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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions



  • Hi all,

    I have a 1997 Civic DX 2-door coupe with almost 49,000 miles on it. I had been scheduling maintainence based on mileage but now I'm driving it so little (5 miles/day) that I think I'll have to do it based on time.

    Got the full Honda 30,000 mile service and oil changes every 5,000 from then. I think it's probably time for a big service, including changing the timing belt. What would you recommmend I have done? e.g. I have seen some people say that if you are getting a timing belt replaced, you should get the water pump replaced too.

    Also, my dealer quoted me $620 for the timing belt alone. Does that sound reasonable? Should I try an independent garage?

    I plan to keep the car for about 2 more years.

  • yvieyvie Posts: 2
    Any time you go to a dealer and your car is not under warranty, you're going to be paying dealer prices. Which is just another way of saying you'll be paying a heck of a lot more than an independent shop. The trick is to find a reliable independent mechanic who has been a Honda-trained mechanic and works exclusively on Honda and Acuras, or mostly Japanese brand cars.

    My Honda Civic EX coupe is also a '98. Had it seen Sept. '97 and don't have your three problems. Costco can sell you the same kind of battery for about $45.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,705
    If all you plan to do is keep your vehicle for 2 years and by projection, 10k more miles, or 60k miles total, SAVE your money!

    Gee your car is a cream puff from a mileage point of view. The only degradation you are probably experience is from LACK of use. (battery gives up the ghost due to discharge, due to non use, etc.

    Unless you torture your car while it is sitting, I would get the 100k timing belt and water pump change at that mileage interval. Dealerships offer specials at 425-550 and some independents I have checked out in great detail, charge 550. Given your time and mileage frame this is utterly a non issue for you.
  • agmdagmd Posts: 2
    I was wondering if anyone knows whether the CD Changer trunk wiring is in place for a 2002 Civic EX. The radio looks CD-ready as it has the CD button and functions on it.

    Can anyone recommend a changer that can be plugged with minimal wiring. I'm trying to avoid having to rip out the stock radio to install a CD changer and be able to control the changer through the radio rather than the extra control panel that goes on the dash. I'm hoping there is a changer model out there that is compatible with the pre-existing wiring in this car. Any info is much appreciated. Thanks.
  • agmdagmd Posts: 2
    I noticed this light came on recently and wanted to know if it's a legitimate problem with the car that I should worry about or will I end up paying $500 for someone just to reset it and turn it off? Thanks much.
  • yvieyvie Posts: 2
    My '98 Civic EX coupe's driver-side window stayed at half-mast one winter morning. Problem happened in the last few months of my 3-year warranty. So I asked if the passenger-side window regulating binder could also be replaced, as it had a tendency to slow in its upward progress. Not a chance, said the dealer, as it wasn't broken. Years later the passenger window still is slow to close and the mechanism has yet to fail. Also met someone with a '96 Civic, who had a similar problem. But her dealer said, Uh-uh-uh. Not under warranty. Cost ya $250, lady, to replace.

    If you check the NHSTA (or whatever its initials), which I did once, you'll see a listing of recalls and non-recalls for the Honda Civic. I think the window binding problem is listed, but as a non-warranty problem.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    Without seeing your vehicle, how can you expect anyone on this forum to diagnose specifically why your Maintenance Required Light came on? You must take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic who has the electronic tool to read the computer codes.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    The Maintenance Required Light is covered in your owners manual, including how to reset it yourself if you are so inclined. Generally it is a reminder that some type of periodic maintenance is recommended. Your owner's manual will also cover what items need to be replaced, inspected or adjusted at various intervals.

    If your vehicle is new (even if not new, but "new to you") and you are unfamiliar with the concept of periodic maintenance or the significance of other dashboard indicators, you might want to open the owner's manual and read it. Doing so can help you learn a lot, and in the process save a lot of money: preparing you to detect possible problems and helping you avoid others during your car ownership.

    The Maintenance Required Light is different from the Check Engine Light. ;)

    If your vehicle is used, and there is no owner's manual, I'd contact Honda to purchase one, or see if I could purchase one online from someone. Its a document worth every penny to replace it (several times over) if you don't have one.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    I don't know what effect using engine compression for braking assistance has on oil consumption. I imagine there may be some contribution to oil consumption there.

    however, have you ever changed your PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventillation) valve? it's pretty inexpensive to replace (some people even clean and re-install theirs), and if stuck, can contribute to oil consumption.

    do a google search on:
    +PCV +"oil consumption"

    that's where i'd start.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,705
    While I know engine compression is used all the time, it is better to NOT use engine compression, as a practice for braking assistance. The engine was not designed to assist in braking, such as tractor trailer diesel rig. In deed if you miss a downshift there is no downshift rev limiter. You can over rev the engine easier than you can on a rev limiter upshift.

    Worst case: brake pads and rotors are far cheaper than a manual or automatic transmission.
  • Thanks ruking1. So just to be clear: you don't think the age of the timing belt will put it at risk of failure? I've heard the results can be pretty bad if it does break, and that age has some effect (e.g. causes the material to weaken somehow). That said, it would be great if I didn't need to shell out the $$ to have it changed!
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    What does your owner's manual say? That should have both the time and mileage limits that tell you when to change the timing belt.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,705
    Correct. I base that on the techical data that comes on Honda's web site, owners manual and shop manual. Age and operation and sometimes bad or good luck can and does have some effect. Again one of the checklist items (technical data) is to actually inspect the timing belt. Yes it can be pretty bad if it does break down.
  • rjc5rjc5 Posts: 11
    I just bought a 05 Civic LX and took it home and noticed that there is no DOOR OPEN/AJAR dash board indicator . Also there is no warning if the passenger side seatbelt is off. Any idea if this is standard for the model? This looks like a safety hazard if there is no warning when the door is open. Haven't seen a car without it which I think is a standard safety feature in all recent cars.. The car does not have an alarm installed if that has anything to do with it. I am feeling really bad about this. Wonder if there is any way possible I can "return" the car :( and get the money back. I financed it.Except for these problems the car is great.

    TIA for the inputs and suggestions.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    there is no small mimic showing the state of the doors and the trunk?
  • rjc5rjc5 Posts: 11
    No, Haven't seen anything yet. I am going to try again

  • I also have a 1999 Honda Civic EX with 56K miles. I have the same electrical problem you described. In fact at one point, smoke started coming out of the steering wheel column, that's when I brought the car in to the dealership. They tell me it's because I have after market alarm system. I don't believe that, I've had that alarm system in since I purchased the car new back in 99'. I don't know what the real problem is or was but I'm being charged about $1,000 to fix it.
  • Can anyone tell me how I can unjam the parking brake on my 2003 Civic DX? I left it sitting in the driveway for about a month and now the parking brake won't release even when I put the lever down.
  • After opening the trunk lid with the key, the lid wont latch. After trying to repair, and removing the electrical connector from the latch, the trunk open icon on the dash stays on even when the connector is plugged in. I still cant get the trunk lid to lock.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    You can probably jack the car up, block it safely with good jackstands, and tap it free with a hammer at the place where the cables split to both wheels.


This discussion has been closed.