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Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, the J35, has been used in Honda models over the past 24 years. The J35’s original iteration, the J35A, was first used in 1998 for Odyssey minivans. Though they’ve been in use for decades, Honda V6 engines have some common problems.

How many models have a Honda 3.5-liter V6 engine?

Honda has four primary types of J35 engines: J35A, J35S, J35Z, and J35Y. Those include the A, Z, and Y engine families. There are more variants within each engine family, but we’ll stick to those three Honda V6 engines for this article.

The J35A engines have been used in seven Honda and Acura models: Honda Odyssey (1998–2010), Acura MDX (2001–2006), Honda Pilot (2003-2008), Acura RL (2005–2008), Acura TL Type-S (2007–2008), and Honda Ridgeline (2006–2008). Power output ranges from 210 hp for the Odyssey to 286 hp for the RL and TL. 

Honda 3.5-liter V6 engine problems could occur in various Honda Pilot models
2023 Honda Pilot | American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The J35Z — also known as the “Earth Dreams” engine — can be found in seven models: Pilot (2006–2008 front-wheel drive only and 2009–2015), Ridgeline (2009–2014), Honda Accord (2008–2012), Acura RDX (2013–2018), Acura TSX (2010–2014), TL (2009–2014), and Odyssey (2011–2017). The primary change for the J35Z is the use of variable cylinder management (VCM). These Honda V6 engines range from 244 to 280 hp.

The J35Y is the newest form of the Honda 3.5-liter V6 engine. It has appeared in nine models since 2013: the Accord (2013–2017), Acura RLX (2014–2020), Honda Legend (2014-2020), MDX (2014-2020), TLX (2015-2020), Pilot (since 2016), Ridgeline (since 2017), Odyssey (since 2018), and Honda Passport (since 2019). The J35Y engines have direct fuel injection for better fuel economy, performance, and emissions. Horsepower ranges from 278 to 310 hp.

Overall, these Honda V6 engines have been used for years. During that time, three major issues have occurred.

What are the 3 most common Honda 3.5-liter V6 engine problems?

1. VCM issues 

The variable cylinder management (VCM) technology used in the J35Z engines is meant to improve emissions and fuel economy. Under low loads, the engine shuts down three cylinders. However, that has led to multiple problems.

Excessive oil consumption is a common issue in the 2008 Accord. According to, the 2008 Accord recorded 265 engine complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2011, Honda provided a software update to solve the oil consumption problem. However, many class-action lawsuits were still pending.

The V6 engine problems also stem from a problem with the gaskets. These gaskets are known to develop oil leaks. That’s an issue because oil can easily leak onto the alternator. The Honda V6 engine’s VCM can also cause problems with the engine mounts, spark plugs, and torque converter.

There are multiple ways to fix this Honda V6 engine problem. Aftermarket products and disabling the VCM can help. 

2. Timing belt wear

Wear on the Honda V6 engine timing belt is not as common as VCM issues. There are no significant flaws or faults with the timing belt. The Honda 3.5-liter V6 is an interference engine. That means it’s more potent and efficient, but there’s overlap where the valves and pistons are. If a timing belt snaps or slips, they can collide, which is bad.

That isn’t a significant problem but can come up after six to eight years or around 100,000 miles. Symptoms are power loss, weird engine noises like ticking or slapping, misfires, and a check engine light. 

The timing belt on a Honda V6 engine is an inexpensive part to repair. TuningPro estimates it’ll cost around $125 to $250 to do it yourself and $150 to $300 at a repair shop.

3. Carbon build-up

This problem relates to newer Honda V6 engines that use direct injection (DI). A DI system is more powerful and fuel-efficient while emitting less. However, this system sprays fuel directly onto the cylinders, potentially causing carbon build-up. 

This issue in the Honda V6 engines usually doesn’t show up until 80,000 to 120,000 miles. Symptoms of carbon build-up are power loss, engine misfiring, rough idling, stuttering, or hesitation. 

Is buying a car with a Honda V6 engine worth it?

These V6 engine problems could result in catastrophic failure. However, Honda 3.5-liter V6 engines are reliable overall. Proper maintenance can prevent many of these issues. Use high-quality oil, change the fluids on time, and fix problems promptly.

J35 engines typically last over 200,000 miles without experiencing significant troubles. Stay up-to-date with service appointments, and Honda’s 3.6-liter V6 engines should perform fine. 


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