Replaced Transmission - A good thing or a bad thing in a used car?


#1

Hi Everyone -



Quick question: I’m looking into buying an '03 Civic Hybrid from a Honda Dealership, and it looked like it was in great shape… and a pretty good deal at 37,000 miles, $15,500… however the dealer just let me know that, as part of the Honda certification process, they are going to have to fully replace the transmission (with a new one) before they sell it to me… I guess it wasn’t in all that great shape!



Do you all think this is:



A) A Good thing? (i.e. A “plus” for buying the car, as it will have a brand new transmission, warrenteed under the Honda Certified program up to 100,000, etc), or



B) A Bad thing? (i.e. A “minus” for buying the car, as it indicates that the car has obviously had some problems, perhaps more future problems, etc).



Thanks so much!



-AV


#2

The problem was/is in the original transmission. The dealer is replacing it with a new one with a warranty. I’d say that’s a good thing.


#3

It is a lot better than having the defective one.


#4

It’s a good thing they’re replacing it.

However…a quick google search indicates there have been problems with the 2003 Civic Hybrid CVT transmissions.

Are they replacing it with EXACTLY what was in there??? Or is this a update version that doesn’t have the same problem. The bad thing about a CVT tranny is that there is nothing to fix in them. If they fail you MUST replace it.


#5

Is that true of all CVT trans.? I am considering buying a new compact car, and many now offer CVT, which interests me. Any advice on where I can get more info?


#6

CVT transmissions, to the best of my knowledge, cannot be rebuilt or perhaps even repaired. They must be replaced.

By the way, what’s wrong with the good, ‘old-fashioned’ 4 or 5 speed autos? They work fine.


#7

CVT transmissions, to the best of my knowledge, cannot be rebuilt or perhaps even repaired. They must be replaced.

Yup…that’s my understanding also.

By the way, what’s wrong with the good, ‘old-fashioned’ 4 or 5 speed autos? They work fine.

Helps achieve their gas mileage ratings. The CVT is more efficient. But if it’s unrepairable and can only be replaced when there’s a problem…I wouldn’t be too thrilled to get one.

One last note…Honda only seemed to have the problem on the 2003 CVT. So maybe they fixed the problem in later years. I also know one person who owns a Nissan Murano which also has a CVT tranny. Currently has 200k miles on it and it’s still going strong…BUT I still don’t like the fact you can’t repair it.


#8

They are just re-designed snow-mobile transmissions. A long, trouble-fee life is NOT one of their strong points. You might ask the dealer how much such a repair COSTS and how long the replacement is guaranteed…$15,000 for a 4+ year old Civic? You can buy a decent NEW car for that…


#9

I echo Caddyman’s sentiments. Put your $15,500 into a brand new car.


#10

Take note that this is a hybrid. A new hybrid for 15k? Laughable.

Hybrids use very small gasoline engines to provide only ENOUGH power. There’s not a lot of extra. With the electric and the gas running full tilt there’s MAYBE 100hp. The CVT is utilized to make efficient use of that tiny amount of power. CVTs are not only efficient, but when up against an identical car with an identical engine and a traditional automatic, manual, stickmatic, dual clutch, etc. they are the faster because they can gear down super low and allow the engine a huge amount of leverage to get the car moving AND once the engine hits the sweet spot, peg the tach there all the way up the speedo.

Nissan Maxmima, 07’, CVT. Yee-freakin-haw cowboys!
(It’s not mine, but I got a chance at it!) =D

-Matt


#11

But another thing.
Ditch the hybrid. Plain and simple.
There’s no point in one. Their milage isn’t much better, the battery efficiency over their lifecycles aren’t really known yet, all sorts of debatable issues are on the table for hybrids.

Peg down the money for a new 07 Civic with some options for that 15 large. Or something comparable. Hyundai’s are nice and have great warranties.

-Matt (again)


#12

It’s the most neutral of positive things. You know that it is a plus but you always wonder if the old one failed because of other factors. So get a four wheel alignment done and if it needs parts replaced, you can assume that it was bad alignment that killed the first transmission. It’s tough to move a car when the wheels are pointing in different directions.


#13

Hybrids use very small gasoline engines to provide only ENOUGH power. There’s not a lot of extra. With the electric and the gas running full tilt there’s MAYBE 100hp.

I think that depends on the Hybrid. The Civic is designed for fuel economy but still has 110hp…

The Camry Hybrid (which I’ve driven) as OVER 190hp.

And you’re right about gas mileage…UNLESS you happen to have the right commute. My neighbor has a Civic hybrid and has a prefect commute for a hybrid…Gets easily 45mpg. That’s a 50% increase over the standard Civic.


#14

FYI, Ford uses helium leak tests on their CVT as standard tests used on automatics aren’t sensitive enough.

That should tell you something about these beasts… :slight_smile:


#15

Buy it if you like it - but make sure you have a warranty - and get rid of it before the warranty ends.

I hate CVT transmissions and will NEVER buy a CVT car again, I spent $7500 to replace the CVT on my Audi with 56k miles on it. It couldn’t be repaired, it had to be replaced and $7500 was the cheapest. It’s not known for reliability.

Call around to transmission shops and find out if your CVT is repairable and how much it costs. Also find out the cost to replace. I would also find out how much the batteries cost - I’ve heard Prius batteries cost $2500 each.

In all, I’d say that car is a potential $ pit if you want to keep it a long time.


#16

Honda sent me a CVT warrenty extension up to 100,000 miles after I had it serviced at 103,000. Coincidence? I had them check it out anyway, as it has been slipping at acceleration from a stop since 70,000. They told my it needed to be replaced, which I chose not to have done, and it still drives fine today at 121,000. Just a little growl upon starting from a stop is the only noticeable difference. The service writer said this was a problem with these, which Honda acknowledges. The complete transmission replacement is a great bonus, as he stated the ones repaired under the extended warrenty only get a clutch pack replaced. Probably to get them through the 100,000.