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2001 Honda Civic, Automatic transmission shot

Hi all,

My mother-in-law has a 2001 Honda Civic, and the transmission is going fast. She’s taken it multiple places for estimates, and right now the range she’s getting is:

$3000 for a brand new transmission (from the dealer)

$2000 for a used transmission (with 88k on it)

$2000 for a guy to rebuild her transmission (with a plus or minus depending on what he finds when he gets in there).

I’ve heard that the honda automatic transmission from the early 2000’s aren’t that reliable, so I’m leery of a used transmission. Am I correct to have this view?

I also feel like $2k for a used transmission is a bit on the high side. Are the prices these guys are quoting actually reasonable (she does live in the middle of nowhere)?

What would you tell your mother-in-law – er, strike that – what would you tell your mother to do?

Well, there are used transmissions and then there are USED transmissions. USED transmissions are those where the owner of the vehicle never did transmission fluid maintenance while they owned the vehicle before it was sent to the bone yard. And is there because of that. Then there are used transmissions where the owner of the vehicle did do the proper fluid maintenance before the vehicle was sent to the bone yard because it was in a crash and totalled.

Those are used transmissions I install.


I wouldn’t trust a used transmission, it’s just too much of a crap shoot.

Make sure she changes the fluid of the new/rebuilt regularly. The owner’s manual probably says something ridiculous like 90,000 but in reality it needs to be done every 20-30,000. It’s very uneventful, preventative maintenance.

$2K for a rebuilt or $2K for used? Not a hard choice for me. Used means 88K miles with no idea of previous service history. The used tranny could be ready to start falling apart now. Rebuilt, means the parts that wear the most are all new. If the tech doing the rebuild is any good the rebuilt tranny will be as good as new.

If the rebuilt transmission comes with a decent warranty, I would go with that one. If not, I would consider getting the new one.

Once you get the rebuilt/new transmission installed, I would baby it by changing the fluid every 30,000 miles. You are right that the Civic’s automatic transmission is probably the car’s weakest link, so step up the maintenance intervals to see if you can make this one last longer. Don’t pay extra for a transmission fluid flush. I believe your pan has a drain plug, which makes a simple drain-and-refill pretty simple. Some people get obsessive about changing every last drop of fluid each time it gets serviced. However, stepping up the service intervals should make these types of flushes unnecessary. Just drain and refill every 30,000 miles, and refuse to let them upsell you to a transmission fluid flush, which can double, triple, or even quadruple the cost (usually around $40).

You Don’t Say How Many Miles Are On This Car.

Has Mother-in-law or anybody (previous owner, etcetera) ever had the timing belt replaced ? If not then it’s due for a change based on age, alone. A timing belt that breaks (There is no warning) can do many hundreds of dollars worth of damage to the car’s engine.

Depending on how many miles on this car, the general condition of the rest of the car, and considering the know problems with transmissions, she may want to stop and think before putting good money into this 10 to 11 year-old “economy car.” It mignt be time to move up.


OP: What should my M.I.L. do about the transmission in her Civic?

CSA: She should check the age and mileage of the timing belt.

[b]I don’t think you lived up to your moniker this time.


For a NEW trans, $3,000 is the norm. Honda has done a good job on the new ones that they have been selling. If the vehicle is in real good shape and she plans on keeping it, I, personally would go that route. Rebuilding is just as good. The $2,000 for that is in the ballpark depending on the rebuilders definition of “rebuilt” and how good the builder is.


You can buy used trannys for that Civic in the 5-600 dollar range…Where on earth did they get a 2K used trans price. Thats ridiculous… I see them all the time for 500 ish…

A $500 used transmission for this car would probably be as unreliable as the one that is currently in the car.