Possible transmission trouble with 1999 Honda Accord Coupe LX automatic V6

When I shift the car from park to reverse it feels like it is shifting hard. I also experience this noticeable hard shifting as I go from 1st to 2nd etc. Typically, this issue happens when the car has been sitting for a couple of days. If I make a trip a few hours after I have driven it I notice that it will shift fairly smoothly from park to reverse and throughout the other gears. Before I bought the car I experienced the same thing and when I went to a mechanic for a second opinion he just said everything looked fine with the car. When I asked him about the hard shifting he said it was typical characteristic of a Honda. I bought this car at 103,000 miles and have had it for over a year and have only put a little over 3,000 miles on it. There has been no history of any issues with the transmission in this car.

My wife and I are moving and trying to figure out if this car is worth keeping or not. We will lose money if we sell it, but I don’t want to keep it if a costly transmission fix is in our near future.

Modern fluid conducts electricity so the car’s computer can “talk” to the transmission. If it were mine, the first thing I’d do is have the fluid changed using HONDA fluid. Since you only put 3000 miles on it in a year, it should be many years before it goes out.

Honda has come out with a new ATF that helps solve the shifting problems, particularly shifting while cold. Take it to your Honda dealer have have to fluid changed to the new type. You can have them do a single drain and fill which only replaces 2.5 qts of the 6 qt capacity or you can have them do two or three drain and refills back to back.

Honda does not recommend any type of flushing with this transmission even though some dealers will offer it. The new fluid exchange machines may not hurt the transmission if they first drain and refill the transmission (the filter is not replaceable and the transmission does not have a drain pan, only a drain plug), then hook up the fluid exchange machine and replace the other 3.5 qts.

However, a single drain and refill on our 97 Accord 4 cylinder made a world of difference in smoothing out the shifting issues.

BTW, if anyone has put any other type of ATF other than Honda ATF, it will not shift correctly. The a fluid exchange as I described will be necessary.

Upon changing it to the Honda ATF, should there be an immediate difference or does it take a while to notice? We’re just approaching a time crunch with needing to know whether or not to sell it and this is the greatest concern with the car. Thank you for your help!

It was immediate in my case.