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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
110,700 miles
Total Complaints:
281 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (139 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (64 reports)
  3. not sure (53 reports)
  4. replaced transmission, Honda covered cost of parts (9 reports)
  5. open a case with honda corporate (7 reports)
  6. scrapped car (4 reports)
2002 Honda Civic transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Honda Civic Owner Comments (Page 1 of 15)

problem #281

Jan 062021

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


I bought the car used with really shady deal from Ken's Auto Body, in Spanish Fork, Ut. The car ran okay overall but one day I decided to put the car in D1 or the Drive 1. The car went into a limp mode and started to act really strange then it gave me blinking drive light (The "D" on my dash was blinking). It threw a code that I don't recall. I put the car back into normal drive but the problem did not go away. I found a way to reset the blinking D light with a YouTube video. It wasn't super hard. Decided to try and figure out why the transmission went haywire and put it into D1 again (it was the same thing for D2 just to be clear). Sure enough it went into limp mode and started blinking the "D" on my dash. I started digging and found a mechanic who told me a little story:

He said that there are 2 types of transmissions built for Honda's; one for Japan and one for USA. There is a code stamped on the side of the transmission housing = BMXA or SMAX. NOW here where it gets weird Japan Honda's transmissions only have lower D1 but American Honda transmissions have D1 and D2. Both transmissions list themselves as compatible to the car (technically they are) but if you get the Japan transmission put on your American Honda, or vice versa, and you try and use your lower D1 or D2 the computer gets "lost" because it is only looking for only "D1" but now there is also a "D2"... So it throws code saying "I don't know where I'm at".

Okay, so why would my 2002 Civic end up with a transmission that doesn't belong to it? Shady deal Ken's Auto Body had put a "new or used" transmission in the car prior to selling it to me. Well, when you order a new transmission (or pull a used one out of a junkyard car) it can come from USA or Japan depending on what warehouse its shipped from; REMEMBER that both are listed as good, compatible transmissions for your Honda, technically. So you need to match up your transmission code to your engine code - a Japan transmission for a Japan engine and USA for USA.... You could have either engine in your car as well! I had a Japan Trans on my USA car.

My solution was 2 parts: 1.) I just stopped putting the car in to the lower D's and the was problem solved (who uses them anyway really?). 2.) I pulled the center console and put a nut and bolt through the shifter handle so it hits a stopper before it can shift down into the lower D's. I don't recommend doing that if you're not a mechanic. Just stick with number one and you're all good to go.

And don't ever buy a used car from Ken's Auto Body in Spanish Fork, Utah.

- Lance K., Logan, UT, US

problem #280

Aug 202020

Civic LX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 164,000 miles

I felt vindicated to read everyone else's stories of 2001-2005 Honda Civic transmission failures, because that's exactly what happened to me this week with my 2002 Civic. (I'd only had it for 3.5 years; I bought it from a friend, the original owner, at about 128K miles; it was now up to 164K miles).

Weird stuff happened over the last several weeks. First, I noticed the dashboard panel was not behaving right. The engine temp gauge would spike, and then drop again within moments. The fuel gauge would say totally empty, and I'd go to fill up, but the tank would still have several gallons in it. And the A/C would alternate between coming out cold and coming out hot (not good for a week of record-breaking temperatures in California).

Unfortunately, I happened to lend the car to my sister-in-law for its final few days (after warning her that it was acting a bit weird). The night before last, with her two young kids as passengers, she was accelerating onto a freeway onramp, when the car suddenly stopped responding to the accelerator - the engine just revved and revved, but the car slowed down more and more. Thank God she was able to safely pull over and call my brother to come get them all.

No one was hurt, but my 2002 Honda Civic was officially dead. Cause of death: transmission failure. (KBB says my car is only worth about $500-$1000 even in good working condition, and to fix it with a "new" old transmission from an equally flaky 2005 Civic would have cost at least $1800: $850 for parts, $650 for labor, $300 for 2-year warranty. Not a wonderful investment.)

Dang, I was hoping to get a few more years out of this car. (The 1980 Honda Civic that my family had when I was a kid was totally indestructible.) Alas, RIP 2002 Civic, I hardly knew ya.

- Amber K., Mountain View, CA, US

problem #279

Jan 132021

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 198,000 miles

I’ve never had a problem with my car‘s transmission before until a few days ago when I started it and the sound in the video is what I heard. Not only that I noticed a little bit of slipping when I was on my way to work so I went to the Honda dealership and purchased some automatic transmission fluid for $10 a quart and when I got home I went ahead and did a drain and fill hoping that it would help fix the problem. As a side note I did bypass my radiator when I first bought the car so that the transmission has its own separate cooler and there would be no chance of coolant contaminating my transmission fluid.

I also wanted to note that the night before I had hit a pothole in the Walmart parking lot - I don’t know if that has something to do with this but it was a parking lot pothole and I that’s the only thing I could think of that I personally could’ve done to have caused the transmission to start making that sound and then eventually started to slip. Also, today when I went to leave for work I put it in reverse and when I hit the gas it did not accelerate to move in reverse at all so I turned it off immediately checked my fluid level which was good and when I started it back up and put it back in reverse it worked all of a sudden. I did another drain infill and actually right now as I type this it’s still draining and I will fill it in the morning once I’m certain that all of the as much fluid is out of the transmission and I am praying that this will help get me by for a month or two before I can get a new car because obviously this one is crap.

I also wanted to add that this time when I was draining the fluid I was able to see some clutch contamination I’m pretty sure it looked like little soft pieces of metal - really tiny but also easily to see because it’s sparkles in the fluid which is so sad. I finally have this car paid off and have been enjoying not having a car payment and now I’m gonna have to start all back over again because of this horrible design that Honda utilized for this car’s transmission.

- Trevor L., Topeka, KS, US

problem #278

Mar 122019

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


My wife bought a pristine 2002 Honda Civic EX about 4 years ago with 70,000 miles. We were in separate states and tried to help her purchase a long lasting vehicle. I've owned six Hondas and they were all reasonably good cars, my favorite cars. When she sent pics of the 02 Civic I told her drive it, check it out best you can and take it to a mechanic and if all is good buy it. I would have said buy it in person, after I saw the car. 70,000 miles later, radiator, three wheel bearings, 2 sets of brake pads, tires,front strut, timing belt, battery, thermostat, along with 4,000 mile oil changes and regular maintenance. Now the transmission is failing.

I went to a local well reputed transmission shop and he told me it sounded like the screen was stopped up. Bad news the transmission has to be pulled to and opened from my understanding to check it, and the most probable cause was material from internal damage was the issue. With the long list of problems addressed already I can't see paying $2250 for a rebuild when it books for $2700.

My love of Hondas has definitely diminished. Anyone looking for a parts car? The actual problem the car was going into a false neutral worse when warm with a whining in all gears. Thanks.

- Keith L., Dugspur, VA, US

problem #277

Dec 052018

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Rebuilt it with the kit,Trans Control Solenoid, put it back in, and was still slipping, so was it must be electrical. Ordered Dual Shift Solenoid and a Dual Linear Solenoid, put them in and now it doesn't shift at all, just drives in 2nd gear, POS!! I used to love Hondas, will NEVER buy another one!!

- Joe W., Olathe, US

problem #276

Oct 222018

Civic LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 286,000 miles

Got this car when it was already about 11 years old at 215,000 miles (2013), was my first car and needed something to get back and forth to my classes. Drove a lot, around 40 miles a day, then moved closer to school and drove slightly less. The car was never a sports car, in that it was never super quick to accelerate but it was old when I bought it, so I wasn't concerned. I got oil changes often and kept my fluids up, did a lot of maintenance on this car.

Then one day the tranny starts slipping when moving into 2nd and 4th; halfway through the day I end up not being able to accelerate at all after coming to a full stop. Had to get it towed to a transmission shop, already knowing the worst had happened. Was quoted approx $3,100 to do a soft overhaul of the tranny and also fix related issues. With this in mind, I considered the age of the car, the mileage at death (286k, 16 years old), the fact that only one window rolled down, the broken key entry to the trunk, and the complete lack of A/C for the majority of my ownership, I ultimately decided to scrap the car. I'm getting not even $200 for it, not surprisingly.

Overall it was a good first car and barely gave me enough to be thankful for other than getting me to point A to point B. Definitely served it's purpose, but now I'll be looking for a car with a few more luxuries.

- Sedona E., Columbia, SC, US

problem #275

Feb 122018

Civic 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 204,000 miles


The transmission started slipping on our 2002 Honda Civic and after 2 days the car would not move. We always had transmission service completed on this car. The transmission shop stated the transmission needed to be rebuilt. The cost was $ 3000 with a 20,000 mile warranty. It appears the Honda civic has severe transmission issues on this model and a recall never happened no thanks to the US Government. Today's Honda's are not like the Honda's of the 90s that were trouble free. This will be our last Honda. We just have had to many issues with it.

- drsardanikis2000, Phoenix, US

problem #274

Jul 142018

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 166,400 miles

Bad transmissions on 2001-2005 Honda Civics. I changed the fluid as recommended. This is not a reliable car.

- danieldkk, Hacienda Heights, US

problem #273

Apr 042018

Civic EX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

I bought my daughter a Honda because their reputation for reliability. Now my daughter who is a college student has to figure out how she's supposed to get back and forth to school and work. Honda had the reputation of being the car that ran "forever". This is why we purchased the car for her.

We have tried to talk to anyone at Honda but everyone seems to clam up or pass the ball and nothing gets done. I have contacted the General Manager with hopes of a resolution. So far not a word.

I was getting ready myself to purchase a Honda Accord. If this is the way they treat customers - I'll take my business elsewhere.

- rcrabtree008, Springfield, US

problem #272

Mar 192018

Civic EX 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I was driving my car in LA traffic at like 20 miles per hour on the highway. As I turned on the AC, I noticed that it was coming out hot and then coming out cold. Out of no where, my dashboard lights and radio turned off, but the car was still rolling along (traffic was so slow I didn't need to accelerate or brake very drastically). When I turned the air off, the dashboard and radio came back on, but would still go off and off periodically.

I finally came to a full stop because of the traffic, and when I tried to accelerate the car had a hard time even it did move forward. I had to stop again because of traffic, and then the car died on the freeway. When 511 showed up to get us out of harms way, he suggested it might be the alternator based on what we described (power going on and off with the dash). He towed us off the road where we waited for a tow truck for 5 hours to pick us up to take us back 20 miles back home, and drop the car outside of a mechanic's shop.

The mechanic quoted me $450 for the alternator, but I didn't have the money. So he gave me a jump, and I drove my car - very slowly - to park on my street about a block away. I needed to move the car again to my parking spot, and it turned on and drove it into the spot - very slowly. I was so confused that my car was able to turn on, and move, when supposedly my alternator was broken?? I had my brother come over with a code machine, and the code P0730 came up. We towed it to a trans specialist, and he said it'll run me $1200 for a used trans, or $1850 for a rebuild. Honda dealership quoted me $5000 for a new manufacturer's trans.

I bought this car brand new, and have done everything by the book with regards to repairs, etc. 1) Last month, I had the timing belt and water pump replaced because even though nothing was wrong, I knew it was time to replace it due to the mileage on my car. 2) Jan 2017, I replaced the battery at a Honda dealership because I knew it was time. 3) I have have unlimited lifetime warranty for tire rotation and wheel alignment with Firestone since 2004, and I just bought new tires less than 7K miles ago. 4) I replaced the brakes pads last Nov. 5) Taken my car in for every single recall this car has had!!!

Now, I'm on the fence about buying a new car or investing some money into this one. I'm happy to invest a bit if I can get another 5 years or more out of it. I'd love to see it 500K or 750K because I do love this car! But, with all the negative responses about the transmission, as well as Honda's disregard for numerous people complaining about the same thing at around the point of mileage, I'm scared to put the money into it anymore.

Wish those "random acts of helpfulness" from Honda would go towards repairing my transmission and potentially my electrical, A/C, radio, knock sensor, SRS, ABS, and every other possible issue with my car. HELP!

- Angelica C., Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #271

Oct 202017

Civic LX 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles


Owned this car for about 100,000 miles and flushed and replaced the transmission fluid every 50,000 miles. Car only received TLC. Transmission failed quickly to the point of total failure. Put many thousands of dollars into this car so far not including the transmission. The new honda's are nothing like the old ones. Will never purchase a Honda again. Take a look at all the civics that have had transmission failures.

- justmary2000, Phoenix, US

problem #270

Aug 012016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


- dwest40, Springfield, VA, US

problem #269

Dec 222016

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

The transmission failed this lightly used car with only 131,000 miles on it. We are the second owner of the car.

- Glenn S., Mustang, OK, US

problem #268

Feb 042017

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 174,000 miles

Add me to the loooooooong list of those affected by the defective 2001-2005 Honda Civic BMXA Transmission. A little back story.

We bought this car 3 years ago. Garage kept, one owner, Arizona car with 142,000 miles. It looked and brand new car and drove great too. We were duped. It was only after a few months when the weather got colder that I noticed the tell-tale "flare" between 3rd and 4th gear, and a few other subtle hints that the transmission was not in perfect health.

I took to the all-knowing google to investigate my observations and within minutes, I realized I had made a very poor used car decision. The discussion of this notorious transmission defect was everywhere, including on this very helpful website. I called the original owner who confessed that they had recently noticed the same symptoms but "forgot to mention it" during the process of selling the car. I did a lot of research, changed the fluid, and drove the car like a grandmother on Valium awaiting it's inevitable failure. I also babied the shift (let off the gas to force the shift under light load) between 3rd and 4th, and always backed in to parking space since the car would clunk disagreeably into reverse when cold (another problem I have read about with these).

Surprisingly, the transmission gave us no trouble at all for almost three years and over 32,000 more miles. Fair enough I guess. That streak of good luck came to a screeching halt last Saturday. As so many others have described, near instant failure. My wife was driving the car when she felt a distinct "engine rev, then jerk" as she describes it a few times (I heard nothing of this until after the fact BTW). The next morning she tried to drive it and she couldn't even get out of our street. Transmission slipped so badly she couldn't get up to 20 MPH. She aborted her trip and barely made it back to the driveway. She tried to back in and as soon as she put it in reverse, the check engine light came on. I'm sure it's one of the common "tranny went to the big junkyard in the sky" codes.

I have decided to keep the car, perhaps against my better judgement, and after shopping around found a local shop with a good reputation who will rebuild the defective trans for $1600 out the door. There is a shop outside of Atlanta who does nothing but these junk Honda and Acura transmissions (WTR transmission I think) who sounds quite reputable but they are to far away for me. They would have swapped out with an off the shelf reman with a solid warranty for $1100 out the door. Too bad I'm not closer to them.

BTW, the Honda dealer was helpful, readily acknowledged that these transmissions are defective, but as expected (considering age an mileage) got shot down when they called on my behalf and inquired about any goodwill compensation or help with this. Moral of the story, DO NOT BUY A 2001-2005 HONDA CIVIC UNLESS IT HAS A MANUAL, I REPEAT, M.A.N.U.A.L. TRANSMISSION. Further, if you violate the above, take some comfort that the price of the rebuild seems to have gone down a bit over the years, but let that comfort be tempered by the absolute fact that you will eventually have to make this investment. I am now shopping for my first Toyota!

- dh1, Madison, AL, US

problem #267

Nov 102016

Civic EX 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,824 miles

Transmission completely failed without any warning. Needed to be towed to dealership for repair. the warrantied repair through Honda would cost $4,000 to $5,000 for a re-built replacement and car not worth that much. Private mechanics would charge approx 1/2 that but the warranty not there. Need a reliable car for my daughter so scrapped it.

- Jim Y., San Jose, CA, US

problem #266

Jul 082016

Civic SI 1.7L

  • Manual transmission
  • 156,586 miles

Here we go again, another transmission failure. This will be my third transmission on my 2002 Honda Civic Si 1.7 L veloz package. Replaced second transmission about three years ago

and it's the same problem again the idler reverse gear is not sitting in it's proper spot. The transmission is trying to shift into reverse and wearing out first and second gear synchros. On the bright side I managed to get 60000 km on my second

transmission. I have not yet replaced this transmission because

I am trying to push it right to the end before it let's go. Eventually it will cost me roughly $1200.

Joe S Ontario Canada

- Joe S., Sudbury, ON, Canada

problem #265

May 072015

Civic LX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,148 miles

It pretty much speaks for itself.. basically have a 02 Honda Civic had the transmission totally fail on me at a red light about 60 miles from my house. Ended up having the transmission completely rebuilt, costed me $968.00. Not even 2 years later and about 60,000 miles later and the damn thing is doing the same sh*t it did before the last one died! It upshifts it erratically shifts and slips. I have no 4th gear anymore and takes about 8 seconds for it to shift into reverse... Is there anything I can do to maybe catch a break on repairing this one this time?? Thank you all for your time!

- trocaz, phoenix, AZ, US

problem #264

Nov 252009

Civic EX 1.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

11/25/2009 - no warning light & no warning sounds - no prior issue (car would not move in reverse or drive) obviously I was over charged to replace transmission in 2009 @ $4600 cash . SWF - single white female (48yrs old now & been alone for 15 yrs & l've had "no help &/or advice" from anyone on how to handle my car issues or how much it "should" cost- I get it!

History>-used Honda purchase: paid $17k May 2007 (used 02 civic 60k miles - "Drive Time Auto Texas Car Sales" - no repairs until 11/2009 when Transmission "mysteriously" stopped working. (I was not driving the car when the transmission stopped working @8am on a Monday morning with snow on the ground & 28F weather outside -2011-2015 have spent over $2k a year on random repairs-brakes shocks-radiator timing belt- sensors out) Car has never drove or felt "Right" or "sounded "Right" since 2009.

(My next complaint that I am filing as a "New REPAIR ISSUE" for November 21, 2015 - 204k miles on car now - transmission stalled turning left crossing over facing on-coming traffic> my 02 Honda "car mysteriously stalled" (Transmission stopped working AGAIN - I've had NO CAR to drive to work for 6 weeks now (I am relying on rides to work)

New estimated cost ($2200) "whoever worked on & replaced my "right Axle" front wheel automatic transmission > did not install it properly & left a Ring Out! All the Transmission fluid leaked out ! Now I have a new Right Axle & Stuck Honda Civic won't reverse or drive forward (no real warning light > no smells or smoke from transmission & the car was no slipping before - or if it was? I did not know! The car has never drove right since I got it back in 2010 when transmission was replaced @ 4600$ February 2010 handed a random guy to fix my transmission because he was recommended to me! I should have RAN away fast! Honda dealership quoted me 5500$ to replace transmission November 2009! At least Honda "might" have fixed it PROPERLY?!!!!!

Honestly I have spent over 2k year in random repairs 2011-2014 & $800 this year on an emissions issue sensor. I do not want & do not have any money for a New Car right now & tax return has to cover my costs (meaning I will get my broken Honda Civic back in about 6 weeks due to lack of funds!) Welcome to my Reality.

My next car will be another Volvo (I've had 2 Volvos in the past that never had a single issue). I've had 4 Nissans in the past & never had to repair "anything ever" on a car engine or ever spend THIS MUCH MONEY ON ANY CAR I HAVE EVER OWNED SINCE my first drivers license in 1986. 1st car a Volvo. No car has ever ever ever put me in a "life threatening" driving situation > only this 2002 Honda Civic.

I paid dearly for this 02 Honda Civic from 07-2015 & money, time with no car & many many many tears of "why me" ? I purchased a Honda Civic because I believed that was the practical reasonable reliable choice. Right!

•this has been the "MONEY PIT CAR" 100% - I understand it's just a "car" yes but I need a "working" car to get to work > to make money to pay for my life to Exsist on this planet > and to pay for more Repairs on my Not Reliable Honda Civic• That's How my Life Works! Car issues are a humbling experience!

I will tell anyone & everyone (& I have in the past) never never never waste their $ on a Honda car or expect to spend much $ in repairs :(

I am not in the social class of people who can go buy a new car when ever they "feel" like it > meaning I need a reliable reasonable practical WORKING CAR!

I am keeping my 02 Honda until I can afford to purchase a Volvo 40s one day .... Happy Happy 2016 to all .... Best wishes to all the Honda Owners in the USA ( Hondas Corp is laughing at all these complaints)

*I read many of this stories from people on this list here & I cried many tears reading other people's stories too. A car stalling in a busy intersection is a Humbling experience. Honestly I was praying that I was not going to die in that intersection & no one would have ever know that my transmission failed in a middle of a busy busy street !

"Sade Sati" ~Peace Joy & Love~

- changeswillcome7, Flower Mound, TX, US

problem #263

Jul 022015

Civic EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

We'll always heard how great Honda's were. The car looks like new. But it just won't move. Transmission just sure seems like Honda should do something about this problem. I guess I was lucky, most of the Civic's had transmission failure with less mileage then my car. Still very disappointed.

- busalacchi, Sonora, CA, US

problem #262

Dec 202015

Civic DX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Called Honda, they acknowledged doing goodwill repairs, however, stated that this does not apply to my VIN.

- Jennifer A., Chicago, IL, US

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