Honda Civic Transmission Problems

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The Honda Civic is a compact car that has been a driver’s favorite for decades.

Known for its reliability, fuel efficiency, and advanced technology, the Civic offers a balance of comfort and performance.

With a range of trims and options to choose from, the Civic can be tailored to suit any driver’s needs.

Whether you’re looking for a daily commuter, a sporty performance car, or a family-friendly sedan, the Honda Civic has something to offer.

Despite its many positive attributes, it’s important to note that some drivers have reported they have faced Honda Civic transmission problem.

These issues vary in severity, and some drivers have had to entirely replace the transmission in their cars.

While these issues are not widespread, potential buyers must be aware of them. These issues are generally associated with some symptoms, some of which are:

  1. RPM Going Up
  2. Transmission Fluid Color Unusual
  3. Gears Not Shifting
  4. Transmission Jerking
  5. Fluid Level Dropping
  6. Transmission Slipping
  7. Whining Sounds
  8. CEL Turned On

These symptoms confirm that the Civic transmission has a problem that needs to be addressed. But what exactly the problem is, can only be found after proper research.

Fortunately, I have completed that research, so you can see the source of the issue.

8 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Honda Civic

Learn how to tell if your Honda Civic transmission is bad or not

The symptoms listed in the introduction can be caused by various problems, which are mostly linked to transmission.

This section will look closely at those issues, so you can understand why they happen.

1. RPM Going Up

One symptom of transmission problems in this car has increased RPM when accelerating.

This can be caused by low transmission fluid levels, resulting in the torque converter not working properly.

This will cause the engine to rev at a high RPM, with a reading of more than 3500 RPM considered excessive.

The fluid might not have been changed for quite some time, or there may be a leak in the system.

When the RPM becomes high, it will result in much faster wear and tear than when the RPM is normally within the 1 to 2000 range.

So, this is something to keep an eye out for. If not addressed quickly, the repair costs may be substantial.

2. Transmission Fluid Color Unusual

Another sign that the transmission in your Honda Civic may not be performing up to the mark is the unusual color of the transmission fluid.

The fluid should be a clear, reddish color, but if it appears dark, brown, or opaque, it may no longer be viscous and may have oxidized due to air bubbles.

This indicates that the fluid has been contaminated and can no longer act as an effective lubricant and coolant.

This can be caused by a lack of regular maintenance, driving in extreme conditions, and overheating the transmission.

If the fluid remains in the car for lengthy periods, you can expect serious transmission issues.

Other symptoms that might occur due to this problem are grinding and delayed gear engagement.

3. Gears Not Shifting

If the transmission is not performing well, it usually surfaces as a difficulty or delays in shifting gears.

This can happen when the transmission has trouble engaging the correct gear, causing a delay in acceleration.

This can be caused by various issues, such as low transmission fluid levels or worn-out clutch in manual transmission vehicles.

These issues can cause the gears to become stuck or not shift at all, leading to more severe problems if not addressed.

The clutch may be dragging if it has worn out too much. This is usually seen in Civics if they are driven for long time.

On the other hand, the fluid level could be low on either of the transmissions. The system may not be able to perform optimally when it drops too low.

4. Transmission Jerking

Jerking refers to a break in the normal operation of the Honda Civic. It may feel like a jump, as the vehicle is not accelerating and decelerating smoothly and slowly.

This issue is usually linked to the transmission but can also be caused by other engine problems. If the transmission is to blame, this may have happened after a recent fluid change.

You may have put in the wrong fluid, which will always cause jerking when driving. Another plausible reason could be low temperatures.

If the car is too cold, the transmission may jerk until the running temperature is normal.

Finally, the transmission oil filter may be to blame if the Civic has not been maintained for a long time. It may have become clogged and may prevent the transfer of fluid.

5. Fluid Level Dropping

This has been the case with many car owners: they fill up the transmission fluid, but it drops quickly.

The time it takes maybe days for some, while it may be a month or two. Regardless, the drop is quick and substantial, which may result in an overheating transmission.

If the transmission’s fluid level is not retained, one might think the system is using it all up.

That is wrong! The only reason that this may be happening could be a leak. The lines may have become hard and may have developed cracks.

The torque pump could have also become damaged, which may have resulted in the transmission fluid leaking.

The leaked fluid usually gathers on the ground below where the car is parked. So, if you have a suspicion, do check that.

6. Transmission Slipping

When the transmission slips, the RPM may shoot up, or the wrong gear will be engaged.

When this happens, a lot of strain is put on the system, resulting in it wearing down much quicker than advertised.

This occurs when the transmission is not able to hold onto the gear, which is something that is not supposed to happen.

This can happen for various reasons, such as wear and tear, low fluid level, or contamination of the transmission fluid.

This can cause the gears to slip, leading to more severe problems if not addressed. The issue is most prominent in Civics, driven for more than 150,000 miles.

If it occurs at the wrong time, it could very well result in a serious accident.

7. Whining Sounds

One of the most annoying problems that can occur with the transmission on the Honda Civic is a whining sound being emitted by it.

This can be caused by a faulty torque converter or failing friction plates.

A torque converter is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the transmission, and a malfunctioning one can cause whining sounds.

Similarly, failing friction plates can also cause whining sounds as they are responsible for engaging and disengaging the gears.

This allows for smooth acceleration when pressing the pedal.

The whining or whistling sound is pretty distinct and is one that anyone will catch immediately.

If the parts mentioned above are why this is happening, you will notice that the noise stops when parked or in neutral.

8. CEL Turned On

Another thing that might alert you that something is wrong with the transmission is that the Check Engine Light (CEL) is turning on.

The CEL is a warning light that appears on a vehicle’s dashboard when the engine control module (ECM) detects a problem with the vehicle’s emissions or engine system.

In the case of transmission problems, the CEL may turn on due to a problem with the transmission control module (TCM) or the transmission itself.

This can be caused by various issues, such as low fluid levels, worn-out internal components, or malfunctioning sensors.

As the system is working unusually, the onboard computer detects that and will turn the CEL on. This means your Civic has suffered or is at serious risk for internal damage.

Preventative Maintenance For The Honda Civic’s Transmission

Preventive maintenance is crucial to maintaining the longevity and reliability of a vehicle’s transmission.

The Honda Civic is no exception; regular maintenance can help prevent transmission problems and ensure the transmission is functioning at its best.

Here are a few key preventive maintenance steps that should be performed on the Honda Civic’s transmission:

1. Check The Transmission Fluid Level

This is one of the most important steps.

Low fluid levels can cause various problems, including gears not shifting properly and whining sounds, as discussed in the previous section.

The fluid level should be checked at regular intervals, such as every oil change, and kept at the proper level as specified in the owner’s manual.

2. Replace The Transmission Fluid And Filter

Over time, transmission fluid can become contaminated and lose its ability to lubricate and cool the transmission.

It is recommended to replace the transmission fluid and filter at regular intervals. Refer your Civic’s manual or your dealer for an exact time frame.

3. Have The Transmission Serviced

Having the transmission serviced at regular intervals, such as every 60,000 miles, is a good idea.

You can drive for up to 100,000 miles, but getting it done as soon as possible is recommended.

During a transmission service, the mechanic will check for any wear and tear and will make any necessary repairs or replacements.

By following these preventive maintenance steps, the transmission can be kept in top condition, and any potential problems can be caught and addressed early on, which can save time, money, and headaches in the long run.

Which Year Did Honda Civic Have Transmission Issues?

If you are looking to buy the Honda Civic but are afraid that the model you buy will have transmission issues, then this section will help you.

You can avoid the ones reported to have the most complaints. Let’s take a look!

2002 Honda Civic

2002 was one of the worst years for the Honda Civic’s transmission.

There were a lot of complaints about the system failing, which meant there was a design flaw in it. There were also complaints about it slipping.

2004 Honda Civic

Many reports suggested that the transmission on the 2004 Civic had a major fault, which would result in a complete failure.

It would shift hard and would produce a lot of sounds. Similar stores were heard two years in the future.

2005 Honda Civic

No improvements were seen in 2005 either. Not only did the transmission fail, but it would also produce many sounds.

There were also reports that the system would introduce shifting delays.

2008 Honda Civic

Fortunately, with the 2008 Civic, the number of complaints was less.

Still, there were complaints of it coming out of gear. Gears were also pretty hard to engage in this model of sedan.

2010 Honda Civic

2010 saw more improvement with the car. There were few complaints that the transmission would shift hard and only one report of complete failure. That is pretty impressive.


2012 Honda Civic

Honda backtracked a bit in 2012. The number of complaints had increased significantly.

There were grinding sounds coming from the transmission when under operation. Reports of it failing on this model also returned.

2013 Honda Civic

Although the transmission did not completely fail on the 2013 Civic, driving with it was still unpleasant.

It would not shift properly at times. It would also downshift and jerk at random intervals.

2014 Honda Civic

The 2014 Civic was miles better than the other ones on this list.

Although there was one complaint that the transmission failed, there were no other mentions of it performing out of the ordinary.

2015 Honda Civic

Honda never could carry on with a streak. In 2015, the number of complaints related to the Civic’s transmission rose again.

It would jerk and hesitate, making the driving experience unpleasant.

2016 Honda Civic

As expected, the reports of transmission problems rose more in the following year.

The 2016 Civic would hesitate and get stuck in the park position. This model certainly had some manufacturing faults.



In conclusion, the Honda Civic is a popular and well-regarded vehicle known for its price-to-performance ratio.

However, it is important for Honda Civic owners to be aware of the potential transmission issues that can arise and take precautionary measures to ensure that it remains in excellent shape for as long as possible.

By performing routine maintenance and being attentive to warning signs, Honda Civic owners can help prevent these problems and enjoy their vehicles for many years.

I hope you can fix your Honda Civic transmission problem at little to no cost and without too much time. It will hopefully be back up and running soon!