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Need New Transmission after Dealer changes Timing Belt

I took my 1997 Honda Accord with 97,000 miles to the Honda dealer for a 90,000 mile service and changing of the timing belt. I also had them replace some gaskets, some other belts and the axles as they were not holding fluid. I spent $1800. When I got the car back the second time I drove it the check engine light came on and the car will not shift gears properly.

When I start the car cold, put it in drive and accelerate the engine revs for a few seconds before the gears will engage. This continues whenever I stop and accelerate. It also happens whenever the car is ready to switch to a higher gear. The engine revs past 3000 rpm and then will shift a second or two later.

The dealer says I need to spend another $2000 on a rebuilt transmission. The Bluebook on the car is only about $3000. I’m having difficulty evaluating the best course of action.

1. Junk the car?

2. Sell as is?

3. Repair and sell?

4. Repair and keep? What is the reliability of a rebuilt transmission?

5. Pay $100 plus towing to get a second opinion?

I’m interested in some alternate perspectives.

First off you can do a LOT better then the $3000 price the dealer quoted.

Second…get another opinion. It does sound like the transmission is failing, but get a second opinion anyways.

How often did you change your transmission fluid? It should be changed at LEAST every 50k miles.

If the transmission is bad…then I’d consider one from a junk yard. Most dealers won’t even consider this. Find a good local independent.

Thanks Mike.

  1. I just looked up the KBB value for Private Seller.


  1. Another opinion it is. I’ve already identified an independent from a good friend whose recommendation I trust implicitly.

  2. I serviced this car regularly.

Will a used/rebuilt transmission be reliable?

I have to wonder whether or not you yourself have actually checked the transmission fluid. I once got my car back after getting a new radiator and the next morning it was shifting really hard. (Presumably not when I picked it up b/c the car was hot so the fluid lever was probably adequate). The shop had simply failed to replace the transmission fluid lost when they changed the radiator. I brought it to the proper level and that was that. You lost a decent amount of fluid when the axles were changed. Presumably they checked it when you brought it in, but there is that old saying about “trust but verify.”

I’d also not base too much on the “exchange value” of the car (i.e. what you might be able to sell it for). I tend to rely more on its “use value” to me. For $3,000 (or whatever), what else would I end up in and would it serve me as well as a repaired version of what I have?

Will a used/rebuilt transmission be reliable?

It’s a crap shoot. But why spend a lot of money on a 14yo car.

You need to clarify the bit about axle replacement and fluid leakage. Leakage means CV joint grease being thrown about or halfshaft seals on the transmission leaking?
If it’s the latter then fluid loss due to that could be the cause of any trans problems.

A rebuilt transmission, like an engine, is perfectly reliable if it’s rebuilt correctly. Some transmission facilities consider a box of soft parts (seals and clutches) a proper rebuild and that is not the case. It requires hard parts and electronics also.

I’m tempted to say keep the car seeing as how it only has 97k miles on it and you just had a major service including the timing belt done.

As to price, all transmissions are high priced anymore and can spell the end for many cars.
I’d do a little asking around at some independent transmission shops and get a quote from them. At 2 grand you will probably find the dealer is very in line with everyone else and odds are the dealer will not use a corner cutter as a supplier for the transmission.