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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,811 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Honda Civic Owner Comments (Page 1 of 6)

problem #102

Oct 142013

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,808 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that while parking, he attempted to shift into reverse but it failed to engage. The contact mentioned that the vehicle would only move forward. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the technician diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be rebuilt. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 83,808. Updated 11/21/13

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #101

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 #100

Jul 082011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
I own a 2002 Honda Civic LX which is notorious for transmission failures. I became pro active about it when the automatic shifting started to slip. I had it looked at and tested several times, including an entire day with the Honda dealership that I purchased it from. I even sent a letter in 2009 to american Honda motor co.they all insisted it was fine. On July 8, 2011 while driving on a narrow mountain road in the rockies, the transmission went. The vehicle was towed and replaced and rebuilt. I do have the old parts. Honda, when contacted basically said they would do nothing. This is a long standing problem and Honda has known about it for many years. Does not sit well with me nor should it for anyone else that would want a Honda.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #99

Jun 252011

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated while driving approximately 30 to 40 mph the vehicle suddenly slowed down on it's own. He tried to accelerate, but the speed would not increase. The following day the vehicle was driven to a dealer who advised him that he needed a transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 110,000. Updated 09/15/11 updated 09/26/11

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #98

Jun 192011


  • miles
The transmission failed when I was driving on a busy road. I just bought this car one year ago, and do the regular maintenance. I did the transmission flush before 100,000 miles. But when it reached just over 110,000 miles, the car just can't be moved. On the second morning, the car can be slowly driven, so I slipped it to a transmission garage. They told me it will cost over $2000 to fix it. I thought it's impossible to me. Then I drove it back to my parking space. I called Honda customer service and they refused to do anything.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #97

Jan 042011


  • 190,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic ex. The contact stated that the transmission was smoking. The dealership diagnosed the failure and told the contact that he needed to replace the transmission; the failure was not repaired. The failure mileage was 190,000 and the current mileage was 200,000.

- Takoma, WA, USA

problem #96

Feb 012011


  • 37,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated the vehicle would momentarily hesitate before jerking into gear when driving forward or in reverse. The contact also stated that the failure would occur when accelerating from a complete stop. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was advised that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure and current mileage was 37,000.

- Brigham City, UT, USA

problem #95

May 102008

Civic 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. The contact stated that the transmission was slipping between second and third gears. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired for the failure. The failure mileage was unknown abd the current mileage was 200,000. Updated 06/16/11 updated 08/18/11

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #94

Apr 142011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
The transmission started slipping when shifting from 2nd to 3rd and 2 days later it failed altogether in traffic. I was able to pull to the side, but it could have been much worse if I had been unable to pull over.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #93

Mar 012011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Car would not accelerate when gas pedal is pressed and would basically "coast" making it very scary when you're on the freeway onramp with cars behind you. Have thankfully not had an accident but obviously has the potential for one. Was told transmission is slipping and would cost $1800 for a rebuild. Happens everytime I drive. Internet search shows other similar complaints and is common to this vehicle.

- Artesia, CA, USA

problem #92

Feb 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


2002 Honda Civic ex automatic trans 88K miles. Trans started making noise, after reviewing this site I realized that it was not safe for my 18 year old daughter to drive the vehicle reading how quickly the trans appear to give way and break down. I brought the vehicle into a transmission center where it was taken on a test drive (the transmission failed) talk about good timing and a good call... Honda must recall for safety reason and repay those of us having to foot thousands of dollars on an obvious faulty transmission.

- Whiting, NJ, USA

problem #91

Feb 162011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 143,500 miles
I just took off for work and my car wouldn't accelerate and made a terrible whining sound. It would not go above 4. I try to take good care of my car and since Honda supposedly last a long time I did not think something like this would happen around 143,500 miles. I could have been hit since I live right on a road where people are constantly speeding by, but was lucky it was not a busy time of day. I have even brought the car into Honda to look at the transmission for slipping. They said there was nothing they could do about it I just need to warm the car up before I drive it. Clearly that wasn't helpful at all.

- Greenfield, IN, USA

problem #90

Feb 062011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 57,471 miles
Owner of a 2002 Honda Civic with 57,471 miles on it. Maintenance schedule is followed regularly. The transmission went out with no prior warning on a busy boulevard. Stopped one lane of traffic until some citizens got out of their cars, ran across 4 lanes of traffic, and helped me push it to where it was safe. Refurbished the transmission and paid a total of $2,100. Contacted Honda customer service and was told nothing would be done to fix it because I didn't have it diagnosed at the dealership.

- 84341, UT, USA

problem #89

Jan 072011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
My car started revving while I was driving. Transmission was slipping. Checked fluid, was brown. Changed fluid. Lasted about 1000 miles more and then transmission failed.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #88

Dec 062010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Daughter driving 2002 Honda Civic when suddenly car lost ability to accelerate, leaving her alone and stranded late at night about 40 miles from home. Car towed to local garage where assumption is transmission failure (pending). Dealer told me I could (at my expense) have car towed to Honda and pay for diagnosis, but unlikely any responsibility assumed by Honda since car was not serviced there since warranty expired.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #87

Dec 062010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 141,860 miles
Transmission on my 2002 Honda Civic started to make a loud whinny noise. A few days later transmission started to slip between second and third gear. (engine would rev up prior to upshift, lag in shifting). Had the transmission flushed in an effort to alleviate the problem. Four days later put the car in gear depressed accelerator but the transmission did not engage. Car would not move. Could not move in any forward gear or reverse. Transmission was totally ineffective (dead). Transmission had 141,860 miles. Flushed approximately 141,775 miles. Prior to that had the transmission serviced at approximately 110,000 miles. Researched similar complaints and discovered that this has been an ongoing problem with early 2000 transmissions. It appears that this is an acute problem with transmissions during this time period. Very little if any warning of a serious problem. This is a safety hazard due to the fact that a vehicle encountering this problem can be collide into by other vehicles due to the loss of acceleration.

- Bethel, CT, USA

problem #86

Nov 262010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I was driving this 2002 Civic I bought with 120,000 miles on it and without warning the transmission started slipping and not shifting. After stopping and praying the car did engage the first gear and I brought it home.

- Wildomar, CA, USA

problem #85

Jul 122010

Civic 4-cyl

  • 93,899 miles
While driving on surface streets my transmission failed and I was unable to use my car. I was almost hit my multiple cars behind me as my car had suddenly failed. I could hear my engine rev to high RPM, but the car was not in motion. Thereafter 5 minutes later, the "check engine" light came on. I went to a mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission had failed and needed to be rebuilt. I've found numerous problems occur on this vehicle after researching it online further.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #84

Oct 192010


  • 162,000 miles
2002 Honda Civic ex transmission failure while driving on a busy Chicago city street. Could not get car to accelerate. Could only go up to 15 mph in rush hour traffic. Able to get back to my job. Called the dealership (community Honda) where car was purchased. Advised not to attempt to drive the vehicle. It was towed to the dealership. They could only get it to move by putting it in reverse as it had completed quit going forward, couldn't use any drive features.

- Country Club Hills, IL, USA

problem #83

Oct 152010


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Honda Civic. While driving approximately 30 mph the vehicle stopped accelerating. The vehicle was pulled over and stopped, but when he attempted to shift it into park the vehicle continued to roll forward. He had to apply the emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where he was informed that the transmission failed. He was also informed that this was a common failure amongst these vehicles. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 99,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Novelty, OH, USA

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