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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I purchased my first Honda CR-V in August. I purchased it from my mother who drove it less than 5,000 miles a year and had owned it since 2011. I, however, use this as my daily commute vehicle and put 500 miles a week on this vehicle. Most of my driving is high speed travel, 55mph.

Here are the specs of the CR-V:
1999 Honda CR-V EX
Automatic Transmission
146-hp, 2.0-liter I-4
Realtime AWD
173,000 Miles

I took the vehicle in for service and the mechanic looked at the transmission fluid and said he did not like what he saw. He said in his opinion, it appeared this was the original fluid and the transmission had never been serviced. He recommended I change this fluid asap.

However, I have heard horror stories of people servicing an automatic transmission late in a vehicles life and destroying the transmission. This is supposedly because the transmission has become used to the sediment/junk in the fluid and adjusted accordingly? New clean fluid is a shock to the system and destroys it?

As you can imagine I was very disappointed to hear this news, not knowing the history of this vehicle.

Personally, I have had no issues with the transmission. It shifts fine and does not lurch or give me any other indicators of trouble. The only thing I have noticed is the vehicle will surge once in a great while (less than once a week?) and then return to normal. This lasts about one second if that, the engine revs up and returns to normal without me doing anything to the pedal.

My hope was to baby this car and get her to 250,000 miles. What do you think? Should I service this transmission or is it not worth the risk?


- Ryan

3,887 Posts
That surge is the clutches slipping and wearing a lot when it does it.
Do a drain and fill with Honda DW-1. Super easy and you don't even need to jack up the CRV.
Drive it that way for a week and see what happens. If it seems to help at all, do another drain and fill. One a week.
4 drain and fills will get you around 90% new atf.
Be sure to check the fluid clarity, color and smell on the dipstick.(clear, pinkish, and no burnt smell)
I would do that first change as soon as possible. Many use Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc atf with excellent results.
You can buy a gal jug at Walmart for around $18. You need just over 3 qts for a single drain and fill.
When places used to do a quick total cleaning flush of the automatic trannies, some times they did cause problems.
Don't forget to do a drain and fill (approx 1.1qts) of the rear diffy and only use Honda DP2 fluid. If you hear a growling, rubbing or similar noise when doing slow tight turns, that indicates the diffy fluid needs to be changed.

Not doing at least a single drain and fill of the atf is inviting disaster, IMO.


PS: Don't forget about the timing belt and valve lash adj.

252 Posts
Buffalo4 is right on this. It's the flush that can cause problems. Do a simple drain and refill. Repeat weekly for a month. It's an easy job you can do yourself, and you can probably get away with the same crush washer on the plug during the month (just keep an eye on the fluid level). I'm partial to the Honda fluids, but anything is better than what's in there now. The timing belt and valves are also important items (by the mileage you state I would guess the prior owner before your mother bought it may have traded around 100k possibly to avoid paying for a timing belt job).
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