to flush or not to flush

Old 08-25-2012
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Smile to flush or not to flush

I just bought a 2003 honda civic lx with a 170,000 miles . It has a automatic transmission, and gets stuck in gear and will not shift. This is only happening about 30% of the time. I don't know if the transmission fluid has ever ben changed. Should I flush, or will this just cause more problems ?
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Old 08-25-2012
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Re: to flush or not to flush

You have unfortunately made a bad choice in a used car . Hope you didn't pay very much for it! There is LOTS of information available on 7 gen (01-05) Civic transmissions, and it doesn't take too much reading to figure out that Honda made major technical mistakes with them. And it sounds like yours has the classic symptoms of one that's on the way out. There are a few reports of folks who did the flush when the tranny was really bad, and that worked for them (but for how long ???). I believe a flush would be a last-resort thing to try, if you don't have a problem throwing $150 or so away (probably). One exception: if this is happening only when it's cold (and then goes away), one of the mods here (gearbox), has had success by changing over to a different fluid. But outside of that, it's likely just a matter of time.
So what do you do? With 170K and an unknown maintenance history, I wouldn't have it rebuilt or replaced (somewhere around 2K). That's my own opinion, and others may disagree, but I don't read about any great, consistent success with the rebuilds/replaces on these. And there's also likely to be other big $$ problems waiting to happen with this vehicle.
But, if you can spare $25-100, you could have the fluid checked to see how it looks and PERHAPS (if it doesn't look good) drain and refill. That's also very unlikely to do anything, but it might be worth a relatively inexpensive try. Beyond that, drive it until it starts getting worse. Then, when it's nearly croaked, if you feel like throwing $150 away, go for a (miracle) flush. Finally, try to sell it for parts and chalk it up as an expensive learning experience. JMHO.
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Old 08-25-2012
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Re: to flush or not to flush

Youre not suppose to flush honda trannys, only drain and fill. Check the dipstick and see what colour the ATF is. You need to do a drain and fill, 2 or 3 preferably but do one for now and see how the colour of the ATF is and if things improve. It takes 5 drain and fills to get just about all of the current ATF out.

Also with trans hot, check the ATF level with car on a perfectly flat road in P and make sure the level is right on the max line. Also smell it and see if it smells burnt.
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