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Acura Transmission

Car: Acura, 1997 CL 3.0. 3 years ago our mechanic, after turning off the check engine light twice - second time the code was for the transmission - informed us that we needed to replace the transmission. When we asked him how long could we “wait” he said to be gentle with it and we’d be OK for awhile.

I contacted Acura recently (a letter) and asked if they would consider splitting the repair/replacement costs. (The 98 Honda Coupe is the same car with a differerent body and Honda has replaced many of their transmissions.) Our mechanic is a former Honda Service Mgr. and his top mechanic is also a former Honda Certified mechanic.

Acura refered us to the local Acura dealer and they had the car for 2 days. They maintain that they could NOT determine that the car needs a new transmission. I then asked them about how it “slips” ocaissionally. They stated that this is the way this transmission is. We also have an Acura 2000 TL and Acura replaced the transmission at 45K miles free.

I am reluctant to “challenge” our regular mechanic with this info. I know that he probably encourages us to do so and that Acura also has their reasons for NOT encouraging us to do so for obvious reasons.

The car has 89K miles, but is pristine. We change the oil every 3K, trans oil every 20K miles and I have it aligned, tires balanced and rotated every 6K miles. I wash the cars (intensely) on the weekends and all 3 of them look like new - or better - when I finish. (We also have a 2008 Honda Pilot as the third car for shore and mountain trips.

We replaced the timing belt already since it is over 10 years old and had the tune up.

Any sage advice from you guys who are experts??

Help please in Philadelphia.

P.J. Zornosa

Sage advice?

If this car does need a new transmission, I’d say the only thing at this point to do is stop giving Honda your money. You already had one transmission fail VERY prematurely, you were told by a mechanic the transmission in a second one was failing, and you still bought a third?

Acura replaced the transmission in my 2000 TL at no charge. (I must say I was impressed.)
“Soft Recall”?

I am referring to the 1997 Acura CL 3.0. (VERY similar to the Honda 98 Accord Coupe - frame, engine, transmission, etc…different body style only.)

MY mechanic, who WAS a service mgr. for Honda - has his own (busy) garage and does great work at much more reasonable pricing than the dealers is the one who first recommended the replacement after turning the “Check Engine” light off twice. The second time the code was “transmission”.

I don’t want to overtly challenge his diagnosis but am concerned that he and Acura may be at “cross purposes” in terms of being in a position to give me objective advice.

Despite the fact that you apparently maintain your cars very well, and despite the pristine appearance of this car, the fact remains that it is 13 years old!

Honda may well have replaced a lot of the defective transmissions over the years, but I can virtually guarantee that this courtesy was never extended on a vehicle over 10 years old.

I am curious. When do you think a car manufacturer’s responsibility for repair coverage on a vehicle comes to an end?
15 years? 20 years? Never?

Right - the first transmission in the TL I would forgive them for, if they fixed it and the fix lasted. I had a 1987 Camry that needed a new engine at 40,000 miles and again at 80,000 miles. Toyota paid the entire cost of the first one, and about 80% of the second, even though the car came with just a 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty. They earned my business back a second time.

The catch though is if my second Camry had the same problems, and they didn’t cover it, I would be VERY apprehensive about giving them any more business… at least not for many more years… as I would be questioning their ability to build a reliable engine.

There are a lot of VERY good cars out there nowadays. As consumers, we don’t need to put up with lack of reliability or customer service anymore… the game is no longer between just Honda and Toyota for nice reliable vehicles.

Interestingly enough you sound like you work for a vendor or on the supply side of the equation. I would not be surprised to know that you work for Honda.

The answer to your question (since you’re so “curious”) would only be an answer that could comprehensively take in ALL the facts and be as subjective as the number of respondents.

FYI, I was “ready” to replace the transmission at the receommendation of my trusted former “Honda” mechanics and “bite the bullet”.

I was urged by three (current) Honda employees to ask Acura for assistance. And, if you recall, I only ask that they consider splitting the bill with me, not to warrant the repair outright. When Honda EMPLOYEES inform me that Honda actually recalled the SAME transmission for many including the 1998 Accord Coupe that uses the same frame, chassis, engine AND transmission and that I should ask the company for "some help’ it is what I did.

My ORIGINAL question was meant to be directed to the “Car Guys” as to what should be my next move as far as it relates to relating this information (from the Acura Dealer) that refutes his (my mechanic’s) original recommendation/diagnosis.

I do NOT want to anger my mechanic, but I am “curious” and concerned when a trusted mechanic tells me I need a new transmission and the Acura Dealer’s Service Dept. tells me that they cannot determine same. Acura, to be fair to them as I was asking for their consideration in terms of assistance, required that I take the vehicle to the dealer for them to “diagnose” the issue and actually seemed genuinely willing to consider helping.

FYI, we have replaced:

  1. The Starter
  2. Alternator/Voltage Regulator
  3. Window Motor
  4. Batteries (On the third)
  5. Tires

FYI The thought of any of these repairs as “warranty” issues never occurred to us.

My TL, when it was SIX years old had the transmission replaced unsolicitously BY Acura.

IF there are concurrent problems or issues with major components of a vehicle of a manufacturer then I do not think that EVERY request for assistance should be considered. However, at the urging of so many - 3 Honda EMPLOYEES, I don’t think my request was unreasonable. Acura as much said so even in light of the age of the vehicle.

I do not work for, and have never worked for, Honda, any of their suppliers, or anyone else on the “supply side” of the equation. I am simply a person with good automotive diagnostic skills who used to do his own car repairs until physical problems prevented that. I am also someone who is able to see both sides of problem, or–you might want to say that I play “Devil’s Advocate” in many arguments.

Yes, Honda has replaced many transmissions over the years on both Honda and Acura models–as well they should, given their record of “weak” transmissions. However, I think you should ask the Honda employees to whom you spoke if they can recall Honda ever doing a “Good Will” sharing of repair expenses on a 13 year old vehicle.

Honda did give an extended transmission warranty on some of their cars (2000-2003? Accord), but that coverage only extended to 10 years, IIRC. I really doubt if you will get any assistance for a transmission repair on a 13 year old vehicle, but…what the heck…give it a try. The worst that they can say is no. Just don’t be surprised if you do get that negative response.

Good luck.

Actually, I do have an associate that Hond replaced his original transmissiom in his 00 Odyssey and it was already 9 years old. Then, just last year it went bad (again) and they replaced it too.

I had started to network with regards to this issue about a year ago.

Another friend of mine had to replace his transmission in his Accord last year. Honda paid for half of the replacement.

I agree that normally with a car this old that the odds are against any relief. I would have to say that in light of all of the facts and the assistance they have provided that I am not necessarily not still loyal to the brand(s).

I do tend to bristle a bit when people remind me of how “old” the vehicle is. Hoever, Hondas and Acuras can last an awfully long time if one keeps them in great condition and maintains them strenuously.

I still am open to any suggestions as to how I should go about informing MY mechanic about the Acura garage’s findings. I am about ready to take my TL in for a timing belt and full tune up.

See if Acura will pick up some of the costs, but don’t be surprised to get a sorry we’d like to help but no.

I’m sure you Honda mechanic’s ego can handle that Acura see’s the situation of your transmission differently than he does. You’ll know in awhile who is right when you transmission either lasts a few more years or fails.

Might as well keep driving it until you get an answer from Acura, or it fails whichever comes first.

“Hondas and Acuras can last an awfully long time if one keeps them in great condition and maintains them strenuously.”

Except for their transmissions, apparently!