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Honda Civic Hybrid Transmission Problems



  • Dear "Just a girl":
    Trust me, you're at no greater disadvantage in dealing with Honda than anyone else. Their handling of the CVT transmission fiasco appears to have been pretty consistent regardless of owner gender or other demographic factors...TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE...unless you live in Japan, where you would have benefitted by a recall.
    I had a 2003 HONDA Civic Hybrid in the traditional tan tone for 6+ years. I started having judder at about 70,000 miles. Dealerships at the time (2006-2009) kept changing my trans fluid and doing the legendary "burnish" treatment at around $150 a pop. After three years of frustration, down time and many $$$...despite having paid for the extended warrantee (which was useless since it doesn't cover transmission fluid)...I did the only thing I could do to resolve these frustrations: I traded it in on a 2009 Toyota Prius! Despite all of the bad press on Toyota recall issues, we remain VERY happy with this choice. The point is, Toyota actually DOES recalls, standing behind their products. HONDA seems to have another agenda that seriously fails to protect its customers, at least those who purchased the HONDA Civic Hybrid with the CVT from 2003 to now.

    So Jerry, the only recommendation I can offer is to trade your HONDA Civic Hybrid in on the vehicle of choice, as the only definitive and cost effective solution to your HONDA problems. I can assure you I will NEVER purchase another HONDA automobile, nor will I recommend a HONDA to anyone else.

    Good luck Jerry,
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    listen to him. Honda does not cherish it's customers anymore. they abused me with rotten transmissions in both, my '03 HCH and my '02 Odyssey. and, they know about it..!! Honda knowingly makes the defects..deny it..lead you to the dealers..and the dealers abuse you. It's quite the scam. I will never buy Honda again. They don't care. :lemon:
  • I have a 2005 Civic Hybrid with manual transmission that has served well for the last 6 years. I started having problems with the transmission at about 70,000 miles. It would intermittently fail to engage in reverse gear. Although the lever was placed in the proper position and the clutch engaged it would not move. Moving the gears through several positions would usually get it to engage.

    I was told by the dealer that this was normal and resulted from not placing the transmission in first gear before moving it to the reverse gear position. That sounded strange to me. Now at 160,000 miles the problem continues to plague this car. Sometimes the gear shift needs to be run through the 1st gear to reverse gear positions 2 or 3 times before it will engage. Occasionally it will start out alright and then pop out of reverse while rolling. This is particularly bad when parked front down on a hill and needing to back out of the position.

    The dealer has not been able or willing to confirm this problem and continues to insist that there is no problem and that the issue is inherent in the design of the syncros and that the manipulation of the gear lever is a required part of running this transmission properly.

    Is this a common problem with the honda manual transmission? Is it a design flaw? Is it worth the $600 that the dealer would charge me to tear it down to see if there is something wrong? Would I be better served to get an opinion from a transmission shop rather than the dealer?

    Interested in your opinions,

  • Well, at 160,000 miles, it wouldn't be unexpected to have some problems with a manual transmission. They do wear out eventually, usually the synchronizers go first, then the sliders. The sliders engage gears on the various shafts in a manual tranny. I am not sure if reverse is synchronized in your tranny or not. It does sound like you have a bad slider, though. Bad sliders will cause the trans to pop out of gear, the teeth on the slider become worn and are more likely to disengage from the gear they are trying to engage.

    Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to have a COMPETENT mechanic pull the transmission out and tear it down. I say competent because most places will just tell you that you need a new transmission. They don't rebuild transmissions themselves. It's quicker for them, and they usually mark up the transmission about 30% over what they paid for it.

    A competent shop can fix the reverse slider (and sync if applicable) only, but at 160,000 miles, it's a good bet that the rest of the transmission should be rebuilt. Oh, and I don't believe this problem is a design flaw, or the way you have been shifting into reverse (as long as it doesn't grind).

    Good luck!
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Honda dealerships thrive on the factory defects. It is a well known fact the the HCH transmissions are defective. I would look around your area for a good transmission shop and ask them if they can handle the CVT tranny. there are many that can these days since the technology has been around for a while.
    good luck. I will never buy anything made by Honda again. they do not treasure their customer like Toyota does. :lemon:
  • I have a 2007 HCH CVT with 103,500 miles on it and the dealer says I need a new transmission. At 101,500 it was discovered that there are metal shavings in the tranny fluid after I had the dealer check out a noise that I have when the motor restarts after AutoStop. I have had the noise for at least 5,000 miles but just had the dealer check it out when I did because the noise got much worse over the previous weekend. Unfortunately, the 100,000 mi extended warranty had just expired. That part is on me. Should have pushed the issue earlier. Power on the hills is way down though on the last tank from Albuquerque to Denver I got almost 50 mpg and most of it is uphill.
    Be that as it may, I had the dealer change the transmission fluid and I proceeded to drive >2400 miles in the last 10 days and it still sounds about the same. They say they don't know if the transmission will last another 50,000 miles or 5 miles.
    Honda America is offering to pay for 1/2 of the $3800 a new trans will cost.
    Anyone have a similar experience and what has Honda offered to pay on their transmission? I did see where they offered $700 to one person so this is a better deal but if this is a known defect I think they should ante up more. What kind of estimates have any of you received on replacing a similar transmission?

    As an aside, I really hate the software update that Honda installed last fall. Really reduces the assist from the batteries.

    Thanks for any input.
  • tedd50tedd50 Posts: 7
    If the dealer will pay 50%, I would go for it. It, being a new Transmission!! A year ago they agreed to pay half of my repair bill to fix my CVT Tranny - several months and 20,000 miles later the Tranny went out. That time I had to pay almost $4,000 for a new Tranny, and the dealer wouldn't help. I need my car, so I paid. I posted the outcome here at Edmonds about six months ago.
  • I'm with "ted50"...If you are intent in keeping the HCH, take the deal. 50% is far better than the nothing I and so many others (read this Forum) were offered. Mine was a first year HCH (an '03)...It is very disappointing that you had this same problem in an '07. Honda really didn't learn from experience. The fact that they continued to produce this "time bomb" 5 years later without coming clean with their problem with the American public is why, after 40+ years of Honda ownership (everything from motorcycles to cars to outboards and generators), I'll never buy nor recommend anything "Honda". I traded my HCH in on a (then) new '09 Prius...we have also an '05 Sienna, '10 Subaru, and a '95 Subaru in our "stable"...and those firms have continually stood behind their products with service, support, and, yes, the occasional recall. I've never felt abandoned by those firms, unlike my experience with Honda America. Good luck with your HCH!
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    get rid of the vehicle. buy anything but a Honda. they are an awful company that does not treasure their customers and make defective products they do not stand behind. Take the money you were going to spend on the tranny and put a down payment on a different vehicle. I will anything made by Honda. :lemon:
  • Go back through the posts and find the ones I posted about my tranny problem. Mine was making noise when I put it in drive or reverse and when it came back on from autostop. I fixed it myself. Here are some pictures and a description of the repair. I hope this helps you out.

    The honda dealerships don't repair anything, they just change parts... to them, a 'part' is a WHOLE transmission, not a bearing or valve body or intermediate plate. Why throw away an entire transmission when the problem might only be a $10.95 bearing? The Honda dealerships don't want to mess with pulling apart a tranny... probably because of lack of knowledge or not wanting to spend the time on it. Good luck!
  • hjb417hjb417 Posts: 2
    edited February 2011
    A class action would be great. The NTSHA has 50 logged complaints so far ( - smission). Mine failed this week at 181K miles, but I've been experiencing transmission problems since I bought the car. I just wasn't aware at the time that the transmission was faulty since this was my first vehicle.
    (I bought the car new, it's a 2003 HCH)
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  • I'm inclined to agree with the class action suit. I'm not sue happy, but it seems that Honda America has set owners up for this huge expense by not retifying the problem during any of the 7 years following the release of their first HCH model in 2003. I have an '03 HCH with 153K and a busted tranny. At this point, it appears that it will cost me over half of I owe on the car to get it fixed - and it's valued at less than what the tranny costs to begin with! I think I'm going to take the advice of an earlier post and try to fix the dang thing myself (I already tried flushing the fluid myself- might as well go all the way).
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  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Hondo Corporate knows about the defects. They were recalled in Japan. Honda makes defective components so their dealerships can abuse the customer base by many methods. I won't ever buy anything made by Honda. They do not treasure their customers anymore.
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    there must be an attorney out there with some brass balls that would like to take this blatant abuse by Honda and bringing it to light. the evidence is overwhelming. I have an '02 Odyssey that was manufactured with a defective transmission which Honda ordered a recall to slap, basically, a band aid on it. when I had the transmission repaired by someone who knows what they are doing, Honda corporate refused to reimburse me for the cost because I did not go to a dealership for the repair. I find this to be outrageous. They know the tranny was defective... because its in the owners manual..!! and, I think ts up to me to decide where I can get a proper repair! the '03 HCH is no different! they know the tranny was defective from the get go.
  • Deweyfan....
    I am curious about what problem you are having with your 03 HCH. Is it a manual or automatic transmission? I have seen several different problems described here, most having to do with automatic transmissions... either the Flywheel splines stripping, or a bad bearing. I've done both repairs, so I can help if you want it.
  • I am about to buy a 2003 Civic hybrid, a honda dealership just replaced the transmission last year. Should I be skeptical about it, or once they fix it once is it good to go?
  • have they been good since you fixed them. How long ago did you fix it?
  • I wouldn't buy it for three reasons. 1. the flywheel on the early HCH models tends to strip where the tranny input shaft splines into it. 2. the replacement trannys are no better than the originals. 3. the IMA battery pack (that runs the hybrid electric motor) has a limited lifespan, just like all batteries do, and at 8 years old, it can't have much time left. Unless all three have been replaced and the car is priced $1000 under blue book value, I wouldn't go near it. Even the newer HCH models (2006 and up) have transmission problems... and they cost BIG bucks if you have to buy one.
  • I replaced a flywheel on a 2004 HCH about 9 months ago, it is still doing fine. In my personal car, 2008 HCH, the transmission is working well with the new bearing. My gas mileage has gone from 42mpg hwy to a little over 46 hwy, which is the same as it was when new. I have put about 6,000 miles on it since I repaired it back in November. The original bearing started making noise at 65,000 miles so I won't know for sure if the new bearing is a good replacement until I put at least 60,000 MORE miles on the car. The new bearing has to outlast the original bearing to be considered as a proper replacement. Go to to see how I fixed that transmission myself for around $150.
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    DON'T BUY IT...!!
  • yupcarsyupcars Posts: 1
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry to post such a popular and repeated problem, but I have been surfing these forums for the past 2 hours and am just looking for a specific answer to my case. So I am hoping that any forum veteran or knowledgeable person may inform me. I wanted to get some opinions before I went into a repair shop and have them rob me blind. From what I gathered on this forum, my wallet and I are thoroughly frightened.

    I have a 2003 HCH with about 80,000 miles on it.
    About a month ago I noticed slipping when I would accelerate every time. It would rev and vibrate in place for a couple of seconds before jerking, kind of like a boom/burst, into acceleration. In this last week the slipping has actually decreased to almost never. It only slips when accelerating from a complete stop up a hill or from coasting to up a hill. Even though there is less slipping, my car has begun to shake more than usual when stopped. After accelerating, the car seems normal, but tends to mildly shake and struggle while stopped. Does this mean the accelerator is perhaps starting to catch again or is it about to breakdown completely? What could be the cause for the mild, but noticeable shake my car does while stopped? Is this a repair that I should have checked immediately?

    I, too, have also had the bucking/jerking problem when taking my foot off of the gas pedal to coast. After the recall, I was fixed for oh, 2 months, then started up again but with less intensity. I called the dealer and they said there was nothing I could do unless I wanted to pay to have it replace again. It has had this problem for years now, because I just do not have the money to pay for another service. Does this problem normally intensify as the years go on? Is the root of this bucking problem causing irreparable damage to my car or is it reasonable to leave it as is and let people think that I just like to stomp on the brakes intermittently? :P

    Thank you!
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    get rid of the car......!
  • tedd50tedd50 Posts: 7
    Go back to your honda dealer and ask them for the Honda Referee's phone number and email address. Tell them you are going to go over their head and onto the next level. You paid for a repair that should of been free and now they want to stick it to you again. Tell them "No Way"! tedd50
  • croniercronier Posts: 1
    I agree. Just had my Civic Coupe 2006 at local dealer. Has 43,800 km.
    Needs front strut and rear shocks. Best is I reported a problem before, but was told it is 'something in the trunk rolling around'.
    Maybe Honda needs a wake-up like Toyota.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    edited March 2011
    Why does Consumer Reports and Honda ignore the faulty transmission problem? I suppose that all of the messages on this board are insufficient to be statistically significant, but there must be a lot more! I got rid of mine, but I miss the 37 mpg average over 6 years...
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    a classic example of how Honda dealerships misinform and abuse their customers. unfortunately, the majority of Honda owners don"t know how they are being abused. check out their facebook page, it's all sugar and spice and everything nice. all problems are swept under the rug and ignored. I know one thing for sure. I am never purchasing another Honda product ever. Even if they put out a 100mpg (or 100mpc) vehicle. They are a fraud. At least Toyota stands up to their mistakes and take care of their customers. Honda does not treasure their customers. :lemon:
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Honda has been manufacturing defective transmissions since 1996. The problem is big. I know a transmission shop that makes a nice living from the defective transmissions. and, the dealership (Honda) fix is just as bad as the original. Consumer reports does not want to lose a customer is the only reason I can think of for the wink and nod....or there must be $omething else involved.
    I have written to the President of Honda and have been ignored or given the corporate shuffle.
    Honda does not treasure their customers. :lemon:
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