The Honda Element lives up to the automaker’s reputation for building dependable vehicles. Although it has been discontinued, you can still find many of these SUVs on the used car market, but before you consider buying one you should be aware of the common faults of the Honda Element .
If you’re thinking about buying this model, it’s a good idea to read what other drivers have to say about this vehicle and familiarize yourself with the common problems they’ve encountered with their crossover SUV.
How good is the Honda Element?
The Honda Element scored highly in terms of reliability. The model was given a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5, ranking it first of 32 vehicles in its segment.
Similarly, other pages have given the 2011 Honda Element 81/100 in terms of quality and reliability. The average annual repair cost for a Honda Element is $490 , which is less than the average repair cost of $520 for compact SUVs.
Common failures of the Honda Element
As reliable as it is, the Honda Element doesn’t come without its flaws. Here are the common failures of the Honda Element through its model years:
1- Engine oil leaks
A common complaint about some items on 2003 to 2011 Hondas is an engine leaking oil due to faulty oil pressure sensors. The problem is usually accompanied by an on check engine light.
Depending on the severity of the problem, mechanics can either inspect the sensor and make sure it is properly sealed, or replace the part. If you run into this problem, don’t worry. There are many cheap but high-quality oil pressure sensors available on the market, so finding one for your Honda Element will surely be a breeze.
2- Breakdown of differential fluid
Several owners of 2003-2010 Honda Element models have complained of strange noises coming from their rear differential every time they make turns. Upon investigation, the problem was found to be caused by a broken differential fluid . Owners of the affected vehicles had to carry out a service on the rear differential to fix the problem.
3- Problems with the tailgate
If you’re looking at a Honda Element that came out between 2003 and 2010, there’s a chance your rear hatch light came on unexpectedly due to a bad liftgate fit. This is a common complaint from owners of these model years . Mechanics had to adjust the tailgate on the affected units to fix the problem.
4- Failures in door locks
Many 2003-2008 Honda Elements owners have complained about malfunctioning door locks. Defective door lock cylinders reportedly often cause this problem . To resolve the issue, the door lock assemblies on the affected units had to be removed to replace the faulty tumblers.
Problems related to the door locks seem to top the list of common 2003 Honda Element failures. Several owners have reported having difficulty unlocking their doors because their key won’t fit. The problem usually starts when the remote control stops working. Some drivers had to disassemble their driver’s side door to retrieve their key that got stuck in the door lock.
5- Paint problems
If you’re planning to buy a 2008 or 2006 Honda Element, keep an eye out for paint-related issues. Several owners have complained that the car’s paint chipped around 38,350 miles. Most drivers reported that the cracks in the paint started appearing out of nowhere.
Based on reports that made paint problems a part of common 2006 Honda Element problems, the problem is usually caused by the clear coat on the SUV. If your Element develops paint problems, don’t worry. You can restore the elegant appearance of your vehicle by refinishing it. The cost of repair and labor for these types of problems will depend on the paint affected and the severity of the damage.
6- Problems with the seat belt harness
The supplemental restraint system (SRS) warning light on some 2003-2007 Honda Elements may come on due to a faulty seat belt harness. Fortunately, replacing the faulty wire harness can easily fix this problem.
If your vehicle has an illuminated SRS warning light, don’t hesitate to take it to an auto repair shop for proper diagnosis. In addition to a faulty harness, this can mean something is wrong with your vehicle’s airbag system, which is crucial in the event of a collision.
7- Failures of loose manometer needles
Several 2007 Honda Element owners have complained that their gauge needles have dropped around 80,700 miles. Some of them were driving on the freeway when the speedometer needle suddenly came off, while others became aware of the piece after hitting a speed bump.
Most had to replace the entire instrument panel to fix the problem. Repairs for these types of problems can cost up to $1,400.
8- Problems with excessive vibration when braking
Some owners also report noticeable vibrations when braking due to a failure in the brake system. In most cases, the problem is caused by warped front brake rotors.
If your Honda Element develops this problem, you may need to machine or replace the rotors to fix the problem . Immediately replace faulty or worn brake components to ensure safety on the road.
9- Problems with the key
In addition to having faulty door locks, many 2003 models also had problems with their key. Several owners complained that their key wouldn’t fit in the ignition and they had to hire a locksmith to fix the problem. Homeowners are typically charged $600-$700 for this type of problem.
The problems mentioned above are just some of the problems that your Honda Element can develop as the mileage accumulates. But do not worry. As long as you follow your regular maintenance schedule, you’re sure to get the most out of the life of your SUV. In short, the Honda Element is a worthwhile investment.