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Problems With the Transmission in a 2003 Honda Civic

Updated April 17, 2017

Transmission problems with 2003 Honda Civic have been an issue that Honda owners have complained about most, according to Car Complaints. These transmission issues have run from a major problem, such as the torque converter, to Civic owners not checking the transmission fluid, causing the Honda to vibrate on take-off. The 2003 Honda Civic has 16 different recalls, but none of these concern problems with the transmission.

Torque Converter

The biggest transmission problem with the 2003 Honda Civic has been with the torque converter in the automatic transmission, according to Honda Problems. The torque converter allows the engine to continue to run while disengaged from the transmission when the car is stopped. The torque converter has been failing, causing the transmission fluid to burn and damage the transmission beyond repair. This is not a problem with the manual transmission.

Jerking When Shifting Gears

Some of the 2003 Honda Civic's jerk when the transmission has shifted gears, especially from first gear to second gear, according to Car Complaints. The transmission bands have been the major culprit when this begins to occur. The bands wrap around the gears to hold them in place while shifting gears. This defect or transmission problem with the 2003 Honda Civic has required the transmission to be completely replaced. According to Honda Problems, the manufacturer has been willing to discount the new transmission replacement by as much as £650 as of 2010.

Vibrating From Take-off

Another problem has been the vehicle vibrating during initial take-off because of low transmission fluid. The Civic does take-off from a standstill, but vibrates during the shift from first gear to second gear. Maintaining the transmission fluid at the appropriate level prevents this transmission problem from occurring, but if the transmission is run while the transmission fluid is low, the transmission will fail. The low transmission fluid is also being attributed to the torque converter beginning to go out on the Civic. Honda owners must check the transmission fluid level every time they check the engine oil level. If the transmission level is low, then the Civic owner should add new transmission fluid into the reservoir and not overfill above the top-off line on the dipstick. The Civic owner should also smell to see if the transmission fluid is burnt, which is another sign that the torque converter is going bad.

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About the Author

Horacio Garcia has been writing since 1979, beginning his career as the spokesperson for Trinity Broadcast Network. Within 10 years Garcia was being called upon to write speeches and scripts for several state and federal congressmen, local broadcast networks and publications such as "Readers Digest." He received his bachelor's degree in public relations from Argosy University.