Is my Accord's transmission broken?
March 14, 2011 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Is my Accord's transmission broken?

So my 2000 Honda Accord drives fine with an exception: when reversing up a hill, even a slight one, the car makes a loud hissy sputtering sound, and the car will cease to move after a little bit. A quick shift back into park and then again into reverse and we can move again. If you floor it in reverse the sound is pretty loud and the car creeps backwards but if the hill is too steep the car won't move. I park on the street in San Francisco; I kind of need for my car to be able to negotiate hills backwards sometimes.

To recap: car drives fine in forward. In reverse, if backing up a hill, hisses and won't go, or won't go much despite high revs.

Is my Accord's transmission broken? Am I hosed? Just need to top up the transmission fluid? What do I call this problem when I take it in?
posted by gyusan to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
 
Checking the transmission fluid would shed a lot of light on this issue and steer you to the right answer. I owned an Accord and it takes 20 seconds... the engine should be warm and running, and you should shift through the gears once before you get out and check. In addition to the level, look at the fluid itself; it should be reddish and clear.
posted by crapmatic at 11:10 AM on March 14, 2011


* Clarification: "look at the fluid itself" -- on the dipstick
posted by crapmatic at 11:12 AM on March 14, 2011


It sounds to me like the fluid level is low in the transmission. You should check that ASAP. To check trans fluid the car has to be running and up to operating temperature (drive around the block a couple of times). Cycle the gear selector through all the gears and check the fluid in park (remember to leave the engine running while you do this.

If it does need fluid, make sure you use the correct type.
posted by Capa at 11:13 AM on March 14, 2011


In addition to the level, look at the fluid itself; it should be reddish and clear.

What you don't want to see is the fluid being very dark, with specks of anything that resembles rust or metal shavings.

You may or may not be hosed (too soon to tell). If you need to take it to a mechanic, your problem is exactly what you said, "can't back up a hill, drives fine going forward."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:27 PM on March 14, 2011


Also: the car needs to be parked on level ground when you check the transmission fluid level.
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:29 PM on March 14, 2011


"If it does need fluid, make sure you use the correct type."

Incidentally, when it comes to Hondas and automatic transmission fluid, the only correct type is Honda brand fluid. I'll admit I don't know the technical reasons why, but Honda transmissions are different from other brands in just the right way that they really do need their own fluid.

If you don't believe me, just Google it. Here's a thread on the Car Talk forums that basically sums up as "Honda only recommends you use Honda brand fluid because then you'll buy it from them. Except ATF, definitely use Honda brand for that."
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:42 PM on March 14, 2011


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