Honda AT transmissions are common to have failure and I have rebuilt many of these over the years. Most transmissions have a pan you can remove and service the filter, which is a common service at around 30K to maybe 60K depending on the manufacturer and type of fluid ran in the transmission. Honda automatic transmissions have a closed case design to where there is no serviceable filter. This seem stupid to me because other manufacturers have serviceable filters and they’re going as far as having a screw on style filter along with a serviceable filter in the pan. That would be a Chrysler Jeep AT transmission I’m referring to (funny they offer lifetime powertrain warranty). Anyways, Honda has been designing these transmission this way for ever without problems, they were good transmissions in my opinion. Around the years of the three shaft Honda AT trans “1999 to 2000 and up I believe, don’t quote me on that though” they started using a incased style filter that you would see in a serviceable style pan transmission and that is when I started seeing all these problems with Honda AT transmission failure! Everyone that I seen failed because the non-servicable filter plugged up and the transmission looses line pressure which causes all kind of problems and eventually complete transmission failure. Don’t get this wrong either, the filters are serviceable if you remove the transmission and split the case. That shouldn’t be that hard huh?
Old Style vs New Style Honda AT transmissions
On the older versions of Honda AT transmissions they used a screen that was way under the valve body and separator plate and it would eventually get plugged up, but keep in mind this is a screen not a full on filter so the majority of wear material would just cycle through and get ground up in the pump. You would end up with dirty ATF and you could flush it out, not bad huh?
The newer versions used a fiber style filer incased in a plastic housing similar to the ones you would see in a transmission with a removable pan. These filters get plugged up way to easy and cause pre-mature transmission failure.
Honda Automatic Transmission Failure Prevention
So, how would you prevent this from happening to your Honda AT transmission? Well, it would be hard to know for sure if your not the only owner but I would have these transmission serviced way more than the factory recommendations, maybe drain and fill ever 10 – 15K and complete flush every 30K. The problem is that most every one of these Honda’s on the road today are already past that point and have had many owners. The best you could do from here is keep that ATF CLEAN as possible…
Honda Transmission Failure Signs
You may ask, are there signs that I can look for? The most common problem I have seen related to this restricted filter problem will be a delayed engagement from park to drive or reverse. I have also seen them slip after driving for awhile and after you turn it off and restart it works fine again, this is because all the material restricting the filter falls when off and while driving it slowly sucks it back up restricting it to the point where the vehicle will not move. Either way, there is not much you can do at this point except start planning for transmission repair and save your money while you keep driving the car, just baby it around and make sure to have some type of towing coverage.