Thailand Honda Jazz CVT Transmission Problems + Solution

Thailand has the Honda Jazz, called Honda Fit in USA
Honda Jazz in Thailand

I’ve been driving a 2006 Honda Jazz for the last couple of days. There is a vibration between 0 and 15kph that is unnerving. I looked it up – there are about 40 people in one southeast Asia forum online having the same problem.

If you too have this problem – it is one of two things:

1. CVT Fluid – You need to change the CVT fluid. It MUST be HONDA fluid. The fluid is about 900 THB per liter. You’ll need about 7 liters to flush your old slush out and get the new life-giving slush in there. Pray that your problem is this fluid because the alternative costs 10 times that.

2. Start Clutch – between 0 and 8 kph Honda created a special “start clutch”. This thing dies quickly over a short time in start – stop and jackrabbit starts. Cost? Over $2,000 USD. For some Hondas the company is replacing them for free as they have finally admitted there is a problem. But, if you have a pre-2003 model – they are not. That’s the way I understood it from the people writing in the forums – so it may be off a bit.

The Honda Jazz in Thailand gets like 20 kilometers per liter if you’re very careful. If you drive regularly – 16-17km per liter. That’s about half what a Suzuki Raider 150R gets you (motorbike). It’s also about half what a Honda Wave 125 will give you. That’s amazing. It’s not worth a $2,000+ dollar fix after driving 17,000 km though.

If you have a Honda Jazz automatic with iDsi engine – and haven’t changed your CVT fluid to HONDA’s brand in the last 20,000 km if you live outside BKK, or 10,000 km if you live IN Bangkok – go now and do it before you lose your transmission.

Update 7/2012:

We’ve driven 32,000km since the last CVT fluid flush and now the shuddering problem between 1-15kph has returned. It is almost unnoticeable right now, but I notice. We’ll take it in to get another flush.

There is a Honda Service Bulletin that extends the warranty for this issue for 7 years / 140,000KM. The number of the Bulletin is: 2010-12-018. I cannot find it online ANYWHERE since Honda has now password protected their service bulletins at the one source that used to have them.

The full process for flushing your fluid and getting your Honda Fit / Jazz to run normally again is:

1. Drain old CVT fluid.
2. Add Honda CVT fluid (original ONLY).
3. Drive up to 30 kph and coast down to zero – about 6 times.
4. Replace fluid AGAIN.
5. Drive up to 30 kph and coast down to zero – 6 times.
6. Some have said to do a CVT recalibration you can disconnect your battery for a few minutes. The next few times you drive, your transmission resets. This has helped some other people with Honda Jazz transmission problems.

The Honda Jazz iDsi engine has 8 spark plugs – instead of 4. Honda engineers tried to use up ALL the fuel that hits the engine – they pretty much succeeded.

The interior is awesome. There are many ways to fold the seats and get extra room. The dash is futuristic. The air is cold and there is enough power for easy driving and passing.

If you have a Honda Jazz – let me know if you’re having the vibration problem and what you did about it.


[photo by member, jiangbabe]

Air Asia Queue to Buy Tickets – Online!

Welcome to my private hell…

Been trying to book tickets on this Air Asia site for the last hour. I’ve had this countdown going over and over and over.

Last night at 11pm they kicked off this massive airline ticket sale – and apparently people are eager to travel in Thailand. Go figure.

Update – 5 minutes later – just went from bad to worse. Now I get the following screen (and no links work):

Air Asia Thailand booked solid

Fly Phuket to London on Air Asia – 9,600 THB

I was just cruising around AirAsia and found these killer specials on flights from Thailand (Phuket airport) to London, England…

9.600 THB.

The dates are 12/25, 12/27, 12/28. More might be available, but, since I’m not going, I wasn’t that concerned. Some of your UK friends might be though.

Here’s a screen shot of Air Asia’s prices on this flight:

So, it’s before taxes and fees, but still, how much could it go up from there?

Fly Manila to Honolulu, Hawaii on Hawaiian Air – $728

I got a notice from a travel company about west coast USA flights to Hawaii and so I started looking through to see what other flights were available from southeast Asia to Hawaii.

It didn’t take long to find a $364 fare from Manila to Honolulu – one way. That is really cheap. At least to me it is, I don’t ever scan these trips to see what the cheapest rate I can find is – but that has to be a good rate. 21,630 THB round-trip.

I checked Bangkok to Honolulu and the prices were much higher. I couldn’t find anything better than $900 USD each way.

In the past I’ve checked China Air and they had some cheap flights to Honolulu from Bangkok even – I think. Been a while since I looked, I hope I’m remembering that correctly.

So, if you have time to travel from Thailand to Honolulu the flights from BKK to Philippines are not expensive at all – you could probably do the whole trip for $1,000 USD.



Satun and Khun Don, Malaysia Border Checkpoint – For Visa Runs

It is possible to do a visa run on your motorbike, car, van, whatever you’ve got – by going to Satun and then heading toward the Malaysian border called the “Khundon” border crossing.

It must be the least crowded border crossing to any foreign country I’ve ever seen, where you can still get an exit / entry stamp from Thailand and the other country.

Satun is nothing really to speak of. They do have ferries to Langkawi Island running 3 times a day to and from, and they have Koh Lipe – which is supposed to be gorgeous. I’ve not taken the ferry anywhere. I decided to skip any rain and just get in and get out as fast as possible.

Note, there is a 20 kilometer stretch of mostly dirt road leading to the Khun Don border checkpoint. Be careful on your motorbike, it’s slippery. Be careful in a car – it’s slippery. LOL.

The other alternative Thailand visa runners have is to take the 75 minute ferry across to Langkawi and stamp out, stamp in and take the ferry back. The ferry runs every couple of hours and not all day either.

In total, during my 20 minutes at the border I saw about 6 foreigners, 4 from the same van visa run and 2 guys that look like they came on their own in their own SUV.

In Case of Rapture – Please Let My Buddhist Wife Know What Happened

Some clown has been saying for years that May 21, 2011 is the day Jesus Christ comes to earth to take the chosen ones to heaven. The rest of you will be sucking on coconut shells and rubber trees for water because the earth is going through some sick shite for the next couple of years.

Me? I plan on going. If I see Christ – I’ll beg him… what’s he going to do, say no? He’s gotta forgive and forget – right? Isn’t that part of the whole deal?


At any rate, my Buddhist wife probably believes this is a possibility MUCH more than I do.

I’m not joking about begging to get in the door though…

Cheers heathens.

Thailand Motorbike Break-In Period Not Necessary?

We bought a new motorbike, a Yamaha Mio 125. Right before the mechanic that pre-flighted the bike let us drive off I asked him…

How many kilometers do we need to go slow for?

My wife then asked him in better Thai – about how slow we need to go and for how many kilometers.

The Yamaha mechanic replied that we needn’t go slow at all – just drive as fast as you want. No break-in period required.


Did we finally reach that point in technology where there is no break-in period needed for a new motorbike? Is Yamaha doing something different than other motorbike manufacturers, or, is this the norm all over now? Or, is our Yamaha mechanic wrong?

When we bought our first Mio back in 2005 we were told to drive under a certain speed for some number of kilometers – can’t remember what the rules were.

Is that out the window now? Anybody know?

We’ve gone under 70kph for the first 200km. Can I max it out now, or ?

Yamaha Mio – A Very Reliable Motorbike in Thailand

We bought a Yamaha Mio MX or ZX or something, in 2005. We drove that thing into the ground – usually 2 of us on it, and we did many 150km trips on it – 50? More?

When I had open road I was going 115kph, all the time. It was maxed out at that. With two of us on it – we could hit 120 down a hill. We were maxed out every time we rode long distance.

It was at about 80,000 km that the engine died. I think it got low on oil – and it started to seize. I drove slowly and got it to the Yamaha place. For 4,000 THB they redid everything important in the engine – and we drove it another 12,000 km and then gave it to my wife’s older aunt. It runs better than it did new with the engine parts. Not sure what they did, but the power from that little 114cc engine was awesome.

That factored into our decision to buy the latest 2011 (I think, maybe 2010 – but, these colors are nowhere to be seen on the streets yet) Yamaha Mio MX or RR or something. I don’t pay attention to the model since they are all the same engine – just the plastic has changed.

We got a 125cc Mio that is liquid cooled, and not fuel injected – like the hondas. Yamaha tweaked the carb and kept it traditional carb to pass emissions.

The thing is quite powerful. On par with the 135cc Nouvo’s – we’ve rented them. The speeds must be very similar up to 100 kph, but maybe even faster as the Mio is lighter – much lighter.

The seat is lower than the Nouvo – which helps for my vertically challenged wife. Otherwise, I wanted the Nouvo… but, whatever, they are probably just the same engines with more cubic displacement.

If you want a reliable motorbike – get a new Yammy 125cc. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Driving in Thailand – Video & Collection of Articles

I don’t enjoy driving a car in Thailand. A motorbike, to me, is fine. I feel much safer. I know that sounds strange. I’ve driven motorcycles in Thailand for almost 7 years now and put over 120,000 km on various bikes. I’ve had 1 mishap where the woman in front of me slammed her car brakes for no reason that I could see – and I scraped her back bumper and rear quarter-panel. I paid her 2,000 THB.

Recently I’ve been driving a car some. It is not any fun at all to me. I made a video about it so I don’t bore you with writing it all out.. See it below the links to other articles about Driving in Thailand I’ve written over the years. I’ve also included a couple other links to articles by other Thailand bloggers that wrote on this subject – and that I enjoyed reading.

  1. Driving a Motorbike in Thailand (Video) I found this video on YouTube. It’s designed to show…
  2. Driving a Car is a Horrorshow in Thailand  We’re buying another motorbike. We gave the 4 year old…
  3. Thailand Motorcycle Driving: Keeping Your Brain in Your Head  During this morning’s motorcycle trip to a city 170 km…
  4. Driving During the Holidays, Thai Attitudes  Just like Americans – I guess Thais are stressed during…
  5. Thailand Roadkill… YOU! (Driving in Thailand) As you travel Thailand and see all the wonderful wildlife…
  6. Thai Driving Habits – Can They Ever Be Changed? – Brunty from Isaanstyle
  7. Driving in Thailand – Steve at ThailandMusings
  8. Riding a Taxi Motorcycle in Bangkok Traffic – with video, by Ben Shingleton at the ThaiPirate blog.


And a very nice video that relates to cars and driving because it is a car audio show…

Driving in Thailand – the Essentials Video

Driving a car in Thailand

If you’re going to be coming to Thailand and do any driving yourself – watch this video.

If you know someone that will be driving in Thailand – send this video about driving in Thailand to them.

I shot this on the way to somewhere I had to drive to today. It’s about 9 minutes long – but packed with good information. If you have had different experiences than I have – leave a comment. If you have had worse experiences than I have – leave a comment – I’d love to hear about them.

I have written many articles about driving in Thailand – mostly as a motorbike rider. Now that I drive a car occasionally I can write from that perspective as well. It’s scary. It’s downright ridiculous…

Much better said in the video below…