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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions

fmbobfmbob Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Honda
I am NOT a mechanic by any means, so please stay with me.

Wife owns a '94 Honda Civic, 1.5L which just turned 30,000 miles. Friday night she told me the car was not acting right and blowing white smoke from tail pipe ... she said it started doing this after it had warmed up a bit. Yesterday, after car sat all night, I started it up and drove it up the road a bit. Noticed within 5 minutes or so that the temp gauge was up near the top red mark ... also at that time the car started hesitating etc. and the bright white smoke then started to come from the tail pipe. Got car right back home and shut it off. No warning lights came on, only the temp gauge showing overheating ... the radiator fan did NOT activate ... when puffing the bright white smoke from tail pipe, it smelled like antifreeze ... noticed also that no heat was being produced thru vents. There IS coolant in the plastic reservoir and radiator showing OK on the marks ... oil and transmission fluids fine also.

Before I take it in for repair, does anyone have
any idea as to what MIGHT be the problem???

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks ... Bob


  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    White smoke out of the tail pipe is a bad sign, this usually means a head gasket went bad.

    Check the level of coolant in the radiator, instead of the overflow reservoir.
  • btroybtroy Posts: 92
    Don't drive it in. Have it towed. It may still be fixable, but overheating the engine again could make things even worse.
  • fmbobfmbob Posts: 2
    Thanks fellas for the response. I did have the car towed into the local Honda dealer yesterday .. head gasket as you both said ... to the tune of like $580 ... unless they find MORE wrong with it. Not being a mechanic, I guess my other question would be: why or what would make the head gasket go bad on a vehicle that just turned 30,000 miles and is not abused???

    Thanks again ...

    de Bob
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    There may have been a defect in the gasket.
    Stuff happens.

    We had a 1979 Datsun 310 with a 1.4ltr? 4 cyl.
    It lunched the head gasket around 30k miles.
  • I have a 90 Civic, 230,000 miles, that I'm trying to nurse along at minimum expense. Have a coolant system problem, I keep bursting hoses, on my third in a week! The system isn't showing that it's running hot, it appears to be getting overpressured. I replaced the radiator cap, and the overflow line is clear. In fact, the coolant overflow reservoir has been empty when I have checked it after the hoses burst, as if it is sucking back coolant as it loses coolant out the leak?

    Perhaps the new radiator cap is bad? I can't see how this system is getting overpressured!

    Any insights would be appreciated.
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    WOW that is a strange problem.

    Which hose/s are bursting? The radiator or heater hoses. Is it the same hose each time? How long after a new hose is put on, that it bursts?

    The radiator cap is working by your description.

    Maybe the thermostat is bad?
    Maybe something is getting clogged up like a heater core or the radiator?

    I would think it would take great pressure to burst a hose. Hope it is not a bad head gasket which is allowing the compression force of the engine into the cooling system.

    Good luck
  • kt2kt2 Posts: 1
    For the people in topic #797 acceleration noise, I have a '99 civic LX. I tried the corolla as you did before I bought the civic. Unlike you I found the corolla to be noisier than the civic and the drivers seat in the toyota would not go back far enough to make my legs comfortable and I am only 5ft.10 1/2in.tall. However if I were to buy another one I would look for one that was made in Japan rather than the U.S.A. When I got the car the door panel clips were loose on the drivers door and the torsion bar that holds the trunk open had a broken retainer clip so the trunk wouldn't stay open. Also the timing belt was sqeaking so they had to replace the timing belt tensioner. I guess the Japanese still build better cars than the americans. Believe me I hate to admit it. Oh ya the alternator also had to be replaced all taken care of under warranty. I now have 20k on the car and have so far not had any more problems. From all of the good things I have heard about Honda, I was a little disappointed that I had to return to the dealer several times for service. It's a fun car to drive and one of the few cars I've owned that you can drive for 3 or 4 hours straight and not get tired of it.
  • txxttxxt Posts: 1
    Hi there,

    Just got my 2000 Honda Civic LX with AT few days ago. The roaring sound during acceleration makes me crazy. I Just talked to a Honda service and I was told this is probably by a logic system installed for going up/down hill but this happening during normal drive on flat road. I will have a service to take a look but is anyone experiencing the same problem or this is normal.

  • This is response to greentrees77's bursting hose problem.

    My suggestion might be a little late but ....

    Before I bought my '98 Civic Honda, I owned a 12-yr-old Subaru. As the car was old, things were breaking down. When I started having to replace hose after radiator hose, a mechanic told me I shoulda replaced all of them a while back and all at the same time. As soon as one hose ruptured and was replaced, he said, another would burst. And sure enough, that was what happened. Something to do with pressure and worn-out hoses.

    My Subaru also had a radiator that needed replacing because some of the rusted flukes had been bashed in by a clumsy mechanic (who didn't bother to tell me about his gross stupidity) a while back. No doubt that was part of the problem, so was the thermostat that quit.

    You might also want to check the thermo resistor, or whatever it's called. It looks like a spark plug and it gauges the engine's temperature (or high heat). If it needs replacing, it could give your engine a false reading as to whether it's reached its optimum heat range (plus 500 deg. F).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I suspect the thermostat may have stuck in the closed position on your Civic. When this happens, unless it is noticed and the car is quickly shut down it will cause the engine to overheat.

    The first thing to go will be the head gasket.

    Since you continued to drive it in that condition, you are fortunate no real damage occured!
  • I think I got a lemon. I have a 2000 Civic EX 4 door. There is a clunking, creaking sound coming from the passenger side front suspension area. It has been in the shop for 2 days (this is the 2nd time) and they still can't find where the noise is coming from. Any ideas? The noise can be heard when the car is moving very slowly and you encounter any sort of bump in the road. It is especially noisy if you turn the steering wheen to the left and then to the right and then to the left, etc. while going about 5 MPH. Help!!!! Also, the trunk leaks! Anyone had any similar problems?

  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    As you probably know, these symptoms could be associated with many of the suspension components. Possibly even the wheel hub or brake assembly. However, if the shop has done a careful visual check and the wheel bearings and brakes function normally, I would first suspect the "Damper Mounting Base." That's Honda's name for the thrust bearing assembly at the top of the spring. The spring and strut assembly must be removed and dismantled to replace this item but it's not a big job.

    Trunk leak? Get inside the trunk with a bright light and have someone spray water around the trunk seal, rear window, wheel wells, and beneath the trunk area (if necessary) until you see the water. The dealer should have done this but, if he hasn't, you can thus be very specific in your water leak complaint.

    Both of these problems are solvable; you certainly should not have to live with either of them. Good luck.
  • galina1galina1 Posts: 2
    My 1999 Honda Civic dx is still under warranty. I have a reoccuring problem with the malfunction indicator lamp going on, usually after I get gas. It's been in twice to the dealer and it has gone on again the very night I picked it up from them (when I did not get gas). They claim it is a loose gas cap and not a big deal.
    This week, my oil light went on and my car lost all oil! This happpened in an instant. I towed it in to them and they claim it was a faulty oil filter and that no damage was done to the engine. They refused to show me any documentation of them checking the engine, or even let a mechanic test drive it with me. I am totally freaked out and afraid for the long term life of my engine. The service clerk basically stated that "no one had a crystal ball" I took the car and drove it for three hours and it SEEMS to be okay.Any advice on how to approach this issue.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    If the diagnostic trouble code is for incorrect fuel tank pressure, it probably is not serious and could be poor fit of the filler cap. However, it could also be a vacuum problem, electrical problem, or several other things. Remind them of these possibilities as a method of getting them to defend their diagnosis. The shop manual details the troubeshooting procedure for each trouble code. Even though your problem may not be serious, you should insist on having it repaired. Their explanation may be correct but this is the type of problem that a poorly-motivated shop may try to avoid dealing with.

    I presume your oil filter ruptured; that would cause very rapid loss of all the oil. If you stopped the engine immediately when the oil-pressure light lit, there is likely to be no damage. A physical check for internal engine damage is not practical but it is suggested, in case you do later need proof of responsibility, you obtain: (1) a record of who provided and installed the filter which ruptured, (2) the ruptured filter if possible, and (3) dealer's written description of the failure mode. In the meantime, monitor the sound and "feel" of the engine, oil consumption rate, fuel economy, engine coolant temperature. If you see significant deterioration in these areas, report it to the dealer ASAP. If you don't get a favorable response, I would next get a reputable independent garage's assessment. Armed with this information, calmly ask your attorney how to proceed.

    Hopefully, the above data-gathering is only a form of insurance and your engine is OK. Good luck.
  • PyroCPUPyroCPU Posts: 5
    Yup, my 99 Civic EX coupe has a trunk leak too. Water sits in the spare tire well only after a thorough hose-down wash of the car though. I sent the car to the dealer for warranty repair, but they didn't care to lift up the @#$% carpet and check UNDER it. I think it's a leak between the bumper and the body.

    I'm also having clunking noises from the right rear suspension, but since I've lowered the car with aftermarket springs, Honda wouldn't cover it.
  • cdtcdt Posts: 6
    hi all
    I just bought a 93 civic DX,It is a really good car (only 67k miles on it). but i run into a trouble after stupid forget turn off the light last week. the battery run out. A freind help me to recover the power without any difficult. The problem now is that the radio system stop work now!! the manual says that it need a code to reset the radio system. But i do know where can i find the code. Please help me out!!
    it is really surker to drive a good car without music.
  • Hi CDT,

    You will have to bring the car to the dealer and let them pull the radio system out to look for the serial number. From there, they will be able to look up the security code, at the same time you might as well as them for the plastic card that contains the code.
  • Well, here's a very belated thanks to those who responded on my radiator hose problem. Had three burst in a week, but replaced those, and the radiator cap for good measure, and have been fine since. I guess that jaubrey's mechanic was correct, and that old hoses can go one after another like that.

    This car has been unbelievable. The interior and body have been thoroughly trashed by a flood, and a far to close encounter with an uprooted freeway sign in a real bad storm (separate incidents)in the last couple of years, and I've been severely neglecting maintenance, but at 233,000 miles it's still running great.

    I'm planning on replacing it with another Civic soon, and am interested in those reporting problems with the new models. For those reporting problems, please keep us updated.

    Also, I'd like to re-iterate aklapa01's comment. Whenever I've gotten into one of those hassles about warranty repairs, I've never gotten any satisfaction in bitching at the dealer, but have done very well complaining to corporate. If you have a problem with your Honda, stop arguing with the dealer and contact American Honda.
  • mikeandmikeand Posts: 1
    I have a '92 Civic, 1.5 liter SOHC engine, with 80,000 miles on it. I have changed the oil and filter every 3,000 miles and had all other service done on schedule done a former Honda dealership shop foreman. A few months ago, oil consumption jumped from nothing to a quart every 200 miles. The car still runs good, and only smokes when the RPM is up. I used to work on small block Chevies and the first thing I thought of was valve guides. I asked my mechanic about it and he said that these engines don't wear out valve guides, but do break oil rings. I pulled the spark plugs and two of them were coated with oil ash, but it seemed strange to me that that engine could break two oil rings at the same time. Then I noticed that the cylinders affected were #1 and #2 which are the closest to the PCV valve connection on the FI intake manifold.

    Is it possible that a bad PCV valve could cause this much oil consumption? Many thanks for any help.
  • bill11770bill11770 Posts: 29
    if the radio is the original radio on the car, all you need is the VIN number. Go to the honda dealer and they should be able to get you the code from the VIN number
  • I have a 2000 Civic LX 4Dr sedan with the same symptoms or "creaking suspensions" from the rear suspension area. Thanks for the posting which I will no use to have dealer fix the problem.
  • In response to your suggestions, I have already had the tires balanced and rotated at NTB and I also watch the technician turn the tires on the rim. So far only one bad rim which ended up on the rear wheel. My car still shimies at high speed. I guess I'll have to drop the car at Honda for them to diagnose the problem. There is a creak coming from the front passenger wheel when turning or going over speed bumps which does not happen consistently. So I am pretty much trying to nail down the cause.

    Thanks for you help and input!
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    Your welcome and good luck, have them try and swap the 4 tires if they are willing. Again good luck..
  • flyer9flyer9 Posts: 2
    I'm on my 6th Honda and the newest member is hard to impossible to start on short trips (4-10) miles or out of the garage to wash and back in. The next
    day it will be hard to impossible to start. the dealer says to give it some throttle and that this
    is not uncommon. I'm no mechanic and from the sound of the answer I got, neither is the service manager at the dealership. Anyone else out there with the same problem?
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    We have had some 6 cylynder cars with that problem for which there is no fix, as of yet. I know that the winter fuel they are using in alot of the states is causing some problems also.Other than that you may have a valve that is too tight causing a slight loss of compression.
    What model is it? I can try and research it better knowing.
  • flyer9flyer9 Posts: 2
    It's a 1.6 liter sedan. I could understand the winter gas trouble if there was some consistency. 30 days worth of driving and 5 hard starts with no common thread on any of them. Any advice would be appreciated. It might be time to take it to another dealer and get a fresh point of view.
  • r2mr2r2mr2 Posts: 1
    Hello, has anyone had problems taking the key out of the ignition after moving shifter into park? I had to reshift and shift back to "P" to get the key out.
  • Hi Auburn63,

    I read in the Accord forum that you are located in NY, where exactly??

    BTW, I had found out the problem with my Civic... I have a leaking front passenger strut. Also would you mind if I ask you to confirm this two part numbers:
    51605-SR3-013 Right Strut Unit
    51606-SR3-013 Left Strut Unit

  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    Actually in Nj, near the middle on the shore.As far as the part numbers I will check them on wednesday and let you know..Glad you found your problem...
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    I forget what kind of car you had so I did a reverse look up and these parts are for a 1994-1995 Civic 4dr DX,LX,EX,ABS stick and auto.Price wise Honda suggested retail is 102.92. Does this sound about right?
This discussion has been closed.