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2002 Honda Accord (Honda)
2002 Honda Accord (Honda)

Rob's Garage

Fight hard for that 'goodwill repair' Add to ...


Our 2002 Honda Accord - with 112,000 kilometres on it - needed to have its transmission repaired last week. But now there's a growling noise that wasn't there before.

I have learned through the internet that transmissions are a major problem with that Honda model year. I have also learned that Honda will only "maybe" consider "goodwill repairs" if you have been a good customer at a Honda dealership, so we don't hold out hope.

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Can you give us some advice? We're not even sure what questions to ask.

Helena and Barry

Well, this is a fine mess H and B.

There are a couple of things going on here.

First, Honda certainly does have issues with its transmissions - although not "officially".

Second, if it's any consolation, I may have an answer to your growling noise.

Honda has recognized that it does have challenges with its transaxles. It, along with most other manufacturers, has been on a quest for many years to reduce the weight of vehicles as one method of improving fuel economy. However, there's a problem with that. With a weight or mass reduction, there comes a decrease in the robustness of many of the parts that we come to rely on to propel (and stop) a vehicle.

Consider that a transmission must deliver torque and horsepower to the wheels as well as slow the vehicle during a down shift, and it becomes apparent that going light on internal transmission parts is not a good thing.

Helena and Barry, stand your ground with a goodwill repair. Get the general manager involved. It's been my experience that most of the time they will accommodate you. They will want you back as a return customer knowing that you could spread good news about the service you received.

As for your noise, it was most likely caused by an incorrect tightening of the spindle nut on the outer end of the drive shaft. This is a very large nut that is visible with the wheel/tire removed or a wheel cover removed. It is located in the centre of the wheel and has a very specific tightening torque value of 181 lb-ft or 245 Newton metres. Many times, technicians in a hurry will "rattle" these nuts up with an air-powered impact gun. Those bad boys can approach torque values in excess of 500 lb-ft.

This will overcompress the bearings that are behind the nut, inside the suspension knuckle and that is your noise. The bearings are too tight and are starting to destroy themselves - and like anything or anyone in a bad mood, they're letting you know.


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