The transmission in my 2002 Honda Odyssey is on the way out. When cold, it tends to slip from 2nd back to first and sometimes also does weird stuff in 3rd and ultimately goes into limp mode. I did the troubleshooting for the relevant OBD code and it looks like the transmission itself needs to be replaced.

However, all of these problems go away once the engine/transmission get hot. If I drive around in 1st for a couple minutes after starting the car, once it warms up I can switch it to drive and everything seems fine.

When I drive around in first it will rev up to about 4000rpm or so (going 40km/h), and I'll usually stay between 2000 and 4500 for a full 4 or 5 minutes. The red-line on the tachometer is at 6250rpm and the guage goes up to 8000.

Am I risking any damage to the engine, or any other non-transmission components, by babying (or is it abusing??) the vehicle like this?

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    Revving a cold engine is going to cause more wear than revving a hot engine, but if you are always in 1st gear, at least you are not putting a lot of load on the engine. If you aren't flooring the gas pedal while you are warming it up, you probably won't do much damage. – alephzero Sep 10 '18 at 20:13
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    The problem as you describe it sounds like the transmission fluid needs changing, not that you need a new one. What makes you think that's necessary? – GdD Sep 11 '18 at 6:52
  • Honda Odyssey's that vintage are well known for tranny issues when they reach 140k miles or above. As suggested get it serviced (FLUID CHANGE) and see if it acts better. If it does not, it needs overhauled, and yes you can do further damage by continuing to drive it in that condition. – Moab Sep 12 '18 at 22:30
  • Troubleshooting for the code it's throwing says new transmission is the next step. Fluid isn't due for change, looks good and the vehicle is driven lightly, about once every 2 weeks and mostly all highway. Its been serviced on schedule till now. I'll be surprised if it's just a fluid issue but will get it changed and hope to get lucky. My question is meant to address damage to parts Other than the transmission, can a failing tranny hurt anything else when it's going/goes? – Cameron Roberts Sep 13 '18 at 12:42

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