Whether you’re considering buying the newest model or an older one, it’s hard to go wrong with a Honda Civic. It is widely known as one of the most reliable cars and among the cheapest to maintain. Its resale value is also excellent, only depreciating 41% after five years, which is better than most vehicles, according to CarEdge.com.
Are Honda Civics Reliable?
The Honda Civic has received high scores on all major reliability ratings. RepairPal gives it 4.5 out of 5.0, ranking it 3rd out of 36 cars in its category. The Civic has always been known for its impressive fuel economy, even for less popular models, such as the 2012 redesign. You can put 200,000 miles on this car with few problems. Follow your service schedule, do regular maintenance, and you can even have a Civic running for 300,000 miles.
Top Honda Civic Problems
As reliable as it is, the Honda Civic has its fair share of problems depending on the model year. Here are the most widely reported problems for different models of the Civic:
Emissions System Problem (Possible Software Issue)
Owners of the 2019 Honda Civic have reported an issue with the “Emissions System Problem” signal popping up on their dashboard. Many of these owners have only had their car for a relatively short period of time (from a few weeks to a few months). Some owners had their cars checked for emissions issues that could be causing the light to turn on, but mechanics had not found any. Honda issued a fuel level sensor software update that’s supposed to fix the problem, so if you’ve encountered the issue, check if your software has been updated.
Bluetooth Connectivity and A/C Problems
The 2016 Honda Civic has two widely reported problems: bluetooth connectivity and A/C compressor leak.
It may seem like a simple issue but not having bluetooth work in your car can be frustrating–and that’s exactly what many owners of the 2016 Civic have reported. The Civic’s bluetooth may not connect with the owner’s phone or the devices could repeatedly get disconnected. Some owners have also complained about the USB in this model failing to work, which could make for a pretty boring ride devoid of music.
An even more potentially inconvenient issue with the 2016 Honda Civic is the A/C not working properly or completely failing. The A/C compressor could leak and the car could start blowing hot air. A replacement A/C compressor could cost you around $200 to $300 plus labor cost.
Electric Parking Brake Problems
Another problem that has surfaced for the tenth generation of the Honda Civic has to do with the electric parking brake. The message “Electric Parking Brake Problem” can suddenly appear on the tachometer display, and the owner could experience other related symptoms such as the parking brake failing to release and the brakes getting jammed. Some owners have been able to resolve the problem by changing the battery, but it’s still best to have a mechanic check the car if you own a tenth generation Civic and have encountered this issue.
Peeling Paint, Cracked Sun Visors, and Premature Brake Wear
The 2010 Honda Civic has quite a few problems, one of which is peeling body paint or clearcoat. The roof, hood, fenders, and quarter panels can all lose their paint after a few years. Repainting the areas with peeled off paint can cost hundreds of dollars, and some owners have had to repaint their 2010 Civics multiple times.
Other common issues for the 2010 model include cracked sun visors and brakes that wear out prematurely. The sun visors can split along the seams at the back, which can happen particularly when the weather is hot. Meanwhile, some owners have reported that the brake pads on their 8th generation Civic wear out too fast, sometimes within a year. A set of replacement brake pads could cost you as little as $15 up to over $80, depending on the material and the brand.
Cracked Engine Block that Leaks Coolant
One of the most reported issues for a Honda Civic is a cracking engine block for the 2006 model. It’s a very serious problem because coolant can leak from the cracks, resulting in overheating and possibly engine failure. Honda did alert owners back in 2010 but not everyone got the message, especially those who got their cars second-hand. Repair costs for a damaged engine block can easily skyrocket to thousands of dollars.
Transmission Problems for Older Models
The 2001 Honda Civic has many good qualities, including very low emissions and superb handling. The car, however, has also received the most complaints for a Civic over the years. The most notorious problems for the 2001 Civic have to do with the transmission, which could slip and totally fail. The car can just stop shifting and if the transmission completely goes out, you’ll be left stranded on the highway.
The same issues with the tranny are also present in the 2002 model year. Many owners have had to replace or rebuild their transmissions to try to resolve the problem. Buying a secondhand Civic from these problematic model years is probably not a wise decision, considering the average transmission replacement cost ranges from around $2,000 to over $3,000.
The 2000 Honda Civic was included in a recall by Honda to replace potentially defective front driver-side airbags. The model was part of the massive recall for Takata airbags, which were identified as having the capacity to explode when deployed. These airbags can also deploy slowly, which significantly reduces protection for the driver. Injuries and deaths have been reported because of this serious issue, so make sure to check if the problem has been resolved if you have a 2000 Civic.
As long as you’re aware of the potential problems with the particular Honda Civic model you’re planning to buy, choosing this car should come with little risk. If you’re looking at buying a used Civic, research the most common issues with the model that interests you, and make sure the seller has cleared everything before sealing the deal.