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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions

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  • Thought I might give an update on my Civic ownership experience across the last 101,000 miles.
    I have a few earlier post here and haven't taken the time to review them or refresh "exact" facts from my maintenance log, so forgive me if I'm off by a few miles on some of the maintenance items.
    This is a 2001 Civic EX coupe, manual 5 speed purchased new in either July or August of 2001. If color has any significance, it is Black hawk pearl.
    I changed the tires from the Firestones to Michelin at about 6000 miles. I work for Michelin, so that decision was fairly easy. The tires that went on were stock size, "Michelin X Plus". This is a tire that is normally available at the large Discount stores. I put 80,000 miles on this set, still had plenty of tread left, but uniformity (balance, variation in radial forces, out of round, etc.) and wet traction were becoming an issue. I rotated the tires every 10,000 miles. They were replaced with the exact same tire at 86,000 miles.
    I started experiencing some vibration issues in the 45,000 to 60,000 mile range. I finally diagnosed this as leaking front struts. The driver's side had just about leaked all of the oil out but the passenger's side was still pressurized, it had leaked very little if at all. I didn't look closely for oil on the top of the strut, my final determination of the problem was when slowly going over speed bumps, I would hear a strange noise, at the end close to a scraping sound. When changing them, the drivers side strut had leaked oil down the side of the housing.
    I elected to go the cut and insert option using Koni struts inserts. I only did the front and have been pleased with the results, still running original stock struts on the rear. At the time (maybe now too, I haven't checked) Koni was one of the few options available other than Honda parts. I was leery of Honda struts, not certain they had the problem fixed.
    I had used Honda maintenance for all of the service intervals up to that point. Before starting work on the struts, I purchased the factory maintenance manual and have done all the scheduled maintenance since the strut replacement.
    Other than the struts, I have not had any other unscheduled maintenance.
    I am still on the original front brakes, with about 1/4 inch of pad left. I haven't bothered to pull the hubs to check the rear brakes, based on experience with other cars, I expect the rear drums will last longer than the front disk brake pads, but remain attentive for any abnormal noises. I do downshift, but not aggressively. I row down through the gears, at a leisurely pace, slowly letting out the clutch in each gear.
    I still average 35 to 37 MPG. My driving is mostly interstate with a round trip commute about 190 miles each day. The speed limit is 70 mph for the majority of the distance and I set the cruise at 76 mph.
    I have the normal squeaks and rattles that most people report. The rear deck is rattling again, after 2 "repairs" under warranty by the dealer. It is fine on smooth roads but fairly noticeable on rough surface roads. Fixable, but it hasn't bothered me enough to tackle the job.
    I have had a trim rattle since new around the sunroof interior trim. Again, only on rough surfaced roads. Probably an easy fix with screwdriver but I haven't bothered.
    It seems like the doors and sunroof may be a little looser in their frames now. I mention this because I can hear some movement of the weather-stripping against the body as I go over bumps. Then again, a good spray of silicone may eliminate this.
    The front end of the car has taken the most beating. The paint has been sandblasted, bugblasted and has a few dents from flying objects. I was not able to avoid a truck retread recently and ran over it down the center of the car. It pulled part of the rubber fairing under the front lip of the car loose and busted a couple of the plastic fasteners that hold the splash guards in place under the car. The only other damage was knocking a muffler hanger loose from it's support. No damage there, just replaced the hanger back on the support. All of this has been restored.
    My next maintenance interval will be 105,000 miles. I am debating how much of the scheduled items I will do at that interval. I will probably pull the spark plugs and check them. I have no reason to believe they need replacing at this point due to smooth idle and gas mileage that is the same as new. I will probably wait until the coolant interval change to change the timing belt and water pump. Again, no reason to believe there are any issues here, but will pull the cover from the belt at 105K to check the condition.
    When I purchased this car new, I needed a car that would give me good service for 5 years, in my case 250,000 miles. At the time, I thought this was the right car for the job and still believe this today. I have driven the car and cared for the car with that goal in mind.
    This is not the perfect car for everyone. It is sporty in the coupe trim, but not a sports car. It drives and rides well. It rides better with groceries in the trunk than it does with me by myself. I'm not surprised at this. The last Honda I owned was a 1979 Civic wagon, that indeed rode like a wagon unless there was a load in the rear.
    Remember, these are economy cars, depending on the trim level you choose, fairly nice economy cars. These cars are not for everyone, no car is. It meets my needs and hopefully will for some years to come. Should you pay the premium for one over the equivalent Hyundai, etc.? For me it made sense based on my goals and the reputation for quality that Honda has. If it takes me to 250,000 miles without a major maintenance incident, it has been worth it for me. If it makes it further, so much the better. Your needs may be different than mine, evaluate them and buy what you believe will meet them. At the same time, don't buy this car, turn it over to your teenager and expect the same results that I have had.
  • Honda has a list of recommended maint. items eg. oil change, emergency brake adjust,inspect belts and hoses,adjust valves etc. I am of the opinion that this is mostly a money grab for the dealer. I asked to just have the valves adjusted and the oil changed. They then told me that if I didn't have all the recommended work done, that I would have to sign a "waiver" Oh I forgot, this is the 48k km scheduled or recommended maintenance. Anyone with any advice? they want $350. to do all the recommended work. Help!
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    Look in the owners manual that came with your car. It clearly spells out the only maintenance required to keep your warranty. For the most part, as long as you have proof you have changed your oil and filter when required, your warranty is covered. There are some inspections and filter replacements that you can do yourself or pay about 50 bucks to have a local shop do to take care of all warranty criteria. If the valves aren't making noise, they do not ever need adjusting. Just do what your manual says to do and document it with receipts. Your car never has to go back to the Honda dealer for any maintenance, except to replace something faulty for warranty work.
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    Car manufacturers are in the business of selling cars. If they build a car that is good for 30 years, then in a couple of years no one would be buying new cars. What if the scheduled maintenance is there just to keep the car running until the warranty runs out? And then, if the car breaks down and costs too much to fix, you will be looking to buy a new one.
    When you are close to your loan end, you get a thing in the mail suggesting that you should see your dealer about getting a new car. I am starting to think that all car manufacturers want is to have you buy a new car every 3 years or so.

    Personally, I stick with the "severe" schedule in the manual when performing services on the vehicle. But in the back of my mind I always wonder if that is what "they" want you to do.
  • In the Honda warranty guide page 28 I found an ominous statement,"Keeping your Honda's maintenance on schedule also keeps your warranties valid." By this I would assume if I don't change the auto tranny fluid as recommended in the maintenance schedule, they could refuse to honour the warranty on it! Any comments?
  • Could they refuse to honor the warranty? Yup!

    Dunno what you're thinking, but
    Honda designed the car, and
    they tested the car, and
    they have a good idea, IMO, about what it takes to keep the car going smoothly.
    So, following their recommendations about maintenance makes great sense.
  • The manual for my 2001 Civic EX states oil should be changed every 10,000 miles. The dealer first said every 5,000. Now they say every 3,000.Since Honda builds the cars and must stand behind them, shouldn't their reccomendations be followed? Of course the more changes the more money in the dealer's pocket as follows based on 100,000 miles: 10x$25.00=$250.00
    20X$25.00=$500.00, 33x $25.00=$825.00
  • Well, you know dealers.

    Good thing the car comes with a manual, owner's and tranny.
  • mdrivermdriver Posts: 385
    mrowens42, I think you answered your own question.
  • Actually, your owner's manual recommends either 5,000 (Severe) or 10,000 (Normal) mile service intervals based on your driving conditions.

    The 3,000 mile interval suggested by the dealer just puts more money in the dealer's pocket, as you noted.

    :)
  • rom1rom1 Posts: 1
    I have '01 Civic LX automatic with 30,000 mi. I noticed that if the car is loaded, e.g. 4 people are in, the gas mileage is not great. It is less than 28 mpg on a highway. If it is only 1 person, it is 33 mpg on a highway. Is it normal or my car needs tuneup?
  • I'd say: normal. The engine in your Civic has to work harder to move around the weight of four people then when you're alone in the car, so the mileage will go down.

    :)
  • drejdrej Posts: 119
    Hi -I have electrical problems and recently noticed also water in my lower wheel-well (car usually is garaged but was out in rain for a few days).
    1)The " Shift interlock " does not release.
    2)The seatbelt and door ajar light beeps and signals when I apply my brakes and other times.
    Help, Any Ideas? Ground problem? I feel I'll have to dissassemble the trunk area to search around for loose or corroded connections. D~
  • not too long ago I bought a radio on ebay the guy did give me the code ,Ok, six month later I have no idea of where I put the piece of paper with the numbers. I do not want to know what it might happen if I have to disconnect the battery. Is there any way to get the code.
    v/r
    fig.
  • Hi
      I hope someone can help us. Our new Honda is doing the exact same thing that the the civic in message # 1836 is doing. It makes this extremely loud whistling noise when at highway speeds going into the wind. It's so loud we can't hear the radio or conversation. It continues until we change direction or the wind stops. The dealer can't hear it, and won't look into it until he does. Has anyone else had this problem? Maybe we can show the dealer a solution. It was not difficult to hand the dealer the $$$ for this car....
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    Maybe you could first diag it your self then try and convince them of what you find. Take some masking tape and put it across the top of the windshield from the glass to the roof. Drive it and see if the noise is gone. If so you can either stop there and say it is the upper winshield or you can remove small section at a time and pin point it. If not in the right area try the sides or the mirrors..Good luck
  • Dealer said my 2001 Civic EX needs front struts. Car has only 38,000 miles. Car well cared for. Should struts be worn at this mileage? Dealer quote is $475.00. Comments/suggestions?
  • Do you also feel your car is too bumpy? I don't know if it will be worn this early. But it just doesn't sound right. Mine only has 299xx miles and the ride is extremely bumpy. I believe it should be covered under the standard warranty. But since you're over by only 2000 miles, you might consider negotiating with them. I think I'm going to take mine in tomorrow.
  • Guys,
    I am replacing the muffler assembly on a 99 Civic EX with the V-TECH engine. When taking the muffler off, I tried unbolting the hardware from the muffler side of the flange (where the small coil springs are on the special bolts). Well, both of the "bolts" broke off just where the threading starts on the. Yes, the muffler is off, but the remainder of the hardware is still in the nuts that are on the flange coming from the resonator. My question is this. Are the nuts on the resonator side of the flange welded on to the flange itself or are there supposed to come off? I got onto them pretty well with a 15mm wrench and they didn't want to budge. If these are welded onto the flange, how do I go about removing the rest of the bolt? There is about 3/4" of the bolt sticking out the back of the nut and I tried, with no luck, to spin them out with a pair of vise-grips. Any help will be graetly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Todd
  • mdrivermdriver Posts: 385
    If the car is bumpy, then the struts are doing their job by controlling wheel movement. If the car is bouncy, the struts are bad and should be replaced.
This discussion has been closed.