How To Test Shift Solenoid Valves A and B (1996-2000 1.6L Honda Civic)

The shift solenoid assembly, which consists of shift solenoid A and B, on your 1996-2000 1.6L equipped Honda Civic (DX, EX, and LX) can be tested.

In this tutorial I'll show the two tests that you can do yourself to see if either one of the two solenoids (that make up the assembly) are bad (or not).

Here are the contents of this tutorial at a glance:

  1. START HERE: Shift Solenoid Assembly Tests.
  2. TEST 1: Solenoid A And B Resistance Test.
  3. TEST 2: Applying 12 V To Solenoid A And B.
  4. Solenoid Assembly Is Good But Transmission Still Not Shifting.

The following tutorial, on testing the lock-up solenoid assembly, may be of help/interest:

  1. How To Test: Lock-up Control Solenoid Valves (1996-2000 1.6L Honda Civic).

START HERE: Shift Solenoid Assembly Tests

Shift solenoid A and shift solenoid B are part of the same assembly and both are tested in the same way.

Testing each shift solenoid involves two specific tests. One is a resistance test and the other involves applying 12 volts from your Honda Civic's battery (to see if the solenoid clicks).

Since the solenoids are grounded thru' the assembly's metal base... there's no need to manually apply ground, unless you have removed the shift solenoid assembly and you're bench testing it.

Here's a brief description of the 4 tests in this tutorial:

  1. resistance testing shift solenoid A and/or B..
    1. This test simply involves measuring the resistance of shift solenoid A and/or B and comparing the value with the factory spec of 14-25 Ohms.
    2. TEST 1: Solenoid A And B Resistance Test.
  2. Manually applying 12 Volts to shift solenoid A and/or B.
    1. In this test, you'll use a jumper wire to apply power (from your Honda Civic's battery) to shift solenoid A and/or B and listen for a clicking sound.
    2. TEST 2: Applying 12 V To Solenoid A And B.

TEST 1: Solenoid A and B Resistance Test

How To Test Shift Solenoid Valves A and B (1996-2000 1.6L Honda Civic) How To Test Shift Solenoid Valves A and B (1996-2000 1.6L Honda Civic) How To Test Shift Solenoid Valves A and B (1996-2000 1.6L Honda Civic)

To diagnose shift solenoid A and/or shift solenoid B, the first thing you'll need to do is see if the solenoid's internal resistance is within specification.

To get into more specifics: You'll need to probe terminal number 1 of the solenoid's connector and the solenoid assembly's metal base with your multimeter in Ohms mode ().

To test shift solenoid B, you'll need to probe terminal number 2 of the solenoid's connector and the solenoid assembly's metal base with your multimeter in Ohms mode ().

If you don't have a multimeter and need to buy one, check out my recommendations here: Buying A Digital Multimeter For Automotive Diagnostic Testing (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).

NOTE: Perform this test with a completely cold engine/transmission. There are 2 reasons for this. One is so that you can avoid getting burned by the transmission (if it's hot) and the other is because the factory resistance specification calls for the solenoid to be tested at room temperature.

NOTE 2: You can test the shift solenoid assembly off of the vehicle too, although the test instruction below assume that the shift solenoid assembly is still bolted in place on the automatic transmission.

OK, this is what you need to do:

  1. 1

    Set your multimeter's dial to Ohms mode (Ω).

  2. 2

    Unplug the shift solenoid A and B assembly from its harness connector.

    NOTE: This test is done on the shif solenoid assembly's connector AND NOT on the engine wiring harness' connector.

  3. 3

    To test shift solenoid A, measure the resistance between terminal labeled with the #1, in the image viewer above, and the solenoid assembly's body.

    NOTE: Shift solenoid A is grounded by the solenoid assembly's case. If the solenoid assembly is still bolted to the transmission housing... you can ground your multimeter's lead directly on the battery's negative (-) terminal.

  4. 4

    To test shift solenoid B, measure the resistance between terminal labeled with the #2, in the image viewer above, and the solenoid assembly's body.

    NOTE: Shift solenoid B is grounded by the solenoid assembly's case. If the solenoid assembly is still bolted to the transmission housing... you can ground your multimeter's lead directly on the battery's negative (-) terminal.

  5. 5

    Your multimeter should read 14-25 Ohms for the resistance value of shift solenoid A and shift solenoid B.

Let's take a look at what your test results mean:


CASE 1: Shift solenoid A and B's resistance is between 14-25 Ohms. This is the correct and expected test result.

Although shift solenoid A and/or B passed the resistance test... there's still one more you need to do to make sure it's OK and this is to manually apply 12 volts to the solenoid and see if it clicks. For this test, go to: TEST 2: Applying 12 V To Solenoid A And B.

CASE 2: Shift solenoid A and B's resistance WAS NOT between 14-25 Ohms. Recheck your multimeter test connections and retest. If you still don't get the correct resistance... then shift solenoid is bad and you'll need to replace the entire shift solenoid assembly to solve the issue.