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6 Annoying Transmission Problems Of The Honda Fit

6 Annoying Transmission Problems Of The Honda Fit

The Honda Fit (Honda Jazz) is a subcompact city car that was first introduced for the 2001 model year and has been in continuous production ever since. The Honda Fit/Jazz is a global Honda model made in 8 different countries and with more than 7 million units sold worldwide, but it didn’t debut in NA before 2006. However, slow sales and the rise of crossovers meant that Honda discontinued the Fit for the US market back in 2020.

In this article, we will go through all the generations of the Fit (3 for the US market) and tell you what you can expect as far as transmission trouble is concerned. Before we dwell deep into the specifics, here is a quick overview!

The manual transmission on the 1st generation of the Honda Fit suffers from clutch-related issues, while the manual on the 2nd generation of the Honda Fit suffers from being difficult to shift. The 6-speed manual on the 3rd generation is known to be harsh and noisy upon engagement, while the 3rd generation CVT unit suffers from software issues and slipping.

Now it’s time to go in-depth about all of these in great detail. We will also outline the most notable recalls, technical service bulletins, NHTSA complaints, and everything else you need to know to fix these.

Common Honda Fit / Honda Jazz Transmission Problems

We will start this list by going through all the transmission issues with the 1st generation of the US Fit (2007-2008) then we will move to the 2nd and the 3rd generation of the US Fit in the same manner.

While some of this might seem a little dense, understanding potential transmission issues is just as important as selecting the right fuel for your Honda Fit so stick with it!

First Generation (2007-2008)

The first generation of the US Honda Fit uses two different transmissions:

  • 5-speed SMJM Manual Transmission (Standard)
  • 5-speed Automatic Transmission (Optional)

5-Speed SMJM Manual Transmission

The 5-speed manual on the 1st gen Fit is more or less a dependable transmission that does not experience too many issues. Be that as it may, there are a few reports out there indicating that the clutch is known to fail and needs replacing.

One owner of a 2008 Fit even complained about needing to replace the clutch multiple times before reaching 50,000 miles. His complaint goes as follows:

2008 Honda fit-first clutch went @ 32,000 miles, replacement went @ 47,000 miles, counting towing, this has cost me 3 g’s. dealer, (Moorehead, Newburgh, NY) who is usually reliable, says that the fault is mine and that wear does not count under warranty. I question if 2 clutches should blow in under 50,000 miles even I TRIED, and they say it is the way that I drive. I do hit stop and go traffic regularly, and I am sure that this takes it toll. But, 2 clutches in 47,000 miles, is this even possible without faulty equipment?


5-speed Automatic Transmission

As it happens, the 5-speed automatic transmission with the 1st generation of the Honda Fit seems to be much better as it does not suffer from any widespread notable issues. There are a few complaints here and there, but none can be regarded as widespread or related to a large number of Honda Fit variants.

Second Generation (2009-2014)

The second generation of the US Honda Fit also uses two transmissions:

  • 5-speed SP4M Manual Transmission (Standard)
  • 5-speed Automatic Transmission (Optional)

5-speed SP4M Manual Transmission

The 5-speed manual transmission found in the 2nd generation of the Honda Fit seems to be holding up nicely over the years, which means that it does not suffer from any widespread issues. However, there have been a few reports here and there about the driver experiencing difficulties shifting from 2nd to 3rd or shifting into reverse.

This issue seems to be the most complained about aspect of the 2nd generation Honda Fit transmission, as many owners can discuss these online. One owner of a 2009 Fit said that his clutch is failing to engage while needed. This can be due to your transmission needing a fluid refill, but it can also sometimes be due to a faulty clutch master cylinder or even a transmission leak.

5-speed Automatic Transmission

The 5-speed automatic transmission with the 2nd generation of the Honda Fit also seems to be holding up nicely. It is said that these transmissions can last a really long time without experiencing any issues at all if you take proper care of them and replace the transmission fluid whenever necessary. This comes as no surprise to many as Honda is known for making incredibly reliable and long-lasting cars, especially in the powertrain segment.

Third Generation Honda Fit (2015-2020)

The third generation of the US Honda Fit uses two different transmissions:

  • 6-speed Manual S7A7 Transmission
  • EarthDreams® Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Design Shift

6-speed Manual S7A7 Transmission

This 6-speed transmission did receive a few complaints about being harsh and noisy in day-to-day traffic, but these problems could very well be related to overall transmission wear and tear and pure lack of maintenance. Even so, one owner of a 6-speed manual 2017 Honda Fit complained about harshness and problems with the clutch, which can lead to more severe problems down the line. He stated that:

The clutch is very noisy when being used. Best case scenario it’s just a throw-out bearing, worst case scenario the clutch is knackered… sometimes it engages oddly too. You add revs, release the clutch to the engagement point, and the clutch makes/feels this clattering sound and it doesn’t quite get the car rolling as smooth as you like. 2. It has a hard time engaging first gear sometimes while at a traffic light – some days are better than others. I’ve tried to re-depress the clutch but it still doesn’t work sometimes.

I’ve also tried to select 2nd then 1st (or even 3rd to 2nd to 1st) but it still won’t budge sometimes. I’ve tried also slowly releasing the clutch while pressing against 1st gear and this also doesn’t work. What you can do is clutch out/neutral while coasting to a stop, then as soon as you slow down to 1-1.5MPH, clutch-in and 1st gear. But even this sometimes doesn’t work.

Sometimes, when accelerating from 1st to 2nd, if you push the clutch in, it will pop out of first by its own. Maybe this is caused by problem #1, maybe the clutch didn’t engage it properly the first time?


EarthDreams® Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Design Shift

The last transmission we will mention today is the CVT unit found in the 3rd generation Honda Fit which seems to be the most problematic transmission out of all US Honda Fit variants and model years. This CVT unit was recalled back in September 2015 (15V574000) due to peculiar transmission software issues that eventually led to damaging the transmission pulley.

This can cause the front wheels to lock up during driving and thus lead to an accident. Honda came out with the 15-065 TSB right around the same time, which outlined the issue in greater detail. Sadly, this isn’t the only serious problem with the CVT as it is also known to leak through the fill plug and cause transmission slipping due to contaminants entering the transmission through the fill plug.

The breather tube for the CVT transmission becomes clogged, causing the rubber fill plug to pop out and spill CVT fluid and allow water, dirt, rocks, and other debris to enter directly into the transmission. This has caused a slipping of the transmission at low speed when accelerating from a stop. Several times, when pulling out on a main road, it will stutter and not apply power to accelerate properly. I am genuinely concerned that it’s going to cause me to get hit by an oncoming vehicle.

NHTSA ID Number: 11454639

Honda recognized this issue as well via the A19090B Service news article, which came with instructions on how to fix this.

FAQ Section

How Long Does A Honda Fit Transmission Last?

The two 5-speed manual transmissions found in the two initial generations of the Honda Fit may seem a bit problematic at first, but that does not take away from the fact that these should very well be able to last upwards of 150,000 miles if maintained correctly. The 5-speed automatic transmission with the 1st and the 2nd generation of the Honda Fit seems to be holding up really well, which means that it should last as long as the car does.

The 6-speed manual with the 3rd generation of the Honda Fit is known to fail earlier, especially if you don’t take proper care of all the bearings and clutch components. If you do, this 6-speed manual should also be able to last as long as the car does.

Lastly, the CVT transmission with the 3rd generation of the Honda Fit is a bit more of a mystery as it is still a bit too fresh for us to say how long it is going to last.

How Much Does A New Honda Fit Transmission Cost?

ModelNew PriceUsed Price
5-speed manual (SMJM) transmission$1,500$480.27
5-speed manual (SP4M) transmission$1,500$549.95
6-speed manual (S7A7) transmission$1,750$600
5-speed automatic transmission$2,000$375
(CVT) continuously variable transmission$3,500$2,495.05 with free shipping
*These price estimates do not include labor costs or any additional costs

Closing Thoughts

From its first-generation model to the most recent, the Honda Fit has experienced a series of transmission-related concerns- but these aren’t the only problems Honda Fit owners have reported.

For the 1st generation, the primary issue centers around the clutch. Owners have reported problems that are generally tied to the clutch components, making the drive a bit more challenging than one would expect.

Moving on to the 2nd generation, the manual transmission on this model is known to be a bit stubborn, often making shifting gears a more demanding task than it should be.

As for the 3rd generation, the 6-speed manual transmission has garnered reports for being harsh and noisy when engaging gears. Additionally, the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in this generation hasn’t been without its own set of problems; owners have reported software issues and instances of the transmission slipping during operation.

While all this sounds a bit dense, when it’s time to flat tow your Honda Fit or make a big purchase, understanding the transmission is critical.

We should also be fair to Honda and mention that they have pretty good when it comes to addressing many of these issues through recalls and technical service bulletins. So, while the Fit has had its transmission challenges, Honda has shown a commitment to resolving these issues for their customers.

If you own a Fit or are considering purchasing one, you’re not necessarily destined for problems. Just be aware of these potential transmission issues so you know what to expect before it becomes a problem.

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