I recently got a low mileage (63,000 miles) 2001 Honda Accord back in April. The title was clean and the car fax was clean, so I figured it just hadn’t been driven much. About a week or so after I got it, for the first 5 minutes of driving it each day, the transmission would randomly select the wrong gear and the engine would rev up and I would get wheel spin. This would happen a few times before the transmission acted normally.
One day it got so bad that the car was stuck in a particular gear and the D4 light was blinking on the dash. My manual indicated that there was likely a transmission problem and that I needed to get it serviced. So, I pulled over, cut off the engine, and restarted the car and everything was fine.
I live on a very steep hill and so when I leave the house I’ve started putting it in Neutral and letting it coast all the way to the bottom of the hill where I switch to D4 on a level street. This has helped the problem a lot, but lately I’ll get the D4 light blinking on me and the transmission stuck in a low gear and will have to just pull over and start the engine again and everything is fine.
If I drive the car more than twice in a 24 hour period, the transmission won’t do this the 2nd or 3rd time I get in my car to drive somewhere - only the first part of the day.
I took the car to two different places and they suggested a transmission replacement - which sounds silly to me because once the gears are acting normally everything seems to be fine, and it seems that what is PUSHING the gears (it’s an automatic) is the problem. Another place looked inside the transmission and said the gears/transmission fluid are clean and look pristine. A full transmission replacement would set me back $2000 to $3000, and since the car isn’t worth $8500 it doesn’t seem like a good idea. A solenoid replacement is cheaper, but still could run $400 since they have to get inside the transmission to replace it.
Is this normal for this car? Is there something about my driving that I should do to prevent this? Or, if I do need to get it repaired (which is likely), does it really sound like the entire transmission is at fault, or just whatever is pushing the gears into position?
Keep in mind that after 5 minutes of driving everything is fine and there are no transmission ‘lurches’ whatsoever.