1997 HONDA ACCORD LX, 4-DOOR, 4 CYLINDER - PREMATURE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FAILURE AT 69,550 MILES
Four speed automatic transmission completely failed prematurely for my 1997 Honda Accord LX, 4-door, with only 69,550 miles despite required Honda maintenance, to include automatic transmission fluid changes by the Honda dealer.
The "Check Engine" light illuminated, while the "D4" automatic transmission indicator on the dashboard flashed off and on at the same time. The Honda Accord would not drive in fourth gear and acted as it was "slipping", finally failing to engage in any gear.
Vehicle was towed to Ed Voyles Honda dealership, Cobb Parkway, Marietta, Georgia on September 13, 2011 for diagnosis.
Honda technician(s) advised that the "ECM Code" disclosed that the transmission had completely failed and required replacement.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the Honda Accord with automatic transmissions has an EXTENSIVE history of premature automatic transmission failures at early mileage requiring a total rebuilt transmission and/or new Honda Accord automatic transmission.
Further investigation through interviews with certified transmission mechanics revealed that this "known" premature automatic transmission failure is due to an engineering design flaw. This design flaw consists of the Honda Accord automatic transmission not having outside access to the metal screen internal transmission filter which becomes clogged with gunk and metal shavings, thus starving the transmission, which causes overheating, and further deterioration and premature automatic transmission failure.
Both Honda and specialized transmission dealerships recommend an auxiliary transmission cooler be added in "series" to the existing radiator/transmission cooler to enhance further cooling of the transmission fluid and help extend the life of the automatic transmission by maintaining a lower transmission fluid temperature.
NOTE: This is the second premature automatic transmission failure this writer has experienced with the past year. First was this 1997 Honda Accord, and the second was a 1998 Honda Accord.
SECOND VEHICLE - 1998 HONDA ACCORD LX - 4-DOOR - PREMATURE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FAILURE AT 92,150 MILES
1998 HONDA ACCORD LX, 4-DOOR, 4 CYLINDER - AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FAILURE AT 92,150 MILES
I have a 1998 Honda Accord LX, 4- Door, 4 cylinder, automatic transmission. At approximately 91,000 miles, I noticed that the automatic transmission started to "slip" shifting from first gear into second gear, especially right after the vehicle was just started. This issue would get worse under medium to heavy acceleration.
Having had another 1997 Honda Accord LX, 2 door, automatic transmission, that failed at 69,550 miles, I suspected that the transmission was failing on this 1998 Honda Accord LX. The vehicle was taken to Cottman Transmission for evaluation, and the technician test drove the vehicle immediately after starting up the vehicle in the morning. The technician confirmed the severe "slippage" from first into second gear and ran diagnostic tests on all the electric components, including automatic transmission solenoids. Upon completion and additional examination of the problem, the technician stated that the automatic transmission was failing, and required a total rebuild.
Once the Honda Accord automatic transmission was removed from the Honda Accord and taken apart, it was noted that the internal metal filter was plugged with metal savings, the clutch bands were burned, and an internal electric switch was defective.
Cottman Transmission has a reputable reputation for specializing on rebuilding transmissions, and is very familiar with premature automatic transmission failures on Honda Accords involving numerous years of manufacture. The transmission failures generally occur between 80,000 to 130,000 miles. Yes, Honda Corporation is aware of this major issue, but fails to correct the cause.
The technician explained that there is no way to gain access to the metal automatic transmission filter because there is no transmission pan to unbolt and allow access. Therefore, the metal filter gets plugged up with metal savings and other gunk, plugging the filter, thus starving the transmission of vital transmission fluid, while over-heating the transmission fluid, which further accelerates transmission failure, as heat is an enemy of the automatic transmission.
Cottman Transmission recommends to have the automatic transmission fluid properly flushed between 25,000 to 30,000 miles, while installing an add-on transmission cooler to assist in reducing excessive heat. Hyden makes reputable add-on automatic transmission coolers that will fit Honda Accords and are reasonably priced. Approximately $75.00. Well worth preventive and costly repairs.
Lastly, and most importantly, having the transmission properly flushed is imperative. Most service stations use a detergent mixture during a transmission flush which can actually exacerbate premature transmission failure for the Honda Accords. This causes metal shavings and gunk to further cling to the internal metal transmission filter. Instead, specialized dealers, such as Cottman Transmission, utilize a high pressure flush with their own filters to observe the clarity and accumulation of gunk and metal savings before refilling the automatic transmission with fresh fluid. They do not use a degergent during their flush for the aforementioned reasons.
Sadly, after owning two (2) Honda Accords, 1997 and 1998, I will NOT purchase another Hcnda Accord that are prone to costly transmission repairs. Furthermore, Honda Corporation in California are aware of this major defect, but stll manufacture the Honda Accord with an automatic transmission in which one cannot access the internal automatic transmission to change and/or clean out.
Expect no help and/or compensation from Honda Corporation as pursing that route has been futile. It would seem that Honda Corporation had been over confident in the sale of Hondas in the United States, that the "quality" of their product now suffers.
RECOMMENATIONS IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE:
1. Call American Honda Motor Company, Inc.. 1919 Torrence Blvd., MS 500-2C-6D, Torrence, California 90501 at 1-(800) 999-1009 to lodge a complaint. Even though it is doubtful American Honda Motor Company will offer any relief, it creates a written record of all the complaints regarding premature Honda Accord transmission failures;
2. Submit an on-line complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) having jurisdiction in this matter. The proper website is: firstname.lastname@example.org.;
3. Initiate and submit a "Certified mail - Return Receipt" letter to American Honda Motor Company, Inc., at the above address explaining the problem, including any invoices, relief requested, and that should American Honda Motor Company, Inc., be non-receptive to any relief, inform them that you will no longer purchase Hondas, and will recommend that any of your friends do so also because of the poor quality and American Honda Motor Company failing to handle this widespread known issue in an acceptable mannner;
4. Report this to the U.S. Government National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) via on-line website, declaring this a major safety hazard;
5. Initiate a civil suit and/or hope some legal firm picks up on this and files a class action lawsuit.
These are just some suggestions. The more customers that complain, the higher probability some type of relief will materialize. - wlpatch