Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Stuck in 2nd

Auto trans shifts into 2nd at random. The green light labeled S lights at the same time. I’ve attempted to disable the Sport setting by cutting the wires that lead to the switch on the shift selector, but that has had no effect. How do I disable the Sport function? Will that cure the trouble?

“Cutting the wires?” You cut the wires?

What were you thinking? You can’t go cutting wires. That’s an invitation to trouble.

“Will that cure the trouble?”

I doubt it.

I was thinking of disabling the Sport function, which seems to activate by itself without warning. I drove sports cars (MGs, TRs, Fiats,etc.) for 40 years and decided to let something else shift for a change. In fact, I can hardly wait for automatic braking so I can just focus on the gas pedal.

Who can tell me where the device that activates the Sport function is located on the trans?

Do you have the owner’s manual? Your transmission may be shifting into “safe” mode which is a sign of significant transmission problems. Check the manual.

Uncle Turbo beat me to it!
The symptoms described could indeed be a damaged transmission that is defaulting to “safe mode”. Additionally, the illuminated transmission indicator light could be a signal of a problem with the transmission’s electronic controls.

I suggest that the OP do two things:
Repair the severed wires
Take the car to an independent trans shop for examination

“Safe mode”? Really? The trans works fine otherwise, shifts smoothly, doesn’t slip, acts completely normal. However, I removed the cover from the shifter and noticed the everytime the trans shifts into S (for Sport) the solenoid for the lock into Park activates. It would seem some short is affecting both the solenoid and the Sport setting. Doesn’t that sound logical? Those wires just disappear. Where do they come out at the other end? Appreciate the help, thanks.

Just cut them, cut all of the wires, that will solve your problem. I guarantee it. Hey, they just disappear. How important can they be?

Cut them all, just like you cut the wires that led to the switch on the shift selector.

What could possibly go wrong? You’ve already cut a couple of wires and it made no difference. Cut some more. C’mon, what have you got to lose? Cut those wires.

Surely, when you cut the right wire, the transmission will return to normal operation.

Please post back and let us know when this happens.

I bet you think a switch is a magical device, don’t you? Removing a switch from a circuit doesn’t change the circuit, it deactivates the circuit. I just want to deactivate the Sport setting on the trans, a Honda Accord isn’t a sports car. By cutting the wires I’ve eliminated the possibility of a defective switch. Since the dash light still goes on, it looks like it is getting power from some other source, like a short.

While your simplistic explaination of a switch makes sense you are discounting the complicated and interacting wiring of a modern automobile. Since you don’t where the wires end up, where they go, and what circuts they interact with cutting any wire is a risky action.

If you had a complete and comprehensive wiring diagram that you could interpret accurately it would be a different story. Whatever, keep snipping away until something changes, either for the better or worse.

My 1989 junky Caravan some years ago stopped shifting out of second, and that is exactly what it was doing. Safe mode when something exceeded the computer’s capacity to run things defaulted to second gear on a safe, limp home basis.

The problem was a bad connection on the cable going to the speed sensor which the computer needs to know how fast the car is going as part of it’s calculations.

I googled and found that one mechanic said on older Honda models (you did not tell us the age of your car which makes things hard for us) there is a separate transmission computer which can screw up and cause this.

Gee, I wonder if the solution to transmission problems on those old Hondas was to start cutting wires at random? It sure seems easier than actually replacing parts.


Today it went 15 miles in second (my Fiats would cruise all day at 4000+, the Honda will do 60 easy in second, so what’s the problem?). Coming home it shifted normally into overdrive and gave no trouble. The Honda is a '91. The only manual I have doesn’t show any electrical wiring for the trans. Bad connections do account for a lot of intermittent surprises don’t they? Thanks.