Honda CRV automatic transmission problem

My wife has been complaining about a recurring problem with the transmission of her 2000 Honda CRV. The car is an automatic with front wheel drive only. On days when the car sits outside of her office all day at work, she reports that on the drive home when accelerating to highway speed the transmission seems to not shift into high gear/overdrive. This problem occurs most frequently (though not always) on cooler days. When acting up, the engine will rev at about 3300-3500RPM at about 60MPH, instead of the usual 2600 or so RPM. Also, when displaying the problem switching the O/D switch on and off (normally just left on) in the shifter stalk has no effect. After about 8-10 miles at 60MPH and 3300-3500RPM, the transmission will shift up and behave normally for the remainder of the drive.

So far, we’ve had the transmission flushed/fluid changed. We’ve also replaced the transmission’s “linear solenoid” as well as the A/B shift solenoid switch. None of these have solved the problem. The car has about 105K miles, and has been very well cared for and is in overall excellent condition. But now we’ve got a problem we can’t seem to fix, and I would have a problem even selling the car in good conscience. All I hear is that these cars very rarely have transmission problems. So, this is disappointing to say the least. Anyone have experience with this and/or thoughts on what might be wrong? I’m starting to think either a sensor or PCM problem.

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This is a very long shot because I am not familiar with the Honda transmission set-up. This may give you a point to work from.

I have had the same exact problem with my Jeep. I did a ton of internet research and reading and found that there are a couple causes for this on my car.

  1. The neutral safety switch. This is the electronic sensor between the shift lever and the transmission and the contacts may become dirty.
  2. A speed sensor(s) may be malfunctioning.
  3. The Throttle Position Switch (TPS) may be malfunctioning.

Good Luck!

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i have a 99 CRV and have always hated how long the automatic trans stays at a high rpm longer than i would like before downshifting; i attribute this as partly to blame for my less-than-hoped for mileage. tried using regular dexron 3 instead of honda official fluid, didn’t seem to make much difference. yours sounds extreme enough to be a definite malfunction rather than just a slow downshift as designed into the tranny. good luck, sorry i don’t have any advice other than adding my whine to the forum.

Did any codes come up when you had the transmission shop scan it??


The problem may be as simple as your engine thermostat being stuck open. Is your temp gauge staying on cold for a very long time? Your transmission has a sensor which knows the engine’s operating temperature and it will not allow the car to shift into overdrive if the engine is not warm enough. This is so the engine will operate at higher rpms and thus warm up quicker. If your wife was driving at higher speeds almost immediately after leaving the office this is perfectly normal. But that being said taking 2-3 miles is normal…8-10 miles is not. Check the thermostat. Hope for your sake that’s what it is cuz that’s a cheap fix.

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Pull the torque converter out of the transmission housing and allow the fluid to drain. Fill the torque converter with new transmission fluid. Push the torque converter inward while rotating it into the transmission. Measure the distance on each side of the torque converter to the transmission to make sure it is lined up properly. Raise the transmission and align with the engine. Push the transmission into the engine using the guide pins to line up. Install and tighten the torque converter bolts. if you need a detailed explanation ask Honda repair questions in the guide and it will give you how.

I have a 2000 Honda CR-V and for some reason when I put it into drive it won’t go anywhere actually when I put it in any gear it won’t go anywhere beside reving up can anyone help me out with any solutions please and thanks you befor that’s started I would have to unplug my battery for a little bit and then it would work but now it won’t go any where and the check engine light is not on also so I’m confused on what it could be please someone help

You should start your own thread.



Hi All,

Was this issue ever resolved. I have the same problem. 2000 CR-V, EX, 4WD, 299K miles

I have replaced my thermostat and both Cooling sensors and the high speed fan switch. No change.

I bought the car with the tranny not working) The transmission was rebuilt about 150 mile ago.
This is an intermittent issue and the tranny shop does not know what the problem is.

Any help appreciated.

Failing to shift to overdrive, the first thing I’d do is a proper transmission service. But you say you have a rebuilt transmission w/only 150 miles on it, so I doubt a routine service would do any good. Beyond checking the fluid level, seek out the nearest transmission shop that works on Hondas & has good recommendations I guess.

You should really start your own thread. If you paid for a transmission rebuild 150 miles ago, and the shop refuses to fix this problem now, it’s really more of a legal problem than a transmission problem. A STRONG letter from an attorney will probably motivate the shop to fix it.

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We had a problem with our 2001 CRV that sounds similar. It was only a issue during cold weather. But, when weather was cold, the automatic transmission would seem to not go into top gear. We later learned that the problem was the torque converter failing to lock up, which it normally would do when the speed reaches some specific speed and not under acceleration. The problem was eventually diagnosed properly and repaired through a Honda dealer, with the assistance of the Honda Tech Center in California. What was finally found after more than a year of driving us crazy, was that the coolant temperature sensor (which I believe is located at or very near the thermostat, at the thermostat housing) was faulty. The sensor was providing inaccurately lower than actual coolant temperature to the computer which manages these functions. The computer is set up to not allow the torque converter to lock up until a certain running temperature is attained. It was an inexpensive part with very little labor to R&R. If it feels like the transmission just won’t go into top gear and the problem only occurs when the weather is cold, this could be your issue. The same sensing unit sends into to the temp gauge in the instrument cluster as well as the computer. But with an error of about 30 degrees cooler than actual, it wasn’t something one would readily notice on the rather crude analogue gauge in the instrument cluster. But on really cold days, that erroneous, 30 degree low reading would be enough to keep the computer from ever thinking that the car was fully warmed up. As they say, garbage in, garbage out. If it only happens when cold, it may not be your transmission.

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I’d be able to notice 30 degrees low on my Corolla’s dash temp gauge without any difficulty. A Honda scan tool would provide a digital display of the coolant temp sensor output, accurate to one degree I expect. Would definitely be noted as a problem to any experienced shop tech, 5 minute test is all that’s required.

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Thanks all for the input. I didn’t start another thread because I feel its the same issue described by the original post. I just gave the Tranny rebuild info so folks would know the tranny/fluid was clean. I did replace all three coolant sensors Including the one on the thermostat housing. When it does shift into O/D aka 4th it happens at 50 mph light throttle Its happened twice in the last week where it does not upshift but mostly it is working. It has not happened often enough that I feel I can take it to the shop. I have recorded the issue Engine Temp, RPM and vehicle speed to document. Makes me wonder if the shift solenoids are defective or if the Tranny valve body was not properly gone through… Again. I’ve seen others describe this on other threads as well but never was the cause communicated.