Notes: The 2001 Civic has transmission problems, transmission problems & more transmission problems. Did we mention transmission problems? And a dangerous defect with the front airbag that didn't get recalled for 10 years.

Although eventually the defective 2001 Civic airbag inflators were fixed under recalls in 2011 & 2013, that meant for 10 to 12 years airbags were activating with excessive force where metal fragments went shooting into passengers when the airbag deployed.

As for the 2001 Civic's transmission woes? Honda conducted a major transmission recall in 2004 & settled a class action lawsuit for defective transmissions in 2006. But, neither the recall or the lawsuit included the 2001 Civic.

Last thing to consider - the 2001 Civic is the most-recalled car ever, closely followed by the 2002 Civic & the 2001 Accord. The 2001 Civic is the 4th most-recalled vehicle overall, only a Ford truck & two Ford vans have more.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
98,509 miles
Total Complaints:
17 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. replace entire transmission (6 reports)
2001 Honda Civic transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Honda Civic Owner Comments

problem #17

Apr 282011

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 188,500 miles


Wife's car, owned since new 188000 miles well maintained, Check Engine light came on and car would not go more than 20-25 MPH. We thought it to be an engine problem at that point and went to an Imported Car specialist. Light decoded to transmission failure, VTEC relay failure and voltage sensor. Had transmission replaced with salvaged one for $1400 plus labor and the relay and sensor replaced with new parts. Total costs over $2200. Nine months and 9000 miles later, we start hearing a whining noise at start up when weather is in the 30's. Noise stops after a few miles (like 8) of driving. Being leery of the used transmission now that I noted Civics with this problem, went to transmission specialist who checked it out. Trans was failing again, not gone yet. This time, got total rebuild and long term warranty on trans for another $2286. Bottom line, don't bother with a salvaged Honda transmission, get new or total rebuild.

- , Waterloo, SC, USA

problem #16

Mar 242010

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Going down the road for about 20 mins and the engine light will turn on and the car will shut off. I have to let the durn thing cool off for about 30 mins before it will run again. If I keep the heat on it will run a bit longer, but go through a drive thru and it will die in 5 mins. I was told that the fuel pump needed to be changed, WRONG.. Then the fuel filter, WRONG. Took it to the dealership and they want 3500 for a new cooling something or another. Asked different mechanics and they have all told me different things that it could be.... Like the computer chip, a fuse, ECU unit, ignition module, O2 sensor... I don't know what is it wrong with it...

- , Johnson City, TN, US

problem #15

Jul 052010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

NOONE seems to know what the problem is, and I have no money. Honda is supposed to last forever, but I can not keep dumping money into the car that has had so many problems. It starts but jerks if it sits at lights too long, or if it is not driven for a couple days. I maintain it, and this is not supposed to happen, I hope it will last or that someone will be able to tell me what it is.

- , Bonita Springs, FL, USA

problem #14

Jul 282010

Civic LX 1.7L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles


As the second owner of this car, it has been a GREAT car. I love my Civic and have never regretted my purchase. Next month I will have had the car for four years and without warning, while accelerating from a red light the car stops moving in the MIDDLE of a very busy intersection in Oklahoma City. So here I am... with my flashers on... 125 pounds and trying to push my car out of the way. As if that's not embarrassing enough, people are honking and yelling at me as they go by. Had to have the car towed home and found out my transmission was shot. I don't even recall any slippage... it just died! It angers me to find out that there have been so many complaints and yet Honda does not consider this a safety issue when it clearly IS! My car stalled in the middle of rush hour traffic... how is that not a safety issue?!

Honda needs to address this issue while no one has been knowingly hurt. It shouldn't require a lost life before action is taken! Also, the price I have listed here is just a quote I got... my car hasn't been fixed yet and I was told to expect more expenses.

- , Edmond, OK, USA

problem #13

Mar 022009

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,000 miles

Ditto what everyone else has said. The shudder on my car however only seems to happen in the morning upon initial driving. After that it is fine. I have not had it checked out yet but it sounds identical to everyone else.

Since this only occurs intermittently I suspect that it not the transmission though as many people have been told. I am not a trained mechanic but to my logic a mechanical type of problem like a transmission issue would be occurring consistently as the engine cycles up and down through its full range of power while driving.

I believe that instead this is something to do with the on-board computer and/or the fuel system. I had a similar experience with an early 1980's Ford Escort that I also purchased new. The shuddering was not as extreme but it was also more consistent and seemed to occur throughout the driving experience. Not that this justifies the fact that there is a problem mind you. I too have been a regular Honda customer (this is my fifth) but I will seriously reconsider that loyalty going forward.

As a side note. The 2001 Civics also utilize McPherson Struts rather than the earlier (and I think better) Double Wishbone suspension. The McPherson Struts give the car a 'gushy' kind of road feel and don't hug the rod anywhere near like the earlier Civics did. All five of my Hondas were new Civics so I know a little bit about the Civic line. The Double Wishbone is still utilized on the more expensive Accord so that pretty much implies that it is a higher-end system.

- , Wilmington, DE, US

problem #12

Sep 112009

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

Same thing as everyone else, bought my 2001 car new so I could have it for over 200,000 miles. Have taken it ONLY to Honda for all of the oil changes and have paid a premium for all those stupid checks (7500, 15000, 30,000). 3 weeks ago my car a/c was having problems. Honda said couldn't find anything. 20 miles after picking it up and driving 70 miles an hour on i-95 south heading to work, a/c goes out again and car overheats and breaks down. Tow it to Honda which cannot seem to find what the problem was. After 4 days of having my car they say it needs new radiator and I buy new radiator. No lie, 20 miles later and driving it south on 95 it overheats again. Tow it to Honda who can't figure out for a week what the problem is and then say its a water pump problem. Then unbelievably, a day after picking it up I turn it on and it starts shaking and engine light flashes. Then both engine light goes off and car stops shaking. But at every light when I am stopped I get a clunk like something slips. I take it to Honda but the computer didn't record the problem so they said they couldn't figure out what was wrong. Unbelievable, the shaking happens again today and the clunk too. I tell my friend who is NOT a mechanic and he says it definitely sounds like the transmission and I google this and find all these complaints. What I don't understand is how can Honda mechanics not know its the transmission with so many problems and my description and someone who isn't a mechanic can figure this out? This stinks as I took care of this car so I could have it forever. But it is true that I would never buy another Honda. Lets REALLY get the class action together.

- , Delray Beach, FL, USA

problem #11

Feb 102009

Civic LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


The transmission is just hesitating shifting into 2 gear after I have come to a stop. It does eventually but it is annoying and it concerns me. I really don't want to have to pay for a new transmission.

- , Jonesborough, TN, USA

problem #10

Nov 192008

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I'm not going to pretend I drive my car 'like a grandma', however I am careful with my car. This includes staying within 5 mph of the speed limit and always getting proper maintenance. I don't use the local Honda Dealership as they charge something like $50 for an oil change...but I've always gotten timely oil changes, transmission flushes, tires rotated, etc. I purchased my car new in 2001 and thought I got a great deal.

Two years ago ('06) on the way home from class my car shuddered as I was driving down the highway. I had just filled up the night before so I made a mental note to never stop at that particular gas station again (thinking this was simple). Over the next few months my car continued to shudder and I spend most of my driving time agonizing over what was causing the problem. However, it was infrequent enough that most mechanics shrugged when I described the symptoms and recommended that I come back in when a engine light comes on or it gets worse.

Over the course of two years, the shuddering continues to get worse and I start taking my car to every mechanic I can find to diagnose the problem. Since it always occurs around 40 mph (2000 rpm), they eliminate the air conditioner...but not much else. I eventually take it into the dealership and after paying $100 for a diagnostic, they claim that I need $3000 worth of work. According to them, the shuddering was coming from a "nearly busted" broken tie rod/ball joint. They also said I needed a new timing belt.

As I'm preparing for a cross country drive, I start freaking about what to do with my car. I disagree with the $3K assesment, but don't know what to do. I take it to the mechanic just down the road, and after doing a test drive he walks up to me with keys in hand and says he's fixed it. Adding a transmission fluid additive was their solution and they didn't charge me anything for this. They also verified that my tie rods were in perfect condition and that the tiniest amount to wear on my ball joint is not the cause of any shudder. Of course I'm skeptical but as I drive away, it doesn't shudder. During the 1100 mile drive to doesn't shudder. For six months it doesn't shudder and I think I'm in the clear.

Then, 2 months ago, I feel the shudder again. Within 5 weeks it's back to shuddering just as much as it ever did. I take it back to the same shop who again tries the additive, only this time they tell me it looks like my torque converter is going. They don't do transmission work, but he says as long as I bring it it they will add the fluid...however he doesn't know how much longer I can put that off.

In the past week or two, despite have the additive in the transmission fluid, I've felt the tiniest of shudder start to return. I know that it won't be long now before it's back....and after reading all of the posts here, I'm worried that eventually the transmission will just fail. I was planning on keeping my car for a few more years, but now I'm questioning when I should trade my car in. I don't want to wait until I have to tow it in or face massive repair bills. It looks like I can replace the torque converter for around $1,000. I don't even know if that will "fix" my transmission problems.

- , Panama City Beach, FL, USA

problem #9

Sep 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Well I just bought my 2001 Honda Civic from a private source which, after having read all of these posts and complaints, is causing me to really rethink my decision. I don't know how I didn't notice the problem when I bought the car from him, I think it was because like most others on this site I was excited about buying the car (it looks like it's in great shape...looks...) and there's also the infamous reputation that Honda has of being a reliable car. Fortunately but not so fortunately, my transmission hasn't quite failed yet but I just took it to a mechanic on 9/17/08 and he said there's no question I'm going to need a new transmission...$2500. It's having all the same problems that I have read about on this site...shudders when I accelerate from stop or low speed, and a high-pitch whining when traveling at higher speeds.

Now I am super worried that this tranny is going to go at any time. I was anticipating it lasting me at least a little longer, I'm a full-time student at ASU (and honestly, who has $2500 cash in their pocket?) and I need to save up my money to pay for this.

My question that I would like your help on is whether or not I have any options due to the fact that it's used and I'm not the original owner. Seems like my chances are slim because Honda asks for paperwork to show its maintenance history, but any help would be awesome...especially if anyone knows anything about class action suits that have been filed. A company like Honda shouldn't be allowed to let something like this continue without action on their part.

- , Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #8

Aug 072008

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

It's great that we can all gripe and moan about these serious issues with our early model civic transmissions but why have none of us attempted to pursue a class action suit against this huge conglomerate. I guess the NTSDB doesn't believe that your transmission failing at 70mph is a safety issue. My Honda stutters more than Forrest Gump and I bought this Honda b/c the engine was so great. Lets polarize people and find an attorney to handle this mess. Whoes with me??? Honda does not care about us they care about the bottom line but I can guarantee you if enough of us squeak we will get the grease. Also, it appears that a class action suit was filed in regards to the transmissions on the Honda mini vans some years ago and those litigants were successful. Sounds like these transmissions have known issues.

- , Madison, OH, USA

problem #7

Mar 202008

Civic EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,800 miles


Sign me up for the "Never Buy a Honda Again Club". My daughters 2001 Civic just had the transmission go out, the exact same as every other person who posted to this site. I am not going into all the detail but they are all identical. I even found a copy of the TSB from Honda related to this issue, but they still claim it is not a problem, obviously they have not driven my car. I followed everyones advice on this site, which is awesome by the way, and had a local dealer read the MIL code, which I had already done. The code came out the same. I got a case number for review and got a call today from "We could care less!" headquarters. They told me basically that this was not a known problem and since I am not a loyal Honda customer they were not going to pay anything towards repairing the transmission. I told them that they got one thing correct and that is I am not and will never be a "Loyal Honda Customer", I have now owned 2 Hondas, my first and my last. I have done some research and it does not appear to be too difficult to file a class action law suit. I really think we should get the ball rolling on this. From all the info I could find I think we have a great case. The lady that I spoke to said that there was already a similar case that was filed and settled. She also told me that my particular Honda had already had a transmission replaced by a previous owner, but they do not have a transmission problem, seems to me that 3 transmissions in 110,000 miles is a problem. I informed this lady that I owned a Toyota Camry with over 300,000 miles with not only the original transmission, but the original transmission fluid. Anyway lets get the process of a class action law suit started.

- , Middletown, MD, USA

problem #6

Oct 292007

(reported on)

Civic LX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

hi just like the rest of the people i own a 2001 civic the i got new when one day the engine light came on the car was very slow no more the 40mph went to the "Honda dealer"to quot me a transmission failure. i haven't replaced it i don't know if its worth it; but ido know this is for a RECALL on the transmission on all the Honda's model made on 2001-2003 if there is anyone out here tell me how to get Honda to pay for this please let me know thank you.

p.s all this happened in Seattle.

- , Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #5

Oct 192007

(reported on)

Civic LX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,600 miles

My 2001 Civic LX with 87,600 miles has developed a "shudder" feeling when removing your foot from the gas going 50mph or less. An extremely heavy shudder when putting the car in reverse. Sometimes feels like it wants to stall. Other days drives fine. I had a diagnostic check done and comes up as "Torque Converter Clutch" problem. I see by this forum that many, many people have this problem with their 2001 Civics. So why is Honda doing nothing about this!!! Of course my warranty is expired and I am on my last car payment! Should I get it fixed, which I can't afford or dump the car? Anyone know if Honda is helping them since this problem is so prevalent? I don't need my engine failing while driving on a highway at 65mph.

- , Andover, NJ, USA

problem #4

Sep 232007

(reported on)

Civic HX

  • CVT transmission
  • 64,000 miles

This is the second time my Honda Civic's transmission has failed. The first time was in 2003 and it was under warranty. This time the dealer initially said that my warranty on the new transmission had expired, but the dealer eventually covered the repair under warranty again.

- , Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #3

Mar 212007

(reported on)

Civic HX

  • CVT transmission
  • 29,752 miles

So after the first replacement at 15,832 miles I had the same symptoms appear again. At 29,752 miles i received a second transmission replacement. Again nobody seeded to know why, and again they were a bunch of assholes when it came to customer service.

- , Rhinelander, WI, USA

problem #2

Mar 212007

(reported on)

Civic HX

  • CVT transmission
  • 15,000 miles

I bought my Honda Civic brand new off the lot. i was very excited because Honda's had such a good reputation for long lives. Well it started making this really loud noise when i took off from a stop, kind of a lurching noise. I don't know much about cars, but i knew this wasn't good. At 15,832 miles i took it to the dealership and they informed me i would need a new transmission. They couldn't tell me exactly what was wrong, just that it needed to be replaced. The service department was terrible. They treated me like I was an idiot, or an inconvenience to them.

- , Rhinelander, WI, USA

problem #1

Jul 062006

(reported on)

Civic HX

  • 60,000 miles

In drive, when you first step on the gas from a complete stop, the car shakes and vibrates and then it is ok once it starts moving.

- , Mastic Beach, NY, USA

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