Honda Civic: 11 Common Problems (Useful Guide)

The Honda Civic is a compact car that was introduced in 1972, and due to the oil crisis of the 70’s, it quickly gained popularity thanks to its fuel efficiency.

The Civic is one of the worlds best selling cars, well known for being durable and dependable. However, even the most reliable vehicles face issues and break down from time to time.

We’ve dug into some common problems associated with the Civic, and the most likely causes.

Want to learn more about the most frequent complaints and solutions regarding this Japanese-made compact? Read on!

Honda Civic Beeping

Some owners of Honda Civics have found the audio unit makes beeping noises randomly as if the soft keys are being pressed. This could be fixed by reducing touch screen sensitivity. The problem could also be due to an engaged parking brake, a seatbelt that isn’t connected, or lights left on.

A vehicle that beeps at the driver whilst driving, can be quite distracting. It can also be incredibly annoying and lead the driver to think there is something wrong with the vehicle.

Owners of Honda Civics that are made in model years 2016 and up, sometimes found the audio unit would make a noise as if the home button was being pressed.

The touchscreen can accumulate dust, dirt, and oil from your fingertips that can cause the audio unit screen to act as if buttons are being pressed.

Owners found by lowering touch screen sensitivity, the problem would seemingly go away.

The beeping could also be coming from the gauge cluster, indicating a fault in one of the vehicles systems (e.g. Brake System problem).

But it doesn’t hurt to ensure all doors, trunk, and seatbelts are fastened properly.

If the beep happens when exiting the vehicle, confirm the lights are off and the key is out of the ignition.

A rapid beep when exiting a 2016+ Civic with keyless access, is usually an indication the vehicle failed to automatically lock, because the owner walked away too quickly.

You may also be interested in our article: Honda Civic Beeping? (9 Causes & Solutions)

Honda Civic Battery Keeps Dying

The majority of dead battery complaints on a Honda Civic are caused by the battery itself. Batteries that are weak, cold, or low on charge can cause the vehicle not to start. Other reasons the battery may be dying are faulty alternators, parasitic draws, or electrical loads left on (such as the dome light).

If you find when you attempt to start your Civic, the engine cranks slowly, or not at all, the battery may be dead.

The 12V battery on any Honda Civic is very important – as it is responsible for starting the engine and powering all electronic systems.

Here’s a short list of why your battery may be going flat:

Depleted Battery

After time, (typically 5 years) batteries become weak and no longer have the electrical power to start the engine.

A bad battery can be diagnosed using any type of automotive battery tester. Even an auto parts store may be able to test your battery free of charge.

Always make sure the posts and terminals are clean and free of corrosion. The clamps should be tight as well, as good electrical contact is a must.

Take note that if the battery is very cold, it may perform poorly. A battery that is left in the cold while low on charge may even freeze up, and cease to work altogether.

If your vehicle has been sitting for a while, the battery may not have to be replaced, but instead just charged using a 12V battery charger.

If the battery is found to be defective, RepairPal states a typical battery replacement on the Civic averages out at about $164 – $171 dollars.

Defective Alternator

The alternator on the Honda Civic is driven by the engine, using a belt.

Alternators are a charging device – used to keep the battery charged and maintain constant electrical power to the vehicle.

A slipping belt or a faulty alternator is a common explanation as to why the battery fails to replenish its charge.

Alternators can be tested by using a voltmeter at the posts of the battery.

RepairPal states the average alternator cost on a Civic is typically between $447 and $804 total.

The part itself is what runs up the bill, as alternators tend to be expensive.

Please also read our article: Honda Civic Si in snow and winter driving

Parasitic Draw

A parasitic draw is a term used to describe an unwanted electrical drain on the battery when the vehicle is off.

Parasitic draws can be difficult and time-consuming to fault find, therefore labor fees may vary extensively.

Any electrical system on the vehicle can be potentially responsible for draining the battery.

The most common way to find the culprit is by process of elimination – essentially by connecting an ammeter and removing fuses until the drain is gone.

When a fuse is pulled and the drain goes away, that circuit is responsible for the draw. Then that circuit must be repaired.

Because parasitic draws are so lengthy and require adept electrical knowledge, we recommend leaving this one up to the professionals.

Leaving an Electrical Load On

Newer Civics tend to shut off all electrical related systems automatically, however, older Civics do not.

Therefore, if you accidentally leave your dome light or headlights on, you may wake up in the morning to a Civic that won’t start.

Always be sure to turn off all electrical loads before exiting the vehicle, in order to maintain battery life.

Honda Civic Engine Keeps Flooding

Civic engines are all now fuel injected instead of carbureted, meaning less flooding overall – however, they can still suffer from flooding due to a problem in the ignition or fuel system. To start a flooded engine simply press the gas pedal to the floor and start the engine.

In the automotive industry, “flooding” is a term often used to describe an engine that’s getting too much fuel. Excessive fuel drowns out the engine and prevents it from starting.

There are a few things that can create a flooded engine, like worn spark plugs, faulty injector, and bad fuel pressure regulator to name a few. Sometimes even an engine that is in extreme cold can flood.

To start an engine after it has been flooded, fully press the gas pedal to the floor and turn the key.

Honda Civic Keeps Locking and Unlocking

The automatic locks on a Honda Civic are occasionally prone to locking and unlocking on their own. This can be contributed to a faulty component such as key fob, door lock actuator, switch relay, or control unit.

Some Honda Civic owners found their vehicle would lock or unlock on its own repeatedly, without being prompted.

This issue is difficult to diagnose and diagnosis may take a long amount of time, resulting in hefty labor costs.

The simplest parts to test would be the key fob, lock switch, or relay and these are relatively cheap to replace too.

However, the door lock actuator, or the Multiplex Integrated Control Unit (computer responsible for controlling the door locks) could also be to blame.

These parts are more expensive and require more technical aptitude to diagnose faults. For this reason, it’s recommended you consult a trained professional.

Related: Honda Civic Best & Worst Years? (With Facts & Statistics)

Honda Civic Keeps Stalling / Shutting Off

A stalling Honda Civic is generally caused by an engine or an engine component related issue. Parts that could cause stalling are: worn or damaged spark plugs, bad MAF sensor, leaking vacuum line, faulty injectors. If the engine light is on or flashing have it repaired immediately to prevent further damage.

The engine on your Honda Civic should run smooth, have little to no vibration, and definitely should stay running unless you command it otherwise.

When your engine begins to stall, it’s likely caused by the engine itself or a component that is used to keep the engine running. There are many things that could cause a Civic’s engine to stall, so we have compiled a list of the most likely things here:

  • Worn/fouled spark plug(s)
  • Defective ignition coil(s)
  • Faulty mass air flow sensor
  • Faulty camshaft/crankshaft sensor(s)
  • Broken Idle air control valve
  • Alternator
  • Failing fuel pump
  • Faulty injector(s)
  • Plugged fuel filter
  • Leaking vacuum line
  • Leaking intake gasket
  • Clogged EGR Valve

The full list of possible causes is actually much longer, but the ones listed are the most common.

If the “check engine light” is illuminated, then you should have it repaired immediately to prevent any further damage.

An illuminated check engine light will provide a diagnostic trouble code that can be scanned with a basic OBD scan tool. This code will point you in the right direction as to what your issue is.

It’s worth mentioning that not all stalling issues will illuminate the check engine light, and provide a trouble code.

Honda Civic Keeps Honking

Almost always when a Civic honks at random, the horn button/switch needs to be replaced. It is also possible that the horn relay is shorted internally, or that the wiring is faulty. If your Civic honks rapidly multiple times when you turn on the ignition, the alarm system needs to be reset.

Horns are wired in a very simple electrical circuit. They essentially consist of wiring, a fuse, the button(s) in the steering wheel, and a relay in the circuit.

All of these components (save the fuse) can cause the horn to honk on its own, but the majority of Civic owners found it was the horn button in the steering wheel assembly that had to be replaced.

Some Civic owners, especially 2006-2011 model years, found when they turned their ignition on their vehicle would honk at them 2 or 3 times.

Resetting the security system fixed this. You can reset the system by simply disconnecting the battery terminals and letting it sit, however, a radio code might have to be entered in afterward to unlock the radio.

Honda Civic Keeps Blowing Alternator Fuse

Blowing the #15 alternator fuse on Civic was a common problem in model years 1996-2000. The issue was wiring rubbing and shorting against an intake support bracket, causing the fuse to blow.

When fuses blow in electrical circuits, its usually due to an increase in amperage from an electrical short.

The alternator fuse on Civics from model years 1996-2000 faced a common electrical short issue. The wires for the alternator would rub against an intake support bracket and short out, causing the fuse to blow.

This is turn would lead to no electrical power whatsoever. The wires need to be reinsulated or repaired and the bracket needs to have friction tape or foam installed to prevent the issue from happening again.

Other Civics that suffer from this problem may not have the same issue going on.

If the problem isn’t caused by the scenario described, you still likely have a short somewhere in the circuit. However, it may not always be the wiring, sometimes the alternator itself can cause the fuse to blow.

Honda Civic Alarm Keeps Going Off

There are a few things that can cause the alarm to go off on a Honda Civic. Damaged door and hood switches are common causes, as well as faulty key fobs. Body control module related issues can also be to blame, especially on 2016+ Civics with keyless access.

Security systems are complex theft deterrent devices. On modern cars, the security system sounds the alarm when it detects a break-in, or a forced start-up without the proper key.

When you press the lock button on the remote, the system will arm itself. The door and hood switches will sound the alarm if they sense forced entry.

The issue is, these switches fail (especially the hood switch). This in turn leads to the security system improperly detecting a forced entry, and sounding the alarm.

A key fob with a sticking panic button or faulty circuit board will also cause the alarm to go off as well, so beware of defective remotes.

Another defective part can be the body control module (BCM). This module is responsible for communicating with many different circuits, including the circuit in charge of starting the vehicle (IG1).

Sometimes, the module fails, and sends the vehicle into accessory mode without being prompted. The security system detects no key present, and sounds the alarm.

If the BCM turns out to be the source of your issue, after replacement it will need to be programmed to the vehicle. The keys need to be re-registered as well, or the vehicle will have no electrical power as it cannot be started.

RepairPal claims body control module replacement averages out at about $512 – $537 for a Honda Civic.

Honda Civic Won’t Beep When Locked

Older Civics used the horn to confirm they had successfully locked. 2012+ Civics use a “beep” sound that does not come from the horn. Always ensure all doors and trunk are closed properly. New civics can have their settings changed to be silent or beep when locking.

When using the lock feature on the key fob, it’s always helpful when the vehicle flashes its indicators and “beeps” at you to let you know it has successfully locked. This is called “door lock acknowledgement”. It only happens when the lock button is pressed twice.

When the vehicle fails to confirm it is locked, the first thing to check is that all doors and the trunk are closed properly, and all keys are out of the vehicle.

You’ll notice that if this is not the case, the car probably won’t lock.

2011 and older Civics use the horn for this feature, meaning the horn or horn wiring could be faulty.

2012 and up Civics have vehicle settings that can turn the noise on or off. If door lock acknowledgement is off, simply turn it on.

If you still have no noise with the settings enabled, doors locking and the indicators flashing, then you likely have a faulty door lock acknowledgment speaker.

Honda Civic Not Reading USB

2016+ Honda Civic’s come equipped with a USB port capable of communicating with phones and reading flash drives. Ensure drives playing music are formatted in FAT 32 and not NTSC. In some cases, the USB port had to be replaced by a technician.

Having USB capability is a selling feature on new Civics. The USB port can read a flash drive and play music from it, and upload wallpapers and pictures.

Always make sure the flash drive is formatted in FAT32 and not NTSC, or else the files may not be read.

Sometimes the drive may not mount itself. In this case, you have to access the system settings and select “mount USB storage”.

In some cases, the USB port was found to be broken, and had to be replaced.

References

BEEPING

https://www.civicx.com/forum/threads/hu-beeping-constantly.1651/

https://www.civicforums.com/forums/360-electronics/372330-random-beeping-noise-while-driving.html

https://www.civicx.com/forum/threads/random-beeping-noise.9479/

https://www.10thcivicforum.com/threads/beep-beep-beeping.14018/

https://www.civicx.com/forum/threads/fast-beeping-when-getting-out-of-car.16987/

BATTERY

https://repairpal.com/estimator/honda/civic/battery-replacement-cost

https://repairpal.com/estimator/honda/civic/alternator-replacement-cost

http://testmeterpro.com/parasitic-draw-test-with-a-multimeter/

LOCK/UNLOCK

https://www.civinfo.com/threads/central-locking-repeatedly-opens-and-locks.19172/

https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/Discussion-t38518_ds845498

STALLING

https://www.civicforums.com/forums/217-mechanical-problems-vehicle-issues-fix-forum/351683-no-start-engine-flooding.html

https://www.civinfo.com/threads/read-and-clear-diagnostic-error-codes-with-no-special-tools.7044/

https://www.yourmechanic.com/estimates/honda/civic/when-i-slow-down-and-stop-the-car-engine-shuts-off-inspection#:~:text=When%20the%20actuator%20malfunctions%2C%20the,is%20stuck%20open%20or%20closed.

HORN

https://www.lifewire.com/stop-car-horn-from-honking-4117102#:~:text=The%20two%20main%20reasons%20a,a%20failure%20in%20the%20relay.&text=Failing%20that%2C%20if%20you%20are,problem%20without%20damaging%20your%20hearing.

https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/157627/My+horn+keeps+going+off+intermitently+how+do+I+stop+it

https://www.8thcivic.com/threads/my-horn-was-honking-by-itself.5974/

https://9thcivic.com/forum/threads/horn-beep-help-please.15302/

https://repairpal.com/when-i-turn-the-ignition-on-my-horn-honks-463

https://www.8thcivic.com/threads/honks-when-i-start-the-car.59800/

ALT FUSE

https://sparkys-answers.com/2009/04/1996-honda-civic-15-fuse-blown.html

https://www.honda-acura.net/forums/92-civic-el-and-del-sol/183977-97-civic-dx-alternator-or-some-other-problem.html

https://www.honda-acura.net/forums/92-civic-el-and-del-sol/215003-alternator-fuse-keeps-blowing-whats-the-problem.html

ALARM

https://www.civicx.com/forum/threads/alarm-issues-related-to-bcm-acting-up.60231/

BEEP

https://www.8thcivic.com/threads/no-beep-when-locking-unlocking-the-car.647986/

https://www.8thcivic.com/threads/no-beep-when-locking-unlocking-the-car.647986/

https://www.civicforums.com/forums/36-mechanical-problems-vehicle-issues-fix-forum/352280-no-beeping-door-lock.html

FLOODING

https://www.hondacivicforum.co.uk/threads/flooded-engine-help.9476/

https://itstillruns.com/can-flood-fuel-injected-car-7296291.html

USB

https://www.civicx.com/forum/threads/usb-port-doesnt-work.1377/

https://www.civicx.com/forum/threads/usb-flashdrive-wont-read.5095/