Honda HR-V automatic shudder/shake from start off

I’ve come across this problem now twice on Honda HR-V/HRV automatics whereby the car will do a big shudder/shake/judder/vibration from a stand still start.

Having done my own research into it at the time it relates in most instances to the automatic transmission fluid is past its best and the clutch brake is sticking when the car comes to stand still. When you then try to pull away the brake does not disengage in time and you get the sudden judder and shake of the car. As you can imagine this will probably not do the car much good in the long term so the solution is as follows:

1) Buy official Honda Automatic transmission fluid. This will either be Honda CVT Fluid or Honda ATF Premium fluid. Your Honda dealer will advise the current recommendation.
2) Drain the transmission fluid as follows:
2.1) Bring the tranismission up to normal operating temperature. Drive the vehicale to do this or run the engine until the radiator fan comes on.
2.2) Park the car on a level surface and turn the engine off.
2.3) Remove the transmission drain plug as pictured below and drain fluid into a suitable container.
Honda HRV Transmission Plug Removal/Change
2.3) Reinstall drain plug (or new one if it looks damaged/corroded).
3) Refill with the transmission fluid from 1) to the recommended level

You should then find the HR-V’s shudder/judder has stopped. If you still experience the issues then the transmission will probably need to be looked at by a qualified Honda technician.

Good luck and let me know if this helps anyone.

58 thoughts on “Honda HR-V automatic shudder/shake from start off

    • really an useful comment sometimes the dealer or mechanic do not tell or have knowledge so better just remove transmission fluid level indicator rod to see which oil recommended it is written on it.
      if u use cvt instead of atf the gear shifting will not smooth enough so use the right transmission fluid, coz I have experienced by using cvt instead atf as atf has low viscosity than cvt


  1. I have tried the use of the CVT transmission oil and found that the problem is gone. I am now so relieved!!!!
    THANK YOU !!!!!!!!

    • Caro,

      I have just gotten a used Japanese import HR-V and it came with this same judder problem. I knew about this issue with CVT transmissions but from all readings, the car has a regular automatic transmission.

      I’m wondering if your transmission is identified as Automatic but you still used CVT fluid to solve the problem – or was it a case where your HR-V has a CVT transmission but you utilized ATF before.

  2. This is the same advice given by many Honda dealers but at the same time they fail to tell you that the part is faulty and Honda has extended its warranty by around 10 Years to Replace this part so ask questions of your dealer.

    • do you know which model/year the extended warranty applies to? I am getting the run around from Honda. I have had my transmission replaced once already at a cost of $5000 aust and now 20,000k later same thing. I have a 2001 HRV 5 door wagon

      • Honda’s CVT warranty is 100,000 miles or 8 years. Which ever comes first.
        The dealership said this judder is common amoung all Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT)equiped vehicles. I was told they do not work on these transmission. Replacement cost: $4,300. You can find a rebuilt transmission on-line for under $2,000. >for the mechanically inclined.

    • I am having the same problem with my car at the moment, took it to Honda dealer where it was purchased. They said it was the rear deff and would cost me £3000+ to fix.

      I have been going to differnet places for nearly two years only now to be told the correct information. Now I have problems again as the car is now over 7 years old and they are insisiting the time is 7 and not ten years.

      Could anyone out there who has the confirmed time of ten years let me know where it can be found and any garage I can contact to have this resolved.


      • Hi Margaret. If the dealer is saying you have a problem with your rear diff, is the car shuddering on turns rather than straight ahead. If so there is a product that is used by many garages to solve this problem.

  3. Had the problem you mentioned took the car HRV 2001 Auto to Honda dealers found out the Shudder / Shake was to do with the clutch system and needs replacing with a update clutch. Now Honda have extended the seven years warranty on this work to ten years so if you have this problem go this route first my car is now perfect and the after care was great !! they told me the oil change is short term and a new clutch is needed. So my advice take advantage og the 10 year warranty. I did get another transmission garage quote of £1.110 + parts, Hoda do it for free !! Great news !!

    • Don’t Know Why They Have Said That? There Is No Clutch In An Automatic Gearbox, They Use A Torque Converter Which Transmits Power Using The Viscosity Of Oil To Gradually Accelerate, Not The Gradual Engagement Of A Clutch?

    • I am also experiencing this judder problem with my HR V 2001 (registered May 2001) and I would be grateful for you advice.

      You seem to have come across a very helpful Honda garage/dealer. Can you tell me which garage and what you said to them to get them to agree to do the work for free. I did not buy my car froma honda dealer.

  4. Go to Honda Dealers there is a 10 year extended warranty on this problem HR-V 1.6 Auto !! They chance the clutch box up dated one. The problem will not go away as it is the clutch box Honda are very helpful on the matter … Good Luck

    • Hello Andy Is This True About The Extended 10 Year Warranty And How Did You Find Out About It Because I Have Had The Run Around For Far Too Long Now Please Reply And Do You Have More Evidence Of The Extended Warranty That I Can Present To My Honda Dealers In Black And White Thanks Mrs Yvonne Anne Bowman I Read Your Comment From Feburary The 8Th 2010

  5. I wish I had seen this before. When I bought the car (used). The guy in the garage told me that the shudder was not going to get any worse. He claimed that he could get it fixed but would cost him about €1500 or he would just reduce the price by €1000. I went with the €1000 reduction and bought it at €5000

    I put up with the shudder on take off for the past two years. Until yesterday when the D light started to flash and the car wasn’t driving right. I brought it into a garage and the mechanic says the gearbox is gone. Its a 1998 jap import, so the 10 year warranty is now not an option I guess.

  6. Booked my car into Honda in Leed with this problem… juddering on take off.

    I explained that I’d seen this forum and there was a 10 year warranty covering this fault but they insisted it was only 7 years.

    I then spoke with Honda UK and initially they said the same but after I refused to accept this they confimed that it was indeed a 10 year warranty, however, this related to certain models and certain chassis numbers.

    I’ve now gone back to Honda in Leed armed with my new information and they’re now dealing with Technical Support at Honda UK.

    Hopefully the repair will be carried out under warranty as I don’t have 2 thousand pounds and my car has only covered 28ooo miles with FHSH.

  7. I am having the same problem with my car at the moment, took it to Honda dealer where it was purchased. They said it was the rear deff and would cost me £3000+ to fix.
    I have been going to differnet places for nearly two years only now to be told the correct information. Now I have problems again as the car is now over 7 years old and they are insisiting the time is 7 and not ten years.
    Could anyone out there who has the confirmed time of ten years let me know where it can be found and any garage I can contact to have this resolved.


  9. Richard,

    Great advice. I noticed that it is straight from the owner’s manual. When I got my used HR-V last week, it came with this same shudder. I have replaced the transmission fuild with Honda Genuine Premuim ATF. The shudder was reduced but not eliminated.

    I owned a Honda Fit prior to that and it had a CVT transmission. When I used ATF, it gave me the shudder and upon reading, I realized what was causing the shudder on take-off. As soon as I replaced it with Honda Genuine CVT fluid. The problem stopped immediately.

    Do you think that my continued shudder in the HR-V suggest that I should CVT fluid despite the fact that the exporter from Japan labeled it as an Automatic?

    Awaiting yours and Caro’s advice.

    • Had the same problem. Put in ATF shudder
      Not as bad, but still there so drained fluid out
      Completely and replaced with genuine Honda
      CVT fluid, problemed solved noire shudder drives
      Like a dream, who would have thought TF could
      Be so different

  10. Hi to all the troubled HRV owners.Is changing the gear box to a manual an option?It may cost a bit but our troubles are gone forever.

  11. Hello To All Of You Out There With The Very Same Complaint I Have The Same Exact Problem With My Honda HRV. And I Am So Very Glad That I Came On This Page To See That I Am Not The Only One With This Problem And It Is Very Good To Know That Honda Has Extended Their Warranty From 6 Years To 10 Years And Will Take The Resposibility Of Fixing My Car Under The Extended Warranty Well Thank God For That I Have Been Without My Car Now For The Past Month I Need My Car Repaired Like Yesterday

    • Hi Yvonne,

      I am living in Ireland and have a HRV Automatic 2003. This same problem started with mine approx a year ago and Honda Ireland told me warranty is 7 years so my entitlement expired (Honda said). I have been told that I would need to have auto gearbox repaired at a cost of 1500eu. Can you clarify if this warranty is for 7 or 10 years and does it apply to europe.

      Thank you kindly

      Richard Casey

  12. My experiences to date with Automatic Honda HR V 2001 shudder/judder . I would like to add the thump that immediately follows the shudder/judder etc.
    Approx 3 yrs ago I ventured to my local Honda dealer who advised me that to fix the problem it would cost me $4,991 to fix the problem. Naturally I am a bit of a sceptical person, and I advised them I would think about it.
    I decided to visit a honda service mechanical shop at Sumner Park, Qld AUST. The test drive was slick and quick, and I was advised this is a common vault with these cars. He refered to a bearing in the auto system called I believe a :Star Bearing : which needed to be replaced to solve the problem.This was after the question I got asked by both parties. Have you had a flat battery, as apparently this can upset the computer causing problem..The wonderful mechanic also told me he was sure Honda have an in house extended warranty on these cars due to the enormity of this problem.
    Ialso got a price off him in case Honda didn t come to the party. His price $2,500 to fix. Honda came to the party, and back to the local honda dealership who tried to empty my bank a/c in the 1st place. They fixed it, but it was short lived. 11 month had passed. I
    complained again to Honda and on this occasion Honda Approved a full replacement new transmition which was short lived. Returned once again to the Honda Dealer Centre, and a young strapping up and coming sales boy told me its all my fault …Quot,”you haven t had a tune up”. I promtly told him the car has only done about 8000 kilometres and it had a full service tune up at the Honda Service Centre I have mentioned above. Naturally, wait for it, their tuning machine is not as good as ours ( work that out) Anyway I said, how much and would it fix the problem ….reply $399.00 and it will come close to solving the problem. I agreed, mainly to have more information to support my future saga with Honda.
    The problem is still present but no not as bad as previous, but it is still ever present. So at the end of the day I love the vehicles performance and quality.
    . I dont like dishonest dealerships who try to con money out of me, as I see appear to have happened to other above, when they would have clearly known about this universal problem with this particular type of car, and the so call 7/10 year warranty. Wish they d just recall the lot and do a real good fix which just might make me buy another Honda in the near future. Best advise call Honda and be civil and they should come to the party.
    I bet Honda know a lot of us by how 1st name by now over this never ending problem.

    • These are not your father’s Hondas. The quality and customer service have gone down considerably, especially over the past decade.
      I currently have two Civics (2004/2009). Both are junk.
      The 1989 Accord was a great automobile.
      I may never purchase another.

  13. I have a honda city cvt giving some smooth movement trouble..had an oil change..the mechanic put normal atf and not cvt fluid without my knowledge..i ran the car for 2 days.. the problem was still there..went to authorised honda center..changed the oil to cvt genuine fluid..Did the normal atf do any damage in 2 days to the gear box..Im worried hope not..!

    • I don’t think a couple of days would hurt. The owners manual states you may use Dexron III automatic transmission fluid temporarily but, you should replace this fluid at your earliest convenience. There are several nooks and crannies in a transmission. It will take few (3) flushes to remove all of the ATF. Drain ATF, refill with CVT fluid, drive short distance, repeat twice.
      Valvoline now makes a synthetic CVT transmission fluid. Cost: $10 per quart, available at Advance Auto Parts.

  14. usualy i change my HRV gear box oil without using shaking machine, but this thim our service person has used the machine to change the oil. what will happen if use it?

  15. dear sir
    I change my gear box oil for my hr-v 2001. After the problem is my car now not esyly change the auto gear. 1st gear change after minimum rpm 3000 And a shake. gear oil name was toyota CVT ktc.
    Now what I do?

  16. dear sir,
    I run my hr-v car smoothly. Suddenly mile meter is stop. And shake the gear position.then I change gear box oil and change mile meter switch. now mile meter is ok but 1st gear is not smoothly change. When Rpm is nearly 3000 that time change the 1st gear. After 1st gear change , then car run smoothly 100 to 120 km. Speed and rpm under 3000.
    Now what can I do?

    • dear sir,
      I am from bangladesh. I want to change my hr-v gear box oil. But not available hear CVT ATF. Available is CVT F. Now what can I do?

  17. Hi guys , I totaly agree with people having problems with mmt gear box. I was thinking of buying one but while test driving I noticed the problem with the gear box, it’s not smooth especially 2nd and 3rd gear, very short, the car drops its revs and you feel thrown forward at times. When I told the dealer they said you will get used to it , and learn the trick to take pedal of accelator, which is bull ****t! Anyhow thanks for you guys giving honest reviews, this will help lot of people.

  18. The problem is that this transmission has what is caleed a ‘start-up clutch’, and it is these that were faulty on early HR-V models. I heard that there was a recall on these some years ago but Honda Australia denied this.

    I would never buy a vehicle with a CVT transmission again!

  19. I am the 4th owner of a 1.6 honda hrv 1.6 automatic reg 2003.does this 10 year warrenty still apply and if so,who would i get in touch with to sort out this shuddering problem,even though there were 3 previous owners.
    would be very obliged if someone could answer this.

  20. i had a shudder problem with my hrv 16 automatic, 1999 i put cvt oil in and the problem as gone but not sure if i should of put atf oil in will this damage my automatic box ?

    It has been an ordeal over the years getting the correct information on how to fix the THUMP! SHUDDER/SHAKE! in my Honda HRV (AUTO TYPE) . I must say it is hard to fathom how this global problem has taken so long for Honda or who ever to provide a simple fix.
    I am now very greatful to those who have provided concise information on this topic on the internet, as I had unsatisfactory misleading help from the local Honda dealer/stealer.
    I obtained the “CVTF” oil (around $85.00 AUD for 4/5 lt bottle ), over other possible oil brands said to do the fix on internet sites , to stay on the safe side.
    I change the CVT oil (without over filling) and after driving for about 200-300 kilometer + or – a 100km or so,the shudder/shake problem in the car was gone(Remarkable).
    I will change it, as recommended, after doing around 20 000 kilometers to avoid the problem possibly returning.
    I hope this info helps those still in possession of CVT Transmission(AUTO TYPE) Honda car/s. I have owned the car for 11 yrs now. I have had the gear box fixed, 1st up then they replaced the whole transmission a year or so later(under warranty) in 2010. Rediculous when you consider the problem has been around for a lot of years, and all it really needed was a better oil in the CVT transmission. Hope to get a few more years out of the car now.
    It’s now approaching 150,000 kilometers and going strong. Has been a very reliable little car and low maintenance. Hope this help others with HONDA CVT (AUTO TYPE) out there. Many thanks to the honest mechanics and people out there for this wonderful solution.*****

  22. so glad i looked at this site …had start judder on my honda hrv auto ,.drained gearbox oil and a couple of flushes (recommended).. then filled with honda auto cvt oil ….now its perfect …

    • Great advice, I have had the “shudder” for years and getting worst, I drained the gearbox and refilled with Honda CVT fluid, the shudder is now completely gone, thanks for everybody’s comments/reviews.

  23. My Honda 2005 HRV doesn’t speed up more than 100kmph and even I race the RMP comes 6-7 hardly it touches 120kmp but 80kmp have no problem the RMP will be in 2-3, what sould have to do

  24. Do i need to calibrate my transmission after changing CVT fluid, if so how do i carry out the calibration on a Honda HR-V?

  25. I drove my 2000 HRV for 4 years with this shudder shake problem. I was told to change the whole transmission, because this problem was a known problem to HONDA regarding this type of transmission. I changed the cvt fluid, which was close to a brownish red at the change. Got 4,5 bottles of the recommended CVT Fluid from HONDA. Drove about 400 km and guess what…..
    Thanks a million!!

  26. Same problem, going to do a fluid change but what is the recommended level? Cant find it anywhere?
    I have a HRV 2003 1.6
    hoping this will work, the shudder is getting worse.

  27. After a month of the shudder shake problem i changed the cvt oil (120 euros) and the problem disappeared … Honda HRV 2000 270.0000 km !

  28. 2002 hrv shudder ? seeing this blog looks like I might not need a new CVT unit after all, let’s hope! Previous services were carried out by non Honda cheaper quotes. Purchased Honda CVT fluid from Honda dealer with advice from one of their service technicians of their own “procedure” after fluid change.(start engine, press and hold left foot on footbrake, put into drive and rev for 30 seconds, carry out the same but in reverse put into neutral and rev for 30 seconds) this, I was told separates and cleans the clogged up clutch/brake plates in the CVT unit!
    On the test run I could not believe the difference (and all for the cost of the fluid and a drain plug washer! total £103.) After the judder I noticed a jolt forward which I thought must be a sticking accelerated motion. But to my surprise, that is now cured to. Being so pleased with my “feels like new gearbox”, I can even hold the hrv motionless on a hill with just the accelerator pedal use.something I could not do before!.

    • Reference to my reply on 21 July 2017, I would just like to add my CVT fluid and plug washer from Honda was for 2No. 4 litres of fluid. The first one was to flush out the gearbox to remove all of the residual wrong oil. Although this is expensive at a cost of £50.40 to “waste” 4 litres of fluid, it has done the job for the best results, and should not need flushing next time. The next change will have the correct fluid undrained!. Also, if I had not gone to Honda and paid top price for fluid, I would not have known of their “procedure” giving an instant 100% cure to the problem. I feel I have got my brand new hrv back that I bought 15 years ago,now at only 49,000 miles. GREAT STUFF.

  29. Same shudder problem at take off. When the engine was hot it would shake vigorously especially take off on an incline. I thought the car was gona explode.

    Luckily I came across this site read the comments changed the transmission fluid to CVT its more expensive (£50 in UK) and the shudder is now GONE!!!

    Peace of mind.

  30. Hi.
    Can any body help me to find a book abot honda hrv 2002 electronic and mechanic plan?
    I have another question.How many oil must be used to replace cvt gearbox fluid of hrv?

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