New Honda CRV low transmission fluid

Have only driven 550 miles in my new CRV and out of curiosity checked oil and transmission fluid levels. Discovered dipstick for transmission fluid was bone dry. Took it in to dealer. They agreed that their service dept somehow “forgot to top it off” from the factory but told me that I shouldn’t worry, not a problem. But I am worried that I have driven the car for a month in that condition. Is it likely engine may have suffered in some way? Opinions?

With fluid that low there should have been a few shifting anomalies here and there. Shift flares, balky shifts, etc.

An automatic transmission can be damaged or destroyed in seconds from lack of fluid so my opinion is that the transmission is damaged goods. The only question is how much damage and at what point in the future serious problems rears its head.

I hope you have this documented and you need to let corporate Honda know about this also. The dealer gets paid by Honda to perform a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) on all new vehicles. This means a thorough going over including checking and topping off any fluids.

However, I can tell you what does often happen although I do not know for sure in this case. A PDI is suppsoed to be performed by a qualified, competent mechanic. A lot of dealers get paid for the PDI but choose to either skip the PDI or have it done by a low wage, low skills wash room employee. The qualified mechanic earns much more than the low wage guy so it’s not difficult to see how dealer profit can be enhanced by going the cheaper route.

Ask the dealer who does their PDIs and if they say qualified mechanics, ask to see a copy of the repair order stating so…

@ok4450, last time I was looking at a new car the salesman had the nerve to add $100 to the sale for a PDI to ensure that my new car purchase would be in perfect condition.

What is the capacity, and how much fluid did they put in is the first question, the second is did you use the proper procedure to check the fluid. Most cars I know the engine must be warm, on level ground and running for a proper check.


Here’s something to think about

Many Honda auto transmissions are checked with the engine off

Checking it with the engine running WILL give you an incorrect reading

I suspect it was only slightly low, not bone dry. If it was bone dry, you’d have noticed it was not shifting correctly. Especially if you didn’t check it according to the owners manual. Checking auto xmission fluid on any car is tricky business. It has to be done exactly as specified in the owners manual. Otherwise you’ll get bogus results. On my Ford truck the manual says to drive it at highway speeds until the engine is at normal operating temp, then pull over, with engine running, shift through the gears in a specific sequence, holding it in each gear for a certain amount of time, then returning to Park, and only then checking the level on the dipstick. Every make/model/year is different on how it is supposed to be done.

@asemaster, normally I might say that trying to charge a customer a 100 dollars for a PDI is an all time low but no doubt that somewhere a salesman is trying to trump that one.
Never heard of that one before though…

My assumption was that since the OP checked both engine oil and trans fluid at the same time the engine was not running and the dealer apparently agreed it was low.
What would be interesting to know would be how much fluid it did take to fill it up.
Less than a quart; surviveable. A couple of quarts or more; potential problems down the line.

I know the difference between the high and low point on the dipstick for the CRV is minimal. It is a 5 mm span. Also, Honda is very particular on how you check the level. You have to run/drive the car to normal op temp. Then shut it off and between 30 & 60 seconds later check the level. I also found that mine was difficult to check and also probably a bit low since the factory.