Honda Civic



  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    Well... Lucy was my 1990 Acura Integra that I just traded in. About 2 or 3 years ago I test drive the new Integra. Naturally, I was quite impressed. It handled great and was very tight - which prompted me to say that my car was loose, which lead to loosey-goosey, which lead to just plain "Lucy". When my boyfriend got his new car, we started calling it "Ricky".

    Well, when I traded in my Integra, Lucy's "spirit" stay with me. So, this new car is Little Lucy!!

    How's that for a silly story!!!

  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    It's great! I love the Lucy & Ricky combo. Perhaps you can call your friends' cars Ethyl (sic) and Fred! And of course, little Ricky could be on the horizon soon. :-)

  • Parko,
    The A/C problem you mention is, I believe, due to the fact that you need to recycle the air in your car for the cooling to work at its peat for any summer temperature - when I got my car, in 1990, that's one of the first things the salesman showed me, and I had already been using recycled car air for A/C anyway. NJ summers can be brutally humid, and A/C keeps the sweat out your eyes here. It does make sense, when you look at it from an efficiency point-of-view.
    Sorry to hear about the starter, haven't had that problem (yet), but check NHTSA's website, they may have entries on that problem for your car already in a tech service bulletin, or in a recent year model. You can enter the problem yourself into their database. If they receive enough complaints like yours, they'll begin an investigation. Good luck, and I hope this info is helpful,

  • I meant to spell "peak", not "peat" - did't mean to imply mulching here.
  • Hey isellhondas - wish you were a little more frank about Honda reliability. It's good but not always so comments like the one where you claim that they always start right up even with 150k
    miles on the clock aren't exactly correct.
    Ignitor failure is REALLY common for instance,
    and that stops you dead when you go to start your car in the morning. I have an '87 civic that was great, went to over 190000mi before I started using a newer one, and was still going strong at the time. The one I replaced it with was total
    crap - a 1990 that ate a little oil at 50000mi and now at 120000mi it goes through 1 1/4 quarts every tankful of gas. I'm looking at buying a new econobox soon and I'm seriously considering a
    new Honda but frankly the VERY poor reliability of the 1990 has me a little worried. If VW had the warranty in Canada that they offer in the states, Honda wouldn't be in the running. Honda
    seems to be going backwards with maintainability of their vehicles also. With the 1987 honda timing belt replacement took 45 minutes in a home garage with minimal tools. With the 1990 you have to remove the drivers side motor mount. What genius though that up. To replace the wheel cylinders in the 1987 it was a straightforward operation. On the 1990 you have to remove the brake backing plate. Given the trend, I wonder what horrors await if I buy a new '98 hatchback?
    Maybe its just a sign of the times. I was looking at a new beetle and it looks like you have to pull off the rad and the front sheetmetal to remove the engine.
  • rukawarukawa Posts: 25
    Gee...I am worried now..
    any other good/bad experience about Honda??
    Plz tell me...everybody..
  • pinheadpinhead Posts: 33

    See my posting in the New Beetle discussion about some of my personal Honda problems.

    One thing that I didn't mention there was that they dent very easily, buy this I mean what would normally be just a simple stone chip becomes a small dent. ( I spent years as a professional detailer and custom painter ). The paint finish is so-so. Once neglected they are very difficult to bring back. Expect some of the exterior trim to deteriorate after 3-4 years. My windshield trim is starting to peel and I am at the 3.5 year mark with my Civic. And believe me, I pamper my car. I noticed the same peeling and trim degradation on some of my customers cars.

    Road noise can be excessive. This is subjective, so test drive other cars in the same class. I found the VW NB MUCH more quite than my Civic. My mother has a 4 door Civic(96) and she complains about road noise.

    Small crash parts can be expensive. Edmunds just did a small comparision. I found it under the Sept. installment of their long term test of the NB. Check it out. Good Luck.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350

    Your problems with your 90 Civic are unusual.

    Nobody builds a perfect car. Hondas just seem to hold up the best. Toyotas are also great.

    Ignitors would sometimes fail in older Hondas but it wasn't THAT big of a problem.

    As to timing belts, these are replaced every 90,000 miles. This job was never intended for a do it yourselfer, but can be done. Loosning the motor mount isn't that big of a deal either.
  • Well, clearly we differ on what qualifies as a potential do-it-yourself operation. For me, its anything that doesn't require a hoist or the services of a machine shop. Everything else is fair game. It looks like I may buy a new '98
    anyway. The price is right, everything is in a
    familiar spot. Criticism wrt the timing belt applies to the new model (and the engine bay
    sheetmetal doesn't look like it would take well
    to supporting the motor via a bar running over
    the top of the engine bay). I did notice that the clearance behind the drum brake backing plate seems to have been increased so Honda may actually have made an improvement here over the
    '90 vintage. The 1998 was also quite sluggish
    compared to the '90, problems and all. But that's
    ok, if it drives me nuts I can always get that
    150hp 1700lb 1977 Rabbit going (dual sidedraft
    mikunis, whee). It can't idle but it is fun.
  • rukawarukawa Posts: 25
    Is there anyone with 1998 Civic hatchback driving experiences? Please tell me about what your are feeling about 98 Civic hatchback.....I am shaken. the above response :~ Civic dream fading....fading...fading...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350

    You are "shaken" ??

    Why would you let one negitive comment affect your decision?

    No matter the make, SOMEBODY will have something bad to say.
  • zelzel Posts: 10
    I am a proud owner of an 98 Civic Hatchback. I have to tell you that the car is a solid buy. You won't regret it. I agree with what isellhonda said. Just one negative opinion can't put down Honda's reputation.
  • rukawarukawa Posts: 25
    :D thanx everybody..Zel did u installed CD player or air conditioner or ABS or fog light for you hatchback?? How much did it cost?? What do you think of them?? Thank you :D
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    Why don't you have a New Beetle instead of a Civic?

    To everyone else, Pinhead's descriptions and experiences are not normal for a Honda. I'm wondering if he may be exagerating because I've NEVER heard of such problems coming from a Honda - certainly never from one mine.

  • pinheadpinhead Posts: 33

    I don't have a NB because I ordered the 1.8Turbo. They won't be available until next spring. I am also considering the TDI.

    Pam, I am not exagerating about the problems. How would you react about your brand new car having a wet floor? Mechanically, I can only rave about the car. I have never been back to the dealer since. I do my own oil changes etc.. As far as trim degradation? Sorry Pam, I have seen it on too many cars, mine included. I do like my Civic, but i can also admit to its faults. I actually talked my retired mother into buying one. I've owned both Honda/Acura (Legend) and VW. I have lived with both therefore I have an opinion on both.:)
  • zelzel Posts: 10
    I din't get any of those components that you listed installed at the dealer, except for the AC. The dealer gave me really steep prices. Let's see if I can remember... I believed that they asked $269 for the fog lights, around $300 for the CD player, and they wouldn't go much lower than that. So I said forget it, this is ridiculous. Ruwaka, I would suggest that you take your car out to an audio specialist and have them install the CD player for you. You will get a much better price and higer quality component. I took my car to Best Buy and had them install a nice and powerful Sony CD player along with 4 brand new JBL speakers. I have to tell you the new system sounds great. Now if you still consider buying genuine Honda parts, I'd suggest you order them from "Honda parts" ( They offer genuine parts at a very good discount price. I order my floor mats here and save myself $20. Good luck Rukawa!
  • kkkfkkkf Posts: 1
    Hi everyone! This is my first time in a chat room, but here goes...I'm looking for a good, safe and reliable car for my teen-aged son to drive. Hondas are very popular here (Hawaii) and we've got good dealerships for service and support. I found a used '97 Civic DX hatchback with air, auto, and CD/stereo and 14K miles - private owner. He's asking $11,500 - and I'm being told that it's a bargain for this part of the U.S. The car's owner is in the Navy, and just brought the car in from Florida a couple of months ago.

    I'm on the verge of closing the deal - but just found this web site, and wanted to get some opinions from experienced Honda owners. I've never owned one (my own car is a '97 Camry). What do you all think? Thanks in advance for your comments!
  • To ISellHondas and others regarding 1990 Civics,

    If I have to, I could post quite a long, boring litany of problems I've had with my 1990 Civic, which I purchased in March of that year. I already posted a partial list on Edmund's here, I'm afraid you'll have to search for it. If not found, I'll post (or email) anyone who's interested. Let me know.

    As for the igniter problem, Honda recalled cars with that problem for a free replacement. Unfortunately a friend who bought the sedan Civic at about the same time had a sudden failure on the Parkway before any notice came out. He was lucky no one was behind him at the time. Look at NHTSA's site for a list of problems with this year Civic.

    As for the timing belt change being 'possible' for the home mechanic, my father, with over 30 years of fixing our cars, including timing belts on fairly recent model Nissans and Toyotas, is convinced my Civic is a nightmare when it comes to the same. Maybe if we installed a hydraulic lift and used Honda's breaking bar specially designed for the generator bolt removal. But even a 120 psi air wrench can't remove the thing!

    Sorry for this lengthy post, I just had to let it out after (again) being told that the 1990 problems listed by other people were 'unusual'. Now my blood pressure is much better.:)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350

    From my vantage point, I sure haven't heard of any unusual problems on 1990 Civics. Igniters can fail on Hondas as well as other makes that use them. It is not common, however.

    My 1985 Toyota truck that I once owned had this happen. I didn't hate the truck because of this, I had the igniter replaced and that was the end of it.

    I don't understand the big deal you make about the timing belt. This only needs to be replaced every 90,000 miles!!

    There are LOTS of jobs on today's cars that were never intended for a do it yourselfer.

    With the proper tools and a shop manual, you could do a timing belt, but, by the same token, you could overhaul your automatic transmission too, but, would you?

    Maybe I just don't understand your complaints?
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    I recently bought a 1996 Civic DX Hatchback. It's a 5 speed with no CD stereo and 24,000 miles. I paid $9,998 for it. It sounds like the one you're looking at is a good deal. For the extra $1,500 your getting a car one year newer, 10,000 fewer miles, CD stereo, automatic transmission (and the power steering that goes with it).

    As far as being safe and reliable, I think you'll be happy with a Civic. This is my 4th Honda product and I've been very pleased with each of them. Very reliable and fun.

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  • kkfkkf Posts: 6

    Thanks for the encouragement! I'm working through the paperwork now and will let you know when I have the keys in my hot little hands...

  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    What color is it? Mine is bright red!
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    Too many K's! Sorry! Should be Kkf!!!
  • isellhondas,

    First, we used a manual - Hayne's, very good, I've used them for two other cars, very detailed and good pictures, plus lots of tools, including a breaking bar, but one self-tightened generator bolt threw everything out of whack (bent the bar). No, we didn't tighten it that way.
    Second, I don't -hate- the car. I'm just a reluctant realist regarding its genuine maintenance costs, problems past and present, and quirks, beyond little stuff.
    Dealers charge over $400 for the timing belt change, which is mostly labor (the parts costs are only about $100 or so), for this car. Add the other items I've had to see to this past year, it becomes pretty staggering, so, yes anything to keep upkeep down is a big plus in my book. It isn't just the belt that's expensive and difficult to deal with. As I've mentioned, other similar cars don't appear to have this problem overall, why should a 'cheap' Honda model be so difficult?
    If I knew that the average costs for others were much larger, then I would feel better. Knock wood(hollow sound of fist against forehead) I hope I'm clear of any more real costs for a while.:o)
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    I'm loving my new Civic Hatchback. But... one thing I worry about is that the car is SO small. I've never owned a car this small - always 4 door sedans. The airbags and 3-point seat belts make me feel better. But what about if someone rear-ends me? There's just not much between the back of the car and ME. The traffic in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is horrendous and I'm constantly watching my rear-view mirror to see people running up on me and slamming on their breaks in heavy traffic. Makes me nervous.

    Does anyone have any specific information or experience with rear-end crashes in this car?
  • abbaabba Posts: 17
    To isellhondas:

    Any price info on the 99 Civic SI coupe?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350

    Well, if you think an old Civic is hard to work on, I can show you many others that would be much worse. But really...I don't think ANY late model car is do it yourselfer friendly.


    On my desk at work I keep a scrapbook. It's filled with articles, letters from my satisfied customers (really!) and some photos of Hondas that have been in wrecks. One of these photos is of our late, great, 1989 Civic SI hatchback that met it's end last year when our 18 year old son and two of his friends were rear ended by a 1979 Dodge going 35 MPH. None of the kids got as much as a scratch! The cop that showed up at the scene (I got a call at midnight)
    told me that Hondas always do excellent in crashes from his point of view. He even thought they were superior to Volvos he had seen. I had to dig that wonderful little car out of the ditch, and despite massive damage and a twisted frame, I drove it home.

    It may have had 140,000 miles on it but it ran and looked like a new car!

    Now, Pam, your Civic is two generations improved from the 89, and MUCH stronger, so, relax!


    No pricing info yet, but these things will be in VERY high demand!
  • kkfkkf Posts: 6

    The car I'm buying is a dark (like navy) blue pearl (metallic?). I'm not sure what the official name of the color is - maybe isellhondas can help (not that it's important).

    Thanks for asking the question about rear-end collisions...I was wondering the same thing, and feel much better thanks to isellhondas' response. BTW - my son was wondering...will his golf clubs fit in the hatch without having to fold down the rear seats?

  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    I didn't know the Hatchback came in dark blue. I know the 1998's came in a dark purple (I can't recall the exact name of it).

    I can't really say about the golf clubs. I'm not sure how big a golf bag really is. The storage area with the seat up isn't as big as a trunk on the sedan or coupe. It holds my weekly groceries, though.
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    Thanks for the reassurance. Hopefully, I'll never find out how it will do in a rear end crash!! But, I'm telling you, these drivers here seem to be getting WORSE every day!!!

  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    As most of you probably know, the Civic Hatchback DX only comes with an AM/FM radio. I would like to put in a CD player. I know the space right above the cup holders is where Honda puts the cassette player (and I assume the CD player, too). But this hole looks kind of small to me. Will an after market CD player fit there? Or will they have to take out my radio and put one in there? The radio looks to be custom fit for the dash.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350

    Trust me on this one,buy the Honda CD player. It fits perfectly. I've seen some aftermarket butcher jobs done so if you go elsewhere, be prudent.
  • Hi all.

    Some of you will remember me from my less than
    glowing comments about previous civic generations,
    something I felt was a necessary 'reality check'
    on the glowing praise heaped on the product
    by isellhondas. :)

    I indicated that I would probably be purchasing
    a new civic despite the problems I'd encountered
    with the '90 DX hatch, and in fact I did so
    last Wednesday. The car is now a ways past its
    breakin period and I have some things to share
    now that I've had a week in the car.


    - nicer dash materials than on the '90
    - nice to have a speedo (90 DX did not have one)
    - foot rest is a nice touch
    - seating and pedal positions accommodate
    both myself (6'2") and my wife (5'3")
    - accelleration is good once you break 5000rpm
    as long as the engine hasn't been running
    too long.
    - nice to have airbags, given that auto makers
    still refuse to put proper harnesses in their
    - rocker panel trim appears to be bolt-on, easy
    to replace?

    - accelleration is good only once you break
    5000rpm and power is off noticeably once
    things get hot under the hood (e.g.
    after running 30mins at 140km/h) - poor
    intake design IMHO -- it breathes hot
    air from inside the engine bay where
    amongst other things now resides the
    catalytic converter. Hot intake air =
    low charge density = less power.
    - rocker panel trim is flimsy and not body-color
    - airbags are full-power and AFAIK can't
    be disabled. I'd always take a proper
    harness over airbags
    - power steering (DX manual) gives too much
    assist between 10 and 80km/h - if running
    sticky rubber at high G (e.g. on-ramps)
    it is a distraction. Power steering should
    provide zero assist past walking speed unless
    the front suspension geometry would make this
    impractical (not the case with the little
    civic, where the CX comes without).
    - the female seatbelt connector is actually
    a part of the seat. This is of concern for
    several reasons. First, seat rails have a habit
    of corroding over time and IMHO that will
    make the design a dangerous one as the car
    ages. Second, the close placement of the
    female connector to the seat makes engaging
    the seatbelt awkward (tends to get caught up
    in clothing). Third, it means that aftermarket
    seats cannot be installed. This is pretty
    wretched, since
    - the seats, while comfortable for the commute
    have poor lumbar support, poor shoulder support,
    and poor lateral support. They are inadequate
    for spirited driving
    - the suspension seems fair enough (at least now
    while the shocks are new), but the car exhibits
    excessive body roll in corners and high speed
    - the brakes have a soft and indirect feel. Very
    poor. They were this way on the test drive vehicle also. Has not improved as I've put miles on the car. I'll see if different pads make
    a difference. Brakes are pretty simple to it
    would take a pretty stupendous blunder on
    Honda's part for them to really be this bad -
    I can't help but believe that they just have
    some bad pads or something.
    - air vent controls are the worst in any car I've ever been in. IMHO they are a hazard as they cannot be safely operated if you are driving the vehicle. (By this I don't mean the ventilation system pushbuttons, but rather the actual vent aiming controls.)
    - there is no light for the back cargo area when
    you lift the hatchback like there was in previous generations. Very, VERY annoying!
    - I don't like the new hatch locking
    mechanism (where it is either locked/unlocked
    with a latch to open). The mechanism in the
    '90 was better (always locked, turn key to
    unlock/open). I thought I'd get used to it,
    but I'm becoming more annoyed with it as
    time goes on.
    - there is no storage area for the back seat
    occupants except the pouch behind the
    passenger seat. How hard could it be to
    mold some recesses into the rear seat
    - stamped sheetmetal has unfinished (sharp!)
    edges in maintenance areas - try pulling off
    the PS reservoir without cutting your
    fingers (no, don't - put some tape on these
    metal edges before you hurt yourself)
    - Exposed welds on the interior of the car on
    the doors. Very ugly and a surprise in any
    vehicle other than maybe a Yugo. Yuck.
    Maybe they did this just to push people into
    springing for Accords. (Look at the joint
    between the main door panel and the upper
    trailing edge piece)
    - Factory stereo a funky faceplate profile -
    doesn't look ISO/DIN and if it is the dash
    will need trim pieces to make the faceplate
    of any real stereo fit. Obviously an intentional move by Honda to make it more expensive to put in an aftermarket unit and have
    it look good.

    Well, that's about it. Still, there will be
    likes/dislikes with every car. I forgot to
    mention a BIG plus - this Honda is still
    a really familiar hunk of metal and shares
    a lot with its predecessors. For the most
    part, that's not a bad thing.
  • btw, I did not mean speedo in the positives -
    tachometer! That's the instrument I had in my
    weak little mind. :)
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    The problem with the Honda CD player is the price!! I don't want to spend twice as much as I have to. Can't I do something else?

  • Potential buyers of civic hbs might also want to
    know that the spot welds around the rear hatch
    are rough and the factory paint job fails to
    completely cover some of the rough spots. I have
    surface rust on some of these spots and I've only
    had my new civic for 11 days. (And warranty here
    is pretty much meaningless since they will just
    apply touch up paint which is no substitute for
    proper factory finish). Speaking of finish, my
    car came with a finish blemish (pit undeneath
    the paint) which I noticed on delivery -
    obviously final QA inspection is either non-
    existent or incompetent. I wonder if this is just
    something we have to live with now that these
    vehicles are made in North America.
  • rukawarukawa Posts: 25
    I got the same problem..I wanted a CD player on a Civic Hatchback CX but it costs way more than expected....from the previous response Zel told me that he installed a Sony Cd player on his Civic and it works fine (I dunno about fitting) So I guess there is a way to get quality sound without high price. OR..ask Zel!! Zel..
  • I own a '96 HB CX and did not get the radio option. But I got an alpine CD player and it fit right into where the radio was to go. No problems.
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    I think you need to find something to do besides looking for things to complain about. You act like you want the quality of a $40,000 car at a price of about $13,000. I hate to break it to you, but it's just not going to happen. If you see so many things wrong with your Civic, why in the world did you buy it???

  • Pam,

    I am not judging the civic against $40000
    autos. I am judging it against former civic
    product generations, as well as former and
    current competitition. Hopes of good long-term
    reliability is the real reason for buying this
    product, since IMHO it falls short in other
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    OK. If you say so. I still think you could make better use of your time than looking for things to complain about.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350

    As I read his endless ramblings, I knew better than to respond. I actually bit my tongue for once.

    Thanks for doing it for me!
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    Any time, my friend, any time!
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    The one thing I'm not really liking about my new 1996 Hatch is that it doesn't have power steering. I'm getting more used to it, but it's really bad sitting still in a tight spot. Does anyone know if the 1999's or 2000's will have power steering on the 5-speeds?
  • kkfkkf Posts: 6
    Remember me? I've been waiting (im)patiently for all of the paperwork and stuff to get taken care of, and at long last...I'm going to have the keys to my almost-new, '97 amethyst pearl DX Hatchback in my hot little hands tonight!

    Maybe after I've driven it for a while, I'll be able to contribute something a little more meaningful to this site...but for the time being, I just wanted to share the good news and my excitement!!!!
  • No Power Steering/Pam 2. I am in the same boat as you. Look at it like this, it is a bit of a work out, wouldn't you agree. Actually my left calf is much more defined now that I got the clutch. Think of it as you own little motorized work out machine. Maybe see you on QVC soon.
  • There may be some difference between US and
    Canadian models, but in Canada the DX trim
    hatchback comes with power steering (5spd).
    My bet would be that the parts would fit, so
    it might be worthwhile to keep an eye out for
    wrecked donor vehicles as time goes on if
    power steering would be greatly to your
    liking. :)
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    Good for you! Want to trade? I'll give you my 1996 red one for your 1997 purple one!
  • kkfkkf Posts: 6
    This question is for "isellhondas" or anyone else who knows:

    In looking at the original sticker on my new-used DX hatchback, I noticed that it was manufactured in Canada, but shipped to Florida for sale.

    Is the term "Canadian models" as used in the owners manual and in general discussion referring to where the car was manufactured (in this case Canada) or the market where it was sold (US)?

    I just want to know in case it comes up in the future...
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185

    Thanks for the tip, but I think it's unlikely I'll see a Canadian Hatchback in Texas! I'll just suffer on, I guess... :)
This discussion has been closed.