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1994 Honda Civic Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1994 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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15
Known Problems

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.

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. 

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 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.

     

    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.

    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.

    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.

    The camshaft seal, located at the end of the cylinder head, has a reputation for failure on the 1990-2005 Honda Civic.

    This seal wraps around the camshaft to prevent engine oil from leaking where the camshaft exits the cylinder head.

    Replacing the leaky seal requires timing belt removal, so timing belt and water pump may be recommended if your vehicle is near the service interval.

    The 1990-2005 Honda Civic has a known issue with engine oil leaking from the ignition distributor shaft seal.

    Leakage from the shaft seal coats the electrical components of the distributor with engine oil causing:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Cleaning the distributor cap and rotor can help or resolve driveability issues temporarily, but the mentioned issues will return shortly.

    Once this issue is diagnosed, the ignition distributor shaft seal must be replaced, and the distributor shaft bearing must be inspected.

    Leaking tail light gaskets can allow water into the tail light assembly and inside the vehicle. Replacing the tail light gaskets will commonly correct this issue.

    The front brake rotors can warp and cause a vibration when braking. The rotors will need to be machined or in cases where they are worn to thin, replaced to correct this issue.

    Certain models can have a crowned rear brake drum that can cause a vibration when braking. The rear drums will have to be replaced to correct this issue.

    Plugged moon roof drains can cause a water leak inside the car, usually over the head of the driver or passengers head when turning a corner. Cleaning the drains will fix this problem.

    Rear trailing arm bushings crack and break. The trailing arm bushings will need to be replaced when they break.