Honda Accord Transmission Problems & Overview

In production since 1976, the Honda Accord has been one of the best selling cars in the US since 1979 and was the best selling Japanese car for 15 years between 1982 and 1997. It was the first Japanese car to be manufactured in the United States when production started in Marysville, Ohio in 1982. It has been consistently rated as one of the most reliable vehicles on the market by many road tests over the years. However, a few years have suffered from transmission issues – some of which required recalls. The name “Accord” has been used on a number of different vehicles including crossovers, wagons, coupes and hatchbacks, but the mid-size, four-door car sold in the US is most well known version of the vehicle.

Is there something wrong with your Accord? Let’s look at some of the most common Honda Accord transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your car back on the road.

Common Issues/Codes Summary

Coming soon.

Recalls & Known Problems

2005-2010 Honda Accord – Automatic Transmission Control Module (TCM, PCM) (NHTSA Recall: 11V395000)

In 2011, Honda recalled 2005-2010 model year Honda Accords, equipped with the automatic transmission. Manufactured between July 1, 2004 and September 3, 2010, these cars had a faulty secondary shaft bearing that could fracture and cause all sorts of damage.

According to the recall, “certain driving styles” (see: driving it like a teenager) could cause the outer brace (the round metal band that contains the ball bearings) to fracture. If this happens:

a) The engine could stall/the Check Engine Light could illuminate, if a piece of the broken bearing gets lodged between the idle gear and a sensor housing, or:
b) Part of the bearing could become lodged in the park prawl (the metal piece that engages Park), causing the car to roll away after it’s shifted into Park.

If the latter happens, your Accord could endanger everything from pedestrians to garden gnomes.

Honda dealers were instructed in 2011 to reprogram the transmission control module to keep this from happening. If you’re unsure if the fix was performed on your car, you can call Honda Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009. Be sure to have your VIN number handy, and refer to Honda recall #: R89

1998 Honda Accord – Automatic Transmission Bearing Failure (NHTSA Recall: 98V018000)

Back in 1998, Honda had to recall 33,966 units of the Accord Sedan and Accord Coupe, to fix a problem that prevented the automatic transmission from fully engaging Park.

It seems that a die used to cast the transmission cover, caused an irregularity on the right-side of the cover, which prevented the park prawl (the metal piece that engages Park) actuation lever from properly engaging Park. If this happens, America’s favorite family car would roll after being put in Park – endangering many people, places, and things.

At the time, Honda instructed its dealers to install a collar on the park prawl, which would allow the actuation lever to move freely. If you’re unsure if the fix was performed on your car, you can call Honda Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009. Be sure to have your VIN number handy.

2003-2004 Honda Accord – Automatic Transmission (NHTSA Recall #: 04V176000)

A 1 million+ vehicle recall was issued in 2004, because the automatic transmission that was installed in the 2003-2004 Honda Accord seemed to be prone to early failure. Severe gear damage/breakage could cause the transmission to unexpectedly seize, which could obviously lead to an accident.

Due to insufficient transmission fluid flow, excessive heat can buildup between the countershaft and the secondary shaft second gears (ATF absorbs heat and carries it away from moving parts), which can result in decreased material strength, chipped gear teeth, and in extreme cases, complete gear failure (i.e. it breaks). Unusual noises will typically signal a problem. However, a broken gear can cause the transmission to completely lockup, which would bring the car to a sudden halt.

When the recall was announced, Honda instructed its dealers to do one of two things: 1) Vehicles with less than 15,000 miles received a special ATF oil jet kit, which was installed on a fluid return line. This kit was designed to prevent the problem by injecting cooled transmission fluid directly onto the second gears. 2) If the vehicle had more than 15k miles, the dealer would inspect the gears and either install the jet kit, or install an entire remanufactured transmission. If you’re unsure if the fix was performed on your car, you can call Honda Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009. Be sure to have your VIN number handy, and refer to Honda recall #: P38

What Transmission Does a Honda Accord Have?

YearModelEngineTrans TypeDrive
1999-1998Accord2.3LBAXA/ MAXAFWD
2002-2000Accord2.3LBAXA/ MAXAFWD

How to Diagnose & Fix

  1. Check the OBD Codes
  2. Check the Fluid Level
  3. Test Transmission Pressure
  4. Drop the Transmission Pan
  5. Repair, Replace or Rebuild

What to Read Next

Related Forum Discussions


  1. – Recall 11V395000
  2. – Recall 98V018000
  3. – Recall 04V176000

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27 thoughts on “Honda Accord Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. Don’t buy honda.. this is a known issue they keep putting the flaws to generate revenue.

    I have had a Honda DX civic, Honda coup, accord 97 4 cylinder , 2000 accord.
    I changed the engine and transmission twice..
    Spent over 9 grand for nothing. Going to sue honda. Anyone want to join me…email me..
    I am in Canada..

  2. we have a 91 accord, the automatic trans slips when in drive but if you manually shift the car it shifts fine, we were just wondering if there was some way to find out what the issue could be. My roommate said hes changed the shift solenoid and that did not fix the issue. but I think it could be something else, since if you bypass and manually shift the car there is no slipping. Thanks in advance.

  3. I have a 1991 Honda Accord when I shift into park it’s stays stuck in park. To shift in gear I have use the shift lock to out of gear.

  4. Hi
    I have a 1992 honda Accord. After I drive on the highway and get off an exit and come to a stop sign, the transmission will not shift and then I have to turn the car off and wait about an hour for it to cool down. Then I restart and the tranny shifts as it should for a while. Then I drive locally for a while and it happens again. Is there anyone who can tell me what this could be? I really need help as I have become unemployed and cannot afford to purchase a new car, but possible if it is something that is repairable I can manage it and have transportation.

  5. I have a 2000 Honda Accord. Drove it for a hour and it started idling high then low over and over. It wont go into gear. What could it be? Its my first Honda. It was running fine then this happened all of a sudden.

  6. I have a 2002 Honda accord baby boy, when ever the engine is cool the auto transmission works pretty well but after going a few distance it jerks when taking a stop or slowing down . When the gear is back counting to 1 and makes a grinding sound while trying to make with speed

  7. I have a 2007 Accord sedan, and I lost my reverse for no reason, or warning. The car drove fine, shifted fine and have driven it over 1500 miles since losing the gear. I have had two other transmission failures with previous vehicle, not Honda cars, and I could tell months in advance when things were going bad. This car, nothing, no warning, just gone.
    At first I could go from park to reverse, but not drive into reverse, eventually it failed. My car was not part of the recall for this year model.
    I am wondering if there is an underlying issue that can be causing this? Because there was no warning, the car drove fine and I’ve had it for only 40,000 miles and could not have put more than 2 or 3 miles on the reverse gear in that time.
    I am currently in the process of replacing it, and would like to know if there is anything extra that should be done to prevent this from happening again.

  8. I got a 96 accord 278000 miles with not one problem still same fluid from factory still working as if it justed rolled off the assemble line

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