I have a 2001 Honda Civic LX, automatic transmission. There are 3 gear settings: 2, D3, and D. If I'm driving in D3 and shift into D, I can feel it shift gears up (from 3 to 4), but then it immediately shifts up to 5. If I slow down (with it still in D), it doesn't shift to 4, but instead stays in 5 and the RPMs get real low. Hitting the gas again is very unresponsive (naturally, since it's high gear/low speed), but if I floor it, it'll drop down to gear 3. It just doesn't seem to want to stay in 4th. So when I'm going 55 mph in D, it's in 5th gear, and the RPMs are low (less than 2000). Doesn't seem like that's good for the engine. Is it a bad transmission, or can something just be re-calibrated? Or something else?

  • followup: ended up taking it to the mechanic, who said there was 7 major problems with my engine, and not to drive it home.
    – Marty
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 20:10
  • Which major problems?
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 8:02

3 Answers 3


I'd be interested to know if it has a true 4th gear or if it's like the old Pontiacs with a torque converter lock that acts like another gear, while not really being one... We had the torque converter lockup fail on said Pontiac with very similar results.

  • Yeah, I guess it is a 4 speed automatic. So maybe there isn't a problem
    – Marty
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 17:58
  • Something's still likely wrong. It's just that it may be a torque converter module and not the actual gearbox itself... Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 19:15

It look like if the torque converter is used ,his contained oil is too much fluid. This is normal maintenance, but this need to remove the gearbox frome the car, a bit tricky, need a mechanic.

An expiremented guy can easily give you this diagnostic if he test the car by driving it. Ask someone for that before do anything.


Could be the 3-4 upshift solenoid as well as the torque convertor clutch solenoid is bad? The upshift solenoid failing would explain why 4th doesn't stay engaged and if the torque remains engaged when downshifting could explain the low rpm. I would be interested about the 7 major problems -sounds like major money for mechanic... I would take it to a transmission specialist first.

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