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2002 Honda Civic Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2002 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 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.

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 hood release handle will commonly break while trying to open the hood. If the cable is OK and the hood latches are not binding, you can replace just the handle. You will find that many people use a pair of pliers to open the hood and that's always an option if you chose to not fix it. We recommend replacing the handle at the very least as it's an inexpensive fix that simplifies the opening of the hood. 

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.

    Honda Civic power windows may stop opening or closing due to defective window switches. The issue may be intermittent with no obvious reason as to why the issue started or resolved itself. Sometimes if you press or pull the switch with a little more force than normal it may operate. All these are signs the electric window switch may be failing. While it's most commonly the switch make sure you or the mechanic at the shop verify the switch is bad and not the window motor before replacing any parts. 

    The rear main oil seal can leak. The transmission has to be removed to replace the rear main seal on the engine.

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

    When your windshield wipers will not stop in the proper place, or they will not turn off, it's very common that windshield wiper motor is the issue. To address this the wiper motor must be replaced. 

    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 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.

    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.

    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.

    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 Powertrain Control Module (PCM) misinterprets coolant temperature data and can turn on the Check Engine light (MIL). A software update from Honda is needed to address this issue.

    On some engines a sticking variable valve timing valve can cause  the Check Engine light (MIL) to illuminate. Replacing the valve and a software update will address this issue.