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:
47,526 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

problem #11

May 032011

Civic 4-cyl

  • 127,300 miles


My daughter has 2002 Honda Civic and engine light came on while driving - it then started with grinding noise and car would then not go over 15 mph. She was able to get car into parking lot before it died - I was able to start back up but did same thing to me. I then looked up known Honda Civic problems and there were 160 complaints here with similar problem with 2001 and 2002 transmission failures while driving. In my estimation this is a very serious problem which can easily result in accidents injury or even death. It does not just gradually happen but just appears with most of the stories I have read on-line. I feel Honda should be responsible to correct this problem since most people like myself do not have $2400 to $3600 laying around to fix and possibly happen again.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #10

Jun 302010


  • miles
Although this defect has not led to a failure of a major drivetrain component (the transmission to be exact), the defect allows excessive wearing of the second gear and synchronizer hub, if the second gear did fail it could result in a crash. The reverse idler gear will contact the second gear while in second gear and making a right turn, this kind of contact will wear the teeth on the reverse idler gear and second gear and could eventually cause one or both to fail.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #9

Jul 202009


  • miles
Honda Civic 2002 sedan; manual transmission. Around 80,000 miles, my transmission began to slip out of gear, with no real warning, in the middle of a highway. This is not only weird and annoying, but extremely dangerous if you are unprepared for it., as the gear just slips back into neutral and you could start going backwards on a highway, or just slow to a halt in the middle of a high speed road... etc. I am at the point where I cannot even drive the car any longer and it has been sitting in a shop for over a month awaiting a used part from a junk car. There's really no reason I should have to replace my transmission at 80,000 miles, especially with all recommended maintenance done and no real abuse to the car on my part. Honda needs to recall these transmissions and replace them as this is a common problem with '02 Civics.

- Marlboro, NJ, USA

problem #8

May 012009


  • 95,000 miles


My 2002 Honda Civic's transmission went at 95K miles. I have heard that this is a very common occurrence in these cars and this is extremely dangerous and expensive. It cost me $2,100 to get the transmission rebuilt and the part had to be driven from Pennsylvania to Maine leaving me without a vehicle for a week.

- Brewer, ME, USA

problem #7

Dec 102008


  • 77,000 miles
I've had problems with my 2002 Honda Civic ex since day one. Bought it new. Dealer took 3mths. To fix at first. Now, at about 78K mi., my transmission is not working properly. I'm having trouble shifting to 4th & 5th gear. I don't want to endanger my family in the middle of nowhere. Thank you very much for your concern.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #6

Aug 142007

Civic 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 156,000 miles
Honda Civic 2002 manual trans to mckeever auto bradenton, fl check rattling sound in engine area, maybe ac" mckeever could not find problem with ac, took to bradenton Honda told coming from trans, Honda mech no idea why. Had a trans fluid change using Honda fluid. No sign of deterioration fluid, trans worked fine, but still noise. Now humming under hood, took to tires plus got axle. Drove 1200 miles trans starts popping out of 5 gear. Took to mckeever, usa trans said needed trans. Could rebuild for $2500 no guarantee.Honda said no warranty extension, bulletin, out of warranty; new trans 6000 tech can not open trans must go to factory no one would fix problem, options rebuild, get another. Got used trans low miles mckeever installed replaced Honda seals and fluid, drove 400 miles like new suddenly at high speed engine raced trans popped out 5 gear.returned mckeever?S. found numerous bulletins, complaints Honda trans, including same for 01. Mckeever"S put original trans in Civic, took to Honda contacted to report case #N012007-10-1601112, told no bulletins on trans for my car. Told Honda bulletin 01-081 for the 01 Civic same problem.Honda told me car not part of that. Told only 01, drive from mckeever found the trans same as before popping out of gear quickly got worse unable to hold. Honda inspected vehicle found axle slipped out, trans fluid leaked, took pictures Honda told me axle wrong, did not fit, drove in 4th gear to tires plus who talked to Honda, then put axle in showed me it fit.ordered another axle installed it showed me it fit. Do not know if aftermarket axles for this vehicle are safety issue or if it caused damage to trans requested another used trans. From mckeever auto waiting to confirm axle holding.contacted Honda back, Honda lied there R issues with these trans. Honda lied that tech's can not open trans had to go to factory. Original trans, new axle in Honda old axle tires plus, first used trans mckeevers.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #5

Mar 082003

Civic 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 22,000 miles


At around 22,000 miles my transmission was feeling very erratic. Many problem happened since, shifting into 2nd gear grind sometimes, and 4th was hard to '!@#$% into, must used a lot of force. Now, 3rd grid while hit at higher RPM, about 4,000 and over. During the morning, or just starting to drive the car, sometime, I would shift into 5th gear and while release the clutch, it would grind 5th gear and prevent from going in. This happened between 3-5 times before it would go into gear. I brought it to the dealership many time, and they told me that it was problem from the abuse which I don't abuse me car. There are many other same car, make and model with the same problem. Some dealership are nice enough to fix it, but around here, they just want to rip me off.

- New Castle, DE, USA

problem #4

Oct 052004

Civic 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15,100 miles
(1) the transmission has always been notchy, and more recently, I have had a lot of problems getting the car into third gear. (2) on a number of occasions on the freeway I was unable to get the car into third gear, and as a consequence have had many near misses from people behind me always rear ending me.

- Menlo Park, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 012002

Civic 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Failure of manual transmission; intermittent (1) upon shifting from 1st to 2nd gear and sometimes 3rd, the clutch does not engage and "grinds" itself to get in gear or remains in neutral. (2) the abnormal wear on my synchros and gear set will cause it/them to fail at an increased faster than industry standard yet past my warranty date. (3) Honda could not duplicate the problem; however, I was refused to attempt to duplicate it the failure (as Honda's technique was biased). The synchros and/or entire transmission needs to be replaced and warranted as a new item. (4) as a manufacturer's defect is the cause of this failure, no cost should be attributed to the owner, renewal of the entire length of the drivetrain warranty from the date of replacement (e.g., 3 years/60,000 miles).

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #2

Jul 112002

Civic 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 16,685 miles
Factory defect of manual transmission on 2002 Civic LX. Noticed problem shifting from 1-2 gears at 16K. Service dealer mel rapton Honda claimed transmision felt normal. Complained again at 32K about hard shifting felt shift lever popping out of first gear and clunking noise into foreman claims found no problems. I demanded it be documented. At 47 K same interminant problems returned to dealer to complain.finally problem was duplicated by dealer, $ repairs replacing 1st and 2nd synchros-gears, oil seals and link. Intermitant problem continues returned car to dealer verifies complaint and again$1263. In repairs again replacing 1st and 2nd gears -synchros one additional gear(unknown), oil seals, shift fork for 1-2 gears and part of the transmission case. Sated to me that the problem had been the transmission case causing 1-2 gear failure.81K intermintant problem continues returned to dealer getting run around about duplicating problem etc. Etc. Honda care warranty about to run out. Car is only used for commuting.220 miles a day 4 days a week I am hardly ever shifting in 1-2 gears. I might understand if 5th gears was going out. Seems like alot of miles on car but think about all of the miles being on the highway. Complained to Honda Corp. They are attempting to resolve this matter. But is requesting I take car back to same dealer. The same dealer who couldn't diagnoss or repair my car twice and now they are going to get a third time. I have been doing research and found my problem not to be so far fetched. It seems like Honda dealer wants to repair each part of my transmision one part at a time until my warranty expires. Then and only then they will tell me I need a new transmission at my cost!! Honda Corp. If your reading this step up to the plate and replace my transmission, loyal Honda owner for over 20 years mom drives my old 92 Civic with almost 300K on it wich I commuted with for 7 years.

- Carmichael, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 222003

Civic 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 13,700 miles
On making right hand turns, vehicle has begun to make clattering noises from underneath the vehicle. The service dealer, heritage Honda - towson Maryland, has told me that it is a transmission problem and that they will have to order parts to replace reverse gear. The vehicle now has 13,000 miles on it. In December of 2002, within 600 miles of purchasing the car, the dealer had to replace main shaft bearings in the transmission because of clattering noises in 1st and 2nd gear. When I have asked for a vehicle history report, I have also found that the Honda dealer I purchased the vehicle from, heritage Honda - westminster, Maryland, had already replaced 5th gear in the vehicle before I ever purchased the car, when it had just 10 miles on it. The vehicle history shows that the gears had been found to be "chewed up" at that time. As of today, Honda has not agreed to replace the entire transmission, but seems only to be willing to replace part by part as they fail.

- Towson, MD, USA

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