Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Should I flush and replace the transmission fluid

Hi - I have a 2002 Honda Accord SE Sedan. 119K miles. The transmission slips sometimes especially when I start after stopping at a red light. My mechanic recommended not to change the transmission fluid as the transmission can go down and might need a new transmission. He also told me that 2002 Honda Accords are known for this issue.

So my question: Is my mechanic right? Or should I go ahead and flush the transmission fluid and replace it? Please advise.

Thank you.

Others will disagree but if you haven’t changed your fluid every 30K, you’ll probably be due for a trans overhaul anyway. I never flush but just drain and refill. Flushing may dislodge the particles that have built up over the years so right now, I’d just drain and refill with Honda fluid. If you flush, then you need to also drain and refill again a short time later.

Didn’t some of the guys say that you need to do 3 drain and refills to get all of the old fluid out?

“if you haven’t changed your fluid every 30K, you’ll probably be due for a trans overhaul anyway.”

With any automatic transmission, if you have gone over 100k w/o 3 trans fluid changes, a trans overhaul is a likely thing by 119k.
With a Honda of that era–a make which is known for having weak transmissions–you can replace “likely” in the previous sentence with “sure”.

I would suggest that the OP take the car to an independent trans shop (NOT to a chain-run place like Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or–God forbid–AAMCO) for an evaluation of the trans problem. Just prepare yourself for some bad news.

'With any automatic transmission, if you have gone over 100k w/o 3 trans fluid changes, a trans overhaul is a likely thing by 119k."

Doesn’t that statement need to be qualified with words like “some automatics might”, or “depending on if you tow”?

With our two Toyota vehicles (no dipstick and WS fluid), we’ve had 3 Toyota dealerships and 2 local independent transmission shops tell us not to change the fluid until 100K miles.

Do they not know what they are talking about?

Yeah, they tell you not to change the oil for 10K miles too but if you talk to the mechanics you’ll probably get a different story.

Joe, the point is, the recommendations in the manuals are designed to get the car past the warrantee period, and with a minimum of fluid changes. The latter is due to European requirements on fluid use.

So they don’t give a rat’s a-- if the transmission dies just after the warrantee expires.

Sorry guys. I don’t buy it. When the mechanics and owners of the independent transmission places say the fluid doesn’t need to be changed till 100K miles, what motivation is in it for them?

The majority of people who buy new cars only keep them for 6-7 years. A good percentage never change their trans fluid, and never have a problem. Why should they change?

I agree with 30K changes if you tow, or have a vehicle with unique requirements. But it’s misleading to issue a blanket 30K requirement statement.

If the independent trans shops told me “for your specific vehicle and the driving you do, you should change more frequently, like 30K or 50K”, then I’d listen to them.

Flush the fluid, change the filter and see how it goes, then go to step 2, ie: rebuild if needed.

No flush

just drain and refill

3 drain and refills, if you want to get it all out, from what I hear

Well everyone can do as they please as long as they inform the new buyer of their lack of maintenance when they trade. I’m not the one with the transmission problem though. I relate when I had the transmission in my Riviera overhauled at 350K just because I was driving all over the state and didn’t want to chance a break-down. The trans shop said it didn’t really look that bad at 350K. I suppose no one really cares if they get to 300K or not so suit yourself.

Something just occurred to me :fearful:

Are we 100% sure this is actually an automatic transmission

After all, there were probably some 2002 Accords sold with a manual transmission

And if the clutch is not 100%, there could be some slipping

and if it’s an automatic, does it even have a pan and a filter, or is it one of those that’s built more like a manual transmission?