Honda has been making the midsize Honda Accord since 1976, although back in the day it started as a compact car. Like any automobile, the Honda Accord has a transmission that allows it to switch through gears. While most Hondas come with a CVT, or continuously variable transmission, you can get modern Honda Accords also with a 6 speed manual transmission and also a 10-speed automatic transmission depending on which version of the Accord you're getting. Regardless of the transmission that you have in your Honda Accord, at some point transmission fluid that helps it stay lubricated and at the correct temperature may end up going bad and require a change. If you take your Honda Accord into a shop, you're looking at a cost of about $100 to $170 to get your transmission fluid swapped out.
The cost of getting a transmission fluid change in your Honda Accord is going to depend very much on where you live as repair costs very pretty significantly all across the country. Because transmission fluid works as both a lubricant like motor oil and a hydraulic fluid as well, it's very important to make sure it's working the way it's meant to be. If it becomes contaminated, degraded, or there's a week at some point in the line you could suffer a lot of damage as a result. For that reason, you never want to skip getting the transmission fluid in your Honda Accord changed if it needs to be done.
How Often Should You Change the Transmission Fluid in a Honda Accord?
While the motor oil in your Honda Accord has a very limited lifespan and most mechanics will recommend you change it every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, transmission fluid does last longer. That said, it doesn't mean it will last forever. Nothing that's under the amount of stress transmission fluid is under, working under pressure and heat as well as being exposed to potential contamination from bits of metal at me grind off in your transmission, is going to last a lifetime of a vehicle.
After enough miles of use the transmission fluid it's going to wear down and take on a muddy quality. This will reduce its overall functionality and begin to affect the way your transmission performs. As a result, you'll find that shifting gears is more difficult than it used to be, and sometimes you may either not be able to shift at all, or you'll find yourself slipping out of gears unexpectedly.
Honda has a recommended maintenance schedule that they advise all drivers of their vehicles to follow. Every manufacturer will provide you with the optimal times and distances to get maintenance done, and Honda is no different. According to Honda’s recommendations you should be engaging in routine maintenance about the schedule you might expect.
For instance, Honda suggests that an oil change, tire rotation, and a brake inspection should take place every 5,000 miles. After 30,000 miles Honda recommends that you replace the spark plugs in your engine as well as your air filter. It's also recommended that you give your drive belts an inspection at this point as well to see if they need to be replaced. After 45,000 miles your coolant will likely need to be flushed and replaced, as will the brake fluid. At this point you will have change out all the fluids and filters in your vehicle at least once with the notable exception of the transmission fluid.
Honda’s official recommendation for transmission fluid is that you switch it out after 90,000 miles of driving. So, every time you change your transmission fluid you will have flushed your brake lines and coolant system twice, gone through three sets of spark plugs, and changed your oil about 18 times.
Signs You Need to Change Your Transmission Fluid
While waiting until the 90,000-mile mark is not an unreasonable way to know that it's time to change your transmission fluid, there are some other signs that can indicate you need to get this job done perhaps sooner. Or, if you waited too long, some definite signs that it needs to be done now.
One of the most obvious signs that there's a problem with your transmission, and it's specific to your transmission fluid, is a grinding noise that comes from your transmission. When the transmission fluid gets too heavily contaminated with dirt, grease, and even metal fragments from the transmission itself, it could start making noticeable noises. Sometimes this is also a result of low transmission fluid levels, but neither one is good for your transmission as a whole.
You can do a visual inspection to figure out which of the problems is happening by checking out your fluid levels and looking at the color. If the transmission fluid is still red, then you probably don't need to change it, but it may need to be refilled if it's low, which also means you may have a leak in the system. If it is turned brown or black and it's very definitely contaminated it needs to be changed as well.
Bad transmission fluid can affect the hydraulic power in your transmission. You need that hydraulic pressure in order to maintain the gears that you're trying to switch to and operate in. If the transmission fluid is too contaminated, you won't have the right pressure, and you won't be able to switch into gear and stay there as needed, causing them to slip. This can be a result of the fluid being too contaminated in general or being contaminated in a way that has clogged the flow and prevented it from circulating through your transmission properly.
Even though a CVT transmission like most Honda Accords has doesn't actually require you to manually shift through gears, it still needs fluid for you to smoothly shift on its own from a low gear ratio to a high gear ratio. If the fluid is contaminated, it won't be able to do this properly.
If your transmission fluid is too badly contaminated then that smooth transition that you expect from a CVT transmission, or if you're using a manual or automatic transmission in your Honda Accord, is not going to work the way you intended it to me. You'll get a very sluggish and slow response as you try to shift gears; you may find it difficult to actually log into the next year that you're trying to get to. In a CVT transmission this can often seem like you're just not able to get up to speed properly and the vehicle is struggling to go anywhere.
This is another symptom of contamination in your transmission fluid. At times there will be a clog in the line that prevents the flow of your transmission fluid. As the pressure continues to force the fluid through the line, it can dislodge this clog momentarily and everything will work as normal again. But that constant disruption, the interruption of the flow and then getting back to normal again is what can cause your vehicle to surge and jerk as the transmission operates normally and then struggles again and then returns to normal operation.
When your transmission fluid is contaminated another sign to be on the lookout for is when the vehicle seems to stall briefly after you switch gears. That's going to happen either just after start-up or as you switch gears while driving and will only last for a moment or two after the gear switch. This could definitely be dangerous if it happens while you're driving, especially on the highway at speed, so you want to avoid this as much as possible by getting your transmission fluid flushed and changed as soon as you notice there's a problem.
When your transmission fluid has leaked out nearly completely or become badly contaminated enough you'll notice a burning smell coming from the transmission. This is easy enough to check by pulling out the dipstick and having a look at it. If the levels are too low, or the fluid is extremely dark it indicates a high level of contamination.
If the fluid in your transmission is burnt, it's indicative of a bigger problem than the fluid needing to be changed. Of course, the fluid does need to be changed, but the reason the fluid got burnt in the first place also needs to be addressed.
Possibly the most obvious sign that there's a problem with your Honda Accord transmission fluid would be a visible leak that you can see under the hood of your car or, even worse, on the ground underneath where you park. Transmission fluid is typically red in colour so if you see a puddle of red fluid then you know for sure that you have a transmission fluid leak that's going to need to be addressed fairly soon if it's so bad that it's leaving visible puddles around.
What Kind of Transmission Fluid Does a Honda Accord Take?
Since there are three different potential transmissions available for the Honda Accord this is a somewhat difficult question to answer with just a single Option. If you're using automatic transmission fluid, or ATF fluid the kind most often used in a Honda Accord was called ATF Z1. Honda has since replaced this fluid with something called DW1 transmission fluid. There's also an ATF type to fluid that later models of the Honda Accord may also use.
If your Honda has a continuously variable transmission, then you're going to need to use HCF-2 transmission fluid in your vehicle. You never want to use the wrong transmission fluid in your vehicle because, just like choosing the wrong motor oil, this could end up causing more damage in the long run and not only will you need to flush the system but you may need to repair some damage components as a result of using the wrong type of fluid in your vehicle.
If you use the wrong kind of transmission fluid in your Honda Accord the transmission failure that results could be caused by overheating, or lack of proper lubrication. It's also possible that a mechanic will not be able to Simply fix this by doing a transmission flush. You could effectively destroy your entire transmission as a result and have to get a new transmission installed. depending on the extent of the damage, a total transmission replacement in a vehicle could cost upwards of $5,000 or more. That's quite the Hefty investment so it's best to make sure you've got the exact right transmission fluid before you go ahead with any kind of transmission fluid replacement.
The Bottom Line
Of course, no one wants to have to go to a mechanic to pay them to have their transmission fluid replaced at any point in time. And although it's not the most expensive repair job ever, you probably can think of a lot of other things you'd rather do with that money than have your transmission system flashed in the fluid replaced. That said, as we've seen it's extremely important to keep clean transmission fluid running through your system at the proper pressure and at the proper quantity as well. When your transmission fluid becomes too badly polluted or the levels drop too low the damage to your transmission could be extensive and the potential cost of getting your entire transmission fixed as a result is much more than what you're going to pay to Simply get the transmission fluid changed out in the first place.
Since the Honda Accord doesn't require you to change your transmission fluid on too much of a regular basis, it's definitely not an inconvenience to keep in mind when it needs to be done, or keep your eyes open for signs that it's getting bad enough that we will need to have it soon. Remember your scheduled maintenance and you'll keep your Honda Accord driving smoothly for a long time to come.