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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions



  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    I've only been able to find one auto parts place online that sells the speedo cable for the Civic. It was Autozone and they want $94 for a stinking cable. I can only imagine this cable would be well over $100 from the the Honda parts dept. All that needs replacing is the internal piece, is there an aftermarket cable that can be used and is reasonably priced? I've seen where J.C. Whitney sells an insert for like $15. Will one of these work? I can't imagine having to pay $100 just for a simple little speedometer cable. That's ridculous.
  • jlim1jlim1 Posts: 50
    Thank you very much for feedback regarding the front struts repair ! The advice has been enlightening.


    I am curious, if I were to get the aftermarket "soft-setting" front struts, do I need to get similar new for the rear, even though the rear struts are still in good condition (for now, anyway)?


    Please advise. Thanx.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    If you want a technical answer, may I refer you to the VWVortex site scroll under suspension and dampers, a bit about them (or something like that)


    To directly answer your question, it depends! :)


    If money is at issue, then NO!
  • theracoontheracoon Posts: 666
    I've only been able to find one auto parts place online that sells the speedo cable for the Civic. It was Autozone and they want $94 for a stinking cable. I can only imagine this cable would be well over $100 from the the Honda parts dept.


    I don't know what they'd charge, but have you tried


  • kauai215kauai215 Posts: 190
    You wrote:

    “Thank you very much for feedback regarding the front struts repair ! The advice has been enlightening.”


    You’re welcome. :-)


    You wrote:

    “I am curious, if I were to get the aftermarket "soft-setting" front struts, do I need to get similar new for the rear, even though the rear struts are still in good condition (for now, anyway)?”


    An excellent question. It raises interesting issues that I am unable to answer definitively.


    It’s my understanding that as shocks progressively wear out, the performance deteriorates, but the change progresses so slowly that it’s very hard to discern over time. (When did my hair first go grey? I don’t know, it was so gradual. I’m a man, obviously! ;-)


    Logic suggests, then, that regardless of whether one puts new Honda shocks on the front, or an after-market shock, the fronts would now have a different damping effect compared to the _worn_ rear shocks.


    In the end, I suspect it is all about balance, and the ideal situation would be to replace all four shocks, front and rear, after 45K miles on rough streets, regardless of whose shock you buy. This would yield the best performance increase and the best handling balance, giving you the optimum value for your performance dollar.


    However, is it _necessary_?


    I would not think so, but I am not an expert on these matters. Still, it would surprise me to learn that it’s _necessary_ to replace all four.


    On the other hand, consider this: You already have 45,000+ miles on the OEM Honda shocks, front and rear, right? If you intend to keep this car for many more miles, you’ll probably need to replace the rear shocks soon anyway. Since the after-market shocks will have a life-time warranty, why not get them now and enjoy them for the rest of the time YOU have the car, rather than getting them when you’re forced to towards the end of your ownership thus giving the most benefit to the NEXT owner? If you keep the car long enough, you’re going to have to buy rear shocks anyway. Right? So, maybe sooner is better than later?


    I frequently use such reasoning to talk myself into purchases like this. It&#146;s sound reasoning, isn&#146;t it? <laughing> Perhaps it works for you, too? Do you think your wife will accept this reasoning, too? ;-)


    While there&#146;s not as much weight normally carried by the rear wheels, as opposed to the fronts, they&#146;re still bouncing up and down over the same rough pavement that the front wheels just traveled over, right? I&#146;m thinking that _maybe_ shocks tend to wear fairly evenly around the four corners of a car. But I&#146;m not sure.


    Maybe you could go find out as you research your shocks of choice . . . and come back and tell me. I&#146;d be grateful for the answer to the question: Do shocks, unlike tires and brakes, normally wear out evenly, front and rear?


    Shocks are a very important part of the suspension system on our cars, much more important than most people recognize.


    Racers know this. Consider that the high-tech, racing-oriented shock manufacturers such as Koni, offer custom valving services. In fact, it&#146;s my impression that most of the National Champions in autocross are running custom-valved shocks.


    There is a fellow from Chicago who races very successfully in autocross in the Midwest, who is said to have $20,000 invested in custom shocks on his Stock Class Honda S2000. Yikes! That&#146;s an extreme example, of course, not the norm, but I mention it to emphasize just how important shocks can be to handling performance.


    You don&#146;t need custom-valved shocks, of course.


    You note that your rear shocks are fine, but I wonder if they are after 45K miles on rough streets?


    Leaking (externally visible) is not the only sign of a worn out shock. Shocks can be dead and not leak at all, as I understand it. They can be &#147;leaking&#148; internally, between the chambers, failing to dampen wheel and body motion properly as they did when they were new. They wear out internally.


    Does anyone know a good means of checking shock performance? The old adage: Bounce each corner of the car up and down with your hands or your foot on the bumper, and note how fast the shocks dampen the bouncing. No matter how old the car, I&#146;ve never been able to tell any difference at all. Anyone have any better ideas?


    Oh, yes. Something else I thought of: You should know that the Koni, etc. &#147;soft&#148; shocks are not soft at all, only in _comparison_ to the _stiffer_ shocks Koni offers. Do not expect a &#147;pillow soft ride&#148; over your rough city streets with these better shocks. The &#147;soft&#148; Konis will almost certainly be stiffer than the OEM Honda Civic shocks. The Konis will control wheel bounce and keep the tire properly planted on the road surface allowing it to do its job better than the Honda shocks, and they will control body lean better, too, especially when turning into corners and transitioning from left to right turns. . . when you&#146;re hustling through the twisties out in the country. ;-)


    On a more practical level, higher quality shocks will perform better (often a LOT better) in violent emergency evasive maneuvers, allowing the driver to avoid an accident. Yet another thing to think about. . .


    I hope I haven&#146;t explained too much; I don&#146;t mean to be rude or disrespectful. I&#146;m at a disadvantage, not knowing how much you know already, and I&#146;m just trying to be helpful without misleading you or my readers, who may not share my little bit of knowledge. :-)


    -Kauai (who respectfully seeks to help where possible, and who wishes all a Happy, Healthy, & Safe New Year! :-)
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    If you want to give your vehicle "State Of The Art Preventive Maintenance", change your oil and filter every 3,000 miles or 3 months, (which every comes first)! ---- Oil & filters a cheap, engines are expensive, but you do the research, and make up your own mind on this subject.
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    People pay a large amount of money for a new vehicle, and then they want to bring in the "maintenance war" under budget. The dealer is correct. My Honda dealer recommends 3750 mile oil and filter changes. At $22.00 + NJ tax, I don't think that the dealer is making a whole lot of money, and this will not change my life style in any shape, manner or form. But, a major engine problem, with the vehicle out of warranty, will cost me a large sum of money.
  • theracoontheracoon Posts: 666
    My Honda dealer recommends 3750 mile oil and filter changes.


    And Honda (the manufacturer of the engine) recommends 5,000/10,000 mile intervals for newer Hondas. My '99 has a 3750/7500 mile change interval, but my significant others '02 is 5000/10,000 miles.


    There isn't a significant cost of ownership difference. If your oil changes cost $30 and you change every 3,000 miles you'll spend $990 for oil changes in the first 100,000 miles. Using 5,000 mile intervals you'll spend $600.


    I still believe in following the recommendations of Honda (not the dealer).


  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    I agree with theracoon. Any time there is a warranty claim, the dealer must yield to the data in the owners manual (written by Honda engineers). If you want to be extra progressive about maintenance and you do not do your own, check the level of the oil after the oil change to make sure it is not over or underfilled (a more likely contributor to long term engine problems).
  • andyman73andyman73 Posts: 368
    Hmmm, just a curious observation. I've owned 3 Hondas. I don't recall what the factory recommended oil change interval on the 88 CRX Si was, but on the 91 DX hatch, and 94 Coupe EX it was 7500 miles. I ran Mobil 1 in all 3, and changed at @ 5500 miles. While owning the CRX I had a 150 mile daily commute, so reached that milage mark every other month. So changing the oil every 3K would have double my cost over the period of time, 2 years, of that commute.


    Is Honda shortening their factory recommended interval? I wonder why that is.
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    But the inside of the engine will be very clean, and a "clean engine" is a "happy engine"! The factory also recommends a 10,000 mile oil change, and oil filter service every other oil change, for "normal service". With that "logic" I DO NOT trust the factory engineers with designing a sound / state of the art preventive maintenance program. In addition, these same factory engineers, are the ones who designed the V6 automatic transmission for the Accord! YES, it does cost some money to maintain a vehicle properly. When I was younger, I would work on my own car and change my oil & filter. I no longer have the desire to do this type of work, so I let the dealer perform the service. I now have 42,000 + on a 2003 Accord. When I pull the dip stick to check the oil level, the oil is as clean as when the vehicle was new.(This vehicle is only 23 months old). That is the way it should be for the life of the vehicle.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    adequate maintenance, why buy the car in the first place? There are a lot of other areas of the car that require periodic checking. If you don't trust something as basic as oil changes you might as well start trying the disassemble the "maintenenace free" wheel bearings and installing grease fittings so you can give those suspension bushings a quick lube job.


    I have 26.3k on my Civic Si and it runs like new even though it's had oil changes at 9500, 18000, and will have the next one next week. I seriously doubt my engine is going to sieze by 100k as the Doomsday preachers predict.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    I would agree. I have a Honda Civic and will go to Mobil One 0w20 after running the OEM fill. I have no issues with 5/10k intervals. As soon as the meager warranty of 3yr/36k is over I will also go to a min of 15k to 20k oil and filter intervals. My mileage horizon is 250,000 and above.
  • theracoontheracoon Posts: 666
    ...on the 91 DX hatch, and 94 Coupe EX it was 7500 miles.[snip]


    Is Honda shortening their factory recommended interval? I wonder why that is.


    On my '99 CR-V the "normal" interval is 7,500 miles and the "severe" interval is 3,750 miles. I suspect it was the same for your '91 and '94.


    On newer Hondas the "normal" interval is 10,000 miles and the "severe" interval is 5,000 miles. So the intervals are longer, not shorter.


  • lraclrac Posts: 4
    My son's 1991 Civic LX 4-door 5-speed manual with 160,000 miles just developed an erratic tachometer.


    At highway speeds (70-75 MPH) the normal tach reading of just under 4,000 RPM began fluctuating between 2,000 and 5,000 with no noticable change in actual engine RPM.


    No other symtoms were apparent, engine temp was normal and operation seemed normal.


    Can anyone suggest problem, trouble shooting and solution?
  • andyman73andyman73 Posts: 368
    "back yard bandit" I thought as much....I mean technology marches on...I didn't think that Honda would be shortening the intervals....that would be crazy! :)


    I think my Ford is 3K, just got car from wife, and put in Mobil 1, so it's gonna get the 5Kplus oil change treatment. Her new Merc. Sable w/Duratec 30 recommends 5K and synthetic. Good to know someone is thinking straight, somewhere.:)
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Not all technology is "good"! Look at the 2.7 Chrysler / Dodge engine sludge issue!
  • It could be just some wiring gone bad or something came loose. The tach is just hooked up to some kind of engine wire that went to the distributor to measure the engine speed, or something like that. If the wiring is similar from the 91-95, it is a blue wire you want to look for coming out of the distributor, as this was the color of mine in my 95 Civic DX. I installed a tach on this car since it didn't have one and I tapped into that blue wire to get an engine speed reading. That is the only thing I can think of since I have some personal experience with that department. The good thing in your situation is its just a faulty gauge reading and not something mechanical that is affecting the way the car is driving. Good luck though.
  • andyman73andyman73 Posts: 368
    Too true!!! I read on one of the forums around here somewhere, that the 2.7 is the most expensive motor they make for the bigger car lineup. More than the 3.5 or the 5.7Hemi. That's too bad.


    Didn't Toyota have a sludge problem with their 3.0?
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Go on the "net" and search under;--- "Chrysler Dodge Durango Issues". Hit "enter" and you will have hours of reading! Your are correct about Toyota, but VW also has an issue. 3,000 miles is the limit for most vehicles with regards to oil and filter changes. Some engines like the 2.7 could benefit from 2,000 mile service intervals and synthetic oil. In addition, an engine oil cooler might also help with regards to this 2.7 engine problem. Honda's 5,000 or 10,000 mile oil change interval is a "pipe dream"! Engine oil is used to lubricate, clean, cool and seal the engine. Clean oil does a "great job", dirty / contaminated oil does not perform properly. Many auto manufacturers are not honoring their warranty if "sludge" is found in the engine, (even if the oil change intervals as stated in the "owner's manual" were followed). They blame the issue on "owner neglect". Their position is that; ----- if your operating conditions were that severe, you should have changed your oil sooner than stated in the manual. In addition, you as the owner better have all you service receipts if you want warranty service. This is why I let my Honda dealer perform all the preventive maintenance on our 2003 Accord and 2004 Civic. To put it simply, it is their oil, their filters and their technicians doing the service. I change the oil and filter at 3,000 miles rather than at 5,000 or 10,000 miles. If this engine should develop "sludge", it is not my problem. Should a problem occur on a trip, all my service records could be accessed through the Honda Computer network. It makes my life "stupid / simple"! I have always received excellent service from our dealer. To date we have owned five Honda vehicles, starting with a 1997 Accord. I believe that Honda makes an outstanding product, but like any vehicle, it needs a "state of the art preventive maintenance program" to keep it running in a "like new condition"!
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    Before this goes on another "oil" tangent, let me remind everyone (once again!) that this topic is strictly about Honda Civic problems and solutions. If you wish to discuss any other make/model, please do so in its designated topic, which you can find by using the search function.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    ..."Honda's 5,000 or 10,000 mile oil change interval is a "pipe dream"! "...


    My take is more like: the 3k oil changes are more like belt and suspenders type of "dreaming"


    Lets just put it this way, Honda is not above trying to deny REMOTE engine warranty claims within the meager warranty period of 3 years/ 36,000 miles.


    Thankfully, Honda DOES NOT unlike some of Toyota's have engines that operate at temperatures that literally "COOK" the oil, that will over time cause coking. The real long term answer is redesign those engines that operate OUT of the heat range the oil is designed to run. Since Toyota's warranty is 3 years or 36,000 miles, and they really DID/do NOT want to redesign it or recall them, their answer is to change the oil more often, which does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the oil "cooking" and then coking. They basically cover the real PITA people with the "secret" warranty.


    While I understand the host/hostess wants to stay on topic, to me it is pretty germane in that I was pretty sour about certain Toyota's from my own experiences with the Toyota Camry 1985 at app the 75,000 mile mark. So this is by no means a new problem. (2005-1985)=20 years.


    I changed oil religiously between 2,500-3,000 miles(Catrol GTX). This of course did NOTHING to stop the massive coking. The neatest thing from Toyota's point of view is at 36,001 ANY engine repairs are now on YOUR nickel. So at app 75,000 miles when a part of the engine failed and let all the oil stream out they steadfastly stuck to their position that the warranty was indeed up. As they began the tear down procedure to assess the damage, it was more than easy to see the engine was massively coked up. Just this portion of the repairs started off at 1,500 and then ended up at app 2700 dollars.


    Needless to say I was not very pleased. I have to say however in all fairness, they did invoke the "secret warranty". (Perhaps I met their criterion for being a PITA. :) ) Unbeknownst to me this model also had brake pad and rotor and suspension problems. They at no charge replaced the brake pads, rotors, springs, shocks, and struts, etc.


    I also at the time had a Honda Accord manual transmission that in effect ran like a top, but I did get rid of it also, due to guilt by association of being a 4 cylinder engine. : ( :).


    Upshot is this is a round about way of saying for a number of years I would not go near these belt driven 4 cylinder engines!


    So the upshot is 1. don't get the engines that cook oil and then coke 2. Honda Civic (the one I have) does not have the engines that do this 3. I am good to go to 9/10k on ExxonMobil Superflo5w20 or to 20,000 after the meager warranty period of 3 years/36,000 miles with Mobil One 0w20.
  • hatchhatch Posts: 2
    Hi everyone, and happy new year!

    I have a 1995 very basic Civic Hatchback DX, no power steering, manual drive. Overall it is in very good shape and I do take good care of it (this a 'previously owned' car). But I found out the radiator has a "slight leak" and it will cost more than $500 to replace it. I looked into buying a Honda radiator for my model and found one online for a pretty good price, but the garage I use refuses to install it. I know that having a perfect radiator is of critical importance, but I also don't have more than $500 to replace it right now. It's winter, does that help keep the engine cool? Are there any effective, short-term solutions? Thank all of you for your help.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    Short term, it might be as simple as hose and hose clamps not doing their job. If you have cracks in the radiator it can be spot welded. Not to be the bearer of bad news, for folks have a tendency to shoot the messenger, at the worst:long term, it is just a matter of when you will have to replace it!


    So if a radiator costs say 200-250 dollars that means shop time of 250-300 at your areas going rate.(3 hrs app)


    I replaced one on a Toyota Landcruiser, after being welded in serveral places and times, but the part wholesale was 399. and it was 200 in labor. The problem occurred at the 12 year mark and very close to 214k miles.
  • hatchhatch Posts: 2
    Hi ruking1,

    Thank you for the info. I know the radiator itself has cracks, but that the leaking is not too bad. I didn't mention spot welding, but my mechanic didn't mention spot welding as an option when I asked if there were short-term solutions. I don't drive a lot, but do need a dependable vehicle when I do, and I certainly don't want to kill the motor. And I realize I will have to replace the radiator eventually, but I would like to put it off for a while if I can.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    That being true, I would take corrective actions like making sure on a short periodic schedule that the fluids were TOPPED UP. So carry distilled water and antifreeze, or carry premixed (50/50) antifreeze and distilled water. Needless to say, this is not the best solution, but I understand what you are trying to accomplish.
  • I just purchased 2 cabin filters for my 01 Civic at the outrageous price of $28.30. They are really cheap quality and probably cost 50 cents to make. Any ideas as to low cost solution? How necessary are they?
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,825
    Lower cost (19) yes but still low demand makes it pricey.
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    If you are on a budget, the first thing that I would do is buy a container of radiator "stop leak" for about $5 at your local automotive parts store. This stuff worked pretty well for older model cars (1980-1990's)-haven't tried it on newer model cars.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    The radiator should be an easy swap in that car. It's not that big and from what I remember about my 93', the fasteners and hoses were pretty easy ro get to.
This discussion has been closed.