1999 Honda Accord Sdn - Won't shift to third

Won’t shift into 3rd gear. Can manually shift between 1rst and 2nd but when in d3 it goes into 1st gear

It sounds like it has gone into “limp home” mode.
Is your Check Engine Light lit up?
Is the “D” indicator for the transmission blinking?

1 Like

Are you manually shifting an automatic transmission?

Based on what I understand, D3 isn’t 3rd gear, it’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear. If you’re not driving fast enough, it will stay in 1st gear until you do.

How often have you changed the transmission fluid (with Honda fluid)? Honda ATs are a bit fragile, especially when they’re 22 years old.

BTC above is correct, D3 means either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gear, depending on the speed and engine load. D3 just means it won’t go above 3rd gear. If you’re going fast enough you think it should go into or stay in 3rd gear in the D3 position, causes could be

  • low transmission fluid
  • dirty or the wrong type of transmission fluid
  • vehicle speed sensor problem
  • engine vacuum or vacuum sensor
  • transmission module
  • solenoid problem
  • selector switch

Usually the first step for this is to read out all the engine and transmission diagnostic codes. After that, a shop might recommend replacing the transmission fluid on a flier. Has either of those been done yet? If there are diagnostic codes present, post the codes here and you might get some add’l ideas.

I’ll add I have a Ford C4 transmission, and problems with the vacuum modulator can cause this sort of symptom on the C4. Ask your shop if your transmission uses a vacuum modulator. I doubt it does, but no harm asking.