Posted by: reformedmusings | September 21, 2009

Honda’s crummy transmissions

I found an interesting post on BaylyBlog about transmission problems on a Honda Odyssey. I have a similar story, but with a Honda Accord. It seems that Honda forgot how to make transmissions.

In 2000, after test driving a lot of cars, including a host of different make/model rental cars on business trips, we bought our first Honda Accord V6. I like it so much that when I needed to replace my other ride, I opted for 2002 Honda Accord V6 without much additional thought. Hondas are  supposedly last almost forever – that’s what Honda advertises – so our plan was to keep these two for a couple of decades.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I’m driving up the GW Parkway one day when the transmission won’t automatically shift into D4 (high gear) and my instrument panel lights up like a Christmas tree. The Check Engine and TCS lights were on, and the D4 light was blinking. The car was still running, so I kept going. I called the dealer’s service department from my cell phone. They told me that those lights indicated a transmission problem.

I made it to the dealer and left it to be checked out the next day on their tester. The service folks called and told me that the trouble code from the tester meant that I needed a new transmission. We’re talking about a car with only 76,000 miles on it. I had written the transmission up several times previously for a hesitation to shift, but they couldn’t duplicate the issue. I debated the 76,000 mile issue with the service rep, so the manager called someone higher in the Honda food chain. Honda offered to pay 25% of the new transmission cost. It wasn’t much, but better than nothing.

Our other Honda only has about 46,000 miles on it so far, even though it’s older. Honda recalled several years of Accord transmissions, but not 2002, even though there’s obviously a problem here. I’m now concerned that the other Accord won’t make it past 75,000 miles, and I really don’t want to buy another transmission. So, it looks like the initial plan to keep these Accords for a few decades needs reconsideration.

The new transmission comes with a 36,000 mile/3 year warranty, which seems terribly 1980ish. Honda needs to get a clue. But, it gives me time to save up to replace the two Hondas, which wasn’t in the budget. Hyundai offers 10 years/100,000 miles and cost a lot less. I have a friend who has had several Hyundais and likes them a lot. He put lots of miles on them hasn’t had any issues. Guess what I’m thinking that my next cars will be…

The Honda heyday of quality apparently ended. Time to move on.



  1. […] legendary reliability crashes I wrote here about my 2002 Accord LX whose transmission failed at 76,000 miles recently. Since that post, I […]

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