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Honda Civic Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Honda Civic based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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75
Known Problems

On Certain models a faulty power window switch can cause the power windows to work or not work intermittently.

The 1990-2001 Honda Civic has a known issue with ignition distributor shaft bearing failure, which causes:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • Check Engine Light Illumination
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Oil leak from distributor cap 
  • The ignition system uses the distributor to send high voltage electricity to the spark plugs at the right time. It accomplishes this timing mechanically by a shaft, which connects the crankshaft and ignition distributor, so they spin at the same rate. That shaft, part of the distributor, rests in a bearing inside the distributor.This bearing, the distributor shaft bearing, is known for failing, and allowing the shaft to move slightly.

    As the bearing fails, it allows the shaft to move away from the shaft seal, and oil pours into the distributor cap, causing misfires.

    The play in the shaft can also cause contact with the crankshaft position sensor, causing a no start problem.

    Total bearing failure will be most evident from the grinding noise that changes with engine speed, and oil in the ignition distributor cap.

    If the bearing is making noise, driving or running the vehicle can result in catastrophic engine failure.

    To correct this issue, the ignition distributor and shaft must be replaced. Any damage to the crankshaft position sensor will necessitate replacement as well.

     

    The airbag warning light (SRS) may illuminate due to a defective occupant position sensor. Honda has a recall campaign to replace defective sensors on affected cars.

    Damaged engine mounts can lead to vibration and roughness felt in the steering wheel. A rattle in the dash and engine area may also be heard. Replacement of damaged mounts will commonly correct these issues.

    The shift control solenoid externally mounted on the automatic transmission (non CVT) can fail and causes a harsh 1-2 shift. Replacing the shift solenoid and flushing the transmission with genuine Honda automatic transmission fluid may eliminate harsh shifting characteristics. A broken internal spring can cause the same issue. If the shift control solenoid does not repair the problem, the transmission will have to be replaced. 

    Worn door locks (tumblers) can cause the lock not to work. Removing the lock and replacing the worn parts (tumblers) is needed to get the lock working again.

    On certain models the windshield wipers will not park in the proper place or won't shut off. The wiper motor must be replaced to repair this issue.

    On certain models the engine RPM does not drop immediately and can cause a surge when driving in first gear. A software update is required for this repair.

    Cracked exhaust is common on both exhaust manifolds and manifold/catalytic converter combination. Replacing the cracked component will repair the problem.

    On some models the hood release cable breaks at the hood release handle.

    On certain models the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) can misinterpret the secondary oxygen sensor data and set a false Check Engine Light. A software update from Honda is needed for this issue.

    Certain models can leak oil externally or allow coolant into the combustion chamber due to a faulty head gasket. The head gasket needs to be replaced to correct this problem.

    Worn engine mounts can lead to unwanted engine vibrations being transmitted to the body, most commonly with the engine idling and the transmission in reverse. Replacing the worn mount(s) should correct this concern.

    The 1990-2005 Honda Civic commonly have issues with radiator leaks due to normal operation. The leak usually starts small with the engine running slightly warmer than normal, but may/will eventually cause:

  • Coolant puddling under vehicle
  • Engine overheating
  • Unexplained coolant loss (only at first)
  • Vehicle in “limp mode”; loss of power
  • Cylinder head or head gasket failure
  • The coolant leaking can have a severe effect on your vehicle if left in disrepair. If the radiator is diagnosed as the leaky part, it will need to be replaced, or resealed if that is an option.

    Note: coolant is toxic to animals, but tastes sweet. Any coolant spills should be cleaned to protect animals and children.

    The 1993-2005 Honda Civic commonly has problems with the EVAP canister vent solenoid. It stops responding to commands to open and close, and the following occurs:

  • Illumination of the check engine light
  • OBD trouble code P1457 is stored
  • Engine takes longer than usual to start
  • Fuel mileage decreases noticeably
  • The valve is located on the charcoal canister, and is meant to open and close upon command. It fails due to corrosion breaking one of two internal seals, which allows air to escape the system, signaling the OBD trouble code P1457.

    Correcting the problem can be done by replacing the vent valve, or, in some cases, cleaning and resealing the vent valve has been successful. You can get an estimate for this repair here.

    A worn, missing, or loose gas cap can cause the same issues.