Accord Transmission Failure- common?

We may earn a small commission from affiliate links and paid advertisements. Terms

f22b1 coupe

Junior Member
I was under the impression, especially after some "hands on research" that the 94-97 auto trannies were damn near bulletproof. I recently advised my friend to buy a 94 Accord EX auto that only had 150,000 miles on it.

As a basic maintenance thing, at the same time I did the timing belt for him I changed the transmission fluid with Honda OEM and even covered the meticulous detail of using a new drain plug washer.

He claims it was an overnight event, but his tranny just started slipping like a bitch today. I took it for a drive and it's TERRIBLE! When I test drove it before he bought it, I did all kinds of stuff to make sure it was up and down shifting properly in all different scenarios. So the guy didn't do any crazy driving (he claims) and at 150,000 it just suddenly burns up. I smelled the fluid on the stick and it smelled burnt, as a side note.

The only things I could picture contributing are the following:

1) Changing the fluid. Old school guys claim you don't wanna do the fluid once it gets old because you do more harm than good. I call bullshit on that one as I have changed Honda transmission fluid dozens of times for people with no catastrophic results. Supposedly there is a mesh screen filter internally in Honda transmissions as a filter of sorts, would simply draining the fluid cause all debris to catch on the mesh and clog it up?

2) His radiator is pretty much shot. I discovered this when I had to basically remove it to access the lower hose clamp to replace the lower radiator hose which I did along with the timing belt and water pump, again, as just good maintenance. Could disconnecting the lines alone create an air pocket where the fluid wouldn't circulate? I wouldn't thing that would be possible. And can the radiator be so bad that it would obstruct the flow of transmission fluid through it, or fail to cool the fluid?

3) He said he never puts it in drive while rolling backwards, but has started to take off before, realized he was revving it in neutral, and then pulled it down into gear, possibly with the engine revved up, basically unintentionally neutral dropping it. In the ignorance of my youth I did that when some friends said it would make me burn out, and I did it from the redline, but still didn't hurt my tranny that bad if at all.

4) Redlining. I suspect he possibly could have "checked it out" a time or two to see what she had when he first got it, but I've redlined several accords frequently, and short of doing it over and over on a hot summer day, I can't imagine that just all out killing the tranny...

Did he just have the worst luck ever? He said for like a week prior it drove fine, but he heard some sort of metallic noise, for whatever that's worth.

Anyway, I feel like a shitty friend for steering him toward this car and then him having it just all out blow the tranny a month into owning his first Honda. He bought this car because the tranny in his Taurus, which he had had rebuilt before, was going out for a second time. However 97 Taurus' are notorious for transmission failure so it was no surprise. Accords, on the other hand, I have heard of no failure outside of severe abuse or significantly higher mileage than what he is at.

We are trying to locate a used one, the best option so far I've seen is a JDM one for $250 plus shipping with 60K on it. Anyone run into any auto tranny compatibility issues with JDM trannies?
Changing the fluid does sometimes hurt older more higher mileage transmissions.

If the fluid smells burnt and it is somewhat fresh fluid, I would assume some clutches are burnt in the transmission.
Last edited:
Well this one's too good to be true- his grandpa paid for the tranny, so he isn't going to complain about the shadiness- but a yard said a 95 tranny had 69K on it- and they sold it for $150. Its some yard in ohio. I call bullshit, the thing was even covered in dried oil- It will surprise me if it really has the smoothness of a transmission that young. So, should I take a risk and replace the brown tranny fluid with honda oem right off?
Honda does everything damn well. Except automatic transmissions. They are garbage. Always buy your hondas in Manual, or be willing to pay the costs of repairing your auto. And yes, swap the fluid, its retarded to think that changing nasty/dead trans fluid would cause harm. This is regular maintenance recommended by honda themselves!
Well, I got that damn thing replaced, the dude's grandpa found a tranny at a yard and they claimed it only had 69K on it and was out of a 95- my ass. No car that old that has that mileage, and if it did, they wouldn't have sold it to him for $125. Anyway, I call it charity to have done it for him for $200, did a lot of other stuff at the same time too, ie ball joints/gaskets. So in a nutshell, the radiator is the only thing that seems suspect to have possibly contributed to the failure- all the fins adjacent to the bottom of the radiator, the transmission cooler basically, were literally gone. So my guess is it overheated. I installed a new radiator and don't expect this tranny to only last him a month- and if it does, I'll know it's his dumb ass driving it wrong somehow.
Oh, point being, if you have an auto, pull your fans and make sure you've got fins across the bottom between the in and out lines for the tranny- heat is the #1 enemy of automatic transmissions I'm told.