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Old 26 Aug 2009, 12:08 pm
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Default American Honda Transmission Flush Recommendations?

I have a 2001 Accord that seems to be one of the vehicles affected by a manufacturing defect in the transmission. The car has about 85K miles but was 6 months over the extended warranty deadline when I first noticed the problem. My understanding is that American Honda guidelines are for the transmission to be serviced every 30K miles. I had my transmission serviced at 31.7K, 47.4K, 58.7K, 77.3K and 80.1K miles. I was trying to service it at 15K intervals to be cautious. I didn't buy the car until it had 23.2K miles so I couldn't do it at 15K.

Anyway, all of the transmission services (and all other work besides tires) were done at Honda dealerships. In 2005 at 47.4K, based on the recommendation of the dealer service advisor, I had a transmission flush service. The description of which on my invoice states:

"Flush. Normal Scheduled Maintenance. We use cleaners to remove light varnish and other deposits while cleaning internal transmission components. This prepares the transmission for new fluid we then add a synthetic conditioner to help improve performance and lower operating temperatures."

So apparently fluids other than Honda ATF were used in the transmission. I have read comments online saying that only Honda ATF should ever be put in the transmission. In 2008 (before my transmission problem arose) I was speaking to a service advisor at a different Honda dealership who advised me against flush services telling me they can damage the transmission. He said that his technicians perform a drain and fill four times over.

I'm concerned that the flush service along with the manufacturing defect could have contributed to the failure of the transmission. As far as I can tell from the owners manual American Honda guidelines agree with what the second service advisor told me about performing a drain and fill four times over. What I am looking for is if American Honda actually publishes recommendations for or against flush services (especially if it discusses the use of cleaners and conditioners). Maybe a TSB? I would like to have a written document that I can reference in my discussions with America Honda and the dealership. I couldn't find anything at the Honda Owner Link website or elsewhere online. My dealings with American Honda over this issue have become quite contentious and so I can't rely on the person there to provide me any documentation if it does exist. I always used a dealer for my services despite being more expensive because I wanted to make sure all work was done within the manufacturer guidelines. However the case manager at American Honda told me that dealerships are not required to follow manufacturer guidelines and it was up to me to determine if the Honda dealership was performing a service that was safe for the transmission.

Thanks

Last edited by mikethemartian; 26 Aug 2009 at 12:12 pm.
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Old 27 Aug 2009, 04:14 pm
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Default Re: American Honda Transmission Flush Recommendations?

I spoke to a service manager at a different Honda dealership. He verbally confirmed to me that American Honda does not recommend the use of cleaners and conditioners in the transmission but said he was not able to provide me proprietary Honda documents.
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: American Honda Transmission Flush Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikethemartian View Post
I spoke to a service manager at a different Honda dealership. He verbally confirmed to me that American Honda does not recommend the use of cleaners and conditioners in the transmission but said he was not able to provide me proprietary Honda documents.
The proper care and maintenance of the Honda transmission is proprietary?? My 2001 is on its 3rd transmission (137k miles). Would LOVE to know if there is something that can be done to ward off a 4th. I bought a can of SeaFoam trans cleaner/conditioner that I guess I'll take back now.
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Old 03 Sep 2009, 05:27 pm
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Default Re: American Honda Transmission Flush Recommendations?

From what I have been told by a very knowledgeable source, American Honda tells their dealer service centers not to perform transmission flushes that use anything but Honda ATF. No cleaners or conditioners. That damage caused by flushes is not covered by warranty. However due to state laws, American Honda can't force the dealerships to comply. So the dealers are free to recommend the service.

What I don't know is if, given that such services may damage the transmission and dealers still recommend them, American Honda provides any warning to owners regarding this discrepancy. Apparently American Honda feels it is necessary to regularly remind dealerships not to provide the services via newsletters that are not publicly available, so it seems fair that they should also make the same efforts to warn owners of its vehicles.

The service manager I mentioned was actually trying to help me out, off-the-record. He just couldn't officially involve himself in a matter regarding another dealership.
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