Honda Civic Reliability

Key Points covered in this article:

  • What About Honda Civic Reliability?
  • Is Honda Civic a Good Car to Buy?
  • Honda Civic Problems?
  • What is The Best Honda Civic Year
  • Which Honda Civic Should I Avoid
  • How Much is a Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is one of the great success stories in the automotive world. It seems like this Honda model has been around for (almost) ever. Yet it never gets old – it has aged much better than its competition and continues to be one of consumer’s favorite rides. The Civic is SO desirable, that it holds the title of the most stolen automobile (especially the 2017 model)!

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Here’s a quick walk down the Civic’s memory lane:

The Honda Civic debuted in 1972. This Japanese hatchback’s peers included the Chevrolet Vega and the Ford Pinto. You may not remember the Vega or Pinto, but chances are that you remember – and maybe even have owned – a Honda Civic.

The First Generation Honda Civic was called “the right car at the right time.” It offered everything that other cars in its class didn’t . It was fun to drive and guaranteed fuel efficiency during the time of the international oil crisis.

The Second Generation Honda Civic: 1980 to 1983. This was referred to as the Civic’s “growing up” generation.

The Third Generation Honda Civic: 1984 to 1987. Honda released the all “new and improved” Civic available in a hatch, sedan or wagon body style. The wheelbase grew by 5 inches. Often the Honda Civic wagon was referred to as the “Tall Boy” because of the extra height and large rear window. In 1986 Honda began manufacturing in the United States.

The Fourth Generation Honda Civic: 1988 to 1991. This next generation started with a new engine and “softer” design shape. Then-decadent creature comforts like power door locks, power windows and intermittent wipers spoiled new Civic owners.

The Fifth Generation Honda Civic: 1992 to 1995. As Civic’s 20thh Anniversary came into view, price creep began to occur on MSRP stickers. The wagon was dropped and sedans were offered with DX, LX and EX trim packages. The Civic coupe was born in 1993 and “safety first” became a Honda mantra.

The Sixth Generation Honda Civic: 1996 to 2000. Bigger and better than ever, the redesigned Civic added two to four inches in length, depending on the model. The Honda “value package” included A/C, CD player and an automatic transmission.

The Seventh Generation Honda Civic: 2001 to 2005. The Honda Civic offered fresh styling and a new suspension. The Civic Hybrid was introduced.

The Eighth Generation Honda Civic: 2006 to 2011. Once called “unadventurous”, “logical” and “predictable” the Honda Civic takes to a new road and shows off a shortened hood and expansive windshield. This heavier version – due to additional airbag requirements – had an impressive 8300 RPM redline limit. 2008 models offered an upgrade for leather upholstery.

The Ninth Generation Honda Civic: 2012 to 2015. In the wake of 9/11, many were underwhelmed with the coupe and the sedan of this generation. The longer hood, sculpted bumpers and large taillights made Civic critics cry “too traditional”. And it wasn’t just the underwhelming look that brought on negative comments, “Lincoln-like” was used when describing the car’s handling.

The Tenth Generation Honda Civic: 2016 – now. The Tenth Generation Civic does not appear to be losing any ground in popularity even after all this time, but a new model nicknamed the “Si” of Relief was released to spice things up a bit. The sporty SI model was added to the Honda Civic line-up breathing some new life into the Civic legacy.
Since 2013, Honda has been well aware of its transgressions and has worked hard to get to the top spot in the current compact car market. It addressed the suspension, springs, steering and interior amenities of the once reliable, yet ho-hum Civic. They atoned for their sins with the all-new-again Civic for 2016. Car and Driver gave a thumbs up and had this to say, “Critically, every version of the new Civic drove with an enthusiasm and sharpness lacking from previous models, and the turbocharged iterations were surprisingly quick, even when equipped with the CVT.”

Additionally, the Honda 2017 Civic Type R was top-dog when it set a lap time record, giving it the title of the quickest front-wheel drive car.

Is the Honda Civic a Reliable Car

If you’re thinking about buying a new or used Honda Civic, your first question is probably, “Are Honda Civics reliable?”

The Honda Civic has an overall reliability rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 points. This ranks the Civic 3rd out of the 36 vehicles rated in the compact car category. The average annual repair cost is only $368 ,rating its cost of ownership “excellent” as well. For comparison, the average cost to maintain other manufacturer’s cars in the compact car category is $526. The average cost to maintain all other cars (not only compact cars) is $652.

Among all small, economic cars, the Honda Civic is by far one of the best-rated automobiles in terms of dependability.

Honda Civic Reliability

The Honda Civic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) has no gears, so one can expect that it would have fewer problems than traditional transmissions. But if you have heard the horror stories about the CVTs that Nissan used in their cars, you might be inclined to shy away. Although we agree that the Honda CVTs from 2004 to 2008 were infamously unreliable, Honda Civic models equipped with CVT are known to be some of the most dependable. Honda also has the longest CVT transmission life expectancy. CVTs in Honda hybrids have been good performers, as well.

Best Honda Civic Year

What year Honda Civic is most reliable? You have a lot of options to choose from!
Look at model years 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2019. These models have good handling, higher fuel economy and a multitude of safety features.

The Honda Civic to Avoid

The Honda Civic holds a lot of “titles” and the 2001 Honda Civic has a title, as well. It’s the one model year that you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

The 2001 Honda Civic has endured 27 recalls…in fact, over six million vehicles were recalled due to a faulty airbag on the driver’s side. This was one of the most recalled cars of all time! (You may have heard of the Takata airbags that sent metal shards hurling towards the driver when deployed.) But, this was not only a Honda issue; Acura, BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford as well as other auto manufacturers used Takata airbags and had to issue recalls, too.

Honda Civic Problems

Even the best of cars can have some problems. If it’s mechanical, chances are there is going to be something go wrong at some point. A quick look at the terms that Honda Civic owners have searched on-line tells a big story. Here is a list of some of the common (and not so common) issues that Civic owners have reported, chatted and complained about, researched and simply dealt with:

  • Honda Civic fuel pump failure
  • Honda Civic recalled airbags
  • Honda Civic rapid and uneven tire wear
  • Honda Civic gear selector problems
  • Honda Civic door sensor problems
  • Honda Civic ECU problems (Engine Control Unit)
  • Honda Civic cool system problems
  • Honda Civic speedometer issues
  • Honda Civic engine lock problem
  • Honda Civic odometer problems
  • Honda Civic radio problems
  • Honda Civic sunroof problems
  • Honda Civic fd1 problem
  • Honda Civic wiper motor problem
  • Honda Civic ignition switch problems
  • Honda Civic audio issues
  • Honda Civic flywheel problems
  • Honda Civic head gasket problems
  • Honda Civic radiator cap problem
  • Honda Civic fuel filter problems
  • Honda Civic fuel pump problems
  • Honda Civic upper control arm problems
  • Honda Civic idle problems
  • Honda Civic speed sensor problems
  • Honda Civic wheel bearing problems
  • Honda Civic axle problems
  • Honda Civic cd player problems
  • Honda Civic compressor problems
  • Honda Civic crankshaft sensor problems
  • Honda Civic dashboard display problems
  • Honda Civic immobilizer problems

And – believe it or not – there were more than a few complaints that the Civic’s sun visor kept falling down!

Honda Civic Transmission Problems

We must specifically note that there was a lot of talk about “Why are Honda transmissions bad?” The answer: they’re not! Not anymore, at least.

Failing transmissions were common in both 2001 and 2002 Civics. Additionally these same two model years often needed exhaust manifold replacements. Luckily for most Honda owners, major transmission issues were not reported past these two model years.

To help break down what issues occurred in which model years, read on…

Honda Civic Common Problems by Model Year

Let’s look at a few specific Honda Civic model year problems, as reported by RepairPal.com:

The 2012 Honda Civic Problems

The 2012 Civic had complaints of alternator problems. These were characterized by dead batteries, frequent stalling and trouble starting the engine. Other problems included: power window switch failure and airbag warning light on due to failed occupant position sensor fault. There was a recall on Civic 2 door and 4 door vehicles because of an o-ring, used to seal the connection in the fuel line. This o-ring could become misaligned causing fuel leaks.

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Problems

Although there were reports of issues with the 2012 Civic hybrid, these issues were apparently covered under the Honda warranty. The reported average mileage in which these problems occurred was 24,800 miles. The frustration appeared to be intermittent, as it is reported that owners experienced “no starts”, but upon taking their Civics to be repaired, all diagnostics showed “clear.”

2013 Honda Civic Problems

Airbag warning lights were again reported to be illuminated due to a failed occupant position sensor. Bad engine mounts were alsoreported causing vibration and rattle complaints. Power window switch failures, windshield wiper motor failure, and warped front brake rotors were reported. Front compliance bushings cracked. Engine oil leaking was an issue. Front door glass falling off its track and becomes inoperable was also a complaint.

It was much talked about via on-line chat groups that the 2013 Honda Civic Bluetooth problems were fixed with a simple reset. Additionally reported was that the 2013 Honda Civic had heater problems. The three most common reasons for the later issue was either a broken heater blower motor, a thermostat issue or a failed heater blower motor resistor.

2014 Honda Civic Problems

Airbag lights were still on due to faulty position sensors. Bad engine mounts were again reported. Warped front brake rotors causing vibration when slowing became an issue. Front compliance bushings cracked. Front door glass falling off track and engine leaks oil were reported.

2014 Honda Civic Electrical Problems

CarComplaints shows that there were reports of electrical problems in Honda’s 2014 Civic, but they appear to be far and few between. “Battery died”, “Battery light on” and even “Soy-based wiring chewed by rodents” were just a few complaints that were shuffled into the “electrical” category.

Additionally, the “2014 Honda Civic heater problem” was back, seemingly a run-on problem first detected in the 2013 Civic model.

2015 Honda Civic Problems

The airbag light due to failed occupant position sensor is still being reported, as is bad engine mounts causing vibrations, roughness and rattle.
Power window switch failure and a low rumbling sound when in reverse were new issues. 2015 Honda Civic owners once again reported warped front brake rotors that were causing vibration when slowing.

Honda Civic Hybrid Transmission Problems

Honda decided to discontinue the Civic Hybrid after the 2015 model year. This was done due to poor sales, not an overabundance of hybrid transmission problems, as many suspected. Most Honda Civic hybrid transmission issue reports were prior to the 2010 model year.

2016 Honda Civic Problems

Along with the airbag light and bad engine mount issues that continued to plague the Honda Civic, RepairPal.com also had reports of AC evaporator leakage, brake problems and shift control solenoid faults. The solenoid issue was described as “The shift control solenoid externally mounted on the automatic transmission (non-CVT engine) can fail and cause a harsh first to second gear shift. As we told you earlier, the 2016 Honda Civic model year is one that you may want to avoid; below you’ll read some more of the reasons why.

Electric Parking Brake Problems Honda Civic

Honda recalled over 350,000 of its 2016 Civics because the electric parking brakes were not engaging when the engine was turned off.

2016 Honda Civic Infotainment Issues

The touch screen of the 10th generation 2016 Civic model reportedly became unresponsive; apparently “freezing up”. Customers were told to “reset”, “check the fuse”, and “reboot.”

Honda Civic 2016 Engine Problems

Yet another frustrating hiccup for Civic owners. There were service bulletins issued on engine mounts, axle seals, electronic parking breaks and cylinder misfires.

2016 Honda Civic Charging System Problem

This problem and alternator issues were reported quite often for the 2016 Civic.

2016 Honda Civic Air Conditioning Problems

This issues was caused by a defect in the design and/or manufacturing of the AC system occurring in 2016 through 2018 Civic models. The problem was so extensive that there was a class-action lawsuit filed.

2016 Honda Civic Electric Power Steering Problems

Stiff and clunky steering while operating the vehicle was the reason owner’s grumbled.
The EPS (Electronic Power Steering) warning light came on and drivers were faced with a car that was difficult to steer and turn – some reported that they could not steer at all.

2017 Honda Civic Problems

There were many complaints logged with the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration) regarding the 2017 Civic. Electronic braking failure and miscellaneous electric “glitches” were reported. Honda issued a technical service bulletin (referred to in the industry as a TSB) regarding these issues. If you’d like to know more, look up TSB 17-064.

Users at CarComplaints proclaimed that the 2017 Honda Civic AC units were not cooling the auto’s cabin. Many of these AC failures were occurring at or around the 60,000 mile mark.

2017 Honda Civic Keyless Start System Problems

Although there were multiple reports of starting issues in the Honda Civic, there may have been a simple reason the keyless system appears not to work. Dead battery in the key fob, was one such reason. Another user-error was that the brake was not firmly pressed; to start the Honda Civic, the brake must be fully engaged.

There were issues that were actual problems with the Honda Civic starter, however. Owners began to file complaints when the push button start worked only intermittently. And, what most Honda Civic owners did not realize; too many attempts to start the car could lock down the starting system completely.

Issues like “walk away lock feature stopped working” and “keyless remote system error light illuminated” were reported, but after Honda Civic owners were advised to reset the system, many of the problems appeared to be solved.

2017 Honda Civic Steering Problems

These complaints were a carry over from the 2016 steering issues. If you’d like to learn more about this issue, visit https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Honda-Civic-and-Accord-EPS-Problems.

2018 Honda Civic Problems

The 2018 Honda Civic had a whole list of new issues disclosed, including: AC Evaporator leakage and ignition switch may bind. There were also reports of seat belt issues. “Surges in the first gear when engine RPS do not drop immediately” were reported. Oil leaks from top of the engine became an issue. Check engine light on due to moisture freezing in the MAP sensor and inactive merged power window switch failure were new concerns, as well as growling noises caused by AC idler pulley. Trailing arm bushings reported as “cracking and breaking”. Complaints that wipers “won’t park” were due to windshield wiper motor failure. There was still also the issues of the bad engine mounts, front door glass falling off the track and engine oil leaks.

2019 Honda Civic Problems

Many of the same past headaches were also being reported by 2019 Honda Civic owners. New complaints included the hood release cable braking at the handle, problems with the IMA light remaining on, door locks being “sticky” due to worn out door lock tumblers, cracked exhaust manifold/catalytic converters and faulty head gaskets causing oil and coolant leaks. There was a software update needed to correct false oxygen sensors codes.

2019 Honda Civic Emissions System Problem

The emission sensor warning light is in place after the catalytic converter and measures the exhaust to make sure it is at proper levels. Owners received a “check engine” warning when these sensors failed.

Adaptive Cruise Control Problem with Honda Civic 2019

Owners found that their Civics were randomly braking while driving due to the inability to correctly set the timing interval.

2020 Honda Civic Problems

This model year was more of the same. There were additional reports including that the sun visors were not able to retract after sitting in the sun and heating up. The #1 reported complaint from 2020 Honda Civic owners takes us back to where we began: Airbag light on due to failed occupant position sensor.

How Much Does a Honda Civic Cost – Used

Honda Civics can last 10, or even 20 years so you may have to search a bit for a good, used Civic. Used car pricing varies greatly and should be based on reliability, technologies, features, and overall car quality. CarFax states that a new car loses 10% of its value within the first month, 20% within the first year. This should be welcomed news for any used car buyer.

To find out instantly what a used car’s value is or what your trade-in value might be, you can go online to any number of companies like cargurus.com, truecar.com, autotrader.com and carfax.com. ConsumerReports.org/cars/Car-value-estimator is also a great place to go if you want to learn about used Honda Civic pricing.

The cost for a new, 2022 Honda Civic has a starting MSRP from $21,900.

Summary

The average life expectancy of a Honda Civic could be 15 to 20 years, and most Civic owners keep their ride for at least a decade. Although the Civic has experienced its share of problems, one thing that could account for these numbers in longevity is that maintenance generally costs much less for a Honda Civic.

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