How do you know your have a CVT?

I’ve posted before about trans fluid for honda accords using the dealer fluid at $8 per qt vs. the new castrol for $4 per qt. I’ve read/researched that the castrol cannot be used for a CVT transmission. With some researching, it seems that the CVT could have been in 2002-2005 models for the honda accord. Short of calling the maintance dept or bringing the car in, is there a way to tell if you have one vs the normal automatic transmission? I’m almost certain the owners manual doesn’t say it’s normal or CVT. thanks in advance

Can you feel traditional “shifts” as your car changes speed? A CVT, while it is constantly varying the drive ratio, does not have detectable shifts.

However, I am wondering why you would hesitate to call the service department at the dealership. While it is true that the service writers are frequently not as knowledgeable as they should be, they are still likely to know a bit more about your car than you do. You might even want to call the service department at 3, 4, or even 5 Honda dealerships in order to ask your question. You might even want to call a couple of independent automatic transmission shops, as they would be a good source of information.

Incidentally, I am curious about where you learned that '02-'05 Accords “might” have come equipped with a CVT. To the best of my knowledge, this is not correct, but I am interested in knowing where your information came from.

No Accord has ever come with a CVT transmission. I suspect the fluid for the CVT transmissions you saw at the dealer was for the Insight and the hybrid Civic.

The Accord never had a CVT. I believe CVTs have been available in the Civic sometime in the past 10 years.

I did a search this morning on CVT’s and accords/hondas and some results came up with cvt’s for 2002-2005 accords but they did seem fishy or suspect. I was going to call at least two dealer shops to see what they say. You’ll think I’m crazy but all this is motivated due to the castrol import trans fluid vs the dealer ATF-Z1 fluid that cost $24 for 3 qts about 60 months ago. I usually change my fluid every 10K and my oil every 2-3K (gives me something to do and makes me feel good like Tim Taylor on tool time). I do believe I feel it shift/jerk ever so slightly (it’s my wife’s car and I only drive it to church on sunday) so I believe it’s a normal auto trans. Believe it or not, the cost is 1/2 (I’m not cheap but it’s easier and less hastle to get the stuff at autozone/adv auto vs driving to the dealer). Thanks for all your comments and help. I think this goes under the OCD lifestyle of mine!!!

Everything about you car is included in the VIN. The dealer or your auto insurer could check the VIN and determine what transmission is used. What engine do you have (4 or 6) and is it a hybrid?

This is correct, call the parts dept of the dealer and ask them to run the vin and find out what trans you have. Honda will need all 17 digits.

I can see where you got your screen name. Oilman, indeed. Changing the transmission fluid every 10K miles is a complete waste of money and petroleum, and you increase the odds of causing a problem like stripping a pan bolt. The same may apply to changing your engine oil as frequently as you do, although it may be justified under certain driving conditions.

Yeah, I would agree with that. There is absolutely no need for that frequent trans fluid changes. Shop around a little for the Honda fluid. I think I only paid $5 for the Honda trans fluid but I was cautioned about using non Honda fluid in the trans in our Acura. Also I believe NAPA sells a Honda acceptable trans fluid.