Notes: Yes, the Honda Civic receives a lot of complaints because so many were sold. And sure, car parts only last so long and things eventually break. But it's never good to see this many transmission complaints, especially when the average mileage at failure is just north of 100,000 miles.

Especially when you consider that it's predecessor also has a nasty history with transmission complaints.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,965 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Honda Civic drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Honda Civic Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #36

Apr 122013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


I am a very angry owner of a 02 Civic ex, only with 80K on this car it needs a new transmission. I researched online that this is very common for this year make and model. I called american Honda today, they are aware of this issue but will not help since this is an 11 year old car which is [xxx]. you will have to be the original owner for them to take it in consideration. They should stand behind something that they made that is putting us at risk of accidents or even death. Every one is having the same problem, obviously its a defect. Gears are slipping from 2nd to 3rd gear with an automatic transmission, car was will maintained and was serviced by Honda dealership. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Cerritos, CA, USA

problem #35

Nov 172010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Manual transmission started revving loudly November 2010 and gear shift was easily knocked out of place. Independent mechanic diagnosed the problem as bad bearing in transmission after draining the fluid and finding metal shavings; replacement was recommended. Over time, shifting into first gear and reverse has become increasingly difficult (or sometimes impossible) and the noises have become louder. Costs have delayed replacement until now, but it will be done in late April (2013). I feel lucky to have avoided complete failure while driving.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #34

Feb 082013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
The car began making squealing noises each time I accelerated starting about one week ago. As of yesterday, my car's transmission has begun slipping. Each time it does so, the engine revs into higher rpms. I took my car in for inspection and was told I will need a transmission rebuild. The transmission only has 143,000 miles on it. I get all of my regular maintenance. There are thousands of online complaints for 2002 Honda Civic transmission failures. Luckily, my transmission hasn't failed while driving on the freeway yet like everyone else's seems to be doing.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #33

Feb 012013

Civic 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


The manual transmission contains internal bearings that wear out very quickly. They cause a large amount of noise, and wear the transmission very quickly. The clutch release bearing grinds in the transmission during acceleration, and could cause the transmission to fail at any time. This could cause my injury. A dealer quoted me $2,000 to fix this problem. Honda should fix this problem for me; a transmission should not have failing parts at only 42 thousand miles.

- Bowling Green, OH, USA

problem #32

Nov 162012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 170,356 miles
I was driving early this morning around 6:45am. Was driving around to get coffee and such, then going 45mph to get to onramp of I-75. After accelerating normally to 68mph, the acceleration stopped and pressing on the gas did nothing. I slowed to around 20mph and that is the max speed I could go on the interstate until I pulled over. There were no weird sounds or smells or leaks, transmission fluid was full. I can start the car fine and drive it around going 20mph, but wont shift after that. Took to belle tire mechanics and they claim its a bad transmission. Everything I've researched online shows this to be a defective clutch pack carrier and is a known issue to Honda and most mechanics, but they claim to not know anything for obvious reasons to avoid having to pay for their mistakes. This needs to be fixed by Honda as this is not the fault of normal wear/tear. This is a blatant mistake by Honda!! someone needs to file a class action suit against Honda for this. I've seen hundreds of other people with the exact same issue.

- Grand Blanc, MI, USA

problem #31

Oct 132012

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles
My 2002 Honda Civic became inoperable without any warning as I attempted to merge on a major highway in Washington DC. I could not shift into gear when I pressed the accelerator; fortunately, I was able to drift to the shoulder on the highway without incident. I had the vehicle towed to a Honda dealership where it was diagnosed as an internal transmission issue and I was advised that it would have to be replaced for $4700. The cost for the transmission replacement was outrageous and after researching possible reasons for the failure, I had my vehicle towed from the Honda dealership to an independent repair shop. My vehicle was diagnosed with torque converter failure which caused metal shavings to damage clutches in the transmission. During my research, I read numerous complaints by hundreds of others who own a 2001 to 2003 Honda Civic and stated that their transmission failed when their mileage ranged from 135K to as low as 65K. Although Honda issued a 2004 recall on transmissions, it excluded the Honda Civic; I am outraged that Honda knew about the hundreds of transmission complaints from Honda Civic owners but deliberately did not issue a recall for the vehicles to ensure the safety and welfare of drivers and passengers. The large number of complaints from Honda Civic owners about the lack of reliability of their Civics automatic transmission is demonstrative of a defect. I hope the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates the transmission failure complaints and forces Honda to recall and repair vehicles/compensate owners for repairs. Updated 01/23/13 updated 02/19/13 updated 08/21/13

- Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #30

Sep 162012


  • 100,015 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph she heard a high pitch winding noise. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnose that the transmission needed to be rebuilt based on a design flaw in which steel bearings were inside an aluminum casing. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable.the failure and current mileage was 100,015.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #29

Sep 092012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
Without warning, transmission just failed totally. No power to drive wheels. Driving on main 4 lane street with only curb. Luckily not rear ended and just barely coasted to next street turnoff (right lane). Got off major highway. Maybe torque converter. Waiting for response from Honda America. Local dealer no help. Saw there have been recalls in past for similar issues. Always did suggested maintenance with Honda dealers.

- Blue Bell, PA, USA

problem #28

Aug 182012


  • 167,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle failed to accelerate and would not shift into any gears. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnose that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included on any recalls. The failure and current mileage was 167,000.

- Auburn, WA, USA

problem #27

Aug 162012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
I was driving on a busy highway and my engine began to suddenly rev up and car began to slow down until it completely stopped. No warning lights came on in car before or after it happened. I barely had enough time to pull my car over to the side of the road. Had there been more traffic, I would have stalled on the highway which could have caused a severe accident. My car was immobile and had to be towed. I was told that my transmission failed.

- Butler, NJ, USA

problem #26

Jul 062012


  • 164,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle started to make a loud noise and would not shift out of gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 164,000.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #25

Feb 112010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 78,530 miles
My cars transmission if failing again, back in 2010 is when it first started, I was on my way to work, then all of a sudden my car wouldn't move and I was pressing down on the gas pedal, only the acceleration gauge was moving. I called my dad and told him what had happened, so he took it to a mechanic and he said I needed a new transmission, so I had it replaced and the cost came out of my own pocket, and now two years later the same thing is happening again, the car jerks when shifting gears and the check engine light is on again....

- Mission Hills, CA, USA

problem #24

Jun 162012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
The vehicle's automatic transmission suddenly slipped out of gear from drive into neural (disengaged and did not re-engage) without warning while traveling at highway speeds, and the accelerator would no longer deliver power from the engine to the rest of the power train. Because I was traveling downhill, I was able to coast off the main highway to a side road at the next intersection. After this initial failure, the vehicle would not shift back into gear at all (neither in drive or in reverse) unless the engine is turned off and allowed to cool. Once the engine is cooled off, the vehicle is able to shift back into gear, but only for brief periods of time (less than 5 minutes) before the transmission disengages once again, and whilst in gear, the engine struggles to deliver power.

- Minneola, FL, USA

problem #23

May 252012

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles
Automatic transmission failed abruptly while driving in traffic. Engine revved but car would not move. I was fortunate to be in the right lane at the time and to be able to pull over and push the car out of traffic to avoid an accident. Failure could have easily happened a few miles later on freeway or freeway on-ramp and could have resulted in a serious accident.

- Scotts Valley, CA, USA

problem #22

Dec 222011


  • 90,000 miles
While driving on the highway at 60 mph, my car rapidly slowed down to 15mph. I was almost seriously injured due to the nature that there was cars behind me. On the road the car would not accelerate over 20 mph. There was plenty of revving once it hit 20mph. There was no warning lights to let me know there was something wrong with the car. The car always drove in great condition and all of a sudden a major failure of the transmission occurred without warning. And Honda seems not to acknowledge the problem.

- Hartford, CT, USA

problem #21

Mar 202012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 141,243 miles
I was attempting to cross through a busy intersection when my transmission failed without warning leaving me stranded. I was in the middle of a very busy high speed intersection. Apparently this is a very common problem with this year vehicle. I am lucky I wasn't killed. My guess is it will take someone important getting killed before its addressed.

- Lake Elsinore, CA, USA

problem #20

Feb 162012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
One day when I was getting back from school, the car mad an abnormal sound while shifting. But then it was fine I got home no problem and the next time I got in the car to drive (2 days later), the car started but when I put it into drive it didn't move. My car is at 110,000 miles and it has been well maintained. I have had all my oil changes done one time and I can prove that. After doing some research I found out this is a common occurrence among these models.

- Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #19

Feb 112010


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph in snowy weather, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact had the vehicle towed to a local mechanic where the local mechanic suggested taking the vehicle to the dealer. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the transmission. The failure mileage was 92,000.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #18

Jan 262012


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph in inclement weather, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact had to push the vehicle to the side of the road where it was towed to a local mechanic. The mechanic advised the contact that the transmission would need replacing. The mechanic replaced the transmission. The failure mileage was 80,000. The VIN was not available.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #17

Feb 182012

Civic 4-cyl

  • 123,900 miles
I was headed home from atlanta on I85 when my transmission started acting up. I was able to get home but it could have been really bad if it had completely stopped working. Interstate 85 is a very busy interstate. As I got closer to home the transmission would not engage and the engine would just rev. I just bought this car a week ago. It only has 123,900 miles on it. I also had a 2001 Civic that I had to rebuild the transmission in as well. I should have learned my lesson with Honda then!!

- Greer, SC, USA

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