1999 Honda transmission

My yellow check engine light came on. Computer analysis said that the transmission torque converter was bad (i.e. slipping). I was told that I would need a rebuilt tranny at a cost of $3K or $4K which is not something I would do. I was also told the the transmission could go on working indefinately if it were used gently. It was hesitating and chattering at startup from stop, but seemed okay on the highway. So I decided to just keep it for local use.

A couple of months ago the check engine light went out, and the hesitation and chattering at startup became much less pronounced. Could the transmission have healed itself?

So my question is: Should I just keep using the car as is, or is there something I ought to do for less than $1000 that would resolve the problem, or should I only let my mother-in-law use it??

Your opinions are solicited. The car has only 83K miles. A little internet research revealed that Honda transmissions circa 1999 have been troublesome, and there is no “secret” warranty or other help from Honda.

By the way, it’s a very nice car–leather, good gas milage, new tires, well maintained.

Thanks for your help!

No codes say that a “part is bad and needs replacement”. None. The codes help in the diagnosis of a problem. It would help if you could bring the code here.

At minimum what does the car manual suggest for tranny service? A trans fluid and filter change would be my first step. Maybe the bulb burned out, maybe the problem resolved itself, start simple and work your way up.

When was the last time the transmission fluid was serviced?

As transmission fluid wears out it loses it’s ability to lubricate various internal transmission components. These components can stick and prevent the transmission from operating properly. And your transmission also has electronically controlled components. So the fluid condition is even more important.

Since the Check Engine light has gone off, and the vehicle seems to shift better, it means this problem with the transmission no longer exists. But don’t push your luck.


Two things to do, have the fluid drained and refilled with the Honda ATF. Then check the throttle cable, not the one from the gas pedal but the one that goes from the throttle body to the transmission. The throttle cable from the gas pedal should have a little play in it, but the one going to the bell crank on the side of the transmission must be taught. At idle, there should be no tension nor any slack.

If this cable has stretched, it reduces pressure to the clutches and they can slip.

One more think, Honda transmissions are different, but in most transmissions, the torque converter can be replaced without rebuilding the transmission.

Right…Whoever fed you the torque converter line was feeding you pure BS.

You might consider having the transmission SERVICED !!!