98 accord automatic won't go into gear right away

Our accord just started this - sometimes you can’t put it into gear upon first starting the car. If we sit for few minutes, rev the engine eventually it will go into gear and it has no problems after that. Until the next time of course.

When you checked the transmission fluid, what was the level of the fluid?
What was the color?
Did it have an odor?

And how frequently do you change the trans fluid.

Could be a fried trans ($$$$). Could be a shift linkage problem ($).

Is it bad if I say, I don’t know? I’ll check and respond back. Thanks.

Should I take it to the dealer or my regular mechanic?

Does this mean you can’t figure out how to check the fluid?? If you need professional help, an independent, family owned, transmission shop is the place to go…A Honda dealer would be the LAST place to take it…

Well, it is bad that you apparently continued to drive it without checking the transmission fluid.

That is sort of like observing arterial bleeding and then waiting a few hours to call your M.D. to ask what to do about it, rather than immediately administering First Aid. In both cases, the patient could be dead as a result of the delay.

Anyway–please check the level, the color, and the odor of the fluid, and then report back to us on what you observe, as well as the past maintenance history for the transmission.

When you can’t put it into gear, do you mean the gear shift lever won’t move from the Park position; or, do you mean you can place the shift lever into gear, but, the transmission doesn’t shift?
If the latter, take it to the independent mechanic and have the transmission fluid drained and refilled with Honda brand automatic transmission fluid. Honda brand ($6 per quart x 4 or 5 qts.) because it’s having problems. Test drive. Better? No change? What? Let us know.

The actual gear shift won’t move. Once it decides to move, no problem shifting gears. Is there an electronic switch or other mechanism that can effect the transmission that isn’t ACTUALLY the transmission?

No, I can check the fluid, I just meant if it is something transmission related would the dealer be the best bet.

There is a safety interlock right there in the console. It could be that the park/neutral switch contacts are burned, or the ignition switch contact for power to the interlock is burned. It needs electrical troubleshooting which might lead to replacing a switch.
Beside the shift lever is a little cover. Under that, is a key slot. Place your ignition key in that keyhole, put gearshift lever in N , put key into ignition and start the engine. If you have a spare key, you can leave it in the over-ride slot. (I use a popsicle stick, trimmed to fit.)

Call the Honda dealer, or Honda America, and (using you VIN), ask if your car qualifies for the recall replacement of the ignition switch (for free).

Yes, there is a brake/shift interlock. There is at least one electric switch and a solenoid or two that work together to operate this interlock. If there is a problem with any of the components the shifter can’t be moved.

Sometimes a mis-adjusted brake light switch will cause this problem.

The owner’s manual should have instructions for over-riding the interlock so you can move the shifter, but this is for temporary use until you can get the interlock fixed. Don’t rely on the over-ride.

Your regular mechanic should be able to take of this easily.

Now that you have explained exactly what “won’t go into gear right away” means, you can relax about the transmission itself–at least for the moment. As Mcparadise and HelloKit stated, this is apparently a problem with the brake/shift lever interlock mechanism. This will be much cheaper to fix than an internal transmission problem.

However, if you want to extend the life of your transmission, please be aware that its fluid needs to be changed every 25k, and only genuine Honda fluid should be used. And, you should periodically check the level, color, and odor of the fluid.

Anyway–You should be back in business soon, at a relatively low cost.
Happy Motoring!

Many thanks for EVERYONE’s feedback. You all rock!