Six Facts You May Not Know about Your Honda Ridgeline
Did you know that…
- Honda Ridgeline was first introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show as the Honda SUT concept car. This sport-utility truck is Honda’s first attempt to get into the North American pickup truck market. The SUT concept sported a clean combination of a roomy and practical SUV-style cabin and a pickup truck’s cargo bed, along with the strengths and good qualities of a Honda vehicle.
- The five trim levels of the current Honda Ridgeline–RT, T Sport, RTL, RTS, and SE—are all equipped with the same V6 engine that generates 250 horsepower and delivers 247-foot pounds of torque mated with a five speed automatic transmission. All trims are available in just one four-door body style.
- In 2006, the Honda Ridgeline got multiple awards and recognitions, including Motor Trend’s Truck of The Year, North American Truck of The Year, Detroit News Truck of The Year, Autobytel 2006 Editors' Choice Award: Truck of The Year, and Maxim Truck of The Year. The Ridgeline also bagged the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada AJAC Best New Pickup and On Wheels Incorporated: Ridgeline 2006 Urban Wheel Award for the Urban Truck of the Year award.
- Unlike other trucks with separate cab and bed, Ridgeline’s combination of full-frame and unibody construction unites the two. The unibody construction is what provides the Ridgeline with superior rigidity and refined interior space with less noise and vibration. The unibody is also stronger and capable of withstanding collision forces.
- The Ridgeline comes with a hidden trunk in its cargo bed. This hidden trunk is a watertight storage space that can accommodate an accessory full-size spare tire and can also double as an ice chest. It can also be locked to secure its content whenever the truck needs to be parked in public or open spaces.
- Honda Ridgeline was built by a team of 37 engineers, headed by Gary Flint, a former designer of General Motors who has previously developed the Chevy S-10 pickup. It took Flint’s team more than four years to work on the Ridgeline. The design the team came up with was first revealed to the public in 2004.
Some Problems You Might Encounter with Your Honda Ridgeline
The Honda Ridgeline is the automaker’s first foray into the North American pickup truck segment. Built on the Honda Odyssey minivan platform, the Ridgeline features a unibody hybrid construction with four-wheel independent suspension. The Ridgeline isn’t made to compete with traditional pickups like the Silverado or F-150; it is rather an alternative to large SUVs and pickup trucks.
If you’re one of those who own a Ridgeline, it would help if you know its common share of problems and issues. Here are a few of the problems you might experience with your Honda Ridgeline:
In some 2006 Honda Ridgeline units, the coil wire inside the fuel pump relay could break, causing the pump to lose power. When this happens while you are driving, the engine could stall without warning, and this can lead to a crash. Honda has issued a recall to correct such issue, and dealers are instructed to inspect the fuel system of the affected unit and replace the fuel pump relay for free, if necessary.
Honda also issued a limited regional recall including some 2006 Honda Ridgeline units that are originally sold or registered in California and are outfitted with Takata-brand air bag inflators. In such vehicles, the excessive internal pressure upon the deployment of the passenger-side frontal air bag may rupture the inflator with metal fragments. Such fragment may hit and potentially injure vehicle occupants. Honda will remedy the problem by replacing the inflators of all affected vehicles, free of charge.
There are Ridgeline owners who complain about the unusual noise coming from the timing belt area. The noise becomes more noticeable when the vehicle is in idle. If you experience such and your ride is still under warranty, take it to your dealer for them to determine the cause of the problem. In some cases, the timing belt idler was replaced along with the timing belt, the tensioner, as well as the water pump.
Other engine problems reported by owners are gas cap indicator light that comes on and lasts even after the cap has been tightened, VTEC failure, as well as burned valves.
There's some sulfur odor on my Honda Ridgeline. Should I worry about it?
The sulfur odor isn't unusual. Gasoline contains some amounts of sulfur in them. A small trace of sulfur smell is common in some concentrations. The exhaust on some Honda vehicles may naturally emit some sulfur odor. This depends on certain operating conditions as well as the temperature. The odor can be more noticeable when the engine is cold or after the vehicle decelerates or when it accelerates with a wide-open throttle. It would be difficult to remove any trace of the sulfur odor absolutely as this depends on varying conditions. However, if the smell of sulfur is too strong, the dealership may be contacted to guide you.
Is it ok to use fuel with detergent additives? Why is this highly recommended for Honda vehicles?
Fuel with detergent additives is highly recommended because this can keep deposits from building up in the engine and the fuel system. Honda, in fact, advises the use of top-tier detergent gasolines since these are formulated to meet the standards. They're tested and proven to keep the engines clean. They also don't have MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl) as active ingredients, which could leave behind some deposits.
My dealership doesn't recommend using gasoline with MMT additives. What's the downside to using this type of fuel?
Instead of preventing deposit buildup, gasolines that contain MMT additives, or metal manganese, may leave behind deposits. This is why Honda doesn't recommend its use. The additives may instead contaminate the engine and the emissions control system. This may cause low fuel economy, increased emissions, and poor performance. If you use this type of gasoline on your Honda and this leads to some form of damage on the engine components, the manufacturer may refuse to cover the defects under the warranty.
What type of brake fluid should I use on my Honda? Why is it important to flush the brake fluid?
When the brake system of the vehicle is flushed, Honda recommends using brake fluid that's prescribed in the owner's manual. It should be a heavy-duty brake fluid from the manufacturer. However, if the DOT 3 brake fluid from Honda isn't available, an alternative could be DOT 3 or DOT 4. The fluid should be from a sealed container to ensure its good quality and condition. The manufacturer doesn't recommend using a non-Honda brake fluid as this may eventually introduce corrosion into the system and cause extensive damage if left untreated. This may likely shorten the lifespan of the brake system and cause poor brake performance.
As part of preventive brake maintenance, you should flush the old brake fluid. Brake fluid typically absorbs moisture since it's hygroscopic by nature. Moisture may then cause corrosion on the metal parts and seals as it spreads throughout the brake system. Before condensation ruins the brake components and overall performance, the system should be flushed and refilled with fresh fluid, one that's recommended by the manufacturer for a specific type or model and year of the vehicle.
Honda Ridgeline: Better by the Year
The Honda Ridgeline is the Japanese automaker’s first ever pickup truck that was launched in 2006 to join the North American pickup truck market. With its four-wheel independent suspension, unibody design, and exceptional rigidity, this mid to full size sport utility truck was able to earn a couple of “Truck of the Year” awards on its first year in the market. Since then, the Honda Ridgeline has never stopped getting better every year.
2006: Honda’s first pickup
The Honda Ridgeline was introduced in 2006 as a compact-class four-door five-passenger pickup truck that features a unique trunk. It was the first pickup truck to include an enclosed storage trunk underneath the bed. Offered in five trim levels namely RT, RTX, RTS, RTL (Moonroof), and RTL (moonroof and navigation), all models of the Honda Ridgeline were equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission and a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 247HP.
2007 – 2008: Vanity upgrades
In 2007, all Honda Ridgelines were updated with a lighted vanity mirror. A new RTX trim level was also introduced while the XM satellite radio and moonroof became standard on the RTS models. Aside from a couple of minor upgrades, the Honda Ridgeline did not go through a lot of changes in 2007.
Just like in its previous year, the Honda Ridgeline had only a minor interior revamp in 2008. From a two-tone color, the fabric used on the truck’s seats for this year was changed to a single color. Meanwhile, the RTS and RTL trim lines also got a set of new machine-finished alloy wheels.
2009: Useful upgrades
The Honda Ridgeline went through little but useful upgrades in 2009. Every model gained a standard trailer hitch and active front seat head restraints. Although it still has the same 3.5L VTEC V6 engine from the previous model years, the 2009 Honda Ridgeline has changed in camshaft, valve, and intake manifold design which helped increase the truck’s performance. Aside from the refreshed interior and exterior styling, the top-of-the-line navigation-system-equipped RTL models were also updated with a back-up camera and Bluetooth technology.
2010 – 2011: More color options
The Honda Ridgeline remained unchanged in 2010 up to 2011. Other than a few new colors available to choose from, the pickup saw no major changes in the past two models years.
2012: Better than ever
Just like the previous years, the 2012 Ridgeline is mostly unchanged for this model year except for a couple of cosmetic updates. The Sport model that was introduced in 2012 as an option and a reintroduction to the RTX model had a set of 18-inch machine finished black painted alloy wheels, a black sport grille, and a blacked out bezel surrounding the headlights.