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What Are Common Honda CVT Transmission Problems

Honda cars released during 1999-2004, usually face transmission issues. Car models such as Accord, Civic, and Odyssey are the worst example of Honda CVT transmission problems.

Because of CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), a car may stop working properly. If you find that car jerks while accelerating, it is a sign of transmission issue.

Honda Problems Associated with a Continuously Variable Transmission

CVT is the system of improved acceleration and enhanced fuel economy but people still doubt its efficiency.

Here is the list of some Honda CVT Transmission Problems:

1. Irritating Noise

Top Honda CVT transmission problems
Learn about Honda CVT transmission problems

The cars with this system generate noise during initial acceleration. This noise is produced because CVT tries to adjust the engine speed. Such noises can be irritating, specifically when the noise is compared to the sound of slipping clutch comes from a manual transmission.

So, if you are used to driving car with an automatic transmission, you may find a little trouble!

2. Jerky Movement

The cars with continuously variable transmission are supposed to offer a smooth transition while accessing utmost power. However, there has been a problem of jerky movement during initial acceleration.

Moreover, people also complain about the rattling noises during slow speed. Some issues of abrupt movement in starting system or engine have also been noticed. Besides this, if the car’s fuel efficiency has decreased, this is a clear sign of transmission problem.

3. More Expensive

The drivers who have driven cars with a manual or an automatic transmission usually find difficulty if they switch to a car with this system. For them buying a vehicle with CVT is a more expensive deal in comparison to other transmission systems.

4. No Change in Gear Shift

The cars with CVT system don’t give the feel of any gear shifts like the automatic transmission vehicle. In other words, you don’t feel a change in the engine speed when shifting gears.

This is because paddle shifts are incorporated in vehicles with CVT system to stimulate gear changes. Consequently, the paddle shifter allows to transmit electronic signals to the clutch, which causes gear shift. This is exactly what happens in an automatic transmission engine.

Look for Honda CVT Transmission Problems
No Change in Gear Shift is one of the Honda CVT Transmission Problems

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What Causes the Honda CVT Transmission Problems?

CVT is an automatic car transmission system using a belt and pulley for an unrestricted range of gear ratio. It is the part of car that turns engine rotations into torque; allowing one to drive at variable speeds.

However if the engine turns on, the car still won’t shift into gear; resulting in a faulty torque converter. In most of the Honda cars the torque converter is worsening with the leaking and burning transmission fluid.

The Honda CVT transmission problems are quite difficult and expensive to solve. So, it’s better to follow a few maintenance tips at the initial stage. Regular checking at your parking spot for transmission leaks can work precisely to mark the issues. And for the more complicated problems taking the car to a professional service station will be a right thing to do.

53 Comments
  1. drac says

    I was looking to buy a new Honda, but I won’t buy 1 with a cvt transmission. I’ve always driven manuals. I’ve always driven Hondas with manual transmission. I guess they have lost a faithful customer.

    1. Ferdaus says

      My Honda Jazz 2004 CVT failed totally at 112000km; It was serviced at Authorized Honda Service Centre from 99,000km (when I ‘d bought it from previous owner)
      I’d not recommend anyone Honda CVT based cars

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  2. George Nitsos says

    I have 3 Honda’s with auto transmissions (2 civics 1 CRV). I am ready to buy another car, but Civic is out of consideration due to CVT. Why does Honda force this on the public. The only thing reliable about CVT is that it will fail prematurely.

    1. Waynita Agnor says

      Yes I agree. My car is 2015 Honda civic with 120,000 and the transmission is bad! Had I know about the CVT at the time I bought I would never have bought it. Honda wants $5200 to fix the transmission

      1. Angela says

        You are correct 120000 miles and the piece of garbage CVT goes bad and of course out of warranty So $5600.00 to replace.

  3. Eng. Alvarado says

    The article looks a little bit misleading because it mentions Hondas made from 1999 to 2004, which didn’t come with a CVT. I believe CVT was implemented in 2013 and has never been available in the Odyssey.

    Case in point, I would not pick a CVT equipped Honda anytime soon, however there are still some vehicles equipped with traditional automatics (like the 2.0T Accord and V6 engines), as well as some Manual transmissions, which I still like the most.

    1. Ken C Dowton says

      CVT transmissions were available in 1998 & 89 in Civic HF models and yes there were lots of failures at around 30k. I don’t know about after that because I retired in 2001.

    2. Jeffrey Taylor says

      I owned a 2003 Honda Jazz with cvt transmission. When I sold it this year (2018) the cvt was still working fine but for a very slight vibration from the primary clutch on pulling off on a hill.

      1. David says

        How many miles did you have on it!?

  4. Shoti Ong says

    I want to sell my Honda Mobilio 16 because of CVT problem I might get again. How’s honda letting this be a problem?

  5. Mark Monroe says

    Don’t by a new CR-V, the transmission’s are junk. Wait until the 2019’s come out for they will have a Ten speed trans. The one that’s in the 2018 has plenty of problems.

    1. Jim Zeng says

      Is it true that 2019 CR-V has 10-speed trans?

      1. Aryan says

        no it has a cvt buy an accord with the 10 speed auto tranny it has similar size and of course no cvt but you will pay extra for the 10 speed because you can only get it with the 2.0t engine

    2. Waynita Agnor says

      Agree!! Dont buy Honda civic…transmissions ate Junk also CVT…they dont last and Honda won’t replace unless you pay $5200

  6. Lisa foltz says

    Do not buy!! It is so annoying to drive on a highway to have your car continuously lunging due to transmission!! I was told that is normal.

  7. 2015 civic owner says

    This article was written by someone who has neither driven a car equipped with a CVT, nor has any grasp of how they function on a mechanical level.

  8. 2015 civic owner says

    And yes I drive a car with a CVT. When you put it in D, drive it like a fuel economy car…always keep Econ on. You can putter along, with perfectly fine in-town acceleration, at a constant 1100-1300 RPM for the smoothest driving experience I’ve ever had out of any transmission. Turn off Econ/traction control, drop it into S….have a little fun.

    As for the complaints about “lunging” on the highway, yes when you push on the accelerator the transmission is going to bump up the RPM’s of the engine. That is no different than an automatic downshifting when you stomp the gas. Matter of fact the “gear shift” happens a lot faster than in an automatic. Yes, motor’s generate more noise when they spin at higher RPM’s. Most modern Honda engines are equipped with the IVTEC system, which activates at higher RPM’s. Its loud. The noise people complain about isn’t from the transmission, its from your damn motor doing exactly what you ask it to do (spin faster to make more power so you can accelerate quickly at freeway speeds. Try dropping into S before you stomp the gas. #thumbsup

    I’ve owned multiple manual transmissions in the past, and was not sure about the CVT at first. After a few weeks in the car, I grew to love it. For a commuter/daily driver you will not regret the choice. As for it being more costly, well of course a superior piece of equipment will be more costly than the other options.

    1. Jim says

      Honda CVTs are junk and they know it. Don’t expect them to stand behind it or offer a trans maint schedule without prying it out of them. They will give customers crap for not maintaining the trans every 15k, but they never tell you that when they sell you the car. If have to have CVT, I always recommend a bullet proof extended warranty that even they can’t wiggle out of.

    2. Paloma says

      I have a question i just bought a 2019 civix lx and i noticed today when im going slow then press on the gas it gives a click noise just one and then when i let go it hear two clicks … only when im going at a low speed is this normal???

      1. Fu says

        I hear those clicks too on my civic hybrid 2009. It sounds like relays clicking. Im going to see if I can get hold of some relays but to be honest I may not even bother. Honda quality & design became bad for many many years now. Ive driven & owned Hondas for over 20 years and I wont any longer. In the UK the authorised Honda dealers are incompetent. I paid £45 for a software update & they said nothing wrong despite IMA & check engine light (MIL) on. I had airbag recall work done and they didnt assemble air vents & dash part properly. I had to fix that myself because you think I will allow same idiots to work on my car? never again will I trust these so called ‘mechanics/technicians’ with my car. BTW I read that when a software update is done that all 3 parts of software needs to be updated e.g CVT update also needs to be done otherwise errors appear. However these Honda idiot ‘mechanics’ DO NOT know the correct procedures. I asked did CVT firmware/software get updated & they said that it didnt require it. UK Honda you are a joke & I hope Honda goes bust

  9. Ted says

    Hello Mr. Azuma:
    How are you? I have a 98 Honda HRV & the odometer reads about 56K’s. There’s a terrible shudder on acceleration…so my question is… can this vehicle be modified with a 5 speed manual tranny?

    1. MICHAEL ORLANO says

      MR.AZUMA
      HAD THA SAME PROBLEM WITH MY 97 CIVIC HF . ITS THE START CLUTCH SHUTTERING . CHANGE FLUID TO ENEOS CVT . BARNISH THE START CLUTCH BY HOLDING THE BRAKE AND HOLD 2000 RPM FOR AT LEAST 10 SECONDS. PROBLEM GONE IN MY CAR . HONDA WANTED $3000 FOR THE TRANS. UNKNOWN SERVICE PROCEDURE FROM HONDA. CHANGE THE FLUID AT LEAST EVERY 25000 ML. GOOD LUCK..YOU CAN GET THE FLUID AT NAPA

  10. Rob says

    Audi Honda Hyundai subaru toyota and nissan ALL use CVT transmissions

    1. Eric Thoman says

      That’s why Toyota has gone back to 8-speed automatics for 2019…

  11. Lee Murray says

    Thank God nissan isn’t the only CVT demon.
    I know I have been bad but not bad enough to buy a CVT transmission, I hope!

  12. Ben says

    5000 miles in my Honda fit 2018 CVT transmission slips every morning when the car is Cole going up a hill

    1. Ben says

      I have a 2018 Honda fit with the CBT and in the mornings when it’s cold it will not climb the hill RPMs go to 5600 in the car will literally stop I have to turn around and go back down the hill again when it warms up it seems to do better Honda needs to know about this and stand behind a vehicle

  13. Ben says

    But after it warms up it seems to act fine does anybody else have this problem with their CVT transmission and the Honda

  14. Ben says

    Yes absolutely I have a 2018 Honda fit with the Cvt when the vehicle is cold in the morning it will not climb a hill RPMs go to 5600 in the car will literally stop I have to turn around and go back down the hill I have 3500 miles

  15. Hannibal Dobbs says

    CVT.
    Nyet. Negative. No. Nada.
    As an automotive customer I will never purchase any car, truck, SUV, CUV, that has a CVT automatic transmission. No Subaru, no Honda, No Nissan, no Mitsubishi. Toyota and Mazda still offer some vehicles with traditional automatic transmissions.

  16. Ben says

    When I take my 2018 fit in it it’s warmed up and it doesn’t have the problem of slipping gears is anybody else getting the runaround from Honda on their CVT transmission on their 2018 Honda fits or is it just me

    1. MICHAEL ORLANO says

      BEN
      TRY CHANGING THE FLUID TO ENEOS CVT TRANS FLUID . SOLVED ALL MY PROBLEMS IN MY OLD CIVIC . YOU CAN GET IT AT NAPA . GOOD LUCK WORKS ALOT BETTER THAN THE OEM HONDA FLUID

  17. Linda says

    I dont think yoyota has cvt tranny…if so which model and dont think hyamdai either

  18. Anderson kalinde says

    I have a Honda airwave which can’t shift orove on drive the diagnosis indicates CVT sensor fault code P01886, after changing the sensor the vehicle still can’t move what might be the problem?

  19. Yvonne Joubert says

    What about the Honda Jazz?
    Just took it in this week for the transmission… they say its a gearbox problem?
    But the book states to only take it to a Honda Dealer !!

  20. Gary Martin says

    Has anyone had any issues with Stepwagons CVT’s in any models? Any input would be greatly appreciated thanks

    1. Pauline says

      Experiencing some jerking problems

  21. worrell says

    I had a 2010 Honda step wagon, sometimes it would not go up a hill, I have to go back and start again.

    1. Jay says

      “… sometimes it would not go up a hill, I have to go back and start again …”. If it wouldn’t go up a hill, how could you possibly go back and start again?

  22. Mark says

    Took a 2019 crv for a test drive herd noises from automatic and sales man said that normally right for these cars why is honda selling lemons to us

  23. Kenton Johnson says

    I have a 2010 Honda Insight, nice car but the CVT transmission hesitates for about a couple of seconds when I put it into D, S and Reverse, then it goes into gear with a bump after I give it gas. It has 110,000 Kilometers on the car. Does anyone know or have any idea what is wrong? Or is this normal?

  24. RA says

    I have a honda city CVT and I also get the same problem. Cold start the gears will not engage. I leave it running in parked condition and then everything is fine.

  25. S Humphreys says

    We have had Jazz with cvt since 2014 and I have to say it is the best car we have ever owned. It is comfortable, gives a smooth ride, quiet until you get up to 70mph or thereabouts. We have annual services and have never had any problems with the car. I would recommend the Jazz to anyone, indeed we will be having a new one soon.

  26. James says

    What is the last model year to get a Civic with a traditional automatic?

    1. jay says

      2012 civic 5speed

      1. jay says

        opps meant 2013 after that is cvt

    2. jay says

      sorry 2013 has 5 speed auto,cvt after that.

  27. steve says

    i think not all cvt are bad.i had a nissan not with 225,000km with cvt and it was fine till i sold it.it never generated any problem

  28. Vermon says

    Hi. I have a 2006 Honda Jazz CVT. I am experiencing issue where my indicator light blinks for the transmission at the dashboard. Although the engine doesn’t stop it feels like I am only running at low gear and that it won’t shift. My initial observation is that it happens when I am revving up to gain speed but it would not do so and it feels like very heavy. Is it the transmission sensor, the computer program, or any other reason? Thank you.

  29. Lazerman says

    I will never buy another vehicle that has a CVT transmission, my wife’s rogue at 20k miles feels like we are towing a boat. Jerking when under 50 mph. The whole fake shift thing is such a scam. The idea of a metal drive belt , come on really , worst plan ever. The CVT was designed in the 1930s for motorcycles hill climbing , what moron decided to put it in a car needs to be fired you cant tow anything with it. You’ll be lucky if you get 80k miles and it cant be rebuilt, 5k to replace it , screwing us over after spending 26k on a new vehicle. Never again , my dads honda crv made it to 45k before CVT transmission failed. $6200 to replace it. JATCO of Japan make the worst cvt , Asian is a little better on the Toyota’s but still fail.

  30. Nelson says

    My Honda Accord 10 don’t accelerate well and makes funny noise like my engine can’t breathe well. I changed the oxygen sensor but it still acts same.

  31. Bye Honda says

    All Hondas are now garbage. I have owned Hondas for most of my 35 year driving career and I loved them back in the 80’s and 90’s. After that they went down hill in almost every category and way, way down in reliability and customer support.
    The last Honda I will ever own is my 2012 civic hybrid paper wieght. Like everyone else who bought a Honda with a cvt mine died at 120,000. Dealer quoted me $8000.00 just for the transmission and another $2500.00 to install it yet the car is only worth $3000.00 at middle range blue book. I’m in Santa Cruz ca if you are wondering where this pricing came from. Pick n pull auto wreckers offered me $174.00 for the car and the honda dealer in Santa Cruz said $75.00 trade in value. I almost hit the guy in the jaw. I found a rebuild kit for $650.00 but no one to rebuild it unless they ship it off to outsource it.
    Unlike many of the other people who got screwed with this transmission I changed the fluid every 12,000 miles with the Honda brand cvt fluid. I also had the dealer perform the band burnishing procedure and it still failed.
    Honda doesnt say straight out there’s a problem but they are admitting it by coming out with “fixes” for the problem which are the procedures list above. The thing is they do nothing and dont fix anything. For them to charge so much for a new cvt and installation is an in your face “screw you!” To all of us used to be Honda loyalists. In the old days there would have been a recall, extended warranty, discounted and affordable replacement, decent trade in value or at least some acknowledgement that there is an issue with the cvt’s. Now what we get is a slap in the face as they ignore us.
    Sure, there are still some cool Hondas being made but none as reliable as the 80-90 cars which were backed by Honda rather than the 2000 and on cars which are only backed up by class action lawsuits.
    Speaking of class action anyone in for bringing the 2012 civic hybrid cvt (or years around it) to the court?
    I will never own a Honda again and discourage anyone from buying one new.

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