2001 Honda Accord Transmission Problems

Hello All!

I have a 2001 Accord 2-door coupe, 4-cyl. with a 4-speed automatic transmission and 130k of mostly highway miles on it I bought used not too long ago. Until I met it, the car was a 1-owner and pretty well maintained from the records I have.

After reading the posts in here, I fear the worst for my transmission.

Recently, (since the mornings have been cold) if I do not let the car warm up for 5 minutes, when I begin to drive the shift from 1st to 2nd (and 2nd to 3rd) will be a very jaring, hard shift that will cause the car to act like it has been put into nuetral. The green light over the “D” on the indicator will flash red and the check engine light pops on. At this point, I have no transmission…the car just coasts. Generally, all I have to do is stop, turn off and restart the car, and then I’m good to go it seems.

If I let the car warm up, I have yet to have this problem. What gives? Is this the beginning of the end for my transmission? If so, what route should I take to fix/repair it and how much does that generally cost?

Thanks for your help, all!!


When was the last time the fluid was changed?

less than 5000 miles ago actually. I had a local Honda/Acura shop perform the service.

[i] less than 5000 miles ago actually. I had a local Honda/Acura shop perform the service.[/i] 

And how many miles before that? What is the total miles now?   PS you likely can save a fair amount of money by using a local  [b] INDEPENDENT [/b] mechanic

 [b]  [i] The green light over the "D" on the indicator will flash red and the check engine light pops on.[/i][/b]

   That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

It has 130k on it now. I’m not sure when/if the transmission fluid was changed prior to my changing it. I will get the code and repost here. Thank you for your help!

More than likely, that fluid change at ~125k was the first one for this car.
And, if that is the case, then the transmission is right on schedule for failure.

lehrhans–just for future reference, you should be aware that trans fluid needs to be changed every 3 yrs or 30k miles, whichever comes first. In other words, the fluid should have been changed at least three times prior to the fluid change that you did.

When trans fluid is not changed on that type of schedule, trans failure can take place any time after ~90k, and is pretty much of a sure thing by 120k. That is why one should NEVER buy a used car unless it comes with documentation of its maintenance history. The absence of those records is what very likely led you to spend your hard-earned money on a car whose transmission was essentially a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in your wallet.

Next time, avoid any used cars whose maintenance you cannot verify through documentation.
This strategy can save you–literally–thousands of dollars.

As to what to do now, you should take the car to an independent transmission shop in your area.
Whatever you do, DO NOT take it to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain unless you want to be overcharged for sub-standard repair work. Even their “nationwide warranties” tend to be a fraud, as getting those places to honor their warranty is…very difficult.

You will fare far better with an indy trans shop that has been in business for at least 3 years.

Good luck!

I went to advanced and had them read the check engine light: “P0780 Shift Malfunction”

VDCdriver: Thank you for your honesty here. I will never make that mistake again. Aside from the transmission, the car is in good shape and I’m currently inclined to fix the transmission if/when it does go out.

At this point, would you recommend I drive it until total failure? If so, should I seek a rebuild of the existing transmission, or should I seek a replacement, or does it even matter?

Thanks again!