The Honda Civic is a compact car for the ages. It boasts some of the leading statistics in cost-effectiveness and fuel efficiency and looks nice to boot. While this model does rank as one of the most reliable vehicles out there, Honda cars are well-known to feature some issues, causing many drivers to think twice before investing in the Civic.

Does the Honda Civic's problems give it too many risks for you, or does the impressive reliability score give you the green light you need? StockWise Auto is here to help you get the facts before you buy so you can make an informed decision about the vehicle you're bringing into your life.

How Reliable Is the Honda Civic?

Let's explore the good news first — the Honda Civic is one of the most reliable cars on the market, ranking third in reliability for compact cars. This is no surprise, given that Honda is known for producing other high-reliability cars, like the top-ranking Accord. Overall, the Civic earns an above-average score of 4.5/5 stars, making it an excellent ride for the safety-conscious driver.

How does the Civic rank so well? Reliability scores are based on three core criteria. Each of these ratings combines to create a final score to be measured against other cars in a given class and the greater vehicle landscape. These ratings come from tests compiled from all model years.

Ownership Costs

The first criterion that goes into the Honda Civic's reliability score is cost. While every driver must contend with things like fuel prices, that is different from the kind of cost we mean here. Ownership costs refer to the annual average expense Civic owners can expect to put into their car through maintenance and repairs. The Civic is quite inexpensive to maintain at about $370 per year. Similar compact cars average around $530, and vehicles overall push that average up to $650.

Maintenance Frequency

Another aspect raters look at is service frequency. This statistic tracks how often drivers find themselves needing an unscheduled visit to the mechanic. The score does not include regular maintenance efforts like oil changes and tire replacements. Instead, it focuses on sudden breakdowns and faulty equipment that throw a wrench in your plans.

The Honda Civic will send you in for repairs about 0.2 times per year. Again, this number is below the compact car average of 0.3 and the vehicle average of 0.4.

Repair Severity

The final part of the reliability score builds on the frequency rating. Of those unscheduled visits, severity indicates the probability that these inspections will uncover a significant repair or major issue within the vehicle. In this case, a “severe” or significant issue would refer to any problem that costs more than three times the price of the average repair.

Following its impressive trend, the Civic once again comes in below the average here at just 10%. Compact cars stand at 11%, and all vehicles result in a 12% severity probability.

Common Honda Civic Problems

Despite its well-earned rating, the Honda Civic has a few common problems that any owner or potential buyer should be aware of. While some of these concerns are specific to the Civic, others span the entire Honda line. As you learn more about these issues below, consider whether you are willing to potentially deal with them and take on the repair costs or if you prefer to seek an option better suited to your wants.

1. Airbag Deployment Issues

Most affected model: All years

Regardless of the car you choose, you'll likely have to deal with some safety hazard or similar concern. When it comes to Honda vehicles, issues with the airbags are one of the top complaints. Many of Honda's vehicles use Takata airbags, a brand that has been the source of many recalls. People have reported cases of these airbags exploding upon release or deploying too slowly.

Both of these problems have led to injury and even worsened existing injuries in crashes. Furthermore, it can be challenging to know when these airbags are prepared to work as they should, thanks to the warning light also not working properly. It can flash on and off for no reason, alerting you of an issue that doesn't exist or not providing you crucial information about your Civic's safety features.

2. Transmission Failure

Most affected model: 2001-2002

Of all the Civic models available, the 2001 model has rallied the most complaints of all due to an issue with the transmission slipping. Drivers with this issue have noted symptoms like:

  • The car shaking, jerking and grinding during operation
  • A burning smell
  • Loud noises when idling or in neutral gear
  • Slipping gears or difficulty in switching gears

With the transmission being one of the most vital parts of vehicle performance, a faulty one can bring plenty of headaches to its owner. Plus, it's one of the most expensive parts to replace.

3. Cracked Engine Block

Most affected model: 2006

Another potentially dangerous and expensive fault is the cracked engine block many drivers find in their 2006 Civic. When the engine block has cracks in it, this allows liquids like coolant and oil to leak out, causing the engine to eventually overheat. If it overheats too much, the engine may fail altogether and require replacement.

If you find your Civic needing frequent fluid replenishment or overheating often, find your way to a mechanic to see if this is your issue.

4. Premature Wear and Tear

Most affected model: 2010

With Honda's high reliability score, it's hard to believe it doesn't stand up to the test of time. However, Civic drivers of all models have noted premature wear of paint colors, sun visors, brake pedal pads and more, sometimes needing annual repairs for these parts. Though this factor can be a hassle for those who love the new car look, if you like to do your own work on your car, the Honda Civic will give you plenty of opportunities to gain experience.

Other Year Model Problems

While these issues can span all Honda Civics, some are mostly contained to certain years. If you have one of these year models, you may be more likely to experience faults:

  • 2016: A/C failure, Bluetooth and USB connectivity problems and issues with the electric parking brake
  • 2019: Software malfunctions that indicate issues with the emissions system when there are none

Shop StockWise Auto for Honda Civic Parts

While many of the Honda Civic's problems can be serious when left unaddressed, a good fix and quality parts can right any Civic and keep it in excellent working order for as long as you drive it. You may have many options for local mechanics or DIY methods, but when it's time to find OEM parts and aftermarket improvements for a Civic, StockWise Auto delivers all the right solutions.

A few clicks on our site will bring you right to our vast catalog of parts and equipment for the Honda Civic. Simply select your model year and find what you need. We source all our products from the top manufacturers in the world so that you can experience your Civic the way it was designed to be. Start shopping today and see why we're the choice for professional mechanics and DIY enthusiasts alike.