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Honda Accord Transmission Paranoia


I have a 2001 Honda Accord (LX SEDAN 4 DOOR, 4 CYL). Am a bit paranoid after reading online about all the transmission problems people have with this car. The other day when I was starting up from the stop light it had a moment where I was stepping on the gas and it felt like I was in neutral-- not going anywhere. This is the only time it happened and it was only for a few seconds.

Wondering if you think this is the sign of an impending transmission failure or whether it just needs some kind of maintenance?

Thank you for your time and advice,


That was the era of Honda tranny problems, a friend had that year with the 4 that had problems. Make sure the fluid is at the right level. When did you last change it? Did you use Honda fluid? If it’s been a while I’d have it changed at the dealer to make sure it’s the correct fluid (call around to the different dealers for price).

Check your transmission fluid, it should be full, a pink color and sorta sweet, if it is brown or has a burnt odor that is bad. If it is not full that is bad.

If the fluid has not been changed in the last 3 years or 30,000 miles, take it to your local shop and have them change it. Insist that they use Honda fluid only, not sure about your year and model but Honda’s are persnickety about the fluid and best to stick with the mfgr recommendation.

You may want to have the transmission fluid changed and a new filter if that hasn’t been done recently. I wouldn’t have a fluid flush. Also, I would have the work done by a reputable independent transmission shop or possibly a Honda dealer. Stay away from chain shops like AAMCO. I wouldn’t be paranoid about the Honda transmission. I have owned vehicles that according to the “experts” and Consumer Reports repair charts were supposedly problem.vehicles that gave me very reliable, trouble free service for over 150.000 miles including a Ford Windstar and a Chevrolet Uplander.

You do need to have the ATF drained and refilled every 3 years or 30k miles and it has to be refilled with only the Honda ATF. You cannot use a generic ATF with “additives” that so many transmission chains like to use, and Honda specifically recommends against doing a “flush”.

The ATF that is recommended in your owners manual is Z1. They no longer stock that, they have a newer ATF and it will actually help your transmission shift better in cold weather. It mixes with the the Z1 and even when mixed, it still improves the performance of the transmission.

Your transmission holds about 6 quarts of ATF, but only about 2.5 will drain out at a time. The rest is trapped in the transmission. If you have been doing the drain and refill on schedule, then that is all that is needed for the transmission to last the life of the vehicle.

If you have not been keeping to the schedule, you have four options. One is to do nothing and just replace the transmission when it gives out. This would probably be the best option if you have over 180k miles on it.

You can do a simple drain and fill and do it every 30k miles from now on and get a little more life out of the transmission. If you have less than 120k miles on the vehicle, this is a good option. If you have less than 90K, this would be the best option IMO.

You can also do one of the following, four drain and fills about a month apart or a fluid exchange machine. A fluid exchange machine is different than a flush as it doesn’t pump any ATF through the transmission. It lets the transmissions pumps do the work. But insist that they drain and refill before hooking up the machine. Otherwise they are adding fresh fluid to the contaminated fluid in the sump. They will never get all the old out that way, no matter what they tell you or what the video they show you says.

Could also be a sluggish Trans shift solenoid…solenoids are about 40 bucks ea? Could be simple could be moreso…hard to tell from here. Depends on how well it was maintained and fluids changed