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Honda CR-V Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Honda CR-V Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Honda CR-V is the best-selling crossover of the last decade. Since 1995, when it was first produced, this famous vehicle has spawned 5 generations. Honda CR-V has seen several improvements in its specs throughout the generations; this includes changes in the transmission and drives system. Let us give you a short overview of the transmission used throughout the generations.

The first-gen Honda CR-V has 5-speed manual (SKH) and 4-speed A/M (M4TA, MDLA, MDMA) transmissions. The second-gen has 5-speed Auto (MKZA, GPPA, MKYA, GPLA ) transmissions. The third-gen boasted 5-speed A/M (BZHA, BZJA, MZHA, MZJA). The fourth-gen has 5-speed A/M transmissions (B5RA, B5SA, BLJA). The latest-gen has 5-speed auto transmissions (BRGA, BRHA, BRKA, CVT).

However, this does not portray the whole story.

Several key factors need to be explained. In this article, we have enlisted different types of transmissions used in various generations of Honda CR-V. This highly researched article will tell you in detail about the improvement in these transmissions, the cost for their replacement, and the distance your Honda CR-V can go before you have to change the transmission. And if you’re interested in learning about all the common problems across every CR-V generation, check out this article.

What Transmission Has the Honda CR-V Used?

First Generation (1996-2001)

  • 5-speed SKH FWD Manual transmission
  • M4TA (4WD) 4-speed Automatic transmission
  • MDLA (FWD) 4-speed Automatic transmission
  • MDMA 4-speed Automatic transmission
  • MDLA 4-speed Automatic transmission

Second Generation (2001-06)

  • MKZA (4WD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • GPPA (4WD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • MKYA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • GPLA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • PSA4 5-speed Manual transmission

 Third Generation (2006-2011)

  • 5-speed Manual transmission
  • BZHA (4WD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • BZJA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • 4WD MZHA 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • FWD MZJA 5-speed Automatic transmission

Fourth Generation (2011-2017)

  • B5RA (AWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • B5SA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission
  • BLJA (AWD) Automatic transmission
  • BLKA (FWD) Automatic transmission

Fifth Generation (2017-Present)

  • BRGA (AWD) Automatic transmission
  • BRHA (FWD) Automatic transmission
  • BRKA (FWD) Automatic transmission
  • BTCE (CVT) Automatic transmission
  • BTCE (CVT) Automatic transmission
  • BRJA (AWD) Automatic transmission

How Long Does a Honda CR-V Transmission Last?

The lifespan of your car’s transmission largely depends on how well you’ve maintained it. On average, the transmission of a Honda CR-V can last for 130,000-180,000 miles before you need to replace it. However, this varies by the type of transmission used. 

During the first generation, Honda CR-V mainly used 5-speed manual SKH transmissions that lasted longer than the current ones. They had an average lifespan of about 150,000-200,000 miles. The transmissions of the later generations all had a lifespan that ranged from the 130k-180k mile range. These are strong numbers for a car. And that is precisely why a Honda CR-V is one of the most dependable crossover SUVs available in the market nowadays.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Honda CR-V Takes (All Generations)

How much does a Honda CR-V transmission cost?

Honda CR-V has seen several different transmissions throughout its generations. The price of these transmissions varies accordingly. Since there are several models of Honda CR-V generations, it can be difficult to find the replacement cost of the transmission that your Honda CR-V uses. However, the following table will relieve you of this trouble. After going through the websites of several online retailers, here are the prices* of the Honda CR-V transmission we found.

5-speed SKH FWD manual transmission$2649
MDMA 4-speed Automatic transmission  $2363
GPPA (4WD) 5-speed Automatic transmission  $2532
MKYA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission  $3246
GPLA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission  $3246
BZJA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission  $2651
FWD MZJA 5-speed Automatic transmission  $3276
B5RA (AWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission  $2691
B5SA (FWD) 5-speed Automatic transmission  $3254
BRGA (AWD) Automatic transmission  $3495
BRHA (FWD) Automatic transmission  $3499

*These prices do not include the labor cost. If you cannot find your transmission model in this table, you can look it up on Autozone.

Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Honda CR-V

Common Honda CR-V Transmission Problems

First Gen Transmission Problems (SKV/MDLA/MDMA)

Several users have reported problems while using an automatic transmission of the first-generation Honda CR-V. Here are a few problems you might encounter if you plan while using these models.

  • Automatic Transmission would suddenly go into neutral. This problem is caused by a lack of pressure produced by the transmission fluid. Temporarily, this problem can be fixed by turning off the engine for 3 seconds and then turning it on. For a permanent fix, try changing the transmission fluid or clean the transmission filter.
  • Transmission not shifting into overdrive/high gear (especially during cold days)
  • Harsh gear shifting, usually caused by Dextron transmission fluid. Use Honda Genuine fluid to get rid of this problem.

Second Gen Transmission Problems (MKZA, GPPA, GPLA)

The second-gen of Honda CR-V mainly used automatic transmissions. This generation is equipped with one of the most durable series of transmissions. Although you won’t find many faults in this generation’s transmission, here are some of the problems that CR-V users reported.

  • Shift cable linkage problems in the MKZA transmission that prohibit a CR-V driver from shifting the car into park. This is a manufacturing fault, and several Honda CR-Vs were recalled by the company to rectify this problem.
  • Shuddering/vibrating sounds during accelerating. It could be due to bad transmission fluid, or worn axle CV joints.
  • A lot of sludge in the engine oil. This is mainly caused due to a low level of transmission fluids in the car or due to the use of a fluid other than the genuine Honda one.

Third Gen Transmission Problems (BZHA, BZJA, MZHA, MZJA)

The third generation of Honda CR-V used better and more improved transmissions. However, it was not without any problems. Here are a few common problems in these models of transmissions.

  • A sudden jerk that is usually felt when shifting from Neutral to Driving. Usually caused by a faulty transmission. Use a repair kit to get this problem solved.
  • Problems with the transmission solenoid. This results in delayed gear shifting. To solve this problem, you will have to replace the transmission solenoid.
  • Transmission slipping, which is caused by an abrupt gear shift, an irregular increase in engine rpm, or a delay in the vehicle’s acceleration. To solve this, check the transmission fluid of your car, or replace the broken vacuum lines of the engine.

Fourth Gen Transmission Problems (B5RA, BFSA, BLJA)

Users of fourth-gen Honda CRV have reported the following problems.

  • Harsh shifting, especially when shifting from first to second gears. If you are facing this problem, consider flushing the transmission and replacing the solenoid with a new one.
  • Sudden vibration noise coming from the engine. This is usually due to faulty mounts on the transmission.

Fifth gen Transmission Problems (BRGA, BTHA, BTCE, BRJA)

The latest generation of Honda CR-V is one of the most durable ones. The models of this generation are equipped with a relatively new series of transmissions. Although these transmissions’ problems are not well-documented, the most common problem faced by CR-V users is that the car suddenly accelerates while waiting at a stop. This problem is again caused by a faulty transmission and can be rectified by replacing your transmission with a new one.

Difference Between Transmissions

Here is a table that enlists the major differences between the main transmissions used across different generations of a Honda CR-V.

ModelDrive-trainMaximum Engine TorqueGross Vehicle Weight
MDLA 4-speed Automatic transmissionFWD134 lb-ft4189 lbs.
PSA4 5-speed Manual transmissionAWD142 lb-ft4255 lbs.
5-speed Manual transmissionAWD142 lb-ft4387 lbs.
B5SA 5-speed Automatic transmissionFWD153 lb-ft3426 lbs.
BTCE Automatic transmissionCVT179 lb-ft4793 lbs.

Transmission Fluids and The Honda CR-V

For Honda CR-V, experts suggest that you change the transmission fluid every 30,000-60,000 miles. The latest Honda CR-V has a transmission capacity of about iS-10 quarts.

For any Honda, including the latest Honda CR-V, it is of utmost importance that you use the brand fluid. All of the transmissions used in the latest generations use the Honda ATF-Z1.

The transmissions used in the second-gen Honda CR-V used ATF Type H Plus, while the transmission fluid in the first-gen Honda CR-V can be replaced by Valvoline Synthetic Transmission Fluid.


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