Honda Transmissions: How They Work, and Common Problems

Get an Offer

Honda Transmissions

What does a transmission do?

Though you probably won’t ever see your vehicle’s transmission with your own eyes, you should know it plays an important role in the functionality of your automobile. The transmission is connected to the engine, ensuring the vehicle’s engine and wheels operate in unison as designed.

In short, the transmission is similar to a chain on a bike as it helps keep the pedals (engine) moving along with the wheels throughout all gears. However, you probably won’t pay any attention to this essential component of your vehicle until it stops working.

If the transmission in your Honda vehicle does not work, the key component that links the engine to the wheels will no longer provide the power necessary for vehicle operation. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a transmission that extends from the engine’s back to the wheels in the rear. The transmission links to the drive shaft that connects to the back axle.

Front wheel drive vehicles have a transmission known as a transaxle that connects around on the side of the driver and is connected to the axle front.

Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Honda Transmission

Symptom 1: Slippage

If you notice the vehicle slips as you drive, the gears are moving when they should not be in motion. Such slippage is a clear sign your Honda vehicle’s transmission is faltering. You will be able to notice such slippage when you drive. The insufficient pressure within the transmission prevents the gears from moving as they should. The buildup of pressure within the transmission is essential for a smooth drive. However, if the gears slip, the pressure will dissipate and noises will emerge from the engine.

Symptom 2: Delayed Gear Engagement

If you notice your Honda’s gears do not engage in a timely manner, it is an indication of a transmission issue. You should be able to shift your vehicle from drive to park without any delay in the gear response. However, if there is a delay when making such a shift, there is likely an issue with your Honda’s transmission.

Symptom 3: Shaking or Grinding While Driving

Honda that shakes or grinds while driving is giving a clear sign the transmission is acting up. Such shaking and grinding stem from the gears that wiggle while they are attempting to shift. If you notice the odor of something that might be burning, it is an indication your Honda vehicle’s transmission requires the immediate attention of a mechanic. Such a burning odor indicates the transmission fluid is burning. This is one of the worst possible outcomes as even minimal fluid breakdown will generate significant heat stemming from friction within the engine’s moving parts, leading to expensive repairs.

Transmission fluid is particularly important as it cycles throughout the full system, ensuring the engine runs as designed. However, leaks will eventually occur within the transmission as a result of gradual wear and tear. In fact, the top reason for Honda transmission failure is such leaks. The challenge lies in identifying the exact location of the leak as it might be anywhere within the system. If you suspect your vehicle’s transmission might be leaking, position a box below it while your vehicle is on level ground to see if anything drips down into the container below.

What models most commonly have transmission issues?

Model 1: The 2003 Honda Accord

The ’03 Honda Accord is certainly a popular economical sedan yet it is known for its transmission issues. If your Honda Accord made in 2003 lasts you 100,000 miles, you will likely have at least one transmission repair around this mileage marker that costs a couple of thousand dollars. Sadly, the ’03 Honda Accord has more widespread transmission failure than other Hondas including other Accord models. Take a close look at the complaint reports pertaining to the ’03 Honda Accord and you will find many drivers insist there is unintended downshifting, jerky shifting at low speeds, transmissions that slip out of gear, and transmissions that simply cannot shift properly. Others have reported a loud clunking noise while the vehicle is in park.

Model 2: The 2002 Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey is one of the automaker’s largest vehicles. Unfortunately, Odysseys have transmission problems. In particular, the Odysseys made between 1999 and 2004 are notable for their transmission issues. Some Odyssey owners have reported full transmission failure. Such reports typically come in at around the 100,000-mile benchmark, meaning enough miles are on the vehicle to warrant a full transmission replacement. All in all, the NHTSA states there are more than 460 complaints pertaining to ’02 Odyssey transmissions alone. Sadly, this make and model’s transmission problems have caused at least one accident, three fires, and an injury.

Model 3: The 2001 Honda Civic

Similar to the ’03 Honda Accord, the ’01 Honda Civic has plenty of issues with its transmission that car owners, buyers, and sellers should be aware of. The NHTSA has reported more than 300 complaints pertaining to the ’01 Civic’s transmission. The bulk of such problems are tied to the transmission slipping and failing. Most ’01 Honda Civics experience transmission issues around the 105,000-mile mark, meaning it is sensible to perform a full transmission replacement at this point as the vehicle has been on the road for at least five to ten years by the time 100k or more miles are logged.

Average Cost of Honda Transmission Repairs

If your Honda vehicle’s transmission shows signs of failure, it is important that you start planning for the cost of the eventual repair or replacement. In general, it is wise to have at least a couple of thousand dollars socked away so you can pay for the cost of repairing or replacing a faulty transmission. A full Honda vehicle transmission replacement has the potential to cost $3,000 or more once all the parts, taxes, and labor are accounted for. Just be sure to bring your Honda vehicle to an ASE-certified mechanic to ensure the transmission is repaired by a true professional. For the most part, the average cost of a Honda vehicle transmission repair is around $1,000 to $2,000. However, if a full replacement is necessary, this figure has the potential to double or move even higher. The bottom line is the extent of the problem with your Honda vehicle’s transmission ultimately determines the total cost of the repair.

What can you expect to pay to replace/rebuild your Honda transmission?

If your mechanic determines the transmission requires a full rebuild or replacement, you will likely end up spending between $1,700 and $2,700 or more for the project. The total cost has the potential to move to or beyond $3,000 after labor, taxes, parts and other expenses are accounted for. Though you can save a bundle of money by performing the transmission replacement on your own, doing so has the potential to backfire as it will chew up your time and you might end up making the problem worse rather than getting the job done right on the first try. The worst-case scenario is a bill for $3,000 to $4,000 to replace your Honda’s transmission. Keep in mind, some Honda dealerships that provide transmission service sometimes roll out especially high quotes for replacement/rebuilding, often in the range of $5,000 or more.

What are the most expensive Hondas to repair?

Perform some research on this subject matter and you will find the majority of Hondas cost about the same to repair. In general, Hondas are an affordable vehicle make. The cost to repair and replace transmissions, as well as other parts on most Hondas, is around the same.

Is Fixing Your Honda with Transmission Problems Possible?

Indeed, it is possible to repair a Honda with a flawed transmission. While many other automakers will use transmissions made by other companies, Honda typically uses its own parts. In particular, Honda vehicles typically have their own unique transmissions. It must be noted Honda vehicles with automatic transmissions did not rely on planetary gears up until a few years ago. These older Honda transmissions are built with conventional individual gears along with parallel axles. The gears are engaged through specific hydraulic clutches. However, there is no need for additional work or service when repairing a Honda transmission that lacks planetary gears. Rather, these transmissions will require regular service just like those in other vehicles.

Can you replace your own Honda transmission?

It is certainly possible to repair your Honda vehicle’s transmission on your own. However, doing so is not advised. Replacing a Honda transmission will prove quite challenging. You might end up causing additional damage, especially if you have not performed transmission replacement on your own in the past. As an example, the careless removal of the transmission block during a rebuilding attempt is especially troublesome as the parts of the transmission can easily be mistaken for other parts.

Is it worth it to replace the transmission at all?

Yes. If your Honda’s transmission is faulty, do not assume you can simply continue driving without any problems. Pay to have your Honda’s transmission repaired or replaced and you will find the improved performance and peace of mind prove invaluable. Even if you spend a couple thousand dollars or more to rebuild the engine, it will prove cheaper than paying for an entirely new transmission. Keep in mind, a rebuilt transmission usually carries a warranty so that you can sleep soundly at night knowing the money you spent on your vehicle’s transmission rebuild was worth the money. Though rebuilding a transmission is certainly a temporary financial setback, you won’t have to spend for repairs down the line, meaning the one-time expense will prove worth the money and then some. Above all, replacing the transmission on your Honda is worth it as it extends the vehicle’s useful life, ultimately saving you a bundle of money in the long run.

Is Selling Your Car with Transmission Problems Possible?

Sell your Honda

It is possible to sell a Honda or other vehicle with transmission issues. However, you should make the prospective buyer aware of the issue before selling your Honda. Make it clear that there is one or several issues with the transmission and the cost of the eventual repair will be reflected in the offer. Keep in mind, it might take more than a couple of hundred dollars or even more than a thousand dollars to repair a transmission and replace all necessary parts. From faulty valve bodies to problematic transmission pan gaskets to flawed transmission cooler hoses and beyond, there are all sorts of potential problems with Honda transmissions that will reduce their sale value.

How Do You Sell a Honda with a Bad Transmission?

Selling a Honda with a bad transmission is not as difficult as most assume. If your Honda has a faulty transmission, it will be worth money as long as the cost of the repair is not greater than the car’s value. However, you must disclose the issues with the transmission prior to fielding offers. Make it clear to potential buyers that such transmission issues exist and you can sell the car on your own, sell it to a group that specializes in buying used cars or bring it to the dealership to trade it in. If no one is interested in your Honda due to the cost of repairing or replacing the transmission, consider local junkyards where cash offers are made for auto parts on the spot.

Do You Need to Sell Your Honda with a Bad Transmission?

Try! If you want to sell your Honda for good money, get a quote today! We are interested in all Hondas even those with transmission issues. Reach out to us today to obtain a no-cost, no-obligation quote for your Honda vehicle or other automobiles. We are the United States’ premier auto buyer. Our auto specialists buy used vehicles from the general publish for cash. You can reach for your free quote today by dialing 1-888-420-3790. You can also obtain a quote for your Honda or other vehicles online.

Get a Quote

Ready to sell your car? Call 1-888-420-3790 or click the button below. Then you accept the offer, schedule a pickup, and get paid. Face, safe and easy. 

Get a Quote

Get an Offer