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02 Accord Transmission: To Flush or not to flush?

I have an 02 Honda Accord V6 LX with a bit over 142k miles and an automatic transmission. She runs fine (as far as I know). No major transmission problems, just a little slow going from 1st to 2nd and sticks just a tad when dropping down from 2nd to 1st.

Here’s the question: Mechanic #1 told me to never flush a transmission after 130k miles; instead, he said, I should take it to a specialist. Mechanic #2 said a flush would be fine. I called American Honda to settle the debate, and there answer was that they NEVER recommend a transmission flush, only to replace the fluids.

What should I do? Thanks!

I’m with Honda on this one. I don’t recommend flushing because even though it can be done right…it’s often done wrong and by using the wrong equipment. I always drain transmission fluid and change the filter. I never have replaced a transmission and never had any major transmission problems.

Thanks! So is this the “drain and fill” auto shops advertise, and just throw in a new filter to boot?

I’m not sure the “drain and fill” they are talking about is meant for transmissions. Avoid any chain shops and go to a good independent mechanic that you can trust.

Drain and fill is about all you can do for your car. There is no transmission pan to remove and inspect and there is no serviceable filter. Have your regular mechanic drain the fluid (you’ll get about 3 quarts out), fill it, drive it, drain it again, and repeat one more time. That should get about as much of the old fluid out as you can.

Now here is where you will realize I am not the smart, independent woman I wish I were: I use a chain mechanic! Horrors! But they have been honest with me (at least it seems so) as far as what needs to be fixed ASAP, what can wait, etc. Everything was working well except for the whole “Don’t mess with your transmission after 130k.” But the main reason I go to them is because I have a credit card there, so if I have a repair I can’t pay out-of-pocket for that day, I can still get my car repaired. (I drive around town doing home visits for my job, so I need to have my car pretty much every day.) So there it is.

Regardless of where I get it done, it seems like I should just drain and replace the fluids, then go back maybe a week later and drain and fill again? And there’s no filter to worry about? How much should I expect to pay for this? The last time I had it drained it was fairly pricey, because of course Honda has to require transmission fluid made from gold shavings and beluga placenta. Or whatever fancy stuff they use. :slight_smile:

"The last time I had it drained it was fairly pricey, because of course Honda has to require transmission fluid made from gold shavings and beluga placenta. Or whatever fancy stuff they use. "

If you want to REALLY screw up your Honda’s transmission, then feel free to use something other than genuine Honda trans fluid. There are some so-called “universal for imports” trans fluids on the market, but they will not work properly in a Honda transmission. Like it or not, you must use genuine Honda trans fluid in a Honda transmission.

You may have to buy the correct fluid yourself at a Honda parts department, and take it to the shop that does your trans fluid change.

Do just a drain and refill, it doesn’t have to be done at a dealer, it is easier than an oil change.

Don’t let anyone do it who won’t use genuine Honda fluid. If they tell you they have a “universal” fluid or use Dexron with an additive pack designed for your car, go someplace else.

Get a Visa or Mastercard credit card, they let you get your car repaired anyplace. They also give you legal rights to dispute any bogus charge.

Yep I agree. Honda fluid from the dealer (only about $7 a quart). There is just a bolt for the drain and the filter is internal. Drain and fill again but should be done every 30K miles.

Do not flush an Accord transmission. Use only Honda ATF.


There is something called the 3x.

Basically you drain/fill and let it shift through all the gears. Do the previous step two more times.

This removes majority of the fluid since a normal drain/fill is only 3 quarts of about 8+ inside it.

Don’t let anyone fool you on price and machines that flush. This is easier than an oil change since you simple remove a bolt to drain the fluid and then refill. The downside is the Honda DW-1 is pricey but there are Valvoline and Castrol aftermarket fluids also.

I will make one comment. Don’t ignore it.

You will find it easy to find a number of car owners who will tell you their sad story of having their automatic transmission fail shortly after changing the fluid. What they don’t want to acknowledge is that they should have changed the oil several times over before there was any indication (other than time/miles) that a change was due.

They will blame the failure on the change, when in fact the failure was caused by not changing the fluid long ago.  

Attention everyone with an automatic.  Change your fluid BEFORE any indication of a problem, by the time you notice any issues, it is already too late.

I am going to join the chorus on this one. Do not flush. Drain and refill and use the new Honda DW-1 fluid, it is backwards compatible. It runs a little less that $8/qt, which isn’t much more than the so called compatible fluids at the auto parts store. There are Honda dealers that will try to charge up to $30/qt, don’t accept that, go to another dealer if you have to or order it through the internet.

One reason your mechanic is reluctant to do this is that so often, people do not maintain their transmissions properly, then bring it in for a fluid change while it is on deaths door and then blame the mechanic afterwards when the transmission finally dies. Thats like watching a lump grow on your throat (or breast or anywhere else) for a year before finally asking your doctor about it.

There is no filter to service, just drain and refill. Once will help greatly, a second drain and refill a week later will help more. More drain and refills after that have decreasing returns, best to do them every 30k after that.

DONOT flush this transmission. Drain and fill only every 25-30k miles. Use HONDA fluid only.


I always did a drain and refill on my 92 accord. I never used Honda brand fluid, but always used a fluid that was specified for Honda. Sold the car with 292k miles when I sold it and it still shifted like new.

In this case stick with Honda fluid.

I have to agree with ASE Master on this one. On ALL of my Hondas I would at one point in time begin my “trans fluid change” This would occur over the next 3-4 oil changes. At Motor oil change time…I would change the engine oil n filter…and also pull the trans plug and get 3 qts out… then add 3 fresh qts of trans fluid…and repeat the same procedure across 3 or 4 oil changes…eventually you will have new tranny fluid in there and off you go…no major flush…no rish of draining the torque convertor and not being able to get it to “pump back up”…this is usually the destroyer of trannies during a flush procedure. So thats about it…its worked great over the yrs.


Thanks for the help, everyone. I really appreciate it. :slight_smile:

yep, it’s not usually a good idea to flush a tranny at all, unless there are alot of metal shavings and stuff inside of it and i mean visibly, and if you do have to flush it, you do NOT want anything and i mean ANYTHING but transmission fluid in the transmission, if there is any other thinner/thicker fluids that get stuck in there at may react differently to thermal variation, or like the other guy said if you end up emptying your torque converter, it’s gonna be a problem, just go with the drain and fill, and use only honda trans fluid :slight_smile: