Troubles With the Honda Element: Unraveling the Top 5 Problems


If you own a Honda Element, you’re likely familiar with its unique quirks and qualities. While it’s a reliable vehicle overall, every car has its Achilles’ heels. In this blog post, we delve into the top five problems reported by Element owners, offering insights, symptoms, and practical solutions.

1. Major Oil Leak: Battling the VTCS Gasket Dilemma

  • Issue: Owners have been grappling with a significant oil leak traced back to the Variable Timing Control Solenoid (VTCS) gasket.
  • Symptoms: The leak manifests as visible puddles, accompanied by the ominous code P2646, signaling low oil pressure.
  • Advice: Swift action is key. Change the solenoid and conduct an oil change simultaneously to prevent recurring issues. Don’t forget to address that leak promptly.

2. Element Won't Start: Decoding the Key Responder Mystery

  • Issue: A frustrating problem where the Element cranks but refuses to start, often indicated by a flashing green key in the instrument cluster.
  • Symptoms: The key responder seems to be out of sync with the ignition switch.
  • Solution: While a DIY switch replacement is feasible, it requires dealer programming. Explore aftermarket options for programming tools, or be prepared for a trip to the dealership.

3. Code P0325 - Knock Sensor Woes: Post Transmission Blues

  • Issue: DIYers face a peculiar challenge – the emergence of code P0325, a knock sensor code, after transmission removal.
  • Cause: The knock sensor’s location over the transmission makes it susceptible to harness tweaks during removal.
  • Solution: Replace the end of the harness and the knock sensor simultaneously. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

4. Shaking Issue - All-Wheel Drive Element: The Driveshaft Dilemma

  • Issue: Owners experience an unsettling vibration throughout the entire vehicle, especially noticeable during highway driving.
  • Cause: The culprit? A breakdown in the carrier bearing of the driveshaft.
  • Solution: Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for this. The entire driveshaft needs replacing, but fear not – it’s a straightforward DIY job, albeit a tad expensive.

5. Shake on Acceleration - CV Shafts: Constant Velocity Conundrum

  • Issue: A unique shake during acceleration, akin to the front end doing a little dance.
  • Cause: CV shafts, or Constant Velocity shafts, show signs of wear with cracked boots or seized joints.
  • Solution: Skip the rebuilding attempts; replace the entire shaft. It’s more cost-effective and time-saving in the long run

These insights serve as a comprehensive guide for Element owners facing these common issues. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or prefer professional intervention, understanding these problems equips you to navigate potential pitfalls effectively.

Technical Resources

Honda Element Technical Service Bulletins

Over the years Honda has released a number of TSB's to help Honda technicians repair common problems. We got our hands on them and they are all presented here to help you fix some of these common issues at home.


Honda Element Service Manual

The ultimate guide for servicing your Honda Element. This manual will show you everything you need to know about servicing your Honda Element, from oil changes to torque specs. It also provides helpful tips to maintain your Element.


Honda Element Diagnostic Code Meanings

Full list of all of the possible OBD2 code readings that can occur when that pesky check engine light illuminates. These can give you a start to help you diagnose your Element. Code Reader Link also provided if you want to own your own reader.

Shop Etsy Store Products
Learn More Below