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Honda Jazz common problems (2001-2008)

Honda Jazz

The first-generation Honda Jazz was quite the landmark car. Extremely clever packaging meant there was a decent amount of space for at least four people in a supermini-sized footprint. Also, the rear seats performed all kinds of acrobatics, making the Jazz much more flexible than its conventional contemporaries.

And even better news is that you can have all this clever thinking for a bargain-basement price these days, because the Honda Jazz Mk1 is a minimum of 14 years old.

That also puts the car in prime ‘home mechanic’ territory, because not only is it cheap to buy but it’s also very cheap to run if you invest in a Haynes manual and carry out any repairs yourself – you’ll avoid all garage labour charges for a start. This model is one that was made before hybrid power became common, so you’ll only have to deal with conventional powertrains, although the Jazz does have CVT gearbox, which impacts the driving experience somewhat.

And while Honda is a bastion of reliability, there’s no denying that any car of this age is going to suffer a few niggles, and in the case of the Jazz these include airbag warnings and a noisy transmission.

Honda Jazz

What recalls has the Honda Jazz been subject to?

Reliability is a Honda watchword, but nevertheless the Jazz has seen the inside of the manufacturer’s workshops on a few occasions.

A full 122,397 cars were recalled because the passenger airbag was found to be faulty, and 121,686 cars were recalled for dodgy driver’s airbags. Faulty side airbags forced a recall of 60,365 cars.

Then a transmission fault prompted another recall, because it could display that it was in neutral when in fact it was in reverse. That’d be quite the surprise.

Faulty wiring for the headlight switch meant that the dipped-beam lights could fail without warning, so the Jazz was the subject of another recall. And then a duff light switch forced another recall.

Next, the driver’s side power window switch was found to be prone to water ingress, with a risk of fire, so the car was recalled to have the switch replaced.

A handbrake that could fail to latch caused a further recall, and then a fuel pump relay could fail, so it was recalled for replacement.

Honda Jazz

What common problems does the Honda Jazz have?

A number of Honda Jazz Mk1 owners have reported that the car’s manual transmission can emit a noise under acceleration. This noise disappears when the gearbox is in neutral and the clutch pedal is depressed.

And despite all the recalls concerning airbags, there can still be an issue with the system. This time is the control unit at fault.

Another warning light that you might see is the malfunction indicator light (MIL). If you suddenly see this aglow in the instrument panel, there’s a good chance it’s a faulty EGR valve that’s the cause.

There have also been reports of the Mk1 Honda Jazz suffering a fault that causes the MIL light to illuminate and for the engine speed to fluctuate, both at idle and when on a constant throttle setting.

Finally, models fitted with the CVT (constantly variable transmission) automatic gearbox can suffer an issue in which they’re reluctant to change ratio as you increase speed.

Honda Jazz

Why is my Honda Jazz Mk1 gearbox making a noise?

A noise from the manual transmission is always a worry, because it can be the harbinger of big bills. But that’s what the first-generation Honda Jazz can suffer from.

The Jazz’s manual transmission can emit a whirring noise under acceleration. This noise also disappears when the car is stationary, the gearbox is in neutral and the clutch pedal is pressed down.

The fault lies with the input/output shaft bearings.

However, if you look up your Haynes Jazz manual, you’ll see that we’ve removed a transmission, so all you need to do is follow the steps.

Honda has produced a kit of upgraded parts (part number: 91002-PMW-305), so if you feel confident enough you can replace the dodgy bearings yourself. Alternatively, take the transmission to a professional to have the parts replaced – you’ll still be saving hundreds of pounds on the labour charges involved in removing and reinstalling the gearbox.

Honda Jazz

My Honda Jazz airbag warning is lit up. Why?

The airbag system in the Honda Jazz has proved problematic over the years, with various recalls to have airbag units replaced.

However, even after these have all been carried out, the system can still throw up the odd glitch. So, don’t be surprised if you’re driving along and the airbag warning light suddenly lights up.

First things first, you need to plug in a fault code reader. If it displays the code DTC 12-1 then you’ll know that the issue lies with the airbag control unit.

But we have good news! In your Haynes Jazz manual have a procedure to remove and replace the unit (part number: 77960-SAA).

So just follow the steps and your airbag warning light will be extinguished in no time.

If you want to know how to change the headlight bulbs on your Honda Jazz Mk1, just watch our FREE video below.

Does the Honda Jazz Mk1 have EGR valve problems?

A number of Jazz Mk1 owners have reported that their vehicles suddenly flash up the malfunction indicator light (MIL) and at the same time the engine starts to run a bit rough, and can be jerky when you ask for power.

This is a common issue with the Jazz, and the problem is a faulty EGR valve.

However, the good news is that replacing the valve isn’t a difficult task, and is one that we’ve covered in the Haynes Jazz Mk1 manual.

To carry out the task you’ll need to invest in a new EGR valve (part number: 18011-PWA-050), a gasket (part number: 18715-PB2-000) and bolts (part number: 95701-08025-08).

Then just dig out the tools, follow the procedure and you’ll soon be back on the road.

Honda Jazz

Why is my Honda Jazz surging on a constant throttle?

This is a fault that would be very annoying on a long motorway journey, and annoying in stop -start traffic in town. Okay, it’d be annoying everywhere – putting your foot down and getting an inconsistent surge of power would be frustrating.

Again, your first task will be to plug a fault-code reader into the OBD socket. If it comes up with the code P0339, the cause is most likely a faulty spark plug or a faulty crankshaft position sensor.

Still, either is no problem. Swapping the spark plugs for new items is something covered in the regular maintenance sections of your Haynes Jazz manual, so just dig out the spark plug socket, and follow the steps for changing them. Bear in mind, though, that there are no fewer than eight spark plugs to be changed.

If changing the plugs doesn’t work, it’s the sensor at fault, and it’s a very easy job to swap it for a new item.

Honda Jazz

Is your Honda Jazz CVT gearbox playing up?

The Honda Jazz CVT transmission is a known area where trouble can occur.

Indeed, Honda recommends that the transmission fluid be drained and replaced with fresh fluid every 25,000 miles. This especially applies if the car tends to be driven for short distances in traffic, which are circumstances in which the fluid would not warm up fully, and transmission wear could occur.

Honda has also developed a transmission fluid designed to mitigate this.

However, if the previous owner of your Jazz has neglected this, then the transmission can display a number of annoying characteristics, including a reluctance to change ratio as the car’s speed increases. Take up from rest can be jerky, too.

We’ve covered such a transmission fluid swap in the Haynes Jazz manual, so feel free to skip the labour costs of getting a garage to do it. You’ll save a load of cash by doing it yourself.

Honda Jazz