How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Honda CR-V

The transmission in your automatic Honda CR-V is what makes it move forward and backward. To keep the transmission in good working order, you should change the fluid every 30,000 miles and use Honda Premium Automatic Transmission Fluid or you can temporarily substitute Dexron III ATF, if necessary. The following covers Honda CR-V models from 1997 through 2000, and the instructions for other model years may have some variations.

Drive the CR-V for 15 to 20 minutes to bring the engine and transmission up to a normal operating temperature. Raise the front of the car with ramps or a floor jack. Support it with jack stands and wheel blocks to ensure it won't move while you service the transmission.

Place a drain pan beneath the transmission. Find the drain plug, located on the bottom of the transmission housing. Remove the drain plug with a ratchet and wait for the transmission fluid to drain out.

Reinstall the drain plug with a new washer and tighten the plug to 36 foot pounds with a torque wrench. Return the CR-V to level ground.

Start the engine and let it idle for a minute or two. Set the parking brake, depress the brakes and move the gear selector through each gear, ending in "Park."

Use a funnel to add just enough fluid to bring the level to 1/8 inch below the "Add" indicator on the dipstick. Allow the engine to run for 15 to 20 minutes, long enough for it to return to normal operating temperature.

Check the fluid level to see if it's in the "Hot" range on the dipstick. If it isn't, add enough fluid to bring the fluid level to its proper place. If the level is already within specifications, simply replace the dipstick into the filler tube, close the hood and turn off the engine.


Remember that if you drive your CR-V under severe conditions, you'll need to change the automatic transmission fluid more often than otherwise.


Be careful when draining the old transmission fluid, because it's very hot and could burn you.

Things You'll Need

  • Ramps or a floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wheel blocks
  • Drain pan
  • Ratchet
  • New drain plug washer
  • Torque wrench
  • Funnel
  • New transmission fluid
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