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Warmup time for automatic transmission

Hi All,

I just bought this '99 Automatic Accord and ever since the first test drive it has shifted promptly when cold, then it went away as the engine warmed up. I understand this is normal because the trans fluid is “gooey” when cold and even the Owner’s manual says “this transmission will shift late when cold to help the engine warm up more quickly.”

Today I drove the car a relatively short distance (to the gas station up the road, then to the car wash and back to campus). Maybe 1.5 miles round trip. I noticed that even with the car “warmed up” the car still shifted pretty hard from 1st to 2nd in particular.

My question is, even with the engine warmed up is it possible for the transmission to still be luke-warm and therefore need more time to warm up thus smoother shifting ?

The temp outside was approx. 40F and it may be worth noting that the car sat for approx. 4 days before being driven.

I always read horror stories about these transmissions puking early and just want to make sure mine isn’t next! Thanks!

1.5 miles, with stops, is not enough to warm up the engine or the transmission if the temperature is 40F. Short trips at low speed in cold weather are the hardest thing on a car. If you drive the car this way on a regular basis you should follow the “Severe Service” maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.

When the weather, and/or the transmission, is cold, the transmission will remain in each gear a bit longer to help warm up the engine. You want the engine to reach normal operating temperature as quickly as possible. This reduces harmful exhaust emissions and improves fuel mileage.

I don’t understand the “shifted promptly, then went away” part of your post. What does “went away” mean? For that matter, what does “shifted promptly” mean?

Honda automatics of that vintage are pretty harsh shifting IMHO. I can imagine with 9 years on them and the cold it only is worse.

Maybe try riding in another one and see it is, it may be perfectly normal. I like Honda manual tranny’s but their automatics always left something to be desired.

By shifted promptly I mean, shifted later than normal. Not necessarily a harsh shift, but prompt. It shifted smoothly after the engine had a chance to warm.

Ohh yea I also forgot to mention that the traffic on the way to and from my errands indeed did crawl and there were several stop lights so that’s why the engine probably didn’t get completely warmed up. That and the fact that the car was shut off twice during the whole trip. I seldom drive my car around town, mainly just direct to the highway every weekend. Thanks.

1.5 miles is not much towards warming the automatic transmission fluid up to normal. On the other hand, how old is that fluid? If it is over 40,000 miles I would suggest having it changed (drain, remove pan, clean pan and filter, not a flush) That should help you get a longer life out of the transmission and may, but I doubt it, help what you are observing.

Under the conditions you describe I’d say this sounds perfectly normal. Enjoy your Accord.