Honda Transmission Problem Shifting Expectations

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

Honda is known for manufacturing some of the sweetest-shifting transmissions in the world. Yet many owners of 2002 to 2008 model year cars claim that when shifting from second to third, the transmission resists, subtly grinds into third or pops out of third gear altogether. More than a thousand Civic Si owners have signed an online petition asking Honda to “correct the problem.” Over at, the list of ’06 through ’08 Si owners “signing” the " I have a 3rd gear problem" thread is up to 270. Recently, Road and Track published its Long-Term Test Wrap-Up of their 2006 Civic Si, and they experienced a “binding resistance going into 3rd, which would kick the gear-shift lever back to neutral if the clutch was let out a moment too soon," and speculate that “we're not sure if the gearbox issue is a design flaw or premature wear exacerbated by a diverse group of learning curves.” And this site offers video of a 2004 Accord six-speed popping out of third gear. Recently, Fox news in San Diego posted a “ Call for a recall” video about the current-generation Si, and it’s spread like wildfire [shown above]. Disgruntled owners say Honda needs to resolve these issues, or risk damaging its reputation. You know, more.

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  • Daisy Daisy on Mar 01, 2008

    There is a lot of civic si owners on 8th that state that the problem with third gear returns a few months after swapping out the transmission fluid. Also , as someone else stated that honda has good customer service, that has not been proven to me yet. My dealership treated me more like I was the cause of the third gear problem instead of trying to look for the real cause. When I mentioned changing the tranny fluid, they said it was not recommended by honda. Then why did I find an official honda newsletter to their techs stating to change the mtf fluid?I dealt with honda america and they were absolutely no help. The rep laughed at me when I told him about third gear,he said "I have never heard of that before". I have owned three generations of civics(all used)and this 07 SI was my first financed new car. I have had the worst experience ever with this vehicle. I just dont understand how honda can not acknowledge that their is a serious defect with these transmissions. Everyone is so judgemental and say the owner must have raced the car. Even if that were not true, then why is the car marketed to the young public and is "race-inspired" as they state in their catalog.

  • Sing Sing on Jul 12, 2010

    I am from Canada, I got a Honda Civic Si 2008 model, I know that there was problem with the clutch from the beginning, but they told me that is Normal for a honda civic Si to pop out of 3gear, because the gear shift is very stiff, after 42,000 Km and a year and a haft, the transmission burn out, I continue get blame from Honda Canada, saying that is my fault that this happen, over rev, as result paying $1400 for repair. I been a driver for the military for several year, and All we have was Standard Vehicle, So I been train, I believe talk and talk only go so far, Litigation is needed.

  • Sing Sing on Jul 13, 2010

    1 day before the Arbitration date for the BBB, Honda Canada calls me and decides to settle the amount that I paid for repairing the car, and also any other costs associated with the diagnostic and rental car cost. I encourage any one having the same problem to continue the fight.

  • Bethjackson Bethjackson on May 09, 2013

    Honda transmissions are so prone to failure. I have had 3 in my lifetime - all needed trans rebuilds. Luckily I found a great trans shop here in Charlotte ( they do awesome work.