On 4 wheel drive models, a groaning noise from the rear differential heard while going through turns can be caused by differential fluid break down. Servicing the rear differential will generally correct this concern.
Resources for the Repair and Maintenance of your 2009 Honda Element
2009 Honda Element
2009 Honda Element Problems
The front brake rotors can warp and cause a vibration when braking. The rotors will need to be machined or in cases where they are worn to thin, replaced to correct this issue.
A rear tailgate out of adjustment can cause the rear hatch light to come on. Adjusting the tailgate will repair this issue.
2009 Honda Element Recalls (Recent)
RepairPal Expert Overview:
Honda is recalling certain Element passenger vehicles equipped with an accessory trailer hitch wiring harness. The wire that supplies power to the trailer turn signal lights was inadvertently switched with the stop lamp wire. As a result, the turn signals only illuminate when the brake lamps are illuminated. Without trailer turn signals, the driver's intent is not communicated, potentially increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will make the necessary repairs to correct this concern. The Honda recall number is S53.
2009 Honda Element Reviews
This is my first Honda. Overall, I like the Element. I have the SC version in Midnight Red Pearl paint. In 18 months, I have driven over 55,000 miles so I feel I have a pretty good indication of what the car is about.
Fun to drive
Brakes - stop fast and true although the ABS seems to activate more frequently than with any other car I have owned with this option.
Paint color (lots of compliments)
OEM tires lasted nearly 40,000 which according to Goodyear is exceptional for the tires
Versatility of the back seats
Clam shell back door
Deep center console
Shelf under console
Hidden compartment under cup holders
Custom fairing under door sticks out and is nearly impossible to miss while exiting getting your slacks dirty (women hate this by the way)
Little light in the passing gear. You need to make allowances for that when passing on a two lane road.
Air conditioner is icy cold as long as the temperature is under 100 degrees. In Texas this summer, we had over 30 days of 100 degree plus weather and the AC had trouble keeping up unless driving at highway speeds.
Front doors do not seal well resulting in wind noise at highway speeds.
Gas mileage is a bit disappointing. On a good day, driving highway miles, the best I have gotten was 24.5 mpg. As it is rated at 27mpg, perhaps I should not be surprised. City driving is a puny 21-22 mpg although my city driving is a great deal of highway and very little stop and go.
The interior stains easily and does not clean well.
The near vertical windshield is a rock magnet. I got the first rock chip at mile 43, and replaced the windshield at mile 51,000 after the crack tracked across my line of sight.
The paint is soft and brittle. I missed grabbing the door handle, caught the paint with my fingernail and made a deep scratch in the door handle down to the primer.
The slightest cross wind will blow the vehicle off course. I realize the boxy shape of the vehicle exacerbates that issue, but it is something that is an irritant.
The hood is rather thin and will vibrate (noiselessly) at highway speeds. In other words, you can see it flex as you are driving down the road.
Finding the maintenance schedule in the manual is like a scavenger hunt. I still haven't found it which is how I found this web site.
I do not get my car serviced at the dealer, rather I trade with my neighborhood Goodyear store. As I bought the replacement set of tires there, I get free balance and tire rotation with my oil changes. Still looking for the mileage to change the radiator and transmission though. I guess I will have to ask Jeff and Tom at Goodyear.
In reference to my comment on the door seals: the dealer replaced the seals on both doors a month after I purchased the car. It helped but did not eliminate the wind noise. I was told that the squareness of the window at the top leading edge was to blame and there was nothing they could do about it.
Again, I like the car and have intentions of keeping it for the life of the note minimum. You can tell I do a lot of driving and other than the items mentioned, it has not been back to the dealer. I am optimistic I have found a very good car for my 1,000 miles a week job.
Honda has reduced the quality of this vehicle. The "running boards" (trim below doors) has been extended so it protrudes out more, but they have omitted the steel plate that it is fastened to on older models. so the trim detaches if any pressure is put on it. Getting repair parts is an issue - it took over 3 weeks for the dealership to get a fuel pump! My vehicle went in for repairs on May 28, 2010 and it is Aug 10th and I do not know WHEN it will be ready! Great vehicle - unless you have to get it repaired!