2016 Honda Accord Sdn - Transmission mystery

Car was bought used with 63k miles on the odometer. Has worked flawlessly with no complaints. 40mpg on the long trips and averages 30+ during commutes. At the 93k mile mark, we changed the fluid using OEM filter, Honda HCF-2 and OEM gaskets. Color was a light to medium brown and nothing abnormal in the drain pan or on the magnet. WIthin a day or two the car began idling poorly and would shut down and lurch to a stop when put into reverse and at the first several stop lights. Took it to the dealership to have the fluid changed again and it ran better for two days then displayed the same behavior as above. Our private mechanic says the VIN falls within the range of a TSB requiring the transmission to be replaced. Will Honda do anything for us? We are just under the 100k mile mark. THere is no way this transmission should be failing at such a low mileage. Anyone have any suggestions?

Bear in mind I am not a mechanic but I’m not convinced the stalling/rough idle is transmission related. Normally if you have transmission problems the vehicle won’t move or you’ll get jerky shifts or something similar. From your description that’s not what’s happening. On a Pontiac I owned at one time, when the car was warmed up the torque converter wouldn’t unlock when I came to a stop and it would kill the engine. Something similar might be happening but I’m inclined to doubt it.

Very good point and originally I thought this was the throttle body but this car does not stall like a fuel issue…when you put it in gear, it lurches and shuts down in one fluid motion…as you described, like the converter locking up. Instead of the engine shutting down the transmission, it feels very much like the transmission shutting down the engine. Its weird. Our independent mechanic experienced this lurching to a halt as well and he stated it was the transmission. This was a Certified Honda so I believe we fall within the window of their 7year/100k mile powertrain warranty but am afraid they use any number of excuses to avoid replacing it as its almost out of warranty. CVTs are crap…really. Great idea…poorly executed.

So you did a routine automatic transmission service, replaced fluid and filter, cleaned pan. Then a couple days later the engine wouldn’t idle smoothly stopped in D, and would stall in R? Did the engine idle ok stopped in N? If so, sounds like a torque converter problem of some kind. First step is to verify the lock-up signal is correct; i.e. that torque lock is disabled at low speeds. Are you able to feel it go into lock mode around 30-40 mph?

Was this routine transmission service performed at a dealership? If not, did the shop have the necessary training & experience for this job?

Toyota’s CVTs seem to get pretty good marks for reliability here. Nissan’s, not so much. Haven’t notice many complaints about Honda’s, but from the TSB info you posted above, maybe there are a few problems with those too.

Correct on a couple of points:

  1. Completed Transmission service. Fluid, small “warmer filter”…did not remove the pan
  2. Roughly 2 days after servicing, first start of the day, car ‘lurched to a halt’ when put into reverse. And would stall at the first light where a complete stop was made.
  3. Im not sure what ‘lock up’ feels like. These CVTs are really smooth and dont give the usual signs of shifting that a traditional automatic.
  4. The service is a standard drain and fill to spill. Theres really not that much to them as long as you use the Honda HCF-2 fluid, its childs play really. As far as necessary training…who knows.
  5. And no codes existing or permanent or pending.
    Thanks.

They are all getting better from what I hear but I would caution anyone from buying any CVT in the 2010-2020 range. Like I said…great idea…just poorly executed.

Sorry you are having that difficulty. Hopefully it will turn out to be something simple. It’s unusual for a properly performed routine service to result in a transmission failure like that. May be just a coincidence. No personal experience w/Honda CVT’s, but some folks here seem to recommend routine transmission services around every 30K on newer automatic transmissions. My ford truck has a 50 years old automatic C4 transmission, it gets a routine service every 60-90 K or so. I did have it completely rebuilt at around the 25 year mark though.

I couldnt agree more. And thats why we took it in to have it serviced as they recommend changes every 30k miles. The Honda last had its fluid changed in '19 @ 63k. Its a bummer for sure. I am hoping it is something simple as well…loose connection…vacuum leak? I dunno.
My 04 tacoma (220k miles now) has had routine changes every 30k miles since Ive owned it in '05 with no shifting hiccups, loss of power or mpg.
Thanks for your suggestions…I appreciate it!

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Sounds to me like the tech knocked something loose on the engine while doing the service.
I would check for a loose electrical connector or vacuum hose etc.

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Good call. Its going back in today and Im hoping thats all it is. Wife is terrified something is seriously wrong. Thanks!

Maybe. It sounds to me like there might be a poor connection and something is getting vibrated loose over a couple of days. But while I can see error by the tech happening once, twice seems unlikely, at least to me. My wild guess is that a connector of some kind was damaged when the original job was done and now it won’t hold.

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Without reading the responses, imho whether the trans is the cause or not, if you can get them to replace it under warranty, by all means do it. If that turns out to not solve the problem, you can look for other causes. But if you are nearing the warranty cut off, don’t delay.

The lurching to a stop and stalling can be caused by torque converter clutch failing to disengage.

This would be the same as coming to a stop with a manual transmission in 4-5th gear without stepping on the clutch.

The vehicle lurches and stalls.

Tester

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To all, I thank you for your replies. I believe I have the answer to this problem.

HONDA TSB #A18-072

Service Bulletin - When cold-starting the engine and shifting to Reverse, the engine stalls in the first 10 to 14 seconds. There is too much oil clearance between the input and stator shafts, which allows ATF to drain out of the torque converter during extend off periods. During a cold start, when the torque converter is refilled, air gets trapped in the torque converter. This applies the lock up clutch, which stalls the engine.

My vehicle falls within the VIN range for this TSB and the only remedy is to R/R the transmission.

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Yes…getting them to stop with the plausible deniablity is the key here. So far its been “Huh? What? she runs great! Cant get it do what youre sayin.” Im playing the game but my wife had a great idea,…wander on over to the used car lot of the same dealership and ask them how much theyd be willing to give us for it…fair enough…I mean…your service department said shes awesome!

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Worth a try. The best thing is that you shouldn’t feel obligated to tell a dealer anything bout the car. Just make sure you know the current value before you do it. That way you will know if an offer is decent or not. If they ask how it’s running you can quote the service advisor. Good idea.

This issue has been solved.

After reviewing the TSB and instructions for logging the fault and warranty submission to Honda, we ended up taking the car to an INDEPENDENT Honda mechanic who utilized the I-Honda Data System. After a week, they managed to log the fault: Locking up and shutting off the vehicle when shifting into reverse during a cold start. Armed with our soon to expire warranty, the TSB and the printout documenting the fault we headed to another dealership they recommended to us.
This dealership bent over backwards to help us out. They agreed the transmission was faulty, handed us the keys to a 2022 Honda Accord Sport to drive while ours was being repaired and completed the repair. After the car came back to us, we went back to the orginal Honda dealer who originally gave us the run around and not only did the service manager reimburse us for the work we had done at the Independent Honda mechanic…but they also offered to reimburse us for the transmission fluid change ($200+). That was nice. In the end it worked out.

Moral of the story:

***Do your own research!!! CVTransmissions are not reliable…in any vehicle. My buddy’s 35k mile Forrester is in the shop right now getting his replaced for his wife. Nissans are the worst from what I hear but after my experience with this Accord, the Hondas arent that great either.

***Check the TSB’s…never even thought to check the TSB’s when buying a used vehicle or to
help diagnose something wrong with the car you already have

***Know the status of your vehicles warranty…Like a ding dong, I had no idea our car had a 100k mile warranty until I dug all the information out of the filing cabinet.

Take care everyone!

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Thanks for posting the fix OP. Good info, other folks looking for solutions here will be helped as well. I don’t recall very many posts here about problematic Honda CVT’s.