Downshifting going up hill

My wife and I bought a 2007 CRV for my daughter. It has a new catalytic converter along with new O2 sensors (Denso brand). The spark plugs have been replaced. The car runs fine, BUT there is one thing that just gnaws at me:

When going uphill and this can be a slight incline at say, 50 MPH, the car will downshift as if it’s losing power/speed. Been driving for over 30 years and have NEVER experienced this with a vehicle. Let me clarify, the frequency of downshifting when going uphill.

The car runs/shifts fine. CEL is not (on). When it does downshift going uphill the action itself is normal. More specifically, the RPM’s don’t get real high. The downshift itself seems perfectly normal in the way it behaves (e.g. passing another vehicle), but this REALLY has me concerned.

I have a 2003 CRV and it does NOT behave this way on hills. I could understand if these were large inclines, but some of these are gradual grades.

I’d appreciate ANY feedback/thoughts on this. Thank you.

You are overthinking this. Just because it has never happened to you before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. And the state of technology growth insures it probably WILL change.

The 2007 weighs 300 lbs MORE than your 2003 and has the same horsepower. That, in itself, will cause more downshifts. Also. since the MPG rating is exactly the same, Honda may have geared it slightly lower (lower rpms) to maintain the rating which also would cause more downshifts.

Stop worrying and drive on.


If you accelerate briskly (~1/2 throttle) from a standstill on flat ground,
does it go up through the gears in a reasonable fashion?

I want to thank mustangman for his response and I mean that.

My brother has a shop and he did all the repairs on the vehicle. I told him about my perceived problem. He had the car for a couple weeks and said he didn’t see/find any problems. He even took the vehicle to a local transmission ship, went for a drive with the service advisor, and he, too, didn’t notice any problems.

To answer circuitsmith’s question:

Yes, the car will go through the gears in a reasonable fashion.


Perhaps I am overthinking this, but I’ve never seen this happy in any other vehicle (esp. on very gradual inclines) even other 4 cylinders I’ve driven.


The 2007 has a five-speed transmission, whereas the 2003 has a four-speed transmission. It seems perfectly reasonable that the top gear in the 2007 would be taller, requiring an earlier downshift on a hill.


When’s the last time the transmission fluid has been changed? If not within 30k-50k miles, or if you don’t know, have it changed with Honda ATF. May not affect this problem, but always good to do on a Honda.


I don’t know the last time the fluid was changed.

Then have it changed ASAP with the exact fluid specified by the manufacturer.

Just when I thought the stress about this couldn’t get higher.

Thanks, everyone.

I just hope that the OP doesn’t make the potentially fatal mistake of going to a quick lube place, where they almost surely use a so-called universal fluid which will kill his trans in short order.

How can a shop afford to continue to use a transmission fluid that damages transmissions every day?

So, is my concern legit or is it all in my head?

Me thinks you do not have a problem .

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I would not expect the engine to have enough torque to maintain fifth gear driving uphill at 50 mph, downshifting is normal.

Those two together…


I’m concurring with most of the posts above, transmission is behaving as designed. Automatic transmissions are complicated beasts though, and require routine periodic servicing. You’d serve yourself better to have this done every 100K miles, even better every 50 K miles.

Might be a good time to get all the fluids of unknown age changed:
coolant, brake, power steering, if AWD transfer case and differential.

CRVs are notorious for severe binding of the wheels on sharp low speed turns if the differential fluid isn’t changed every 50k miles or so. Be sure to use ONLY Honda Dual-Pump Fluid.

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