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Q: Transmission tapping on a 2011 Honda Accord

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I've got a 2011 Accord. When I start the car and switch it from park to reverse or D and as soon as the tires roll, sometimes I hear a tap on the transmission. What could it be? How often should I care about replacing clutches on an automatic? Thanks.

A: Automatics do have automatic clutches, but ...

Automatics do have automatic clutches, but you have to rebuild the transmission to replace them, which on a 2011 Accord, a full rebuild starts at about 4,000 dollars. So just change the fluid in it every 30,000 miles and don’t worry about it wearing out if you take care of it properly. If you hear a noise, the first thing you’d want to check is to look around and see if any of the motor mounts are cracked and starting to go.

A lot of times, it’s the motor mounts that are cracking. Look at the CV joints, see if the boots are ripped with the grease leaked out. A lot of times, they will click like that, too. But if it does come internally from the transmission, my advice is just keep changing the fluid and live with the noise as long as it runs because Honda automatic transmissions are motorcycle-style transmissions. Unlike Ford or Toyota--they’ve got pan and you can drop the oil pan on a transmission, get inside, work on parts, but for Honda, no. They are built together sideways. In order to work on them, you’ve got to pull them off the car, lift the case and take it completely apart. That’s why it costs so much money to rebuild the transmission on a Honda versus other cars. I’d would have a professional inspect your transmission before you continue to drive. This will help prevent any potential damage down the road.

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