#1 check trans fluid. Pull dipstick and wipe on white paper towel. If fluid is black or otherwise not red, avoid the car because it needs a new torque converter.
That is expensive. Otherwise, it is a comfortable, easy to drive car.
You may want to consider buying a new tranny the same day you buy this van. Alternator/battery as well. I have 228000 on this van. It has been good overall but is now on the 3rd transmission and 2nd alternator. Gas gauge and temp gauges are all messed up. They bounce around and are never correct. Certainly, I have 228000 miles and you can't expect perfection but it seems that when things go wrong, they are always expensive things...4K per tranny and over 500 for alternator. I do love the comfort and cargo space. Hoping that I get another 100K on the van and than I will sell.
Its not true, this is NOT the best minivan ever! I purchased it used at 85k, and at 175k the transmission is slipping. I would have hoped for another 100k,
but not so. Already time to junk it. My 1964 Plymouth is a better car than this piece of junk. Aside from the transmission issue, the automatic doors have been a pain since day one. My dogs were letting themselves out in parking lots, the doors now mysteriously open and close on their own. One opens and just WILL NOT CLOSE. I need to muscle it closed, not easy. Before the tranny went I needed to replace the alternator (& battery), more than FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS because it took half a day for my mechanic to get it out!! This is unacceptable to me. I should be able to replace that myself if I want to. Not possible with Honda, you will pay through the nose to repair this van, and then the transmission will die, so DON'T BUY IT. Just bought an '02 Chrysler, going back to my roots. :-)
I am the original owner of a 2002 Honda Odyssey van. On 11/07/2014, van failed to accelerate and the malfunction indicator was on. I had van towed to the local Honda dealership. Service dept at the dealership said the ECL code was P0730. They said transmission needs to be replaced. The approximate failure mileage on van was 62000. I had to pay around $3500 for having the dealer rebuilt the transmission. I had the Service Advisor take photos of the damaged transmission. Service Advisor told me that the 3rd gear has heat discoloration & is burned up. In addition he said, clutches were burnt up. Root cause was heat buildup in transmission. Honda refused any help with the repair cost!
Honda has good motors but terrible transmissions. Heat builds up in these transmissions & they prematurely fail at only 62,000 miles? This costs $3500 to $5000 to fix!!! Give me a break! Honda knows they have a heat dissipation problem in their transmission design & should warranty drive-train up to 100,000 miles with no time limit.