2004 Honda Element Flashing "D"


The “D” on my 2004 Honda Element has been flashing lately. It has been happening occasionally for the past couple of days. Most of the time when I notice it, I stop, restart the car, and then it stops flashing. The flashing also continues even when it’s in park or reverse. Most people on other forums say that it is a transmission issue so I guess my question is if you guys agree and what specific transmission issue it is most likely.


Your computer will have stored “fault codes” that need to be read by a technician with the proper equipment. Start there.

Have you taken a look at your Owner’s Manual, Natasha?
That is what I always recommend if there is a something appearing on your instrument cluster that you do not understand.

While the wording in the Owner’s Manual may be somewhat different, I can virtually guarantee you that it contains wording along the lines of…“if the D indicator in the transmission quadrant flashes, this indicates that an electronic fault has been detected in the transmission. Failure to address this problem quickly can result in damage to the transmission”.

My advice is to take the car to an independent transmission specialist tomorrow, before your repair bills grow larger. Whatever you do, do NOT take it to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain-run garage, because these places will tell you that you need a new transmission, even if much cheaper repairs will suffice.

Onwers manual? What owners manual? We don’t need no steenking owners manual.

You can go to most auto parts stores like AutoZone and they will check for codes free (except in California). This will only apply to generic codes. If you post the actual code here, we can help. The code will be a P followed by 4 numbers. The generic transmission codes will be in the range of P0700 to P0899.

BTW, when the D is flashing, does the speedometer needle bounce around a bit?

Hey Keith,

I haven’t noticed that. I think it might, though. What would that indicate?


I googled this for you

When the D light is flashing this means that the transmission control module(TCM) has detected a fault in the transmission system. Some faults do not show any outward symptoms such a slipping or hard shifting. There are almost 100 different transmission fault codes that can trigger the D light to flash, so it would be impossible for me to guess as to which one.

The TCM has to be read with a diagnostic scanner to retreive the stored fault code(s), which will give the definition. at that point, any further diagnostics needed can be performed and then the correct repair made. this is the ONLY way to find out what the fault code is and make the needed repair.

It would indicate the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) is about to go, but get the code read, don’t spend money replacing parts based on a guess.

There are a lot of things on the outside of the transmission that can trigger codes and are easy to fix. Sometimes all you really need is a fluid change. If you haven’t been following the maintenance schedule for the ATf changes or if you have allowed anything except Honda ATF to be used, that could be the issue. Updating the maintenance schedule would not be a waste of money.

But get the code read, its the most economical way of solving this problem.