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1997 Honda Civic Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 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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29
Known Problems

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.

    Some models have an issue where a faulty thermostat does not allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature and because of that the computer will not allow the torque converter to operate in the lock-up mode. Replacing the thermostat will repair this issue.

    On certain models poor igniter connections can cause misfires and catalyst deterioration. Cleaning and securing the connections will correct the problem.

    A refrigerant leak may develop from the AC evaporator causing the AC to blow warm air. Verifying failure of this component is difficult. A good shop will use leak detection dye to verify a failing evaporator.

    The AC idler pulley can fail causing a growling noise from the engine. A new idler pulley will be needed.

    Some Honda Civics have seat belt issues that may be covered under Honda's Lifetime Seat Belt Limited Warranty. Please contact your local Honda dealer to see if your seat belt problem is covered.

    A faulty brake master cylinder reservoir filter can cause the brake system indicator to illuminate after a cold start and then go off. Replacement of the reservoir filter will commonly fix this problem.

    Primary oxygen sensor heater failures can cause a Check Engine light. Replacing the sensor is required to repair this issue.

    A faulty regulator on some models will cause the head lights to change intensity. The alternator needs to be replaced for this issue.

    Trailing arm bushings can crack and break resulting in a clunking or rattle noise over bumps. Cracked bushings will require replacement.

    Evaporators can collect mold and give off a foul smell. Disinfecting the evaporator or replacing it will address this issue.

    On certain models the upper windshield molding vibrates at a higher speed causing a noise. Back filling the molding with silicone sealer will eliminate the noise.