Trick or Treat? When Problems With Your Honda Civic Transmission Start Surfacing

Posted by on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Your customer is the coolest kid on the block with his hopped up Honda. He’s put every penny he has in the thing. He’s been invited to the coolest Halloween party in town and his date is the home coming queen.  As he backs out of his driveway to pick up his date his Honda Civic transmission starts acting up. His car will hardly move. He’s a cool cat and knows you own the best repair shop in town so he manages to get the car to your shop.

2001 Honda Civic


What’s going on with his transmission? Here is a list of things to check:

- What color is the transmission fluid? Is it red in color – if so that’s a good sign. Is it brownish in color? Not such a good sign. Fresh fluid is usually red in color. If the clutches are getting worn out from  slipping they will create heat which will turn the fluid a brownish color. Time to replace the transmission.

- What does the fluid smell like? If it has a burn smell to it then you’ve got a problem on your hands. Probably time to replace the transmission.

- Does the transmission “slip” or “rev” while going into reverse or forward gear? This could be something as simple as a stuck solenoid or a stuck valve in the valve body.  Or it could be that the clutches are slipping. Probably time to replace the transmission with a rebuilt unit.

- Does your service light come on when experiencing problems with your transmission? If so you want to pull out your electronic diagnostic equipment. A quick scan of the computer can produce codes that pinpoint the problem

Honda Civic Transmission


How to prevent failures before they start:

- Have the transmission fluid replaced about every 20 -30,000 miles. The transmission only holds 4 – 5 quarts of fluid and therefor is more prone to chemical break down.

- Change the transmission filter every time the transmission fluid is changed. A clogged filter can restrict oil flow and result in serious damage to the transmission.

- Change the fluid in the torque converter. A qualified shop can drill a small drain hole in the torque converter and plug it with a threaded drain plug.

- Flush the cooler lines with each oil change. By forcing new fluid through the lines and the cooler the old fluid will be displaced.

Honda Civic Torque COnverter


What to do when the transmission has failed:

- Time to rebuild the transmission or buy a re-manufactured one.  I recommend buying a unit that comes with a warranty.  ETE Reman re-manufactured transmissions come with a 3-year warranty. They keep everything in stock, and with multiple warehouses around the country they can have a replacement transmission to you in a day or two.

Don’t let your Honda Civic play a trick on you.  If it does, you now know what to look for.

Sooner or later due to high mileage or abuse, you will be faced with a decision to replace your transmission. I highly recommend you replace it with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission will include major modifications and upgrades designed to make it both more durable and stronger. A rebuilt transmission will not. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty: three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt unit. Let’s not forget to mention that after-sales customer service is top notch for companies that re-manufacture transmissions. They are a quick call or email away in the rare event you may need to contact them.

One Response to “Trick or Treat? When Problems With Your Honda Civic Transmission Start Surfacing”

  1. John Searle says:

    I’m looking for a 2002 honda civic LX automatic transmission re-manufactured

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