brother has it now).

My friends mostly owned Honda's and loved em, earlier 90's to late 90's Honda's were tanks. They did the small jobs like ball joints etc and they ran well. The earlier 2000 models had some issues but were straightened out.

I myself like Toyota's, but everyone has an opinion. My current ride is an 04 Xterra bought wtih only 32k on it. I typically hate Nissan cars, but the Xterra is practically bullet proof cept for its suspension(shocks are known to go after 20k miles on OE Shocks). Sure enough bought it used with front shocks being dead, replaced em with Bilstein HD's ).

Every car has problems, some are lemons, and others are Ice-Tea. Take the lemon, and make lemonade(sell it). Enjoy the Ice-Tea =)

I can say this safely though. Hyundai and Kia have vastly IMPROVED. They have made themselves into powerhouses faster than Toyota was able to in the 80's.

If your looking for an affordable, reliable car, check them out. The Kia Soul is a very nice car with a pretty solid engine from what i hear.
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Originally Posted By: Huie83
After owning Honda's for the past 7 years, I am less than impressed. I'll give you a few examples from our last 3 honda's.

Yup, same here, except that I gave up after the first one. It was an '00 Accord EX V6. Poor fit&finish (maybe the Japan-made ones are better?) resulting in air leaks, water leaks, etc. On top of that, poor dealer service - I had to propose my own solutions to problems which they claimed did not exist. Then there was the whole tranny recall, but I sold the car before then.
Bought Chevys from 1994 to 2001. 4 were brand new. Shot after 60k miles.

Finally gave up and bought a new Honda after friends said they were bullet proof. Engine shot after 15k miles. Honda would not honor warrenty. After 3 months of fighting gave up and sold for big loss.

Bought an F150 used, cheap. Never had ANY problems. Bought 3 more Fords over the years just to change. ALL of the were really bullet proof and cheap.

Also had two Toyota's and one Nissan brand new. Nothing but problems.

Just my experience.
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I had a 2004 Honda Civic with an auto transmission up until 6 months ago when I crashed it. Never had a real problem with it. I didn't much care for the road noise but I figure there probably isn't a lot of sound deadening used. When I replaced brake pads at 38k miles there was still a lot of life left in the pads ( I replaced because I started hearing the wear indicators) and the rotors were still thick. No suspension issues that I knew of. The swatch of cloth on the passenger door did come off but a little fabric glue fixed that. Transmission shifted nicely. Oil changes were a pain though. The cabin, for the most part, was well designed and materials used was good. Gas mileage didn't measure up to pre-revised EPA estimates. Held it's value well. Probably would have gotten more from insurance if it was before gas prices dropped. Sometimes I wish I still had it.

Hondas are definitely on my short list if I were in the market for a new car. Used though I would get something that depreciated more.

edit: Do some of you guys have bad luck and end up with all the lemons or what? A bad engine after only 15k miles and the dealer refusing to warranty it? There has to be more to the story.
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First honda I've owned was a 1989 honda CRX when I was in high school. I abused the [censored] out of it being a teen driver, I raced it pretty much everyday with my friends stop light to stop light, drive it at high speed on dirt roads not to mention overload it with passengers and then autocross it every weekend. The car held up without one single issue after owning for 5 years, the clutch even held up..
All the auto magazines criticize GM and Chrysler for "cheap hard interior plastics," but I've never been in a Honda that didn't have acres of cheap-feeling (and smelly) bland colored plastic. I've never been able to shake the "this is CHEAP" feeling inside a Honda. They generally make GREAT engines, but IMO that's about their only strength. Their oddball automatic transmissions don't have a very good reputation in recent years.

I rent probably a dozen cars a year on business trips, and I have to say the Hondas are by far the least impressive. The most impressive (or at least most surprisingly good in recent years) have been Hyundai Sonatas. I'd take one of those over an Accord ANY day. I'd prefer a domestic over either, but if I ever buy an Asian car it will definitely be a Hyundai.
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coworker just got rid of his 04 civic because of an AT that flared from nearly new, and a TC-related CEL. He had numerous suspension and exhaust issues as well.

SIL has an 04 accord, and its AT needed replacement at 38k.

our integra couldnt keep a radiator for its life - until we installed an aftermarket, all-brass variety.

meanwhile domestics are lasting fine. toyota has some issues, especially with materials fading at different rates and things like this, but they (cars-wise) are still reasonably tough it seems.
I think the older ones (70's - early 90's) were the best. I'm sure cost cutting and countless electronic add-ons throught the years has taken its toll, much like it has on Mercedes.

My mom's '85 Accord SEi, and both of my Civic Si's (86 + 91) and my high school girlfriend's 86 Civic DX were all flawless performers for years. My mom put a set of tires on her Accord the 8 years / 83,000 miles she had it, and that was only due to sidewall cracking. I think this is mainly due to them being simpler cars back then. There are SO many more things on a 2009 Honda that can go wrong compared to 20 years ago. Back then, Honda had a HUGE cult-like following among people who enjoyed their trouble-free nature. I don't hear that as much these days.
When I test-drove the new Civic back to back against the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and Scion tC, the Civic was by far the worst of the bunch. The engine sounded like a lawnmower, and it clomped over bumps. Not to mention the brakes were not very good either. Surprisingly I liked the Ford the best out of all the above cars. It was an ST model with the 2.3L, had great pick-up, brakes, and handling.
Some Hondas they build are lemons, just like every other car manufacturer (too many to name)

Other Hondas run great for many miles without any problems. Currently there are 8 Hondas between both my and wife's familay and they are all running great, zero problems. Great cars for the little money spent.
Originally Posted By: Anies

If your looking for an affordable, reliable car, check them out. The Kia Soul is a very nice car with a pretty solid engine from what i hear.

I know 3 people who have late model Kias and each one is always needing something on a weekly basis..The Kia is and has always been a throw away car..

The Hyundai on the other hand has gotten allot better and I hear no complaints about the car at all from people I know that own them..The older ones were nightmares but the 05 and up are just as good as any other good car..The V6 is a much better choice then the 4cyl in the Hyundai.

I would much rather buy a 300K mile Crown Vic or Grand Marquis or even a used police interceptor then buy a brand new Kia Soul anyday.
My sister 02 Honda mini van went thru 3 transmission in 4 years. Now she drive 07 Ford Expeditions.
Originally Posted By: tangojetta
My sister 02 Honda mini van went thru 3 transmission in 4 years. Now she drive 07 Ford Expeditions.

Your sister is a very smart person and makes excellent decisions.
FWIW there are ads on the Columbus, OH radio stations for Honda assembly workers at a whopping pay rate of 10.50 per hour. With pay that bad, no wonder they are having quality issues. Also, they are the most expensive small cars out there. You don't get much for the money.
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