The Element's boxy, offbeat styling generates a lot of attention, but the vehicle is fraught with compromises. It has a cavernous interior, but it's only a four-seater with a skimpy 675-pound payload capacity. So it can be easily overloaded. The vehicle handles nimbly and has a smooth, refined powertrain, but it has a choppy ride, noisy cabin, an awkward driving position, and obstructed outward visibility.
Alerts
There are 12 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
NA
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
NA

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
NA
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard from 2007. Side air bags standard from 2007. Head protection air bags and ESC standard from 2007.
Road Test

The Element's boxy, offbeat styling generates a lot of attention, but the vehicle is fraught with compromises. It has a cavernous interior, but it's only a four-seater with a skimpy 675-pound payload capacity. So it can be easily overloaded. The vehicle handles nimbly and has a smooth, refined powertrain, but it has a choppy ride, noisy cabin, an awkward driving position, and obstructed outward visibility.

Seating
2 front, 2 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD, Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2.4-liter 4 (160 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Honda Element owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"Like any vehicle, over time your alignment goes out"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Alignment after strut replacement"

Dave A., ON (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Ball joints

"Steering wheel would shake when holding a left turn on a curve on freeway betweeen 40-60 mph"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"My mechanic to whom I have patronized for 35 years said that something was cracked or showing wear pertaining to the ball joints. I trust him. He repaired what needed to be repaired. The cost was high. If I have more than one expensive repair a year on this car, it is rare. This car is 16 years old. It is a wonderful car and still rides as if it was new."

Anonymous, MD (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Bushings

"Most if not all rubber isolators/bushings/boots on all suspension components succumbed to dry rot"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"See previous -- I believe it was the tie rod bushings."

Anonymous, BC (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The whole front end needed to be replaced. Lower control arms with compliance bushings, ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends and alignment. Car drove like new vehicle."

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"After purchase, I noticed the car pulled to the right when on the freeway. I didn't notice this in the test drive. During Maryland state inspection the steering rack and the power steering pump were flagged. Strangely enough, the vehicle passed the Virginia State inspection. I suspect a fraudulent inspection was conducted. Replacement parts and labor totaled $1600.00."

Anonymous, MD (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"Given the mileages on the 2 cars, all the other problems are expected. Both cars are very strong and resilient, can easily go to 200 or 300k miles w/ good care"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Given the age and mileage (ca. 200k) all these other problems are expected"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I tried aftermarket parts twice. I was disappointed twice. OEM Honda parts are higher quality, and they are more than worth the price."

Jonathan B., TX (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I believe this is normal wear"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Think they need to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Front struts failed resulting in dangerous handling on the road"

Glenn K., MA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Replaced all 4 shocks and struts after 325000km"

Dave A., ON (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear suspension struts and sway bar links needed replacement"

G D., CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"One side was leaking so both sides had to be replaced. about $1300"

Rebecca L., MD (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"ride was noisy & rough"

Robert M., NJ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Original struts were completely worn out"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I had to have the front struts replaced"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Struts seem functional but have developed a lot of noise. Also, master ball joint has started to squeek"

George J., PA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"old and worn out"

Roy L., MA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I do Art Festivals. Carry a lot of weight. Replace rear struts and sway bar end links. Just made noise.Replaced. No tie rod problem."

Anonymous, PA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I use the Honda to carry bags of feed for livestock. The weight of the feed caused a problem that couldn't be fixed with Honda parts. The arm or somesuch thing couldn't be adjusted so the tires didn't pull in at the top of each back tire. I had to use parts not built by Honda. I do live on a dirt road, so when they fixed that, they discovered that even the front suspension needed to be redone. The engine block had even come loose. Glad I got it all fixed when I did. Honda should have parts that that can be adjusted for loads in the back. Poor engineering."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Right strut failed (broke) so was repalced"

K J., MO (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Springs or torsion bars

"Torsion bar seems to come lose every couple years. Daily commute is only a few miles and primarily in-town driving only. It is currently rattling and needs to be fixed again now"

Donny S., MO (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"torsion mounts needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Broken sway bar links (rear) both sides"

James B., MN (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"CV shaft replacement on front end"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Tie rods

"My trustworthy mechanic told me they were worn, and needed to be replaced as soon as possible. Only my second major repair on the Honda Element 2003 so I can not complain, but it was expensive. Then, the car needs a front end alignment. Almost $1,000 all together"

Pat B., FL (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The steering was loosw & suspension was noisy"

Robert M., NJ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I believe it was the tie rod bushings. Had to take it in twice, but finally got it repaired. Diagnosed the problem by Googling it."

Anonymous, BC (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel balance

"California roads are in disrepair causing unbalanced wheels"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"Right wheel bearing started making noise"

K J., MO (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"The abs light was on"

Anonymous, SK (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Brakes started squeaking, found out that they were worn out... had them replaced."

Anonymous, NM (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Calipers

"Right rear caliber froze up resulting in smoke when vehicle was in motion"

Glenn K., MA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Caliper on one wheel became frozen. Rebuilt was mounted, along with new pads and rotors for around $425"

George J., PA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"rear passenger caliper had to be replaced"

Roy L., MA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"calipers have frozen on and off for the last 3 years on different wheels, all had to be replaces with new rotors."

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I don't drive the vehicle that often. During the test drive and the first few weeks of ownership the brakes appeared to be fine. A few months later I detected a metal on metal sound coming from the rear discs. The repair shop said the rear calipers had seazed and would have to be replaced along with the rotors and pads."

Anonymous, MD (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Master cylinder

"brake pedal gradually went to the floor, replaced master cylinder"

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

"This model of car is notorious for eating brakes. I have to replace my brake pads every 2-3 years. Anyone who purchases this vehicle should be aware of that. Other than that, this vehicle has been quite reliable. I'm now replacing my transmission after 250000 miles, though."

Anonymous, NV (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"normal break wear"

Anonymous, MO (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Front brake wear after 100000"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Bringing in my Element for diagnosis of the rattle/noise, Honda fixed brakes they thought might be the cause"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Brakes needed replacement"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

"My honest mechanic said my brake pads were worn prematurely. I just had a brake job in another city where I used to live less than a year ago. I had the new brakes put in, called my old honest mechanic, and he reimbursed me 100% for the prior brake job. Yes it is hard to find a good honest mechanic, usually, they own their own garage. I appreciate them so very much"

Pat B., FL (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"We have had a recurring problem with unusually fast wear in the rear brakes"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Brakes seem to wear out very quickly in this car"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

"Brakes seem to wear out very quickly in this car"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"turning of the rotors"

Anonymous, MO (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"rusted, made grinding noise on turns. No braking problem"

Anonymous, RI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I'm not sure how to describe. I had to have rotors (I think) replaced and it was hard for mechanic (I've had job done by 3 garages including Honda dealer) difficult to seat some kind of brake warning sensor and there is a wobble on the right side which I am still trying to get fixed. It's not dangerous to drive, I am told. But it is still annoying and I know something is not right."

Anonymous, VT (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaking

"Rear brakes sometimes do not release"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I have had 3 brake jobs in24 months (12,000 miles) and neither Honda dealers or indendent mechanics have been able to solve problem"

Martha S., CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"Alarm and ignition cutoff frequently resetting and making it hard to start the vehicle"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"We brought in the Element for its regular maintenance to Honda dealership and they somehow managed to damage the security system so that the fob no longer worked. It took two more visits for them to rectify the broken security system/fob"

Brian K., CA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Many problems with keys no longer able to lock the car"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Cruise control

"Cruise stopped working and I haven't had it fixed because it is too costly on such and old car"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Cruise control has failed after 140K"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"When auto hits bumps in road, cruise control disengages"

Eva D., TN (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Needed new bulb in rear running light"

Jack H., MI (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The daylight driving lights create a buzzing sound that does not stop until I switch on the headlights"

Zeljko P., BC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Gauges

"Car wouldn't start... replace battery and starter. Loose harness connector at throttle body made intermittent start issue and then speedometer went wacko. Replaced speed sensors and still wacko. Replaced cluster... better? harness issue?"

Paul S., IN (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"Every now and then, headlight goes out, but will work the next day"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"The remote no longer activates the lock on the driver's side of the car; the actuator in the car door is a bear to replace, so I haven't."

Anonymous, MI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Keyless entry won't open driver's side door lock (or others because driver's side is the master). Neither will electronic lock inside car. Only key & manual lock switch work on it. Haven't had mechanic look at it yet"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"At 135K Driver door lock failed so I installed genuine Honda keyless module. A year after that, the lock actuators in the driver and passenger door failed"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Passenger door modulator"

Eva D., TN (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"Airbag light is always on"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"Catalytic converter cracked, possibly due to road hazard. Very expensive to replace (more than average car), temp fix was to weld crack closed"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"an $1800. item shouldn't wear out, period. clamp/flange that connects downstream to pipes disintegrated. pipes are intact, very strange"

Tim S., OH (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Exhaust leaks

"noisy"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Exhaust pipes, muffler, etc. needed replacement"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"needed to replace all rubber hoses on engine-rotted"

Anonymous, AL (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"bought compression flange to temporarily repair exhaust. non-moving parts like exhaust shouldn't wear out IMO"

Tim S., OH (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Other/unsure

"The usual Takata airbag issue. What more can I say - They changed the actuator, but they never fixed the light, no matter how much I asked, dealers invented every excuse under the sky not to do it. I have seen this in every other Element and other Honda cars I encountered, and many other makes. Still not fixed after 3 years, I have given up. This is another issue that the manufacturers' feet should be held to the fire on - how do I know the system is working properly if the light is always on?"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Airbag warning light came on sometime within the last 12 months. Has remained on. Currently there is a recall."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Dealer scanned vehicle and found code for SRS drivers buckle 9-3 They replaced the buckle and erased codes. Repair was covered by Honda, no cost to me."

Robert B., OR (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Even the dealer doesn't know what these lights are saying specifically about what is wrong, very upsetting."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Pipes

"Joints between the exhaust pipes and other parts of the exhaust system failed so the entire exhaust had to be replaced"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"lose tail pipe"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

"Pins in door locks tend to deteriorate resulting in issue where key will not turn, and therefore door will not unlock. Ultimately forced me to get auto door locks installed"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"door locks are difficult to impossible to unlock"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Honda Element Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"All the door locks on both my Honda Elements' cars do not work anymore - MAJOR pain in the a....."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Glass defects

"front window cracket and had to be replaced."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Windshield is prone to cracks. Have replaced it 4 times since I purchased"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Locks and latches

"Complete failure of driver's side door lock, lock cylinder, latch, and power door lock actuator. Required replacement of all parts except the door itself"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Door Lock cylinders failed resulting in keys not working. Had to completely replace locks. Had previously replace ignition lock for same reason. Very expensive!!"

Anonymous, AK (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - temperature

"Heat control; stopped working"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

"Window regulator just busted with no external cause. It's made with cheap plastic parts (but PRICED like it's platinum). I have never in 50 years had a window regulator break before"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"R/S window regulator cable broke"

Douglas O., AZ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"14 years old"

Anonymous, NV (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Only known that this may be reason that AC is not working"

Anonymous, HI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Stopped working last summer"

Anonymous, OK (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I had a problem with the engine overheating when I was in gridlock for 3-4 hours waiting for a fire to be put out ahead of me on the freeway. It was 90+ degrees out, so it wasn't surprising that the car overheated. Since then, my air conditioner has not worked and I've been told it's not fixable."

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"No cold air"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Blower (fan) motor

"One fan went bad and caused the other to go bad"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"had to replace"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Condenser

"The condenser failed which caused the refrigerant to leak"

Anonymous, UT (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

"Blew a head gasket; replaced the engine ($3000)"

Anonymous, VT (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"AC stopped working. Still trying to find leak"

Anonymous, HI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Very slow water leak due to rusted connection"

Robert M., NJ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"boh front and rear suspension noises"

Donald D., CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Right control arm and sway bar link had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"New rattle in rear end, still trying to find the cause."

Anonymous, AK (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Shocks and struts needed replacement, but this was expectable given the mileage on the car"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Noises and rattles in the back end"

Dean H., KS (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"a 'mysterious rattle that Honda and independent mechanics can't find the cause for"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Had to replace starter twice. Muffler clamp twice"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"There was a clanging sound. Turned out to be the exhaust shield rattling."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"I love this car but it's been noisy since we bought used in 2008. Wind noise & road noise on all but the smoothest pavement."

Henrik A., CA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Engine warning light intermittent, false reading of oil pressure, vtech timing goes into survival mode limiting engine rpm to 2800, thus can't accelerate safely on highway on ramp. In reality the engine (oil level) is fine, but computer thinks ther"

John L., ON (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The V-Tech solenoid, not really a computer problem"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

"It's a knocking sound when car is running"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Engine was sputtering & knocking when accelerating. Ended up being low oil pressure interfering w/ VTEC engine...just needed more oil"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Engine mounts

"Rubber engine mounts were cracked"

Jean N., CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"My shop mechanic told me that two of three of my engine mounts had failed and as a result the engine could come loose at any time and the car would not be usable any more. They said this problem was extremely rare and not fixable. Parts to fix it were not available. That's when I purchased the Nissan. I do the majority of my driving in the Nissan, but I have kept the Honda, which may not be saleable. The Honda continues to work well and I drive it on weekends or when I have a problem charging the Nissan."

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"The rear differential leaks oil from the output seals. Replaced seals from Honda several times and they still leak. Honda has no fix for this problem"

Richard S., CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"According to the mechanic we have an internal oil leak that caused the engine light to go on and the car to lose power on acceleration. I now check the oil every 500 milea and have to add a quart every 1500 miles"

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"An ongoing oil leak has led to engine overheating to the point of not being able to drive the car. The leak hasbeen ongoing but the overheating and inability to use car has only occurred once."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen difficult to see

"It is very difficult to see how fast one is going!"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen goes blank

"My display goes blank so I can no longer use the stereo. I need to purchase a new aftermarket one"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The radio and clock screen goes blank"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Factory stereo - display screen will go blank, or freeze with scrambled display. I can usually get it working again by lightly hitting the radio."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"My mp3 hookup has not worked since about 2014. Not sure if the problem is with the wiring between 3.5 mm input and receiver, or between receiver and speakers."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

"Very rough sound. Can't discern what people are saying like NPR or news"

Anonymous, OK (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Steering wheel controls

"The starter/ignition failed and had to be replaced"

Pamela D., LA (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"clutch needed replacement $3500 cost"

Jonathan B., TX (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"At first, I was told that the Master Cylinder had to be replaced. I did that, the car is 12 years old. two week later my clutch began to stick and the kept dying at every stop. I took it in immediately and it was found that the clutch needed to be"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Purchased car used with 80,000 miles - - replaced clutch at about 100,000 miles - - don't know reason for failure - - don't know how car was driven prior to my purchase - - symptom was shuttering when shifting"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"At first failure, I replaced master cylinder and slave cylinder. It failed again after a year, so master cylinder replaced again. A week later, it failed again. This time, we replaced the clutch, which was probably at the root of the problem the whole time."

Peter B., NC (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"In freak accident, manual transmission locked in reverse with car jammed into brick wall. Difficult to get it into 1st forward gear, but once accomplished car drove in normal fashion"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Transmission would not shift into all gears"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Auto transmission and torque conveter failed completely and had to be rebuilt. 165000 miles....I guess that's to be expected."

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Alternator

"Car slowly dies while driving one day. I recognized what was happening in time to pull off safely before it completely died."

Anonymous, OR (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"Have trouble with pack rats chewing on wires... system not protected"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Engine harness

"Harness developed loose connection when I changed out the starter... would not start at times... now speedometer is bouncing around when the car is running. Changed speed sensors and instrument cluster... not perfect... problem is hard to fix"

Paul S., IN (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Starter

"Starter needed to be replaced."

Robert B., OR (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Needed replacement"

Robert C., OR (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Issue passing inspection. Had to change the air mixture valve or smthg like that, expensive, and still needed a lot of tinkering after that to get it to pass inspection. It would be nice if CU would help us drivers to soften NYS Emissions inspection passage for cars over 15 years old which are driven less than 5-10k miles a year (to keep emissions in the air down), most of them are still good, useful and perfectly drivable and not used much. Same for the manufacturers - they should warrantee that the cars pass emissions testing for at least 20 years, and fix the problems for free if any. Right now they wash their hands off everything and leave you hanging w/o any recourse on perfectly good drivable cars. And NYS doesn't even want to hear of any problems. Both of these issues are very big, and nobody does anything about them! By the way, I LOVE my Element - it's such a sturdy solid maneuverable little car, w/ adequate maintenance it will run forever! - IFF it passes emissions every year!!! And this is the main and single most vexing problem w/ all older cars. Maybe CU can also right away address this in future issues/research to build awareness and find ways to help us!"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Catalytic converter was stolen by cutting the exhaust system under the car, oxygen sensor was damaged."

Anonymous, (2003 Honda Element Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Idle Air Intake Control Valve clogged and had to be replaced this year. First engine problem in fourteen years"

Ann S., NC (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"had to replace throttle sensor and knock sensor"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Differential

"Noise when turning - taking for service this week"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Driveline vibration

"seriously worn universal joints and drive shaft caused severe vibration and required $3000 repair job"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Electrical failure

"Alternator failed"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"Piston ring fused to cylinder, eliminating all compression in one of four cylinders"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Timing belt or chain

"variable camshaft timing system (VTEC) needed oil pressure switch, approx $300 diagnosis & repair"

Henrik A., CA (2003 Honda Element 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Turbo or supercharger

"VTEC oil pressure switch sensor was replaced"

Robert C., OR (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

"The clutch does not work, it is not the master cylinder and we have not determined what the problem is. It will not go into gear"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rough shifting

"Several months after transmission was replaced, it would hunt for gears and lurch"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

"xmission was not interacting with the computer correctly causing severe bucking anytime it should shift. Also inter related with the lube oil"

Anonymous, DE (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Cooling fan

"Non-working. Replacement installed"

Jean N., CA (2003 Honda Element EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Rust

"My region is extremely hard on the frame and underbody of vehicles - - my Element recently failed annual inspection due to rust of frame and underbody so I can no longer drive it - - not possible to repair at reasonable cost - - very disappointing because car is otherwise in excellent shape mechanically - - engine runs great - - not a problem with the make and model of car - - this is inevitable with most vehicles in this region"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Honda Element DX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
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