2003 Honda Element EX


I've had several issues with my 2003 Honda Element since my 2003 purchase.

I've had the driver/passenger side door locks replaced TWICE due to jamming.

Starter was replaced 7/2/09 for $1007.00 due to starter motor burning out.

Once I picked up my car up from Honda, after getting the starter replaced, I had a problem placing the key in the ignition. It did exactly like my door locks did when they were about to jam. From 7/2/09-7/7/09 I had to force my key into the ignition, and the key finally went in without force on 7/7/09, but it would not turn the cylinder at all. I called Honda and they suggested W-D 40, and the W-D 40 did nothing at all! So I was stranded for the second time in a month that just started.

I had my Element towed back to the dealership and was told my tumblers went out in the cylinder, and it would cost anywhere from $360.00-$865.00 for repairs. After explaining I'd given Honda $1007.00 less than a week ago and could not afford the price quotes, I was told the repair costs could not go lower than $160.00!

After the repairs to the ignition were complete, the key still seems to hesitate before entry. Therefore I am dreading my next trip to Honda, which will occur in the coming week or so I'm sure. And not to mention other minor repairs that have occurred throughout the years. Problems that did not occur on vehicles I previously owned.

If you are going to purchase a Honda Element, please be prepared for ongoing repairs regardless if you buy it NEW or USED. And the repair process will start sooner than one would think!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th July, 2009

10th Jul 2009, 22:36

"Starter was replaced 7/2/09 for $1007.00 due to starter motor burning out."

Buy a repair manual. You can change out the starter on the Element yourself. It's not that hard. It appears that you paid roughly $900 for labor. That is ludicrous.

Our Honda Civic was a total nightmare. I'd advise you to consider a far more reliable American car next time. We now own two GM and two Ford cars. The oldest is 9 years old. The only repairs on the 9-year-old GM has been one light bulb and front brake pads at 70,000 miles (at a cost of $17). None of the others have ever had ANY repairs. You've spent more on your Element than we've spent on our last DOZEN domestics COMBINED!!

24th Jan 2010, 23:16

I have a 2003 Honda Element EX with 245,000 miles on it. It has been a very-reliable vehicle, for the most part. I have replaced:

A/C pump and condenser $800.

Starter $400.

Front brakes & rotors $250.

2003 Honda Element


Wonderful design, but too many mechanical problems


Tires wore out before 30,000 miles.

Front brakes replaced twice in five years.

Drivers side lock replaced under 3 year warranty.

Ignition lock cylinder replaced at 38,000 miles.

Ignition lock cylinder going bad one year after replacement.

General Comments:

I was so happy when Honda made this car as it suits my needs perfectly, but mechanically it has defects that make me seriously doubt if I would buy another Honda.

The biggest problem is the door and ignition locks. These are expensive and ongoing repairs. I have had two replaced in five years and the ignition cylinder is acting up again. My mechanic cleaned it out and it works now, but I can feel there is still something wrong. Honda should be held responsible for fixing this problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th June, 2009

2003 Honda Element 4wd EX


Fix the webbing and we'll be happy


Back seats that are supposed to drop down have webbing that releases each seat from the upright position. The left seat has the webbing completely missing, so I cannot put the seat upright. The dealer wants close to $300 to fix the webbing.

The right seat has a webbing problem also, this webbing is the webbing that releases the seat from the floor so that you can put the seat up out of the way or take the seat out. That webbing just sheared when I pulled on it. Also an approx quote of $300.

Now for a car that suggests 64 ways to configure the seats and the fact that we really don't raise and drop the seats all that often, shouldn't the webbing be much stronger and durable if it is an actual selling point for use of the car seating (64 ways)?

General Comments:

We love the car, but currently cannot take out one seat, and cannot have a 4th rider in the car due to the fact that the other back seat cannot be put in the upright seated position. Seems awfully expensive to pay nearly $600 or so dollars to get those seats fixed when they advertise so heavily about the multiple ways of configuring them, with unsuspecting folks finding out that the webbing is not very strong or durable.

We just want what is promised -a durable car with durable inner parts. Not webbing that breaks after very few uses.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th January, 2009