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Honda Civic Hybrid Transmission Problems

doradodorado Posts: 7
Bought 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid in 2005. Clean record.

At 44,000 miles transmission went dead per my Honda dealer service department. Replacement $3,500 for refurbished one (told they do not make original ones which raises questions re quality). No advance indication of potential failure.

Why such a short life-span for transmission? Should I replace or sell? Such a costly car!


  • kemtidkemtid Posts: 6
    I just traded my 2003 Hybrid in for a 2006 Hybrid yesterday(Friday). I Never had a problem with the tranny or anything else and it had over 50,220 miles on it. It is probably a fluke thing. If you can find and afford a 2006 the re-design is well worth the money.

    Kevin in CT
  • eaaeaa Posts: 30
    My 2003 with CVT tranny is still perfect. I get 60+ drivin smart. I have about 44K miles.
  • gregcookgregcook Posts: 5
    hi dorado
    my car appears to have just died in the driveway, I suspect the transmission
    current mileage approx. = 140,000
  • doradodorado Posts: 7
    Greg: Thank you for your comment. Did you have any advance indication that there might have been a transmission problem?
    Unfortunately there was no hint of a problem for me and, while the failure happen on the road, I was fortunately able to coast to a safe area.
  • gregcookgregcook Posts: 5
    Yes, it did the same thing to me a few months ago but I ignored it as an isolated event ... until yesterday
  • I have a 2003 that the internal computer came up w/ a code 1890, "slippage between shifts." Dealership told me that I needed a new transmission at 80,xxx miles, but to call Honda Care 800 number. Honda Care called me back and told me that they would pay for the parts, but I would have to pay for labor cost to install it. $920 and 2 weeks later, I have a new transmission and another 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty on the transmission only. I thought it was odd that I was able to drive for a week and a half on a bad transmission. I bought this car to save money on gasoline, not to have to put another $1,000 into the car every 3 years. I was told by my regular mechanic to have the work done and then start sending emails to anybody at Honda that will listen explaining what has happened and that I work for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (newspaper) and see what happens.
  • doradodorado Posts: 7
    Thank you for your posting. I also went to Honda Care on west coast and best I could get from them was the cost of a transmission at "warranty" price - cost $2,600; and this was at only 44,000 miles. I also got the 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty but this is not transferable if I were to trade in the car.

    Were you under warranty and that is why you got a free new transmission? My "new" transmission is a factory rebuilt one.

    In my case it was a near fatal happening when the tansmission just died without any warning while I was on a heavy traffic road -no power all of a sudden!

    All said and done, I had to pay $3,085 (includes necessary towing) which, again, makes the Hond Civic Hybrid a very expenseive car. I also bought it for gas savings and my former loyalty to Honda given the fact that I had a '93 Honda for 255,000 miles and my wife has a '03 Honda Accord.

    A writing campaign might also be something I should do.

    Thank you again for your comments.
  • I was not under warranty. As I stated, the car has 80,xxx miles on it. The car came w/ the standard 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

    I suspect that Honda Care was trying to avoid bad publicity or maybe they are already aware of a bigger problem with their 2003 Civic Hybrids and are trying to sweep it under the carpet. I've only just begun to complain about this.

    Even having to pay $920 installation fee + $100 computer diagnosis fee on a 3 year old car is ridiculous. I too used to be a loyal Honda customer; we have a 2000 Honda Accord too, but I think I'm going to looking at other Manufacturers when our Accord needs to be replaced.
  • gregcookgregcook Posts: 5

    Based on these postings, it appears that there is an early trend to indicate 2003 HONDA Hybrid transmission problem/concern.

    I agree that using all publicity to pressure Honda is appropriate.

    Like you, I purchased the vehicle through my loyalty to Honda and a desire to save on gas mileage ... but the expenses are mounting!

  • raven02raven02 Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid with less than 9000 miles on it. The 3 year warranty will expire in October 2006. I am thinking that I have not driven it enough to really know if it is a lemon or not and perhaps I should just trade it in for a 2006 non-hybrid Civic since I just don't drive enough to get any value out of it. Has anyone heard of the transmission problem with the 2004 model year hybrid. Thanks
  • floglerflogler Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Hybrid w/cvt trans. and had the same problem at 30000 miles. Fortunately all that was needed was a trans fluid change but it is enough for me to sell the car as they wanted 4000 dollars for a rebuilt if not under warranty. I also have the same year and model but with a five speed and it has been a great car and has gotten up to 75 mpg on highway.
  • doradodorado Posts: 7
    Glad to hear that all it took was a trans fluid change. It was my Honda dealership which determined I needed a new transmission which in my case cost $2,600 for a refurbished one - new 3/36000 warranty; but it does not carry over to a new owner if I were to trade in the car! I am sure I will take a beating if I were to trade in now so guess I will have to do with what I have.

    Thanks to all for responses to my initial posting of a 44,000 mile transmission failure.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    You might want to buy a HondaCare extended warranty for 100,000 miles, while you can (before the 3/36 expires).
  • mwowmmwowm Posts: 4
    My wifes 05 HCH -w- CVT did it at 35k miles all dealer maintance. D doesn't light up. car started jumping even if you try to put in park. Dealer replaced tranny; 2 weeks in the shop.
    Previously the MAINTANCE would come on and the car would not go. Put it in gear and it would sit there. Shut it off, curse, restart, it would go. Sometime the light would be on sometimes not. The dealer said they didn't know/believe us their computer said nothing was wrong.

    15k after the replacement tranny it has done it again.

    We just want to get rid of this POS before it is too late.
    I think a major part of the problem are the boneheads in the garage. :lemon:
  • tt_ertt_er Posts: 1
    My car has 116,xxx miles on it and the auto trans is already slipping on my 03 Honda Civic Hybrid. Due to the mileage I am not sure if Honda would work with me or not. Even with 116,xxx miles my trans should not be slipping.

    Any suggestions? By the way I am from the St. Louis area.

    Thank You,

  • doradodorado Posts: 7
    Since I posted my original message re the failure of the transmission on my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid I have been getting messages re transmission failures which leads me to believe that there is something basically wrong with the Honda Hybrid. The analysis of my transmission failure was done at a Honda dealership and should have been an accurate diagnosis.

    The best they would offer me was the price of the trans at warranty price.

    Good luck.
  • thaohienthaohien Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. And about a year ago, it started to shudder and jerk while coasting (i.e. at parking garage speeds) with little gas. It would also jerk going in reverse in the morning when the engine was not fully warmed up. After reading some posts on another site, I asked my dealership to replace the EGR valve. They tried several other things before finally resigning to admitting that it might be the valve. 3-4 weeks later, I FINALLY get the part and the replacement. Cost me over $400!!! The jerking seems gone now.

    But now over the past several months I have noticed a slipping feeling when going from a stopped position and accelerating on the the gas. It feels like my tires are rolling on gravel! I can hear the transmission struggle and rumble with the acceleration. Once accelerated, all other functions are normal and smooth. Also if I accelarate from coasting then no problems.

    I have now been told, after a cursary drive that it is definitely the transmission. Honda will pay 1/2 of the costs (2600) for a new transmission. After reading these posts looks like it actually might be a refurbished one with a new 3yr/36000 mi warranty. Perhaps another transmission fluid replacement would work (per this forum)?

    I am deeply unsatisfied with Honda and Honda service. We bought the Civic because of Honda's rep. for dependability and customer satisfaction, but I think now we will need to rethink this. I am very happy with the Hybrid mileage (45mpg), but the other maintenance problems continue to plaque us!

    We are likely going to do what we can to be rid of this lemon and go back to Toyotas which have a proven track record with us!
  • xafo1xafo1 Posts: 4
    Honda Hybrid 2003 automatic Transmission, a couple of days ago
    the car was riding smothly and suddenly it felt as if it went to neutral. the shift knob is in D the motor runs ok but it won´t move like if it was in neutral. The computer reading was error P0700 Transmision Control Malfunction. Now my problem is that since Honda doesn´t sell this model in my country they will not service it. My Mecanic will not touch it until he gets a hint of what the problem might be.

    Another thing does anybody know where i can get a service manual for this car.

    Thanks for your help
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,679
    Welcome to the forum. What country are you in? The CVT in the early Civic Hybrids have had problems. It could need a fluid change. Hopefully it is still under warranty. I think it is very expensive if it is not.
  • xafo1xafo1 Posts: 4
    I am in Honduras Central America, Honda Dealers haven´t introduced hybrid here. what is CVT? no waranty here.... its a 2003. Any info on service manual to download or buy??

    Thanks for you response
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