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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions



  • gasguzzgasguzz Posts: 214
    What brand oil filter are you using?
    It is relevant to the anti-drainback valve design.
  • goodstergoodster Posts: 4
    My 1994 Honda Civic has about 92,000 miles on it and for the past couple of months their has been a "rapping" sound coming from the engine when I start the car. After about 3-5 minutes the sound goes away. The car runs fine and I have changed the oil every 3500 miles and done all other service work. Anyone ever hear of this problem?
  • Hi Everyone,

    I own a 1991 Honda Civic HB STD with 150k miles on it. I'm trying to order a cat. converter from JC Whitney but they need to know some spec's which even the Stevens Creek Honda parts dept. personnel (San Jose, CA) doesn't know. So if you know the following, I'd really appreciate some feedback!

    * Is it a single in/out or dual in/out? With single or dual air tube?

    * Inlet/outlet dimensions - 2, 2.25, 2.5 or 3 inches?

    * Here's the details on JC Whitney's page:

    JC Whitney quoted me price range $104-134 and described as "high capacity super flow cat. converter" Not bad for price compared to original Honda part for $769.14 list! If anyone has any comments on this part or price, please comment.


  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Have the car put up on a hoist and look under it.
  • brorjacebrorjace Posts: 588
    Goodster, I have a '95 Civic Coupe DX and have the same sort noise when I start my car ... and the colder it is the louder it gets. Once warmed up, the sound goes away.

    I'm convinced it is a slight exhaust leak ... probably at the head gasket. Once the engine warms up and expands, the leak is sealed and the noise goes away. I'm gonna let mine be unless it gets much worse.

    I've heard that our cars are prone to head gasket problems and that there is a special head bolt kit that is part of a proper fix. Just replacing the gasket does not last long before the problem returns.

    --- Bror Jace
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Pretty unusual for a head gasket to leak compression gases to where you'd hear an exhaust noise. It'd burn through the gasket pretty quickly and cause a major driveability problem. Should also be losing coolant and/or oil. Are you sure there isn't a hairline crack in the exhaust manifold, or a leak in the exhaust manifold gasket which seals it to the head?
  • brorjacebrorjace Posts: 588
    alcan, I've heard this theory of mine (it really isn't mine, originally) from a number of sources and it seemed to make sense ... especially when these motors are prone to head gasket problems.

    The car burns no measurable amount of oil between changes nor does it lose any coolant.

    What you say makes sense, though. My second guess would be a hairline gap where the exhaust manifold meets the head. The same concept still applies, though. Once the parts heat up and expand, the gap is sealed and the noise disappears.

    --- Bror Jace
  • philco1philco1 Posts: 1
    Even a car manufacturer with impeccable credentials such as Honda can still build a lemon!! Honda should simply save face with you and replace the vehicle on a pro-rata basis. Keep up posted on the results......
  • pklaspklas Posts: 20
    I have had similar problems with my car (2000 Honda Civic SI - EX in the U.S.). I purchased the car in late August. At around 2000 km, the heater worked intermittently. After tearing down the engine, an unused bolt was found in the intake manifold. The head gasket was replaced at 6000 KM. Honda Canada deemed the car to be fit. In any event, after threatening legal action, Honda gave me an "extended warranty". Big deal!!

    In any event, at around 10 km my car started developing a weird rapping/marble in a can noise. Brought it in and dealer responded by telling me it was normal. Noise got worse, especially on cold starts in the morning.

    Brought the car in yesterday for 24 km service. Pointed out the noise again, and they adjusted the valves- no change!! The loud marble in a can/rapping noise was still there. Service Technicians all agreed it was not normal.

    A district sevice manager was at the dealership today and I had him hear it and he told it me was normal. What an arrogant individual he was (typical of Honda Canada- you know Honda builds the best cars, we're not Chrysler- yada-yada-yada). I left the car with him to start four hours later. I came back to the dealership and now they are looking at the prospect of replacing the engine block. No apology given.

    In any event, there is a recent TSB out there on 2000 Civics regarding Piston Slap. In essence, Honda is now telling people that it is a characteristic of the car. I say that is [non-permissible content removed]. Many people will disagree on how serious or unserious piston slap really is. In my own opinion, piston slap is a quality control problem that is a good prognosticator of powertrain problems down the road. Ask those Ford F-150s owners about piston slap: Ford has been replacing a lot of engine blocks of late. At least, Ford is doing something about it (not that I am saying Ford builds good cars to begin with)

    I am starting to believe that Honda does not build as good a car as it once did. The company, it appears, is milking its reputation built in the early and mid 90s and is now producing GM type cars. Each generation of Civic has become more "decontented". Maybe it has to do with manufacturing the cars in North America together with its increased reliance on 3rd party suppliers. All service techs at Honda tell me that the best built cars are the Prelude and CR-V (both made in Japan). The 2001 Civic is essentially a Chevy Cavalier - not my words, but from people at Honda Canada. Go figure.
  • phantomcaphantomca Posts: 20
    My old honda accord (1990) is built in Japan and I got 280,000 miles out of it (most of it highway). I sold it and is still drivable. The only problem I had when I sold it is a heating proplem after my radiator hose broke and the car overheated. My friend has an accord 1991 and built in Japan with 340,000 miles on it (highway). My new civic 2001 lx is built in Ohio. I do see parts that doesn't fit right. Good example is the rear door. The rubber door trim doesn't cover the top part of the sheetmetal. I can see little gap where water might get through. I bought some silicon and patch it in. In general....I am quiet happy with the car so far. Haven't have any problem with the fuel gauge or the rattling noise. Just my 2 cents.
  • imhip2imhip2 Posts: 30
    I have a 2000 Civic SE and do NOT feel a vibration when I drive at highway speeds. Do any of you NOT feel a vibration? I ask because my 2000 Odyssey does have a vibration/shimmy in the steering at highway speeds which Honda has been telling us Odyssey owners is normal. So if it is normal for my high priced, superior quality Odyssey to shake, my less expensive, lower quality Civic should have a shake don't you agree? I just want to know if anybody has had any experience dealing with Honda to make their Civic vibrate.

    ; )
  • rkanrkan Posts: 11
    I think I read somewhere that some civics for the US are made in Japan. Anyone else heard this? And Cant you tell the country of manufacture by the first letter in the Vin? If so, is Japan J and USA U?
  • max_2ksemax_2kse Posts: 5
    J is for Japan, 1 is USA, 2 is Canada.
  • rkanrkan Posts: 11
    WOO HOO! Mine is made in Japan! Hopefully the rumors are true.
  • skihoserskihoser Posts: 12
    So far, we have not experienced any of the above mentioned problems in our 01 Civic EX. Ours was also purchased in December, however it has not been entirely trouble free. With 1400 miles on it the transmission was replaced (5-spd). It kept jumping out of 2nd gear, or would not go into gear. After waiting a week for the parts to repair the diagnosed problem (synchronizers) a whole new transmission was installed. No problem since. It does have squeaks and rattles that I would not have expected with only 4300 miles -- but, it is a gas to drive. And, no complaints on the 38-40 MPG.
  • goodstergoodster Posts: 4
    Another theory that I heard from a Honda Mechanic is that the problem is the main bearings and that they are cheap. Over time the bearings get smaller and that's were the noise comes from. He told me to fight with Honda and try to get them to replace them. Has anyone had any luck with this?
  • brorjacebrorjace Posts: 588
    I haven't heard that the 'bottom' of Honda engines is weak. Quite the opposite, actually. Keep us posted if you find out for sure.

    --- Bror Jace
  • nuttyjjnuttyjj Posts: 1
    First let me congratulate you on a great website, It has so much useful information.
    I love it!!!

    I just bought a 92 civic DX 5 Spd with 105k miles from a friend about a month ago, she had it for about 3 yrs since 78k miles. Anyways, about 3 or 4 months ago the check the engine light came on. And now that I own the car I did the self diagnosis following the instructions of the Haynes civic manual and it gave me a code 19 which is for a Lock Up Solenoid Valve, and the fun begins because this only comes on automatic transmissions and I have a 5 Spd.
    I spoke to the dealer in town but they are a bunch of fools who dont know anything and couldnt help me.

    Also, can you tell me what type of gas and oil is best for my car.
    I have been using 93 octane gas lately thinking it was better and i started using Castrol synthetic blend motor oil 20w 50, but now that I have read all of the comments here, Im not too sure about what Im doing.
    I drive it about 15 miles daily to and from work, but about every other month travel about 650 miles to visit family.
    Im hoping i can reach 200k miles without mayor trouble.
  • schragemschragem Posts: 16
    Just got a call from the repair guy who said that the distributor bearings in my '92 Civic VX are shot. Anybody else have this problem and is it covered by recall, etc.--I highly doubt it, esp. given the age and mileage (137k) of my car. Let me know...Matt
  • mdrivermdriver Posts: 385
    Recalls only concern safety related defects, regardless of number of miles. You should have received a recall notice if there was a recall for your problem.

    Since you have a Civic VX, what is your fuel economy like and does your engine seem to lose power at steady speeds when attempting to accelerate? This appears to be an undesireable characteristic of the lean burn engine.
  • I hate my 1997 Jetta GT...not only do I believe it is cursed (2 accidents within 6 months neither my fault), i just do not like the car. I have no options in the car, it is a very base car. I was looking to trade it in for a 01 Civic EX manual trans. I was wondering if anyone with that car can give me some advice. Is the stereo problem solved yet? After looking at Jetta Maintenance probs..(engines exploding, cars stalling as soon as leaving dealership brand spankin new..etc) I am believing that Honda's are better than the Mexican built VW's...HELP me please I need to rid myself of this cursed Jetta!
  • brorjacebrorjace Posts: 588
    I wouldn't use Castrol oils after the scams they've tried to pull. Most synthetic blends are a bad deal (too expensive for what you get) but even 100% Castrol Syntec isn't REALLY synthetic so their blend is an especially bad deal. Us another brand like Valvoline, Mobil, etc ...

    I'd use either a 10W30 conventional oil or perhaps you could try Mobil 1 15W50 if your engine is already consuming some oil. for winter use, try to stick with 5W30. Use OEM filters for best results, regardless

    As for your check engine light, I'd suspect your O2 sensor ... which I believe is that thing screwed into your exhaust manifold. Not cheap ... but not the end of the world either.

    --- Bror Jace
  • teddwoodteddwood Posts: 16
    I hear a faint noise coming from the front left. It sounds like something is rubbing and usually only occurs when I am turning right, or when passing over a dip in the road. Took the car to a dealership last week. They told me Honda is aware of the problem and working on some procedures. I asked why don't they just replace my struts. The dealer insists the structs are good.
    97 jettagrl, I won't recommend that 01 Civic. I have a lot of problems w/ mine. Good luck!
  • schragemschragem Posts: 16
    My '92 VX still gets about 50 mpg on hwy and 40 in city...pretty remarkable. This is after replacing the O2 sensor last month (had been averaging about 40 on mostly hwy driving). The engine burps occasionally when the RPMs drop under 2000 and I try to accelerate, but this rarely happens and I love the car in general.
  • cdtcdt Posts: 6

    my civic 93 is hard to start at hot weather, especially after i drivng it for a while. I mean after turning off the engine, it is very difficult to restart it. what i have to do is open the hood for a long time and then i can start the engine again.

    is there any way i can fix it? i called the dealer and he really can not make any sense at all.

    thanks for help
  • cdtcdt Posts: 6

    my civic 93 is hard to start at hot weather, especially after i drivng it for a while. I mean after turning off the engine, it is very difficult to restart it. what i have to do is open the hood for a long time and then i can start the engine again.

    is there any way i can fix it? i called the dealer and he really can not make any sense at all.

    thanks for help
  • I've been around the Civic for a while, so hopefully I can shed some light on a couple of these problems.

    The guy with hot weather start problem:
    The problem is almost definitely your PGM-FI main relay. It is located behind the fuse panel. That relay is notorious for causing an intermittent no-start condition in hot weather (particularly if the interior has heated up from sitting in the sun all day).

    The guy with the bad distributor bearing in the VX:
    This is also a very common problem with Civics. In Canada and I believe the US as well, the cheapest solution from the dealer is a distibutor subassembly which is very expensive ($460 CDN). If you can find someone with a machine shop, you may be able to get the bearing pressed off of the shaft and replaced. You can find the bearing at . If you go this route, the screws are hard to get off, and be careful not to break the soft iron sensor wheels. I've heard myths of a "secret warranty" from Honda, but I wouldn't bet on it. The shavings from the bearing may be arcing across the distributor, causing your "burping" condition.

    The people with the rattling sound from engine, particularly during cold weather:
    This is almost always piston-slap which occurs when the cylinder bores become elliptical from wear. There is no cheap or easy fix for this problem, but fortunately a lot of people report that their Civic has been running for many 10's of thousands of miles without a significant change in the condition. This usually occurs on higher mileage cars (100 000 mi) and at this point it is seldom economical or wise to rebuild. The best way to deal with the problem is to simply let your car warm up for a few minutes before driving it and be gentle on the throttle for the first minute or so of driving.
  • cdtcdt Posts: 6

    thanks for your response.

    i called a dealer and that guy asked me to bring my car to his place this weekend. but i remember someone post a message here and said that the relay problem can not be solved by replacing a new one. It is a design problem of civic and there is no way to solve it at all. Is that ture? anyone has succesfully solved this problem, please share your experince.
  • You may have misunderstood; the problem is caused by the relay, and replacing the relay fixes the problem. What was probably said, was that the relays have not changed in their manufacture so it could occur again later in the future. The problem in the relay is a poor solder joint, which is a manufacturing defect - not a design defect.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    While the Civic is a very reliable car, two of it's worst problem areas are those addressed by cknisley1; the distributor bearing and PGM-F1 relay. Thanks for providing details on each of these problem areas..

    Would you deem it worthwhile to replace the distributor bearing on a preventive basis? If so, at what mileage? Again, thanks.
This discussion has been closed.