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2011 Honda Accord Sedan EX 4dr I4 Man

2011 Honda Accord Sedan
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 4 Door Sedan, Large
23 mpg city / 33 mpg hwy
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January 16, 2013, 1:29 pm

Bob S

Question: Manual trans balky in first gear

On a cold engine, especially when it's damp out, first gear is 'balky' as I let the clutch up and drive away. I have to engage the clutch/gas very carefully, else I get chatter. Only first gear, and the problem goes away once the engine is warmed up. Any help appreciated. (I've been driving stick for 40 years and the Accord only has 24000 city miles on it.) It's still under power train warranty, but I guess that doesn't include the clutch.

January 23, 2013, 1:53 pm

Elizabeth K

That is a common complaint with some Hondas, but people are reporting better experiences when they drain and refill (sometimes a couple times is necessary) with Honda's tranny fluid. They are pretty particular about the type, and it is more expensive than gear oil. You should be able to find it at the dealership, and it's worth trying it out if you're not running it already.

Here is a thread on it:

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January 30, 2013, 11:39 am

Bob S

Just to clarify, my vehicle is manual tranny, not automatic. I place the car into 1st gear, and then as I attempt to drive away, I have to 'baby' the clutch/gas just right to avoid chatter and rough engine. All other gears are fine. It only happens on damp mornings (lots of these in North Carolina) and goes away when the engine is warmed up completely.

I suppose it could be tranny fluid, but it seems more clutch-related. Help appreciated!

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January 30, 2013, 2:49 pm

Elizabeth K

You're right, that does sound more like the clutch than the transmission. If you had a problem with the flywheel surface or clutch plate (heat checks, hot spots or...) it would be more likely to show up in 1st since that's when the friction surfaces are stressed the most. If that's the problem, you'll need a new clutch to fix it (and the flywheel will have to be removed and resurfaced at a machine shop).

But you can't look at it without removing the tranny, so you may want to have a mechanic take it for a test drive to help you diagnose it before doing some exploratory surgery.

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