Automatic transmission slipping can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous problem, especially when it occurs when the vehicle is hot.
Honda owners may experience this issue in their vehicles and it is important to diagnose and fix the problem as soon as possible.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the possible causes of Honda transmission slipping when hot and the solutions to fix these issues.
Table of Contents
1. Low, Excessive, or Contaminated Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid plays a crucial role in lubricating and cooling the components of an automatic transmission. When the fluid is low, excessive, or contaminated, it can cause the transmission to slip, especially when the vehicle is hot.
- Low Transmission Fluid: Insufficient fluid may cause the oil pump to run dry, leading to a lack of hydraulic pressure in the transmission system. This can result in slipping, missed shifts, and erratic responses.
- Excessive Transmission Fluid: Too much fluid can cause cavitation, leading to increased pressure inside the system and interference with the normal operation of the transmission.
- Contaminated Transmission Fluid: Dirty or burnt transmission fluid can cause the transmission to slip, shift erratically, and not function smoothly.
- Check the transmission fluid level and condition using the dipstick. If necessary, change the fluid and flush the transmission system to remove any debris and gunk buildup.
- Use a high-quality, heat-resistant transmission fluid designed for your specific Honda model.
2. Clogged Transmission Fluid Filter
A clogged transmission fluid filter can restrict the flow of fluid and lead to slipping, rough shifting, and delayed response.
- Replace the transmission fluid filter and flush the transmission system to remove any debris and gunk buildup.
- Regularly change the transmission fluid filter as part of your Honda’s routine maintenance.
3. Faulty Shift Solenoids
Failing or broken shift solenoids can cause the transmission to slip, not only when hot but at any time. Defective or worn-out solenoids may be more prone to failure when exposed to high heat.
- Inspect and test the shift solenoids. If any are found to be faulty or damaged, replace the entire set, as they are typically housed together.
- Regularly inspect and maintain the shift solenoids as part of your Honda’s routine maintenance.
4. Failing Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid
The torque converter clutch solenoid works in conjunction with the shift solenoids to control the transmission’s operation. If this solenoid is failing or damaged, it can cause the transmission to slip when hot.
- Test and inspect the torque converter clutch solenoid. If it is found to be faulty or damaged, replace it.
- Regularly inspect and maintain the torque converter clutch solenoid as part of your Honda’s routine maintenance.
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5. Malfunctioning Transmission Control Module (TCM)
The TCM is responsible for regulating the operation of the transmission, including the shift solenoids. If the TCM is damaged, corroded, or has broken pins, it may not properly signal and regulate the transmission, leading to slipping and other issues.
- Inspect the TCM for damage, corrosion, and broken pins. If any issues are found, clean or replace the TCM as necessary.
- Regularly inspect and maintain the TCM as part of your Honda’s routine maintenance.
6. Malfunctioning Electronic Control Unit (ECU)
The ECU is responsible for controlling the transmission’s electronic components. If the ECU is malfunctioning or has failed, the solenoids and other electronic components may not function properly, leading to transmission slipping.
- Use an automotive diagnostic tool to test the ECU for any faults or error codes.
- Address any connection issues, such as wiring harnesses or open circuits, in the transmission system.
- Replace the ECU if it is found to have internal defects or failed components.
7. Damaged or Worn Transmission Components
Various components within the transmission system, such as transmission bands, switches, levers, and gears, can become damaged or worn over time. These issues can contribute to transmission slipping when hot.
- Perform a thorough inspection of the entire transmission system to identify any damaged or worn components.
- Replace or repair any faulty components as necessary.
- Regularly inspect and maintain the transmission system as part of your Honda’s routine maintenance.
8. Overheating Transmission
An overheating transmission can cause the transmission fluid to break down and lose its lubricating and cooling properties, leading to slipping and other issues.
- Install an auxiliary transmission cooler to help keep the transmission temperature within the optimal range.
- Regularly check the transmission fluid level and condition, and change it as necessary to prevent overheating.
9. Faulty Electronic Throttle Body
Some Honda vehicles are equipped with an electronic throttle body that regulates the transmission, clutch converter, and gears. If this component is damaged or not responding correctly, the transmission may slip, miss shifts, or fail to shift as required.
- Inspect and test the electronic throttle body for proper function.
- Replace the electronic throttle body if it is found to be faulty or damaged.
10. Worn or Damaged Transmission Bands
Transmission bands are responsible for holding the gears in place during shifting. Worn or damaged bands can cause the transmission to slip when hot.
- Inspect the transmission bands for wear and damage.
- Adjust or replace the transmission bands as necessary.
- Regularly inspect and maintain the transmission bands as part of your Honda’s routine maintenance.
How hot is too hot for a transmission?
The highest temperature at which a transmission can operate without overheating is 199℉. However, modern synthetic fluids and cooling systems can handle higher temperatures, with some suggesting that temperatures under 230℉ were not expected to cause fluid or component failure in the ’80s and today’s transmission fluid can handle temperatures up to 250℉.
That being said, the normal operating temperature for a transmission is between 160 and 175 degrees. It is important to monitor transmission temperature, and signs of an overheating transmission include a burning smell inside the cab of the vehicle, slipping gears, or sluggish response times.
To avoid transmission damage and ensure safe driving, it is recommended to keep the temperature reading between 160 and 220 degrees when towing.
How long will a slipping clutch last?
The lifespan of a slipping clutch can vary depending on the extent of damage and usage. Typically, a clutch can last anywhere between 20,000 to 150,000 miles, but severe misuse can lead to replacement at 10,000 miles or less.
Frequent riding of the clutch can also halve the lifespan of a clutch, reducing it to 30,000 miles or less. It is important to monitor the clutch’s condition and address any issues promptly to avoid further damage and ensure safe driving.
Transmission slipping when hot can be caused by a variety of issues, ranging from low or contaminated transmission fluid to malfunctioning electronic components.
To ensure the safe and reliable operation of your Honda, it is essential to regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle’s transmission system.
By addressing any issues promptly and following the solutions provided in this guide, you can prevent transmission slipping and keep your Honda running smoothly for years to come.