Flashing "D" light on Honda CR-V

I have recently noticed the “D” light on my shift indicator of my 2004 Honda CR-V EX flash when I put the car in “P” or “R.” Actually, I can also see the “D” pulsing when I am driving, so I know that it is flashing then, as well. This problem started about four months ago and does not occur that often - perhaps once every week, or two. While experimenting with this, I put the car in “2” while stopped with the engine running. On this occasion, I could not get the car out of “2” and turned the car off to see whether that made a difference. I could not start the car, since the shift lever was stuck in “2.” With my mechanic on the phone, I searched for an override switch but could find none. About 15 minutes later, I was able to move the shifter to “P” and could restart the car.

I should point out that I have experienced no problems driving the car. It seems to shift normally and smoothly. However, the flashing “D” together with the car being stuck in “2” has me worried that I may be seeing a problem. My mechanic says that he cannot use his computer to tell the error that is being reported unless the “D” is flashing at the time. But the flashing “D” is unpredictable and always seems to happen when I am not convenient to his shop or it is after hours.

My mechanic doesn’t work on transmissions and suggested I go to the Honda dealer to check it out or to AAMCO and have the transmission oil flushed. The car has about 120k on it and, though I regularly maintain it, I do not know the last time that the transmission oil was changed.

If I go to the dealer, I know that I’ll be charged about $100 to hook the car to the computer and I still may not know any result. And, to be quite honest, I have little confidence in the trustworthiness of my dealer’s service department, based on past experience. If I have the transmission flushed, I’ll probably end up spending $150, or so, and may still have the problem.

I’ve researched the problem and seen that this could be caused by a faulty switch, old transmission oil or a cooked transmission. I would think that, if the problem is the latter, I’d be experiencing more symptoms.

At any rate, I’d like to submit the question as to how best to proceed to see if I can get some helpful advice.

Thanks in advance,


The flashing “D” indicator on your dashboard indicates that there an electronic problem with the transmission’s electronic controls. Failure to rectify an electronic problem promptly can easily lead to much more expensive mechanical repairs to the transmission.

Unfortunately, since you have been observing this trouble sign for about 4 months, I think that you have crossed the boundary from “promptly” taking care of the problem into the category of ignoring it in the hope that it would cure itself.

I strongly suggest that you NOT take the car to AAMCO unless you want to be told that you need a new or rebuilt transmission–whether you really do or not. The chain transmission operations (AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission) are known for giving the most dire diagnoses, charging the most, and delivering poor workmanship.

You should take the car to an independent trans shop that has been in business for at least 3 years. Ask friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers for referrals to an indy trans shop in your area. In addition to being cheaper and more competent/more honest than a chain trans shop, the indy shop will likely also be cheaper than the Honda dealer.

You should also begin to read your Owner’s Manual. If you had, you would have seen essentially the same information that I posted in the first paragraph. Repairs that are done promptly are invariably cheaper than repairs that are deferred, and it is likely that you would not have deferred this matter if you had read the information in the manual.

By the way, whatever you do, DON’T have the transmission “flushed” at a chain. Some “flushes” consist of running a cleaning fluid through the transmission, then refilling with transmission fluid. Honda specifically recommends AGAINST introducing any fluid except Honda transmission fluid into the transmission.

The only Honda-approved “treatment” consists of repeated drain/fill/run/repeat cycles with Honda fluid. WITHOUT using any cleaning fluid.

Furthermore, if you have it flushed at a chain, they may not refill it with the correct Honda fluid.