Designers at Honda came up with a winner when the Ridgeline appeared on their drawing boards. Combine a fuel-efficient SUV with a truck bed was a good idea, putting a name tag on the grille like Honda was genius. With over 28,000 Ridgelines sold last year in the US alone, it appears consumers agree.
As a technician myself I can tell you that Honda reliability has been known for years. But what are some of the things that you should look out for when looking at a Honda Ridgeline.
What are the Most Common Honda Ridgeline Faults?
The most common Ridgeline faults are the dreaded Takata airbag, shifting issues, water leaks, or damaged wires. In some cases, it can cost even up to $4000 to fix those problems.
Let’s talk more about it.
1. The Dreaded Takata Airbag Recall
This recall has become famous over the last few years as the largest recall in automotive history. The airbags that were equipped in some Honda Ridgelines were defective and could cause serious personal injury if the driver were to experience an accident while driving.
Luckily, most of these recalls have been completed but you may find the vehicle that you are looking at still needs the repair completed.
Thankfully this is an easy process, a simple call to a Honda dealership will have them run your vehicle’s identification number through their computer system. At that point, you will know if the airbag has been replaced or if you need to book an appointment to get this repair completed.
This problem is an easy one to deal with as it does not cost the customer anything, only the hassle of having to drop the vehicle off at the dealership while the repair is completed.
Keep this one to the professionals. There are some systems on a vehicle that can cause serious injury or death, the airbag system is one of them. So again, leave this one to the professionals.
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2. Shifting Issues
Like every other auto manufacturer out there today, one of the common problems with the Honda Ridgeline is shifting concerns.
Customers may complain about harsh shifting, lazy shifting, or clunking when shifting in gear. There are many different types of shifting concerns that customers complain about when driving their Honda Ridgelines.
This issue can have many different causes as well as repairs. I have seen over my career anything from something as simple as a fluid change to as complicated of a repair as changing the entire transmission assembly from the vehicle.
With newer vehicles, it is becoming more and more common that a simple re-program can fix those shifting concerns. Just like having to update your home computer, updating the computers in your Honda Ridgeline could rectify many of the shifting concerns that I discussed.
Depending on the repair that is needed you could find costs of repairs that range from $100-$4000 to complete. Some repairs are so simple you could complete in your driveway, but others will require the expertise of an experienced automotive technician.
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3. Water leaks
Some owners have been complaining about water leaks. How do you know if your vehicle has a water leak? That can be tough. If you look through the interior and see stains on the headliner that is a great indication. The other tell-tale sign can be found using our noses, when entering the vehicle did you notice a musty odor. If so, you may have a water leak.
Water leaks happen when a seal is faulty or a pinch weld that was not properly sealed from the factory. Some Honda Ridgeline models have been experiencing issues with pinch welds that are not properly sealed.
Pinch welds are created when 2 sections of the body are welded together. If these areas are not properly sealed, water from rain or splashing from the tires at the front and rear of the vehicle can allow water to travel through these seams and into the interior of the vehicle.
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This common Honda Ridgeline problem can be diagnosed and repaired at home. Well, only if you have really good patience. With a water hose, you can spray the vehicle in the areas that you suspect are leaking. If you find the water coming into the vehicle you have found the source of the problem and need to give yourself a big pat on the back.
To repair you will need to find a seam sealer, this can be asked for at any large automotive parts supply company. Ensure you use the correct seam sealer to ensure the problem is fixed properly and the problem does not continue.
The price for this repair can range from $15-$500.
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4. Rodent Damage to Wiring
This common Honda Ridgeline problem is not as well known as others but can be a serious issue. In 2012-2015 Honda Ridgeline models the manufacturer used soy-based wiring insulation. Turns out rodents really like to eat soy. Like, really like to eat soy.
Because of this problem, Honda released a service bulletin to help shops repair the issue correctly and ensure that this problem does not happen again.
The repair is very simple and effective. They use a tape known as rodent-deterrent tape. This tape is unique as it has a spicy flavor, once the rodent bits into the tape they get the spicy tape into their mouths and are turned away from the wire and do not continue to eat it.
Telltales signs of rodents causing wiring damage can be many different lights illuminated in the dash. Rodent damage can cause the check engine light, anti-lock brake warning light as well as other items on the vehicle not working.
Again, this repair should be left to the professional. Diagnosing and repairer rodent damage can be a time-consuming task and if not done correctly can lead to more excessive damage in other systems of the vehicle.
Depending on the severity of the rodent damage this type of repair can cost anywhere from $100-$????
5. Proper Rear Diff Servicing
This may not be a common problem with Honda Ridgelines but can lead to an expensive repair if not completed.
The rear differential on the Honda Ridgeline is a sophisticated piece of equipment and it requires service to function properly. This means a thorough check of the service history of the vehicle that you are buying or currently even driving.
If this service has not been done, ensure that it is done in a timely manner. I would suggest using recommended Honda lubricants and make sure that it is changed routinely from that point forward to ensure no ongoing issues with the rear diff module on the Honda Ridgeline.
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Does the Honda Ridgeline Last Long?
I think this is a good question. If you used properly, yes. For years Honda has been able to create a legacy with automobile owners. The name is used synonymously with quality, when it comes to a vehicle lasting a long time and being reliable, Honda comes to mind.
This holds true for the Honda Ridgeline.
Like any other vehicle, proper service with quality parts and lubricants provides its owners with years of joyful ownership. 200,000 – 300,000 miles is normal in these well-maintained vehicles. Some Ridgelines last way longer-even up to 800.000 miles.
So, what if you took it to the extreme? I did some digging and I found a Honda Ridgeline that has 827,945 miles. That is a lot of oil changes. 276 to be exact if you changed your oil every 3000 miles.
What are the Best Alternatives for the Honda Ridgeline?
When Honda designed the Honda Ridgeline they were creating a product to fill a niche market. When looking for alternatives to the Honda Ridgeline I needed to take this into account.
A fuel-efficient vehicle, that has a roomy cabin and a box to carry anything that you can fit in it. From a sports bag to construction equipment the cargo box can carry it all.
With these ideas in mind, the best alternatives for the Honda Ridgeline are names that you already may be familiar with. The Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevrolet Colorado are all competitors of this well-built vehicle and are great alternatives.
One advantage some of these vehicles have over the Honda Ridgeline are a full-frame. This will allow the vehicle to carry more load as well as be a little more tough. Deciding on one of these great alternatices depends on your driving conditions and what your typical weekly driving is like.
What Honda Ridgeline Engine is the Best?
The Honda Ridgeline now offers only one engine choice. This engine is a single overhead cam 3.5L engine that is in a V configuration. With known Honda reliability as well as a combined 21 combined MPG, the Honda Ridgeline 3.5L engine is a great engine ready to provide years of reliability.
While not having lots of engine options may leave customers a little nervous remember this is a Honda. A manufacturer is known for quality.
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Overall, is the Honda Ridgeline a Reliable Car?
I would answer this question with a large, yes.
With years of manufacturing vehicles that are known to last forever, think the Honda Civic. I can only assume that the same will be true for the Honda Ridgeline. The most important thing for customers to remember is that this vehicle is designed for a purpose, that purpose is no towing heavy trailers.
Honda Ridgeline is a great car. If the vehicle is used within its design limits it will provide its owners with years of trouble-free and reliable operation.