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I have a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid with continuously variable transmission (CVT). At the 90k tuneup, the mechanic added 3.5 quarts of the regular automatic transmission fluid. At 110,000 miles, the transmission died,

General consensus online holds that using the wrong fluid is certain to destroy the transmission very quickly. However, this did not happen. Now, the mechanic who put in the wrong transmission fluid claims that CVT's often last only 100k, and therefore does not want to take full responsibility for replacing the transmission.

He suggests that since the transmission lasted another 20k, he is not fully responsible for replacing the transmission, e.g., because it might have died anyway.

  • Are there any statistics for the life expectancy of this device (the CVT)? Online forums are generally skewed toward examples of either long lived transmissions or those that failed.
  • Is there any standard way to assess who is liable for repairs in such a case?
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By added do you mean the transmission was low on fluid and it took 3.5 quarts to fill it up or did he drain and refill the transmission as part of the service? Also what fluid did he put in it exactly? –  Larry Jul 2 '12 at 20:21
    
@Larry he drained and refilled. He put in the automatic transmission fluid for the non-CVT 2006 Honda Civic. –  Abe Jul 2 '12 at 21:17
    
Unfortunately I have no first-hand experience, but from what I hear the lifespan depends very much on driving style. Trying to put a lot of power down through it supposedly dramatically decreases the life. Probably why the forums have a wide spread in results. Some people baby their cars, others beat them, with few in the middle. :-) –  Brian Knoblauch Jul 6 '12 at 11:47
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This is a suggestion rather than an answer: I called Honda USA Corporate about a similar issue years ago and said "I will not buy Honda products in the future." I was able to negotiate the dealer paying for parts and me paying for labor. Note: I wasn't happy in the end and now I buy Subarus.... –  Bob Cross Jul 6 '12 at 12:09
    
Did he specified which oil he as used on your bill? If not, it will be hard to prove his mistake. Otherwise you may have a case, but how far are you ready do go for this? –  Gabriel Mongeon Jul 6 '12 at 12:48
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2 Answers 2

What follows is not a mechanical fix. That said, I think you are going to have to solve this as a people problem first.

Based on the answers in the comments, I would recommend the following:

  1. Collect your maintenance records.
  2. Collect your warranty documentation, especially the 100K mile warranty.
  3. Write a short script for yourself: "I baby my car. The mechanic put in the wrong oil. As a result, the car broke immediately after the warranty expired."
  4. Contact Honda USA Corporate and discuss your situation with them.

If the mechanic is a Honda dealer, authorized service center or affiliate, it is likely that corporate will increase the pressure on them to compromise with you.

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I have a 03 civic hybrid and my transmission died at 186,000 miles!

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Welcome to the site. Your experience could potentially be of use to the original poster if you provided some more information. For example, did you transmission fail due to the same sort of reason (service personnel error) or was there another cause? You could also provide more information on the second point: how did you approach the repair of the transmission? –  Bob Cross Oct 19 '12 at 23:38
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