Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions



  • mappingpioneermappingpioneer Member Posts: 4
    Greetings all,

    I have a 98 Civic EX Coupe manual (Si Coupe for you Canucks) with about 48K miles. Within the last year, I've heard a grinding noise coming from the A/C which has become progressively louder. This noise occurs when the A/C is cycled on, and usually when idling or at lower speeds when the clutch is engaged (but sometimes when the clutch is not engaged). It may also occur at higher speeds, but I'm unable to hear it because of road/wind noise.

    I reported this problem to the dealer, and they farted around and cleaned some leaves out of the vent intakes, but didn't fix the problem. My next scheduled service is coming up, and I'd like to be able to give the service rep. some more direction. Has anyone experienced this problem?


  • mappingpioneermappingpioneer Member Posts: 4
    On a separate issue, I have a hard shimmy when braking at freeway speeds (65 - 85 MPH, depending on who's asking). I believe it's from the front brakes as I feel it in the steering wheel and not in me [non-permissible content removed] ;)

    I had a bogus Pirelli which somehow "developed" a ply separation while on the left front wheel. As you can imagine, I had a hard shimmy all the time (braking or otherwise) until I replaced this tire. (Another story: avoid certain discount tire centres whenever possible, and major manufacturer tire centres for different reasons). However, the shimmy while braking still exists.

    I've had it to the dealer for regular maintenance since (including brake maintenance), and, figuring that the pads had worn unevenly because of the tire, or had knocked the toe out on the shoes, that the regular brake inspection would result in the problem being found and corrected, but to no avail.

    So, my question is: should I need to tell the service rep. specifically about this problem, or should this problem be found during scheduled maintenance?



    P.S.: When you take your Civic to the automated car wash, be sure to put the antenna down. They don't stand up so well to those brushes.
  • osum02osum02 Member Posts: 29
    I own a 2004 Civic LX w/auto trans that I purchased in Dec 2003 and it now has 12k miles. Approximately 2 months ago I was driving on the highway at about 80mph when I heard this humming type sound coming from the front end of the car. It is an intermittent sound, it fades out then comes back, fades out then comes back and then will go away completely. At the time I thought maybe it was the road surface, but then I heard the noise again about 2 weeks later on the same highway but going the opposite direction at about 75-80 mph. Samething happened..the sound faded in and out and then went away completely. I heard it again about a week or 2 after that on a different highway going 70mph and then again about 2 weeks after that on another highway going 60-65mph. It sounds like this: If you've ever driven on a a road surface where the top layer of asphalt was just stripped and it leaves behind those lines..The sound I'm hearing is very similar to what you'd hear if you were driving over this type of road surface after it was stripped. About 3 weeks ago I took my Civic into an independent Honda specialist to have my oil/filter changed and tires rotated. I explained to him the noise and he road tested the car and drove it at 80-85mph and the noise could not be duplicated. I took my car into the local Honda dealer and spoke with the service mgr and I explained the sound and he stated he doesn't know. I heard the noise again on my way to work this morning going 60mph but the intervals were shorter than ever...I'd hear it for a second and then it'd go away and then it'd come back for another second and go away. Does anyone have a recommendation on what I should do? Thanks in advance for any input you may have!
  • jrock80jrock80 Member Posts: 66
    I am still having my doubts about my manual gearbox. On occasion it is still hard to shift into the next gear, especially if I am in fast moving traffic and get the RPMs up. If I drive real slow and baby it, then it is smooth. Is anyones else like this? Maybe I am worrying too much, but this is my first manual transmission car and I keep thinking I am doing something wrong.
  • mtplusmtplus Member Posts: 1
    My rear tires are cupping on my 97 Civic with 100K miles. My local mechanic
    (not Honda tech) says that my rear struts need to be replaced.
    Isn't it unusual for the rear struts to wear out before the front struts?
    Can there be something else that is causing the rear tires to cup on the
    inside of the tire?

  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    Struts don't last forever and with a 100,000 miles on them I'd say all of your struts are probably due replacement. The life span of good struts is about 80 to 100K tops.
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    I would say you have nothing to worry about. The Civic's gearbox is one of the nicest you will find out there, but it is not a racing transmission by any means. If you are shifting at a high RPM, the syncros in the transmission has to do more work to make sure the gear you are shifting into is going the same speed so the gears don't "grind". It's harder to get into the gear probably because you haven't let the syncros finish all their work and its preventing you from shifting into the gear so you don't grind them. I don't know how you are shifting, but if you are trying to jam through the gears like you are running the Daytona 500 the transmission will not like it and it will be harder for you to shift into the gears.
  • snarkssnarks Member Posts: 207
    Get a second opinion on the struts, its pretty pricey to replace and they may not be worn out at 100k. Do you regularly rotate the tires. Also some cars require a 4 wheel alignment, mechanics seem to vary on their ability at this.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    But a lot of the "chain stores" love selling them. Easy, high profit job.

    How old are the tires? Probably time to simply replace them.
  • ruking1ruking1 Member Posts: 19,826
    Given your assertion, how much wear can one really expect?
  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    Is, save this one for mechanics. Honda's struts are not magical and they do wear out just like every other manufactures do. I garrantee if you pull off a pair of struts on a Honda with over a 100,000 miles, 9 out of 10 of them will be bad. Most people can't tell they are bad because they get used to driving on them. You probably don't see this at your dealership, because I suspect not that many people bring Hondas with that kind of mileage in to a dealer for repair. Assuming the tires are good and the alignment is correct, cupping is one of the classic signs of bad struts. Yes always get a second opinion before you have to spend a lot of money. Also, I personally had a strut go bad on my Accord in less than a year, which was a rare occurance. But again struts do take a pounding and they all wear out in about the time frame I stated. Of course there will always be a few that will last a little longer. Just my opinion from a guy that has worked on cars for 30 years and a changed a few struts.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Two common causes of tire cupping are tire imbalance and/or struts or shocks which have lost some of their damping ability. This allows the tire to lift slightly from the pavement, then pound back down causing excessive wear and cupping at the contact point. At 100,000 miles, any strut or shock has lost some of it's damping effectiveness due to internal wear, regardless of the vehicle brand. Toe adjustment can also cause cupping, but usually results in diagonal wear patterns across the tire tread.
  • snarkssnarks Member Posts: 207
    My local dealer and Honda independant also have concurred that Honda struts/shocks (at least in 92-95 Civic) last a long time. Both did not consider my 210k OEM struts worn out whatsoever. They have wear nevertheless but replacement is not necessary. I nearly wasted a considerable amount of money a car I want to part with. Honda strut replacement is not cheap.

    I believe however the bushing is nearly very worn as the struts squack in rear just in weather below 30F.

    I have had no issues with tires, however I rotate them every 8k - 10k miles.
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    Yes, they are right about the struts lasting a long time in your generation vehicle, and even up to the 2000 model but when they brought out the 7th gen Civic (2001-..), they dropped the McPherson system and put something else in there that so far have proven to last not nearly as long as before according to a lot of people.
  • crv16crv16 Member Posts: 205
    ... they dropped the McPherson system...

    No, it's the other way around. With 7th gen, they STARTED using MacPherson struts.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    We often get customers who have come from one of the "chain stores". They have been told they need new struts. When we check them out, there is nothing wrong with them.

    Some cars go through struts quicker than others. I was told that we replace, maybe, three sets of struts a year and we are a high volume store.

    Although they do wear out, they are a "gravy", high profit job a lot of places like to oversell.
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    Thanks for the correction!
  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    One of my points was how many of your customers are bringing their cars in for service with over a 100,000 miles on them? Like I said, if you actually pulled the struts of a car with that kind of mileage, you would find out they have either totally failed or are close to total failure. Unless a strut is dripping oil, it isn't always easy to confirm they are worn or bad without removing them. You are right that many times some shops do try to push struts when they are not needed. That is why I would at least get a second opinion.
  • pathfinder13pathfinder13 Member Posts: 110
    Hi guys, new to Honda Forum. I just bought used civic with 15000 miles but recently I noticed several problems.
    1. The body squeaks, I think it's the rear suspension or something, however the car came with aftermarket suspension. Any idea guys.
    2. While I was driving, the back trunk kept poping out( like it would just open). Does anyone know about this problem.
    3. I noticed that the front hood is somewhat loose and I can hear rattling noise from it when the engine is at idle.
    4. I also notice that at 65mph the rpm is very high at 3500, is that normal. And, I'm not getting the mpg Honda shows. I'm getting around 27mpg which is 75% city driving. Well, I guess it because of the traffic we have in LA.
    5. Any good Honda dealer in Southern California.
    Other than that I love the car, it's smooth and fun to drive.
  • snarkssnarks Member Posts: 207
    If your car has 15k its under Honda's new car warranty. Take it to a dealer and have the issues addressed.
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    Hi and welcome...You probably won't get anything out of the suspension from the dealer if its been modified. The trunk and hood latches probably just need adjustment. I had the same problem with my hood. Yes, the Rpm's are normal for that speed and your fuel economy sucks because what you are doing is extreme stop and go traffic.
  • sephrothsephroth Member Posts: 15
    1999 Honda Civic EX 49,000 miles

    Wondering what type of A/C problem I currently have. When turning on the A/C the compressor (I believe) makes a very loud clicking sound which you can hear inside the vehicle when driving and during idle. The air does blow cold however when shutting off the A/C and only using the vent fan the car becomes quiet again. This problem started to occur only 3 days ago. Does this mean the compressor is going bad or any other problem I should look for? Any idea how much a compressor goes for and is this normal for a 5 year old car? Thanks for the help!
  • mappingpioneermappingpioneer Member Posts: 4

    This sounds similar to the problem that I am having with my 98 Civic (Post #2938). I've been experiencing this problem for about a year. The noise has become progressively louder, but the A/C still works.

    I've had it to the dealer and drove the car with the service rep., but they claimed later that they were unable to reproduce the problem (still charged me 86 bucks, though). I did some searching around on the Internet, and I think that the problem might be the compressor clutch bearing. I had the hood open on Saturday listening to it, and the noise is coming from inside the housing on the driver's side of the engine (is this where the compressor clutch bearing is located)?

  • mredwardaamredwardaa Member Posts: 7
    Honda replaced my struts at 38k at no charge.There was a problem with most of the 01's.
    They were very accomadating to me. If they won't a independant mechanic could do it for about half.
    Hope this post is not to late, but I just read it.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    Did you ran a Carfax on the car before you bought it? The hood and trunk issues sound like a crappy collision job. The hood has adjustable bump stops, and the trunk latch is adjustable too. Just makre sure you are not pulling the remote trunk release lever and cauing it to open.

    The noise from suspension could be because it is aftermarket. Although I am not sure what pieces are aftermarket. Most of the time people just either cut the stock springs or put lowering springs, sometimes people use aftermarket shocks. Rareley people install aftermaket control arms, and even more rareley people drop the car and install a camber/caster kit.

    See what pieces are aftermarket and see if there is any binding.

    The RPM's sound fine to me.
  • pathfinder13pathfinder13 Member Posts: 110
    The title was clean, there was no damage at all. It has Koni suspension and Eibach spring. One of my friend civic has the same body squeaks like mine but he has everything stock.Well, I guess I will take it to dealer. Do any of you know which Honda dealer is better around Southbay area.
  • sdiorisdiori Member Posts: 20
    I'm unsure as to what the source of this problem may be, but I'm sure you guys can provide an answer.
     On my '95 Civic, my sunroof sometimes functions erractically by closing on its own shortly after I open it. There is also a small clicking sound that accompanies the subsequent closure of the sunroof. Any ideas what the problem can be?
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    Sounds electrical to me.., maybe a bad switch or relay or something like that.
  • sephrothsephroth Member Posts: 15
    The problem was the compressor and not the clutch/bearing. The shaft sheared off and the clutch fell to the ground. Compressor needs to be replaced for $550 which includes parts and labor (remanufactured compressor with 1 year warranty).
  • mappingpioneermappingpioneer Member Posts: 4
  • beckybecky Member Posts: 1
    I need some advise on how to clean pen stains in the car seat. Is there anyway to fix this stain? thanks for your help in advance
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    Ink stains can be tricky, but there are several things you can try.

    Apply hairspray on several thicknesses of white paper towel and then dab on the stain. Blot, don't rub, with a dry towel. If hairspray isn't doing the job, then try rubbing alcohol. Same method as hairspray: apply to paper towels, dab on stain, blot with dry towel. If that doesn't do it, then try nail polish remover. Before using any of these, try a bit of it in an inconspicuous area for colorfastness.

    Once the stain is removed, follow up with an upholstery cleaner.

    Hope this helps!
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    If and after you get the stain out I would highly recommend a Scotchgard application be done on your upholstry. I had a pen burst on one of my seats and the ink came off with a damp cloth!
  • coil99coil99 Member Posts: 11
    I know this is an odd question, but does anyone know what a gas gage on a 93 Civic should read when the car is off?

    Does it drop down to empty or does it show the amount of fuel in the tank?

    Thank you for any help.
  • tonisamatonisama Member Posts: 7

    I recently came across this forum and it looks like a great place to get help. Anyway, I recently bought a used 2000 Civic LX with only 12k miles. The car was in like new condition driven only once in a while by an old couple. I've driven a couple other cars, 2003 Lancer, 2000 Sentra, 2000 Civic EX, 2000 Protege and this Civic I bought seems to have a real touchy automatic transmission. When I am cruising with my foot on the gas at say, 30 mph +-, and I let my foot off the gas, the transmission will shift to a lower gear, and then almost immediately cut back to the gear it was in before. This causes the car to lose speed while coasting, even when going downhill. Is this a normal issue or is there some kind of problem here?
  • mj1979mj1979 Member Posts: 1
    I'm currently considering buying a civic and this would be my first Honda purchase. I can't seem to get an answer about one final question that might make or break my decision NOT to continue buying domestic U.S. vehicles. Does it really cost much more to maintain and repair foreign cars? The G.M. and Ford dealers I've talked to say yes, but I've heard otherwise as well. I know that Honda has a reputation for build quality that surpasses most (or all?) domestic cars I've considered, but I am still concerned about the cost of maintenance and repairs. Thanks so much!
  • snarkssnarks Member Posts: 207
    Honda Civic's are not excessive to repair compared than domestic counterparts. Some foreign cars such as Europeans and low volume ones may be higher mainly due to higher part costs. Lastly Civic's are common as they come and I believe a top seller so an aftermarket for non-OEM parts exists if you want to go that route.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    A crooked shop would charge you more to replace a part on a civic than they would charge to replace the same part on sunfire. An honest shop will charge true cost. Civic is a US made car out mostly US components, by US non unionized workers, while most domestic small cars are truly foreign. They are assembled in either Mexico or Korea (Ford and Chevy respectivley). If you are getting a ridiculous estimate from a shop, stop by Honda and see what they charge. This way you would know if the private shop is ripping you off. I noticed that when I had VW, most private shops were giving me estimates that were much higher than VW dealer.
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but what I believe you are feeling is Honda's gradelogic technology in their transmissions. I know they use this in the Accord but I'm not sure about the Civic. The transmission is programmed to assist you in braking going downhill and prevent downshifting going uphill. A pain; it can be but its trying to prevent you from burning up your brakes if you're going downhill and save fuel economy going uphill.
  • tonisamatonisama Member Posts: 7
    I've read about the gradelogic transmission in the Civic. From what I remember, it was supposed to evaluate the state of the car and choose the appropriate gear, but my concern with the car I bought was that this system seemed to be selecting the wrong gear instead of the right one. To me, it doesn't make sense for the car to have to shift to a lower gear and then immediately pop back to the previous gear. None of the cars i've driven behave in this manner so it's very strange getting used to it.
  • kentkmokkentkmok Member Posts: 27
    I just got a 98 Civic LX sedan w/ 75k miles. The car seems to be very solid except the gas pedal is kind of stiff. My friend said it may need a cleaning job on the throttle cable.

    Now my question is have anyone experienced similar situation before? What did you do to solve it? Also, how much was the repair cost?

    Any comments/feedback will be appreciated. Thanks!
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    If the pedal feels stiff only from closed throttle, then clean the throttle body. Remove the air intake ducting, have an assistant hold the throttle wide open, liberally spray the inside of the throttle body and throttle plate (especially the back side) with air intake cleaner, and scrub with an old toothbrush. Use clean rags to wipe up the residue. Don't use carb cleaner, most aren't O2 sensor safe.
  • kentkmokkentkmok Member Posts: 27
    Thanks alcan! It does feel stiff only on closed pedal. I will try what you have just recommended.
  • bklynboybklynboy Member Posts: 16
    My 2001 Civic LX has just under 20k miles on it. Over Christmas, with an unrelated problem, I brought it in to a Honda dealer way out of town.

    He resolved my immediate issue, and said my front struts were leaking, that I should have my dealer at home look at them, and that it was not a big deal. He added that the 2001 Civic seems to have a problem with bad struts.

    I got home, wasted time and finally called my dealer to make an appointment, which is in a couple of weeks. They said they can do the struts, but since it is past my warranty period, they are not covered. Labor alone will be around $300.

    It seems to me that I have seen a lot of postings about strut problems with the 2001s. What can I do to get the dealer to repair this on Honda's dime? On a car with 20K miles, is there any reason that struts would normally go bad?

  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    There have been many problems with the 2001's having bad struts installed in them. I would contact Honda of America to see if they would do anything beyond the dealer level. Explain to them that the car only has 20K on it and things like this should not break this early in the car's life. After you find and grind your way through and you still have no luck in the end getting new struts paid for, I would take the car to a reputable tire shop and have some struts put on for there. Koni makes good struts and they'll perform better than OEM and it'll probably be cheaper in labor and parts.
  • akaps04akaps04 Member Posts: 1
    HI Guys, im new to this board and a complete rookie when it comes to cars, although i have been doing my research.

    I purchased a 2004 civic LX. In the evening however i started getting back pains. Im not sure if i am dreaming this. Do any of you find the civic seats a tad too hard. If so, is this just on the 2004 model. In addition, does it take time to get used to them? are they hard because they are still new and not worn out?

    How did you fix this?

    Thanks... i never really noticed the seat thing during the test drive.

    Again i may sound paranoid here. Im 22, and my car seats arent the luxury couch seats i had on my dads old boat!
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Member Posts: 163
    "Im 22, and my car seats arent the luxury couch seats i had on my dads old boat!"

    By your dads old boat I'm assuming a Grand Marquis, a Buick or something along those lines. You bought a Honda Civic which is a totally different class of vehicle. I have mild back problems (golf fanatic) and never have back pains after traveling in mine. Try adjusting the seat back to different positions etc. to see if you can get a better comfort level. The seats in the Civic have been refined a lot since the earlier generations. They are much better now than before. However you're not going to get the luxary feel to them like in your other car no matter how hard you try. This will be true of any econo-box out there with maybe a couple of rare exceptions.
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Member Posts: 766
    The 2004 Civic seats are a lot better than the 2000 Civic. I use a large pillow on the back of the seat when I drive my wife's 2004 Civic. It gives me some cushion for my back. I put two,(2), pillows in one large pillow case. I was able to get a pillow case that matches the inside of the vehicle. This works for me!
  • hobieslug96hobieslug96 Member Posts: 9
    my son bought a 93 civic with a manual trans
    It would buck at take off and also in 2nd gear
    checked it and found the accel cable was tight and there was no play on a dampning spring on the pedal
    I think the wrong cable was installed at one time because I had to relocate the adjusting bracket to get the proper adjustment
    anyway that took care of 75% of my problem I'm thinking that the rest is in the dampning part of my clutch disk
    I don't know much about clutches and could use some help in this problem
    also when in 1st gear if you let up on the gas and then accelerate it will start bucking and ocselate till you have to step on the clutch to make it go away
  • rah9rah9 Member Posts: 4
    Just thought I would let you all know about this one. I have a 1999 Civic Ex Coupe. When I would switch the a/c to re circulate, the air flow coming out the vents would drop to nothing. Found out what it was. Napkins had been put in the glove compartment and the re circulate intake (with a foam filter) is located just behind the glove compartment. Of course, a couple napkins got sucked out of the compartment and totally blocked the intake. After fishing them out without taking the compartment out, the system took a deep breath and blew out air normally. Just thought it might be a good suggestion to check this once in a while, especially in Florida where I live. No charge...
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