Dealership says transmission needs to be replaced

I am the original owner of a 1999 Honda Accord (automatic transmission) which now has 184,000 miles on it. I just replaced all the tires last year, had to put in a new battery this year, also had to replace the a/c hoses earlier in July.
Very recently I had had some problems with the car shifting and when the check engine light came on I took it into the dealership who says it needs a new transmission. They want $4200 to fix it.
I have had all the servicing done including oil and filter changes at this dealership which is in Houston, TX.
I really like this car, and its the fourth Honda we have owned; three of which were purchased with this same dealer.

You state it’s had all servicing done at this dealer but that says nothing about the transmission. Transmission fluid should be serviced every 30k miles and if this has not been done then it’s quite possible the transmission is fried.
So how often has the fluid been changed?

Considering the 6 digit mileage and age of the car I think it’s foolish to consider that much money on a new transmission at the dealer level.
Price this through an independent transmission shop, an ind. garage who will install a reman or used unit, etc. If you go with a used one make sure that you and the garage are on the same page about what happens if that used unit turns out to have a flaw.

Just curious, but have you been servicing the timing belt/water pump/tensioners on this car?

All the fluids were changed when they needed to be. At least that is what I was told, and paid for.

That still doesn’t tell me if the trans fluid has ever been changed. Some think that transmission fluid is good for the life of the car.

It’s still a high mileage, 13 year old transmission and those rubber parts inside the transmission that make it operate properly are well-aged. A transmission failure at this point could be considered normal.

That generation of HOnda Accord has bulletproof transmissions…even the automatics…But like OK4450 said…How often was the trans fluid changed/serviced…it needed it several X on the way to that mileage number, so… Methinks they told you some lies…bec if it was changed needed…chances are quite good that your trans would have no issues at all…the transmissions WERE that good. Who can say now that we have to second guess the person doing the work…once that happens…pretty much everything goes out the window.

True the trans could be at the end of its useful life…and maybe we shouldnt expect too much more from it…But in the back of my mind, that tranny has a very high probability of surviving well past your mileage if given what they need along the way… FOLLOW OK4450 advice…He is spot on…as usual…

First, as already suggested, you can do much better in terms of $$ at an independent transmission shop. Probably at least $1000 better if not more.

Second, I’d like to know what the shifting problems are like and what the error codes are. For many shops any problem with any high mileage transmission just means “you need a new transmission” regardless of what the actual issue is.

The modern dealer approach to transmissions is replacement.

On a side note who cares that the transmission fluid has been changed or not. Its broken and needs to be addressed.

Well, __raj, information about transmission servicing helps people figure out whether or not they think its plausible that a transmission is completely done and needs to be replaced or rebuilt.

Honda dealerships don’t know how to fix anything having to do with transmissions. Honda only teaches their techs how to replace them. Go into any Honda dealership with a transmission problem and they’ll tell you it needs to be replaced. Guaranteed.

Shop around for a good independent transmission shop.

This transmission has a cable that goes from the throttle body to a bell crank on the side of the transmission. This cable must be just taunt, no slack but no tension either. If there is any slack in the cable, it wont shift right, it will feel like it is slipping while trying to shift gears.

The wrong or dirty transmission fluid will also affect shift quality. I’d recommend that you change the transmission fluid, drain and fill only, do not flush, and check this cable. If that does the trick, and you have not been doing fluid changes every 30k miles, then change the fluid again in about a week. Make sure to only use the Honda ATF.

_raj, the reason I asked about transmission servicing and from the tone (which I could be misinterpreting as it’s a bit hazy) of the complaint is that the OP could be irritated over a transmission failure, upset with the high cost, and possibly be looking to assign blame.

The reason why a transmission is often replaced instead of rebuilt is that it’s much faster and can be more cost effective. Take a worn out, high miles automatic transmission and price everything across the dealer parts counter to do a proper by the book rebuild. See what that adds up to not including labor and incidentals.

What codes came up when the check engine light was on. See if the dealer will tell you.

Some new solenoids, or cleaning out the existing solenoids could help the shifting problem.

This generation of Accord is notorious for automatic transmission failure, even when properly serviced. I own a 99 Accord (and had a 2000 Accord) and both are (were) stick shift so I have never had any transmission problems. At this point I would look into a rebuilt transmission instead of a new one.