Different auto manufacturers use different transmissions from one another. They also use different transmissions in different models and brands that they own and operate. Even for the many people who don’t think they know anything about vehicles, learning about your vehicle’s transmission can help you make small adjustments to prolong its lifespan, or at least to have a better idea of when it might need service. Having said all that, if you drive a Honda, what should you know about Honda transmissions and their service?
The Honda Motor Company LTD. was founded by Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa in Hamamatsu, Japan, in 1946 and incorporated two years later. In addition to automobiles, Honda makes motorcycles, power equipment, aircraft, mountain bicycles, and, because they’re Japanese, of course they make robots. But we’re here to discuss Honda’s automobiles and their most popular models are the Honda Civic, the Honda Accord, and the Honda CR-V, among others. Honda’s luxury brand is the Acura.
Many automakers are happy to implement transmissions made by other companies in their automobiles, but Honda rarely does this. Notable exceptions are the Acura TLX V6 model, the Acura MDX, and post-2014 Honda Odysseys and Pilots. These vehicles use a ZF 9HP nine-speed transmission manufactured by ZF Friedrichshafen AG. These transmissions are mostly fine and are surprisingly compact for a nine-speed transmission. However, there have been reports of some problems with these transmissions in Acura’s and it was even recalled for 2015 Acura TLXs. ZF has attributed most of these problems to software issues.
As for Honda-made transmissions, they have often been a bit different from the norm when it comes to transmissions. Until 2017, Honda’s automatic transmissions did not use planetary gears as almost all other automatic transmissions do. These Honda transmissions utilized traditional, individual gears on parallel axes –like manual transmissions do– with each gear ratio engaged by a different hydraulic clutch pack. These Honda transmissions preserve engine braking by doing away with a sprag between the first and second gears, relying instead on pressure circuits to change gears.
What does the above mean? Do these older Honda transmissions need more service because they don’t use planetary gears? No. In truth, the vast majority of drivers will never feel a difference. Most Honda transmissions are well-made and will need only the same standard transmission service as do all transmissions. One thing to note, though: the transmission in 2003 Honda Accords has received many more complaints than other years, so maybe avoid the 2003 Accord if you’re looking to buy a used car. Honda automatic transmission fluid is required for your Honda transmission.
If you would like to learn more about Honda transmissions, or if you think that your Honda transmission requires a transmission service, please contact Mister Transmission today. We also provide transmission service to other transmissions as well, not just Honda transmission service.