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Thinking about pickup up a Honda Element SUV lately? Understandable. These are the most common Honda Element problems to be aware of in your search. Even though this Honda sport utility vehicle hasn’t been on the market for more than 10 years, there are a lot of resources out there to keep your Element running at its best.

Some of the common Honda Element problems reported by owners

RepairPal has some of the common Honda Element problems reported by owners. The issue with most reports by owners is about the door lock not working after a certain amount of time. Honda only made the SUV from 2002 until 2011, so most of the Elements on the road are at least 10 years old or more.

The door lock tumblers can stop working after many years, which requires removing the lock assembly and replacing the tumblers. This issue presented most often in 2003 through 2006 Element SUVs, with an average mileage of 117,256.

It appears the 2003 and 2004 Honda Element SUVs had the most reports lodged by owners. YouTube is a good source of information for those who want to tackle a project at home instead of going to the dealership.

Is the Honda Element a reliable vehicle?

RepairPal gave the Element a four-stay reliability rating, ranking it in the middle of the pack for compact SUVs. The average annual repair cost is $491, but not all repairs are major. RepairPal suggests that owners might go into the shop more frequently with this sport utility vehicle, but the issues are less severe.

The next most common Honda Element problem reported by owners is related to the supplemental restraint system (SRS) light illuminating. This light relates to the airbags and can go off in error due to a faulty wire harness. Drivers should be able to repair the wire harness to remedy the issue. The SRS light was most common from 2003 to 2006, around 121,595 miles on average. Some owners report more than 300,000 miles on the odometer, so there is hope.

On Honda Elements with four-wheel drive, some owners complained of loud groaning noises from the rear differential. This noise was prevalent when turning and can be caused by a breakdown of differential fluid. Servicing the rear differential can fix the issue.

Don’t overlook the Takata airbag recall

The most common Honda Element problems, seen here in orange
A 2011 Honda Element | Honda

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has some comments from owners. Looking at the NHTSA site for the 2011 Honda Element has some complaints about the airbags, steering, and suspension.

Many of the complaints relate to the ongoing Takata airbag recall. If you are unsure if the Element is impacted by this recall, use the NHTSA’s vehicle identification number (VIN) lookup. This is one of the more extensive and important recalls in recent history, so ensure this is done on any Element you might be looking at. This impacted more than 34 million vehicles, including 2003-2011 Honda Elements.

While these are some of the most common Honda Element problems, that doesn’t mean every vehicle will have the same issues. Keeping up with routine maintenance like oil changes and coolant flushes can also help find any minor problems that might pop up. If there is a specific vehicle you are looking at, you can always check the VIN on the NHTSA website to make sure it doesn’t have any open recalls.


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