'96 Accord-- transmission dying?



About two weeks ago my 1996 Honda Accord with 171,000 miles (automatic) started having trouble shifting into drive. When backing out (of my driveway, of a parking space, etc.), it would take a second or two to shift into Drive from Reverse. If I stepped on the gas too soon, the engine would rev, the RPM’s would shoot up, and then eventually (after a second or two) the car would shift and all would be fine.

I took it to my mechanic and he said the car is getting older, it takes some time to get it going, and the transmission is probably weak but not dangerous; I should just keep driving until it needs major work.

So fastforward to yesterday.

Throughout the course of the day the car had trouble accelerating. It would take a while to go from stopped to 35 or 40 mph. (complete with engine revs and the like while trying to accelerate) By the evening, it stopped accelerating at all. From stopped (at a light, or in traffic)I would get to 15 mph, then every time I touched the gas it would rev and rev, but never shift into a higher gear. After cruising on a fairly major road at 15mph with my hazards on, I pulled over and we towed the car to my mechanic.

Sorry for the long story-- my question is do you think I need a new transmission or might this be an easier fix? Secondly, if it’s a new transmission, is it wiser to just start looking for a new car? I don’t think my car is worth more than $2000 right now anyway.




You’re describing a slipping transmission that has 171,000 miles on it. So the transmission requires replacement.

A 1996 Accord with 171,000 miles on it with a blown transmission? It’s time for a new car.



i would not buy a new one . the cost would knock your socks off!!sounds like the clutches in the trans are shot or seals are gone. if you go to the junk yard you might be lucky to find a decent one. than if you can fine someone to put it in at a fair price (sounds like your mechanic will not) he says it’s old?? then go for it- it all depends on how much this car means to you and your pocket book.did you by this car new? what’s wrong with a good used one. I’m sure your mechanic checked the fluid smell and the fluid level? i remember years ago after a great cruise in the Caribbean, we were on are way home to the u.s. from Toronto when my car started to slip---- we just about made it home my foot was all the way down on the gas pedal, very thankful to make it home. as far as having yours rebuilt it’s the chance you take? i did get a trans. from the junk yard and put it in myself too old to do that anymore best of luck whatever your decision is


Junkyards are full of Hondas and other cars just like yours. Replacing / rebuilding the transmission costs more than the car is worth…Your car, right now, is worth $200-$300 maybe.


I will just throw out there that replacing / repairing your trans will be cheaper than a new car. Unless you were in the market for a replacement anyway. I’ve seen Accords of your vintage go 250, 300k, still going strong when I parked them. I do valet which means i’ve seen cars with 300, even 400k, in excellent condition and running quite well, and others with less than 100k and about ready to go to the junk yard.

In accounting a transmission repair is a “extraordinary repair” and essentially increases the life of machinery, or adds to the asset ledger, not the expenses. I know it’s just theory and more applicable to businesses with a fleet of equipment, but its still worth considering.

I think it boils down to whether or not you’ve taken good care of the car up to this point. How is the body’s condition?


To rebuild that transmission, including R&R will run you $1800-$2000 (Done properly) Unless you intend on keeping it for any length of time, I would get a used trans to put in it. If you go that route, make sure they use the right transmission. I see it happen all too often.