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The Honda Ridgeline is a compact truck that shares a chassis with the Pilot SUV. Ridgeline owners prize the utility of its pickup bed combined with relatively good handling and fuel efficiency. But this truck is not without its mechanical issues. Here are three of its most commonly reported Honda Ridgeline problems and how to fix them cheaply.

  • Transmission failing to shift into fourth – $0
  • Tailgate stuck – $88
  • Differential stuttering while turning – $79

Not shifting into fourth gear – $0

A red Honda Ridgeline pickup truck is parked off-road for a publicity photo.
2017 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

The RepairPal website compiled complaints by Honda Ridgeline owners and concluded that this major drivetrain issue is the truck’s worst problem. Simply put, the Honda Ridgeline’s automatic transmission can fail to shift up into fourth gear.

If you are accelerating in a Ridgeline with this problem, it can get stuck in third gear. This causes a vibration around 40 mph and a noticeable hesitation from the truck. If you accelerate hard, the truck might skip a gear and finally upshift. But this solution is far from ideal.

Thirty-four Honda Ridgeline owners have reported the issue to RepairPal. The website writes this has been known to affect trucks from the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 model years. The average mileage of a truck with this issue reported is 100,835. But transmissions have developed a shifting issue anywhere between 40,000 and 226,000 miles.

This might be an intimidating Honda Ridgeline drivetrain issue. Luckily, it is just a problem with the transmission control module, not the transmission itself. As such, Honda has written a software update to fix it. If you bring in an affected Ridgeline, the dealer can update it and solve any shifting issues.

If you are considering a used Ridgeline, it’s definitely worth asking if it has had the transmission software update installed. If your Ridgeline is having trouble shifting, its software might be to blame. Luckily, if you get dealer service you can ask them to update said software.

Tailgate stuck in up/down mode – $88

The Honda Ridgeline tailgate which is prone to problems because of its dual-function design.
2017 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

The Honda Ridgeline has a nifty, multi-function tailgate. You can unlatch it and drop it like a regular truck tailgate. But you can also release another latch and swing it open horizontally, like a door. Dozens of owners have reported that the swing-out function broke. This problem has implications beyond just the tailgate functioning.

You might think it’s not a big deal if one of the two tailgate modes stops working. But the automaker also built a ton of extra storage in the Honda Ridgeline’s bed. Just in front of the tailgate is a water-resistant under-bed trunk that can double as a cooler. Instead of locking, this compartment is only accessible when you unlock and open the tailgate–in swing-out mode.

Twenty-eight people reported their Ridgeline’s tailgate swing-out mode has stopped working, and thus their in-bed trunk is inaccessible. Affected model years included 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2017. Luckily the problem is just due to a “sensor rod” being too long, and having it fixed will only run you $88-$111.

Jerky while turning – $79

A red 2023 Honda Ridgeline Sport riding up a desert hill.
2023 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

Finally, 21 Honda Ridgeline owners have reported noise and even shuddering whenever they steer their trucks around a tight corner. They even found the problem originated in the rear axle. This issue has popped up in trucks from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. It affects trucks with anywhere from 39,000 to 165,000 miles, but the average is 90,466.

Here’s the scoop: the rear differential allows the wheels to spin at different speeds while cornering. It is a series of gears lubricated by a special gear oil called differential fluid. The differential fluid that Honda used in these Ridgelines at the factory is prone to breaking down early and causing this issue.

Any dealership or lube shop should be able to drain the differential fluid and replace it with higher-quality fluid. A full fluid swap, including differential fluid, will run you $79-$93 on average. The only real concern is with used Honda Ridgelines that haven’t had the fluid swapped and thus might have differential damage.

Next, find out how the Honda Ridgeline is officially in the same class as the Ford F-150, or see five more Honda Ridgeline problems for yourself in the video below: