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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions



  • Cold engine jack-rabbit starts and old dirty oil shorten the life of the engine. Warm the engine before starting out in the morning. Change the oil every 3000 miles. This is important for high compression Honda motors. Many people put in heavier weight oil than Honda recommends. When buying a used honda listen to the engine during a cold start..if it makes a rattling sound the piston rings are warn, need replacing and is a sign scheduled maintenance was not performed. If the seller blames poor grade gas don't buy the car. Most people don't keep service records but always ask.
  • theracoontheracoon Posts: 666
    A lot of good information that I agree with, especially about using too heavy an oil, except possibly for this statement:

    Change the oil every 3000 miles.

    I'd suggest changing the oil based on the intervals recommended by Honda in the Owners Manual for the vehicle. Read and understand the Honda Owner's Manual definitions for "normal" and "severe" conditions, and then change your oil according to which definition meets the way the vehicle is used.

  • Some valve rattle is normal for Hondas. I've owned numerous Honda/Acuras and a little noise is typical upon start up so don't discount a good Honda because of it. Have it looked at and look for blue smoke.

    Also, if you do alot of highway driving 3000 miles is a little to frequent and in fact, my Civic's owner's manual (and my previous Accords) says not to change the oil before recommended. Since my interval is 10,000 for normal conditions I will change it at 7,500 with synthetic oil and every 7500 afterwards. In my older Hondas I change it between 5000 and 7500 with synthetic. BTW: Synthetic really seems to make older Honda engines smoother.
  • Thanks for the help on my last problem...had to change brakes in front, now better.
    new problem is that the dashboard light for door ajar is not lighting up, no matter which door (front , rear, r or left) is open. Curiously, the light in the roof of the car works, but doesnt light up when the door is ajar like it should (Im unsure if this is at all related to the problem) Asked NAPA autoparts guy, he thought it wasnt a fuse...I looked at the manual and didnt see a fuse specifically for the door ajar dash light..could it be a bulb problem, and if so whats the best recourse? Pls respond auburn 63 or other knowledgeable folks out there! thanks!
  • I have a 2002 Civic LX. My owners manual says it is not necessary to warm up a cold engine by letting it idle for a long period. It says you can drive away in about a minute. I have my oil changed every 5,000 miles per the severe schedule in the owners manual.

    I have the non-VTEC engine. Are the VTEC engines made better than the non-VTEC or are they built to the same specs?

    Are Honda engines built "today", if maintained properly, able to go 250,000, 300,000, 400,000 or more miles as you hear about some of the older Honda's? Or is it pure luck if you get that kind of mileage from an engine?
  • seafseaf Posts: 339
    I have a '99 civic and I drive mostly towards the normal conditions than severe. Although in the winter it might be skewed more towards severe. I have been changing the oil according to the severe conditions but I plan on just changing the oil myself every 5k miles and oil & filter every 10k miles. I let the car idle (without pumping the gas) right after I start it up after parking for a while for about a minute before driving off. I heard most of the engine damage is done when the engine is not lubricated such as when you start it up in the morning. And revving a cold engine is probably the worst thing you could do to it.

    As for VTEC & non-vtec. I believe the VTEC engines just have more sophisticated intake valves that adjust to the engine's RPM. They should be about the same in terms of reliability. The Vtec engines are more high-tech, probably costing more since it has more components.
  • correct me if i'm wrong, but 1)i thought the manual said you can idle the car for about 10-15 seconds before driving, but don't drive it hard until the engine warms up. 2)idling the car longer will cause more pollution because i think those catalytic converter works best under high temp. so driving the car immediately will warm things up faster than letting the car idle for 10 minutes. (again, correct me if i'm wrong)

    VTEC & non-VTEC, no differences to me. both need to be revved to get just a little power.
  • "The difference in pollution between waiting 15 secs and 60 seconds is probably negligeable."

    yeah. but not when all the cars in the US are idling for 60 seconds.

    "I would advise against idling for 10 minutes before driving away though."
    agree. somebody told me that he'll idle the car til the engine warms up, which i think is not needed in today's car.

    yesterday i revved the engine to redline to see if the rev limiter works or not (damn, it worked)......i didn't really feel the burst of power, i only felt the 4 banger was screaming for help cuz it's so loud...

    i always think that when the manufacturers release the specs of a car, they should also indicate the hp and torque between like 1500rpm-4500rpm (which most ppl would keep their engine running at) instead of the max hp & torque which come out at 6000 or 7000 rpm. who's going to keep the car at high rpm all the time just to get that hp.....
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    What year car was yours again? Also, did you say the interior lights do or dont come on when you open the door(s)? I will try and check this board from work tomorrow so that I can get a peak at an ETM.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    The front of my car always makes this weird click noise when these steps are followed

    1. Put car in reverse
    2. Then put car in drive
    3. Drive forward
    4. After the first application of the brake pedal after put in drive, the "click" occurs from the front of the car, and it's only after I reverse, drive forward, and then brake.

    After that, everything is fine and the click doesn't happen again until I repeat the above steps again.

    Any ideas and should I get it checked out? It's a 2001 Civic EX Automatic.
  • Thanks for the response, Auburn! Car is a LX Civic 1997 4 dash door ajar light doesnt go on regardless of which door you open, and the light on the ceiling of the car works if you push the switch to the right, but in neutral , when it should light if a door is ajar it doesnt either. Brought it to a local honda who said there may be a short circuit, perhaps due to a cd player installed post purchase, and that i should just live with it bec it may cost 1000$ to fix..are there any other options/more economical ways of fixing this?
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    Honda considers this noise normal movement of the pads. The noise can be temporaraly fixed by using brake disc quiet on the inside and outside of the shims of the frt brake pads.However since it is a normal noise this is not a covered repair
  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    If the original radio is not being used then it most likely is due to that. There is a signal wire that runs through the radio and aftermarkets do not have this connection. We have been able to splice the wires together to repair this. The wires would be at the back of the radio in the original Honda radio connector. The wire colors are LT Green/black and LT Green/red. Splice those two together and that should fix your problem. Good luck
  • So just so I get it totally straight, you mean to connect which wire with which? (light green with light green?) Does this reestablish the connection? Also can I just bring the car to an electrical auto place or a car stereo dealer and have them do this? im a little scared of messing with it as I may cause more dashlights to change...

  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    LT Green/black and LT Green/red are the two wires to put together and yes you can bring it to a stereo place, just tell them what you got and what you think it needs to be repaired(the wires above put together). Good luck
  • Dave,
    My Civic 2001 LX makes the same brake noise when I first apply the brakes. I took it to the dealer and he said it was a normal noise and that it was the brake pads shifting. He said some Hondas make a louder noise than others..but that it was normal. It frustrates me...but guess I can live with it.
  • rmb48rmb48 Posts: 9
    My wife's 99 Civic needs a new tail pipe and muffler. Not under warranty, of course. The closest dealer quoted $450 for the repair. Our usual mechanic, not a dealer, says he can't get the parts and do the repair more cheaply because Honda has not yet released 99 Civic parts beyond the dealer. The dealer is willing to sell the parts to us for $350.

    Are we stuck? Is this a fair price? -- it seems way out of line to me. Any suggestions about how to find the parts more cheaply? Thanks.
  • rmb48rmb48 Posts: 9
    My wife's 99 Civic needs a new tail pipe and muffler. Not under warranty, of course. The closest dealer quoted $450 for the repair. Our usual mechanic, not a dealer, says he can't get the parts and do the repair more cheaply because Honda has not yet released 99 Civic parts beyond the dealer. The dealer is willing to sell the parts to us for $350.

    Are we stuck? Is this a fair price? -- it seems way out of line to me. It is also troubling that every muffler I've ever bought came with a lifetime warranty, except for the one installed on our Civic when it was new. (Though the expensive replacement muffler has the warranty.)

    Any suggestions about how to find the parts more cheaply? Thanks.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    4" tip muffler. Only $99. Just kidding. I'm sure any reputable shop can hook that muffler right up.
  • theracoontheracoon Posts: 666
    Any suggestions about how to find the parts more cheaply?

    Call Midas or one of your local muffler shops and ask for pricing on a muffler with lifetime warranty. Make sure you ask what the installation charges will be.

  • auburn63auburn63 Posts: 1,162
    I think the cost of the OEM parts is worth the money because of the direct fit, better quality than most aftermarket stuff and sound/quietness(factory original) is usally much better than most of the aftermarkets. Most of all I like the direct bolt on, not clamped, look and fit.
  • hl66hl66 Posts: 2
    My headlights and dashlights flash at the same time, on their own. They get brighter for 1-2 seconds at a time. This happens at highway speeds as well as at idle. This still happens after I have turned off all accessory loads (radio,ac, heater,cruise,etc). It's a 98 Civic EX. Any help is greatly appreciated!
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Posts: 358
    My wife just told me that our 02 Civic Sedan rear window defrost only bottom 2/3 works. Top 1/3 of the rear window has embedded power strip lines in irregular shapes, it won't defrost. Since Civic has built in Antenna in the back, is this normal or we have a defected rear window defrost?
  • Don't you have the rear-window anttenae? My '00 EX had it, and from what I've seen, the new ones don't have the antennae on them... Perhaps this is the rear window antennae... if so, it doesn't heat up... just helps the radio reception.

    Easy way to check it... On both sides of the rear window, there will be blade connectors and they will be the defroster connections... if you have another connection on the top of your window, and it is not connected to any of the defroster lines, its probably an antennae... =o)
  • That is normal... look at the bright side, mine clicks twice... =o) (front and rear disc + huge rotors..)

    Lets see if I can explain why it happens... your brake calipers constantly put a little bit of pressure on the disc. This is for a few reasons from what I know, mainly to keep gunk off the disc(water, dust, mud, etc) The pads will always have side to side play(usually about 1/32" or so) So you shift into reverse, push down on the brakes, thereby applying more pressure to the pads and causing them to shift back(from the friction against the disc) Then you shift into drive, and the first time you hit the brakes, you put pressure on the pads again, and now they shift forward... until they hit the other side of the space in the caliper... therby the clicking sound...

    Hope this helps....

    Of course don't be like a co-worker of mine who heard a "funny noise" in his rear brakes for a while..... (Changed out the disc and pads... There were NO pads left... disc was trashed... ) hehe
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Posts: 358
    Thanks! Our 02 Civic have embedded rear window antenna . Our 97 Toyota Avalon has embedded rear window antenna too, but it will defrost the whole rear window. I don't know how did Honda lay out their embedded antenna and defrost wires. It was dark last night when wife asked me about the rear window defrost, I can only see top 1/3 has wire strips in some irregular lines. I will check when wife comes home tonight to see if there are two sets of connection or not!

    Speaking of our 97 Avalon rear window defrost, it quits working now. I checked the fuse is ok. When I push the button defrost light will go on and I can hear a relay on the drive side kicking but defrost is not working. :(
  • seafseaf Posts: 339
    Defroster wires can be delicate. If you ever removed or installed window tint in the rear window, you might have damaged them. Or if you scrape the inside of the window for whatever reason.

    A simple test would be to have a flashlight bulb and a battery handy, make a series connection between the two terminals of the battery and the bulb. If there's a broken connection in the rear wires, the bulb will not light up. Try it with the working wires to make sure your battery isn't dead or the bulb isn't working.
  • mainstmainst Posts: 1
    The manual in my brand new 02 Civic says use 5W-20 oil. This sounds way out of line to me. I live in northern New Jersey so temperatures are moderate. Any thoughts?
  • bjk2001bjk2001 Posts: 358

    Honda uses 5W-20 as standard for all 02 and some 01 cars, due to corporate MPG Nowadays oil manufacturers are making 5W-20, so its more readily available now.
    There have been many debates on 5W-20 vs 5W-30 oil. If you take your car to Honda dealer today they will probably put in 5W-20 for you. Since you are in New Jersey, not in Tx, Az, or Ca weather is really hot in summer, I think you will be ok. Just wait till they come up with 0W-20 oil or 0W-10 next.

  • Hi
    I needed to use the shift lock release today. Does anyone know what does this mean for the car? Is something going wrong? How long can I safely use shift lock release without getting the problem fixed by the mechanic?
    - Amit Juneja
This discussion has been closed.