Honda Accord Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems: A Comprehensive Guide

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The core automatic transmission shifting issues in Honda Accord vehicles are delays in gear changes, slipping between gears, fluid overheating, and difficulty diagnosing issues. πŸš— Understanding the symptoms like slipping, lack of acceleration, and abnormal noises can help identify problems early. Performing regular maintenance and fixes like checking fluid levels, replacing damaged parts, and inspecting the transmission cooler promotes smooth shifting. 

Learning how the intricate Accord gearbox components interact aids in quick problem identification when issues arise. ☝️With vigilant prevention and early intervention, Honda owners can stop small transmission problems from becoming major repair headaches.

What Causes Honda Accord Transmission Shifting Issues?

Transmission Problem
Possible Causes
Potential Fixes
Irregular Down-Shifting
Shifting into a lower gear unexpectedly
Worn transmission band or clutch
Replace worn transmission band or clutch
Unexpected Acceleration
Sudden acceleration without pressing the gas pedal
Malfunctioning transmission control unit or shift solenoids
Check and repair or replace the transmission control unit or shift solenoids
Slipping Transmission
Transmission slips out of gear, causing jerking motions and hesitation in acceleration/braking
Worn-out transmission bands or clutches
Replace worn transmission bands or clutches
Reverse Gear Not Engaging
Difficulty engaging the reverse gear properly
Issues with planetary gears or linkage system
Repair or replace planetary gears or linkage system
Excessive Oil Consumption
Frequent need to top up oil
Transmission seal issues leading to oil leakage
Check and repair transmission seals to prevent oil leakage
Delayed Shifting
Hesitation in shifting gears, leading to a jerky ride
Low transmission fluid, clogged transmission filter, malfunctioning shift solenoid
Check and top up transmission fluid, clean or replace the transmission filter, or repair/replace malfunctioning shift solenoid
Transmission Slipping
Transmission slips out of automatic gear, resulting in power and acceleration loss
Worn-out clutch, damaged torque converter, low transmission fluid
Replace worn-out clutch, repair or replace the torque converter, and ensure the transmission fluid level is adequate
Transmission fluid overheats, damaging the transmission system
Clogged transmission cooler, low transmission fluid, malfunctioning cooling fan
Clean or replace the transmission cooler, ensure proper transmission fluid levels, and repair or replace the cooling fan as needed
Understanding Automatic Transmission
Complex automatic transmission problems
Various parts involved, including torque converter, planetary gearset, hydraulic system, and computer-controlled system
Gain understanding of automatic transmission system components for better diagnosis and resolution of transmission problems
Low Transmission Fluid
Various symptoms such as slipping gears, delayed shifting, and unexpected acceleration may indicate low transmission fluid
Low transmission fluid level
Check and top up transmission fluid to the recommended level
Worn Transmission Components
Symptoms like slipping transmission or irregular down-shifting may be due to worn transmission bands or clutches
Worn-out transmission bands or clutches
Inspect and replace worn transmission components
Malfunctioning Transmission Control Unit
Issues with gear shifting may result from a malfunctioning transmission control unit
Malfunctioning transmission control unit
Use a diagnostic scanner to identify faults, and repair or replace the malfunctioning transmission control unit as necessary

Honda Accord Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems

Worn-out internal components like bands, clutches, gears, valves, and seals lead to many Accord auto transmission problems. Low fluid levels or leaks and electrical faults also contribute to poor shifting.

Here are the top causes behind Honda Accord automatic transmission shifting issues:

βœ”οΈ Delayed Shifting

Delayed or hesitant gear changes usually stem from low transmission fluid levels, clogged filters and coolers, worn clutches/bands, faulty shift solenoids, and valves, or even problems in the computer-controlled system.

βœ”οΈ Slipping Between Gears

Gears can slip when the internal clutches or bands lose grip. This leads to a sudden loss of acceleration. Worn-out torque converters or loose output shafts can also allow gears to slip.

βœ”οΈ Rough/Jerky Shifting

Shifting gears too hard or abruptly can be caused by low fluid levels, transmission leaks, faulty valves, or even glitches in the electronic control systems.

βœ”οΈ Failure to Engage Gear

If your Accord doesn’t engage a gear properly, especially reverse gear, worn-out planetary gears, damaged gear teeth, or faulty shift linkages could be the reason. Sticking shift valves could also prevent smooth gear engagement.

βœ”οΈ Overheating

Insufficient cooling and low fluid levels may cause Accord automatic transmissions to overheat. Clogged coolers, malfunctioning fans, and internal leaks contribute to this issue.

How Do I Diagnose the Exact Problem?

πŸ€” Getting to the root of Accord auto transmission issues requires a methodical diagnosis process. Here are the key steps:

πŸ”§ Check fluid levels and condition first. Low, dirty, or leaking fluid causes many problems.

πŸ”§ Inspect internal parts like bands, gears, and valves. Look for visible damage or wear/tear.

πŸ”§ Scan for diagnostic trouble codes using an OBD-II scanner tool.

πŸ”§ Test components like solenoids, speed sensors, and pressure switches to pinpoint issues.

πŸ”§ Review transmission computer fault logs for identifiable glitches.

πŸ”§ Test drive while noting driving conditions when problems occur.

Following this diagnosis workflow helps narrow down the exact causes and failures leading to Honda Accord transmission problems.

How to Troubleshoot Honda Accord Transmission Issues?

Before attempting to fix shifting problems yourself, smart Honda Accord owners first troubleshoot to accurately diagnose the root cause.

Here is a simple game plan I use to troubleshoot my transmission issues:

Check Transmission Fluid Level and condition

Using the dipstick, examine the color and transparency of fluid as well as the quantity inside the reservoir.

Blackish, opaque fluid likely means neglected maintenance, leading to particle accumulation and diminished lubrication.

Low fluid levels can initiate hard shifting, too. So begin by topping it off properly after inspecting the dipstick.

Drive in Each Gear

Go for a brief spin up to highway speeds in all forward gears plus reverse.

Make notes on any patterns of delayed shifting, gear slippage, abnormal noises, smells, or jerking motions associated with particular gears.

Scan for Transmission Error Codes

Use an OBD-II scanner connected to the diagnostic port underneath the steering column to check for any stored error codes.

Match codes like P0740 to their transmission component meaning with the vehicle service manual.

These parameters help narrow down trouble areas rapidly. Arm yourself with vital diagnostic clues before wrenching! Now, let’s explore Do-It-Yourself fixes for several prevalent Honda Accord automatic transmission issues.

DIY Solutions for Common Honda Accord Transmission Problems

After proper troubleshooting, here are five DIY tips for resolving widespread transmission problems based on my years of hands-on experience:

Try a Transmission System Flush

Does your Honda slip gears or display P0740/P0730 error codes? A faulty transmission fluid condition is often the culprit. πŸ’§

Every 30,000 miles, drain all old fluid and use a kit to add new fluid until it runs clear minus particles. Select Honda-approved DW-1 fluid only. Band slippage and hydraulic system malfunctions sometimes disappear after a fluid flush!

Adjust the Shift Cable

Does your Honda lurch forward or stay stuck in the park/neutral? A misaligned shift cable might be the smoking gun. πŸ”«

Check for cable slack, allowing too much play. Also, verify the cable housing connects snugly. Adjust cable tension properly + realign connections to restore precise shifting.

Toggle Solenoid Switch

For hesitation shifting between gears or transmission disengagement, attempt toggling the shift lock solenoid switch found under the console.

Switch the button on/off a few times to clean oxidized contacts if a faulty solenoid is suspected based on the error codes stored.

Update Transmission Control Module (TCM) Software

A glitchy TCM processor can contribute to flared shifts, Ravigneaux planetary gear failures, or torque converter clutch issues.

Utilize Honda’s scan tool to update the transmission computer module with the latest software calibration and any patches. This often resolves electronic-based problems plaguing shifting performance.

Flush Torque Converter

Despite a fluid change, if your Honda still exhibits shuddering during accelerating or the check engine light is activated, the lock-up torque converter might malfunction.

Add a torque converter cleaner fluid treatment following the instructions. Drive gently until it circulates sufficiently to dissolve accumulated clutch disc resin. πŸ’Ί

Finally, drain out the cleaner to prevent transmission damage afterward. I recommend trying these more affordable troubleshooting steps first before resorting to major parts replacements!

Honda Accord Transmission Rebuild/Replacement

What if you already diagnosed a mechanical problem requiring substantial transmission repair or replacement in your Honda?

While rebuilding the transmission or replacing it outright are involved jobs best left to seasoned Honda mechanics, here is an overview of what to expect:

πŸ”§ Transmission Rebuild

A transmission rebuild entails comprehensive disassembly to swap out broken hard parts like steel clutch plates, seals, solenoids, and bands with fresh Honda components.

Expect a hefty $2,000+ bill since the transmission must be removed/reinstalled following intricate rebuild procedures. Add more for replacement torque converters or valve bodies.

But rebuilt transmissions offer the most bang for the buck if your tranny issues originate internally.

πŸ”§ Transmission Swap

For external damages like a cracked transmission case or blown axle, performing a complete Honda Accord transmission swap with a low-mileage used/refurbished unit is imperative.

Front-wheel drive Accord transmissions cost roughly $800-$1,500 depending on the model year. However, installation labor doubles the overall expense.

I skipped the junkyard route and found an β€˜07 Accord transmission with only 80k miles online using for $950 total. The transmission specialist charged $700, including fluid refills plus taxes, which came to $1,800 out the door. πŸš—πŸ’¨

While still pricey, choosing a transmission replacement optimizes longevity since all internal components get freshened up, too.

Either transmission repair route beats purchasing a whole new Honda!

Here’s a cost breakdown:

Repair Option
Parts Cost
Labor Hours
Total Estimate
6-8 hours
3-5 hours
New Vehicle


πŸš— What Are The Most Common Honda Accord Transmission Problems?

The most widespread automatic transmission issues on Honda Accord models involve delayed/hard shifting, odd noises, gear slippage, difficulty engaging gears (Reverse), and transmission fluid leaks signaling internal damage.

πŸš— Does A Low Transmission Fluid Level Cause Shifting Problems?

Yes, running low on transmission fluid can easily cause delayed gear changes, slippage, or trouble engaging gears. Checking and changing dirty fluid fixes many shifting issues.

πŸš— Can Faulty Solenoids Or Bad Valves Cause Honda Accord Shifting Problems?

Absolutely stuck shift valves and damaged solenoids that regulate fluid flow/pressure for gear changes are very common sources of Accord transmission problems.

πŸš— Is It Safe To Drive With Honda Accord Transmission Issues?

Driving with severe transmission problems risks further internal damage. But if issues are mild, carefully driving short distances to a repair shop is ok. It’s best not to push an impaired transmission hard.

πŸš— Is There A Recall On Honda Accord Transmissions?

Honda has issued recalls related to 9-speed automatic transmission problems on certain 2018-2020 Accord models. The recalls enable a software update to address rough shifting complaints. No widespread mechanical recalls exist yet.


Like with any automatic gearbox, attentiveness and preventative maintenance help Honda Accord owners avoid frustrating transmission issues. Monitoring behaviors allow early identification of problems before small faults cascade into major repair bills. Regular inspections spot leaks, blockages, and low fluids while component replacements at factory-specified intervals reduce wearing out early.

Patience in accurately diagnosing issues also pays dividends in the long run over premature parts replacements. With vigilance and care, Accord automatics reliably deliver hundreds of thousands of low-cost miles.

Also Read:

Author's Image

M Waqas Saeed

M Waqas Saeed, the author and administrator of HondasolutionX, is a distinguished figure in the automotive industry. With a wealth of experience and an unyielding passion for all things automotive, Waqas has carved a niche for himself. His expertise spans a wide range of topics, from cutting-edge technologies to industry trends. As a seasoned content creator, he blends his automotive knowledge with his skills in SEO content writing, delivering captivating and optimized content. Waqas is dedicated to enhancing the online presence of HondasolutionX, employing creativity and innovation to connect with the target audience and boost web traffic. He's a driving force behind the company's success.