2001-2005 Honda Civic Sedan (ES/EN) & Coupe (EM2) 7th Generation Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used 7th Gen Civic

Read in this article:

7th Gen Honda Civic: What Owners Say

  • The seventh-generation Honda Civic has maintained the brand's dependable and reliable reputation with the 1.7-liter engine lasting well past the 200,000-mile mark.
  • Thanks to a rear double-wishbone suspension and a tire setup with a thick profile, the 7th-gen Honda Civic offers a pleasant blend of sharp handling and a comfortable ride.
  • The Civic operates in the compact segment but its interior packaging is very generous. It measures larger inside than the previous-generation model, despite the exterior dimensions being more or less the same.
  • The seventh-generation Honda Civic may have a dependable powertrain, but it holds the record for the most number of recalls issued for a Civic model. This is partly due to the catastrophic Takata incident, but there are issues noted with the lighting, seatbelts, fuel pump, and more.
  • This generation of the Civic comes from a time when the Japanese manufacturers practiced conservative styling. Hence, there is little to excite when it comes to visual aesthetics both inside and out.
  • The automatic transmission has a reputation for failing every 100,000 miles with no clear long-term repair.

7th Generation Honda Civic Facelift

For the 2004 model year, the Honda Civic underwent a fairly comprehensive visual update that resulted in a dramatic redesign of the front end to make it appear more striking and executive. Fewer changes were made to the side and rear while the interior benefited from moderate alterations. With this update, Honda also made revisions to the standard equipment of its trims, however, no alterations were provided to the drivetrains.

Civic 7th Gen Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
Civic 7th Gen Facelift Front Changes

While the shape may remain the same, Honda made a concerted effort to update the Civic with an all-new headlight and grille design which sources inspiration from the Honda Accord of its time. This includes the sharper headlight design that rakes deeper into the front quarter panels1 and a new grille2 that bears a strong resemblance to the manufacturer's Formula One car of that era. Complementing this is a bumper displaying a smile rather than a frown, with a pair of dividers that separates the side plastic moldings from the central air intake3.

Civic 7th Gen Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
Civic 7th Gen Facelift Rear Changes

Honda opted to keep things more familiar at the rear but a keen eye may notice that a slight alteration has been made to the lower part of the bumper1. The chrome strip on some models has also been removed for a color-coded piece2.

Civic 7th Gen Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
Civic 7th Gen Facelift Side Changes

The profile of the Civic stays mostly the same. On the lower trims, the door handles are color-coded while the steel wheels' covers have been redesigned1. The slightly restyled bumpers2 that flare at the bottom to give the Civic a more road-hugging stance are clearly visibly in profile, as are the new headlights3.

Civic 7th Gen Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
Civic 7th Gen Facelift Interior Changes

When it comes to the interior, Honda made the decision to keep the changes to a minimum. A 12-volt power outlet is not present on the center console of the LX trim which is accompanied by a redesigned wiper stalk on the right side of the steering wheel1. The EX trim now benefits from the more deluxe instrument cluster featuring a tachometer.

Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain

The seventh-generation Honda Civic is available with two different powertrains. The gas model employs the brand's D17A 1.7-liter inline-four single-overhead-cam powertrain with two states of tune. The DX and LX models deliver 115 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque while the flagship EX produces a power output of 127 hp and 114 lb-ft. This is mated to a five-speed manual transmission as standard, with the option to switch to a four-speed torque-converter automatic on select trims towards the end of its lifespan.

The Hybrid model uses Honda's LDA-MF3 1.3-liter inline-four single-overhead cam i-DSi powertrain with i-VTEC mated to a permanent-magnet synchronous motor which works together to drive the front wheels via a five-speed manual or CVT. This boasts a combined power output of 94 hp and 105 lb-ft for the CVT and 116 lb-ft for the manual. A unique powertrain offering in the Civic's range is the HX trim for the Coupe, which comes with the D17A6 with a VTEC-E lean-burn process, resulting in a power output of 117 hp and 111 lb-ft. This particular engine has precise control of fuel injection and a strong air-fuel swirl. The lean-burning catalyst means that the powertrain is able to emit reduced emissions. This model has a five-speed manual transmission with a shorter final drive while the optional automatic transmission comes in the form of a CVT.

1.7-liter SOHC D17A Inline-four
115/127 hp | 110/114 lb-ft
Horsepower
115/127 hp
Torque
110/114 lb-ft
Transmission
Five-speed manual,Ffour-speed automatic, or CVT
Drivetrain
FWD

The Honda D-series powertrain is one of the most trusted engines to come from the Japanese brand's stable. It is a 1.7-liter inline-four cast with an aluminum block and head with a 16-valve single-overhead cam and multi-point fuel injection. Throughout the seventh-generation Civic's lifespan, there were three examples of this unit. The most frequently applied one was the D17A1 with a power output of 115 hp and 110 lb-ft. The D17A2 is only available in the EX trims with a power output of 127 hp and 114 lb-ft. The D17A6 used a unique VTEC-E system, as found in the EX's powertrain, but with a lean-burn system to reduce fuel consumption.

All units use a five-speed manual transmission as standard but the four-speed automatic was optionally available on the A1 and A2. The A6 benefits from a CVT. The A1 and A2 engines are more or less the same, but the former boasts a compression ratio of 9.5:1 while the latter, together with the A6, has a ratio of 9.9:1. While it has a reputation for being dependable, there are cases where this engine struggles with oil-leak problems and high oil consumption, struggles with starting in cold weather conditions, a clogged throttle system, EGR valve problems, and spark-plug issues.

1.3-liter SOHC LDA-MF3 Inline-Four + IMA
85/14 hp | 87/18/29 lb-ft
Torque
87/18/29 lb-ft
Transmission
Five-speed manual or CVT
Drivetrain
FWD

Electric motor: Permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor

  • Horsepower: 14 hp
  • Torque: 18/29 lb-ft
  • Engine + electric motor hybrid system output: 94 hp and 105/116 lb-ft

The LDA-MF3 is the second generation of Honda's hybrid powertrain which sources its architecture from the naturally aspirated 1.3-liter inline-four single-overhead-cam L-series i-DSI powertrain. This is paired to Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) unit which consists of a permanent magnet synchronous motor connected to a 6.0 Ah Nickel Metal Hydride battery. The L-series engine is known to be a resilient powertrain. So much so, that there are no common issues documented throughout its fairly lengthy history.

2001-2005 7th Gen Honda Civic MPG

From the unassisted gasoline engines to the hybrid powertrains, the 7th-generation Honda Civic lineup offers impressive mpg figures based on the EPA's claims. The most efficient D17A model is the manual 115-hp one which delivers an estimated 31 mpg on the combined cycle. The worst of the lot is the 127-hp automatic coming in at an estimated 25 mpg on a combined cycle. As is to be expected, the hybrids perform better with the automatic example returning with an estimated 39 mpg while the manual comes in with a marginally poorer 38 mpg.

EPA MPGREAL WORLD MPG *
D17A1 manual sedan27/34/30 mpg36.9-36.6 mpg
D17A1 automatic sedan26/35/30 mpg31.6-33.8 mpg
D17A2 manual27/34/30 mpg32.3-35.6 mpg
D17A2 automatic25/34/29 mpg31.1-32.3 mpg
D17A6 manual31/39/34 mpg33.8-41.4 mpg
D17A6 CVT29/36/32 mpg31.6-35.5 mpg
LDA-MF3 manual38/45/41 mpg44.7-48.8 mpg
LDA-MF3 automatic39/42/41 mpg35.6-46.6 mpg

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.

Safety

The 7th-gen Honda Civic sedan and coupe do not have an overall safety rating from the NHTSA as this was not implemented by the organization during this time. However, based on the standards of its era, it was applauded for being a safe passenger vehicle as it achieved a five-star rating for the driver and passenger side in the frontal crash test. Four stars were given to the driver and rear passenger side tests, as well as the rollover test. The Civic EM2 coupe gets the same ratings apart from the driver's side crash test, which returns three stars.

The 7th-gen Civic kept things basic when it comes to safety. Standard equipment for all cars includes dual airbags covering the driver and passenger, an emergency trunk release, child-proof rear door locks for the Honda Civic EN sedan, and a theft-deterrent immobilizer. LX, EX, and Hybrid models benefit from a rear stability bar and cruise control, while all cars had the option of specifying dual-side airbags. Only the EX and Hybrid are afforded the benefit of ABS. The former is the only one that bears the added benefit of electronic brake assist.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result (2005)

Sedan

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Driver):
(5/5)
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Passenger):
(5/5)
Side Crash Rating (Driver):
(4/5)
Side Crash Rating (Passenger):
(4/5)
Rollover Rating:
(4/5)

Coupe

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Driver):
(5/5)
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Passenger):
(5/5)
Side Crash Rating (Driver):
(3/5)
Side Crash Rating (Passenger):
(4/5)
Rollover Rating:
(4/5)

Honda Civic ES/EN/EM2 Trims

The pre-facelifted Civic is available in four different trims. The DX is the barebones offering while the LX acts as the middle-ground. The EX tops off the range as the premium example. The Coupe gets the HX trim, which incorporates some unique features. In 2004, Honda expanded the range by introducing a VP (Value Package) just above the base DX. The Hybrid was added one year before this. The final year of production saw the inclusion of an SE (Special Edition) trim. All of these cars apart from the Hybrid come fitted with Honda's D17A powertrain mated to the five-speed manual as standard with the option of upgrading to a four-speed automatic. Cloth upholstery is standard throughout all cars with no option of upgrading to leather.

  • Special Editions:

Honda Civic SE: The SE was only available in the final year of the Honda Civic 7th-gen's production run and could only be had as a sedan. Based on the EX trim, this edition features unique alloy wheels, a modest rear wing, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an audio system with MP3 compatibility, and a six-disc CD changer mounted to the dash.

VP
2004 - 2005
Engine
1.7L Inline-4 Gas
Transmission
Five-speed manual or Four-speed automatic
Drivetrain
FWD

The Value Package was considered to be an extension of the DX but Honda categorized it as its unique trim. Introduced for the facelifted model, this trim included the four-speed automatic transmission as standard together with air conditioning, the upgraded stereo system with a CD player, and the driver's armrest with a storage compartment.

HX
2001 - 2005
Engine
1.7L Inline-4 Gas
Transmission
Five-speed manual or CVT
Drivetrain
FWD

The HX is the only Civic of its generation that can be had with the D17A6 lean-burn powertrain mated to a five-speed manual transmission or CVT. Where features are concerned, the HX is not the most generously-specced example as it sits right beneath the LX. Regardless, it comes standard with electrically adjustable door mirrors, and an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player. Power locking doors, cruise control, a tachometer, a passenger seat walk-in feature and seatback pocket, and 14-inch alloy wheels. Available at an additional cost is a remote entry system together with the options listed for the DX.

LX
2001 - 2005
Engine
1.7L Inline-4 Gas
Transmission
Five-speed manual or CVT
Drivetrain
FWD

The LX is just one step away from the flagship so it comes fitted with a collection of comfort and convenience features. Above the HX, it adds a body-colored trunk lid garnish, air conditioning with a micron filter, an auto-down driver's window, map lights, and a passenger seat walk-in feature with a memory setting for the coupe. Optional features are carried over from the lower trims.

EX
2001 - 2005
Engine
1.7L Inline-4 Gas
Transmission
Five-speed manual or Four-speed automatic
Drivetrain
FWD

The EX sets itself apart from the rest of the range by gaining access to the more powerful D17A powertrain together with the standard inclusion of a power sunroof, body-colored door handles, electrically adjustable door mirrors, a six-speaker audio system, a driver's armrest, rear cup holders, a manually height-adjustable driver's seat, illuminated ignition switch, and a cargo net.

DX
2001 - 2005
Engine
1.7L Inline-4 Gas
Transmission
Five-speed manual or Four-speed automatic
Drivetrain
FWD

In both the sedan and coupe, the DX keeps things as basic as possible with the inclusion of an AM/FM stereo system mated to four speakers, a 60/40-split rear folding seat, vanity mirrors for the driver and passenger, rear-seat heater ducts, and 14-inch steel wheels with bolt-on plastic covers. Available at an optional cost are: air conditioning, a cargo net, an armrest for the driver, and rear cup holders.

Hybrid
2003 - 2005
Engine
1.3L Inline-4 Gas
Transmission
5-Speed Manual
Drivetrain
FWD

Where standard specification is concerned, some might argue that the Honda Civic ES Hybrid is the flagship of the range. Included as standard are the dual-side airbags, automatic climate control, chrome door handles, and a specific IMA display for the instrument cluster. Where it falters is the fitment of the four-speaker sound system as standard as opposed to the six-speaker setup found in the GX. 14-inch lightweight alloy wheels are fitted as standard.

Seventh Generation Civic Features

VPHXLXEXDXHybrid
Keyless EntryN/AOSSN/AS
Alloy WheelsOSN/ASN/AS
SunroofN/AN/AN/ASN/AN/A

Interior, Trim And Practicality

Honda Civic Sedan 7th Gen Interior Overview Honda
Honda Civic Sedan 7th Gen Interior Overview

The Civic sedan and coupe are fairly reasonable when it comes to cabin practicality. The sedan features a front headroom and legroom figure of 39.8 inches and 42.2 inches respectively which is just about enough space for an individual measuring 6.8 ft tall. The rear offers less space with 37.2 inches of headroom and 36 inches of legroom. Despite having a height-adjustable driver's seat, the EX's headroom and legroom measure slightly shorter at 38 inches. Oddly, its rear bench is also a bit more compact with a headroom space of 36.3 inches. If you're anywhere near six feet tall, your head will likely be scraping the roof lining. The coupe body style will feel even snugger for taller folk as it only offers 39 inches of headroom but legroom is marginally better at 42.5 inches. The rear bench is as compact as you can expect it to be with a headroom figure of 35.4 inches and legroom figure of 32.8 inches. Again, the GX comes in with less favorable figures as the front only accommodates 36.9 inches of headroom and the rear 35 inches.

When it comes to trunk space, both the coupe and sedan have around 12.9 cubic feet. The sedan's passenger volume is 91.43 cubic feet compared to the coupe's 85.9 cubic feet. Again, GX models decrease this with the sedan measuring 88.14 cubic feet of space and the coupe 83 cubic feet in the passenger compartment. Due to the 7th-gen Civic Hybrid's battery pack, its cargo volume is not too impressive at 10.1 cubic feet. This should be good to accommodate two medium suitcases with a bit of space to spare. All cars have interiors that are comprised of cloth and hard plastics.

VPHXLXEXDXGXHybrid
Gray or beige fabricSSSSSSS

2001-2005 Honda Civic 7th Generations and Cost

Thanks to the seventh-gen Honda Civic's basic mechanical setup, the routine maintenance required is not too demanding. For the D17A and LDA powertrains, the engine oil and filter must be changed every 5,000 miles. A new air cleaner element is needed every 15,000 miles while cars equipped with air conditioning must receive a new filter at 30,000 miles. Every 110,000 miles, you'll need to fit a new set of spark plugs and replace the timing belt. Valve clearances need to be inspected at this point as well. The first round of engine coolant must be flushed at 110,000 miles and then every 60,000 miles thereafter. Brake fluid needs to be replaced every 36 months. Honda recommends that both the five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions receive a transmission fluid change at 60,000 miles while the CVTs require an oil change at 30,000 miles. The seventh-generation Honda Civic should not cost more than $370 to maintain on an annual basis.

7th gen Civic Basic Service

The seventh-generation Honda Civic powertrains house three to four quarts of oil capacity including the filter which shouldn't cost more than $45-60. Air filters are priced at around $24 while a new set of spark plugs will set you back by $100 for the D17A powertrains and $200 for the Hybrid as this uses eight plugs. A new battery will set you back $148 in the D17A powertrains and $146 in the Hybrid. A new IMA battery assembly is a bit more expensive at $2,706.

2001 - 2005 Honda Civic Tires

DX
Tire Size:
P185/70SR14
Wheel Size:
14" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact
LX
Tire Size:
P195/60HR15
Wheel Size:
15" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact
EX
Tire Size:
P195/60HR15
Wheel Size:
15" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact
GX
Tire Size:
P185/70SR14
Wheel Size:
14" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact
HX
Tire Size:
P185/70SR14
Wheel Size:
14" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact
Hybrid
Tire Size:
P185/70SR14
Wheel Size:
14" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact
VP
Tire Size:
P185/70SR14
Wheel Size:
14" x - tbd -"
Spare Tire:
Compact

Check Before You Buy

Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:

2001 - 2005 Honda Civic engine/motor or mechanical problems are not too common, but some noteworthy areas need mentioning. You might be alarmed to learn that the 2001 Honda Civic range was subject to 27 recalls, but seven of these are related to the catastrophic Takata airbag recall incident. Another 13 of these are directed at aftermarket or replacement windshields, reflectors, and headlight problems. A handful of 2001 to 2002 Civic units was recalled for an overheating problem regarding the low beam lighting wire. This same era had its air cleaner box recalled for a broken plastic piece that may dislocate and fall into the throttle body. 120,649 2001 Honda Civic sedans and coupes were recalled for a faulty fuel filler cap while 56,269 models had to be recalled for a fuel pump relay problem. 2003 to 2004 automatic models were recalled for an ignition interlock issue that would allow owners to remove the key from the ignition even if the park gear is not selected. 416 Civics produced in 2004 and 2005 had to be recalled for incorrect washers used on the seat belt anchors. No recalls were issued for the Honda Civic's engine block, exhaust manifold, headlight switch, hybrid transmission, paint, transmission, or seat belt buckle.

These are some of the OBD II fault codes that you might encounter in your 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic sedan or coupe.

  • P0107 detects a low voltage input from the manifold air pressure sensor to the engine control unit. P0108 means that a high input is being detected. Inspect the sensor or wiring for any possible damage to resolve this.
  • P0117 will pop up if the engine coolant temperature sensor is getting a low voltage input. P0118 reflects an increase in voltage. This will be due to a bad sensor, connector, or a short in one of the wires.
  • Code P0122 means that your car's throttle position sensor circuit is reporting a low output voltage. You will need to inspect the sensor, wiring, or circuit for any flaws.
  • P0125 will show if your engine control module detects a lack of heat in the engine. This could be due to a problem with the engine coolant temperature sensor. It's also likely that your coolant level is low or there is a leak in the system.
  • P0128 relates to an inefficient coolant thermostat temperature. This might be due to a thermostat or coolant temperature sensor problem. Also, be sure to check the wiring of the circuit.
  • P0134 means that there is no activity being detected on the O2 bank one sensor one circuit. P0135 means that this sensor has malfunctioned. This could be due to a faulty connection on the powertrain's oxygen sensor. P0138 and P0139 reflect the same issue for bank one sensor two. P0141 means that the O2 sensor two heater circuit is detecting a reading outside of the required range. A damaged catalytic converter or engine control module could also be the issue.
  • The P0172 code will display if your fueling system is running too rich on the first bank. This could be due to a faulty heated oxygen sensor, spark plugs, or fuel injectors. There could also be an exhaust gas leak.
  • P0183 means that the fuel temperature sensor circuit is delivering a high input. This could be due to a faulty sensor or a poor electrical connection.
  • P0301, P0302, P0303, and P0304 will signal if there is a misfire on the first, second, third, or fourth cylinder respectively. This will likely be due to a faulty spark plug, coil pack, fuel injector, or piston. The camshaft lobe, head gasket, or valves may also be compromised.
  • P0325 indicates that the knock sensor circuit has malfunctioned. This is likely due to a faulty sensor or ECU or a poor electrical connection,
  • P0335 or P0339 will display if the crankshaft position sensor A circuit has malfunctioned. This could be due to a short in the wiring harness, a failure of the sensor itself, or a damaged signal plate, timing belt, or ECU.
  • P0341 or P0344 is what you'll see if your camshaft position sensor is giving issues. This is likely due to a faulty camshaft position sensor, damaged reluctor wheel, bad timing, or faulty timing belt.
  • P0420 means that the catalytic converter has failed. You'll have to get this part replaced. If that's not the case, consider inspecting the oxygen sensor, air-fuel sensor, or for any leaks in the exhaust system.
  • P0497 indicates that there is a problem with the evaporative emission system. Inspect the system's solenoid valve or electrical connection for any possible flaws.
  • P0505 means that your 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic's idle control valve is acting up. In this case, the valve will need to be replaced, or the electrical connection will need to be repaired.
  • P0730, P0741, and P0753 are dedicated to 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic models fitted with the optional automatic transmission. If an incorrect ratio is detected, this is the code you'll see, in which case the transmission fluid will need to be replaced. You may also need to inspect the mechanical components, torque converter clutch, or shift solenoids.
  • P1021 means that there is an issue with the valve pause system. In this case, inspect the valve or its connections for any damages.
  • P1035 or P1038 are the codes you'll see if your nitrogen oxide sensor is acting up. This would require you to inspect the sensor or its electrical connections.
  • P1129 is the code that will display when your manifold absolute pressure sensor is faulty. In this case, you'll need to replace the part or inspect the electrical connection.
  • P1130 will display when your 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic's swirl control valve gives in. This will require you to replace the part.
  • P1157 and P1172 suggest that the air-fuel ratio bank one sensor one is problematic. P1286 means that the air-fuel ratio sensor one bank two is detecting a high circuit voltage. In this case, the sensor will need to be replaced.
  • P1259 will show on 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic models that have some version of the brand's VTEC system. This malfunction could relate to a low engine oil level of pressure, a faulty valve timing system, or a poor electrical connection.
  • P1297 means that there is no change in the car's manifold absolute pressure sensor. This could be due to a faulty or restricted sensor.
  • P1298 is the code you'll see if the electric load detector circuit is reading a high voltage. This means that the unit or its electrical connection is compromised.
  • Code P1324 indicates a low voltage from the knock sensor power source circuit. The sensor or the entire engine control unit will need to be exchanged.
  • P1361 means that there is a faulty top dead center sensor within the distributor. This will need to be replaced together with an inspection of the electrical connection.
  • The P1400 code indicates that the differential pressure feedback electronic sensor is translating a low circuit voltage. The sensor or the electrical connection could be at fault.
  • P1433 means that the fuel level sensor two circuit is translating a high voltage. A new sensor will be needed or the electrical connection will need to be serviced.
  • Code P1435 is related to a malfunctioning exhaust particulate matter sensor. To resolve this, you will need to replace the sensor or repair the electrical connection.
  • P1440, P1443, P1446, P1448, and P1456 mean that your 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic's evaporative emissions control (EVAP) system is suffering from an issue. If this is the case, you'll need to inspect everything from the fuel filler cap to the tank for leaks of openings.
  • P1445 indicates that the purge flow sensor circuit is struggling with a high condition. This will require the sensor to be replaced or for the electrical connection to be serviced.
  • P1446 will display if there is battery module/cell individual input deviation for the Hybrid model. This will require you to inspect the battery system of the car which may even need replacing.
  • P1449 will signal if the system detects a faulty module diagnostic tank leakage pump. This may require you to replace the pump.
  • Code P1484 means that the cooling fan's rpm signal is malfunctioning which could relate to a faulty fan clutch assembly or electrical connection.
  • P1519 means that your intake manifold runner control actuator is faulty and will need replacing. This can also be related to the actuator's electrical connection or even your ECU.
  • P1564 relates to an issue with the Civic's cruise control switch. If this code comes up, you'll need to replace the switch.
  • 2005 P1570 indicates that the engine control module immobilizer is active. This could mean that your key is damaged or has not been coded correctly. Also, be sure to inspect the immobilizer system.
  • P1575 will show if your 2003 to 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid's pedal position is out of the self-testing range. This is likely due to being a faulty battery module or a poor electrical connection
  • P1600 is another code that will only appear in the Honda Civic hybrid model as it indicates a battery malfunction and likely means that you will have to have it replaced..
  • P1601 is a serial communication malfunction from the engine control module to other control units. In this instance, you will need to inspect the connections or replace the ECU entirely.
  • P1606 means that the module controlling the car's variable valve event and lift has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced.
  • P1705 indicates that the transmission range sensor is out of the self-test range. P1706 means that the park and neutral position switch is faulty. For these, you will need to inspect your transmission range sensor and switch.

7th Gen Civic Common Problems

D17A 1.7-liter Engine Problems

The D17A was used far and wide through Honda's stable in the early to mid-2000s with the philosophy of it being a simple and durable powertrain, but that doesn't mean that it is free of any issues. Carbon build-up is known to be an issue that only direct fuel injection powertrains struggle, with but on high-mileage models, it is understood that this is a cause for concern. You'll notice a loss of power problem and rough idling if this is the case, at which point you will need to walnut-blast the valves, which can be a costly procedure. High-mileage models will also struggle with head-gasket problems - mainly oil leaks. This occurs due to the engine's cooling and water-pump problems, which was subject to a recall. This needs to be resolved as soon as you notice it to avoid high oil consumption or eventual engine failure. A new head gasket from Honda will cost $60 but labor may be closer to $900 as installation requires the engine to be taken apart.

The spark plugs tend to fail along with the ignition coils on a routine basis. This is an issue that Honda seemingly never resolved, so a careful eye must be kept on this area. Each coil will cost $100 while a set of four spark plugs will set you back $100. If you hope to maintain the integrity of the D17A powertrain, be mindful of the fact that it does employ a cambelt which needs to be changed every 60,000 miles. Some owners have noted that this part has gone out before Honda's recommended interval so you may want to consider fitting a new one at 40,000 miles. Valve clearances will need to be set at 20,000-mile intervals, while the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve will need routine cleaning.

Mileage: Carbon build-up only occurs on the D17A engine at very high mileages, but it's not clear just how high. Head gaskets will fail depending on how soon your cooling system gives issues, which could be at any mileage. There is also no mileage limit attached to the ignition coil failure.

Cost: Walnut blasting for the D17A can cost in the region of $300. A new head gasket costs $60 with a labor cost of $900. One ignition coil is priced at $100 and a set of four spark plugs is also $100.

How to spot: Carbon build-up will result in poor performance and rough idling. A failed head gasket will result in the same symptom but worse, including a loss of oil and coolant. It can even result in engine failure. Engine misfiring will occur once the ignition coils start to give in.

LDA-MF3 1.3-liter Engine Problems

Honda's L-series engine is considered by many to be the most resilient powertrain the brand has ever designed as there are no noteworthy issues to be aware of. If you ensure that oil is changed as per the manufacturer's intervals, there's no reason why the LDA-MF3 should be a problematic engine. Bear in mind that it does use two spark plugs per cylinder, which will need to be changed every 100,000 miles. Something that does need close attention on used Hybrid models is an IMA battery and charging problem due to battery failure, which can occur after eight to 10 years. The engine will be able to power the car should this occur, but you can expect significantly worse performance and economy. Replacing the battery is a costly endeavor that can set you back in the region of $4,000.

Mileage: The LDA-MF3 shouldn't suffer from any serious powertrain issues throughout its life, but the IMA battery pack may give in after eight to 10 years of use.

Cost: A new battery pack may cost in the region of $2,700 with installation and labor likely to be close to $1,300.

How to spot: The instrument cluster will signal IMA failure via a warning light. You'll also notice dramatically worse performance and economy.

Automatic Transmission Failure

Honda's four-speed automatic torque-converter transmission is arguably the weak point of the seventh-generation Honda Civic as it is known to fail at the 100,000-mile mark. The reason for this is due to a design with defective materials that result in the transmission burning through its fluids before resulting in total failure. You'll know your automatic transmission is on its way out when you notice fluid leaks, slipping or shifting and shift solenoid transmission problems, bad stuttering or jerking, or general acceleration and stalling problems. In severe cases, the transmission will pop in and out of gear. The only solution, in this case, is to replace the entire transmission, which can cost in the region of $4,000.

Mileage: Honda's automatic transmission is known to have a lifespan of 100,000 miles but there are cases where it has failed sooner.

Cost: A new transmission, including the cost of labor to install it, may set you back close to $4,000.

How to spot: Transmission fluid leaks, a slipping transmission, drastic stuttering or jerking, or a transmission that will pop in and out of gear are indicators of transmission failure.

Poor Interior Quality

Honda Civics from this era were focused on being affordable so it is understood that in order to keep the initial purchase price point low, some compromises were made concerning the quality of the interior. Owners of the 2001-2005 Civic have noted that some of the trim may start peeling around the doors. In some cases, even the headliner may completely cave in. Electric window switches are also known to be poor and may stop working without any sign of a warning.

Mileage: Honda's interior issues are more related to exposure to the elements rather than mileage. Cars that are parked in the sun for extended periods will deteriorate faster.

Cost: Retrimming the door panels and the headliner will cost in the region of $500. A new window master-switch panel is $63 while the sub-switch assembly costs $27.

How to spot: Failing interior trim is easy to notice as it will start to peel or detach. A broken window switch will simply cease to work.

Weak HVAC Thermal Fuse

The seventh-generation Honda Civic struggles with AC problems. It may struggle with a weak thermal fuse that may blow and result in air conditioner/conditioning and heater/heating problems for your Honda Civic, including the Hybrid. It is a fairly straightforward issue that is not quite mileage-dependent as it is based on how frequently you use the car's climate system. A new fuse will cost in the region of $90 but in some cases, this failure may require you to replace the entire HVAC system including the condenser, which can bring in a bill of $200.

Mileage: HVAC thermal fuse failure occurs based on how frequently you use the system rather than the mileage that the car has covered.

Cost: A new thermal fuse will cost $90. If the entire HVAC system needs to be replaced, you'll have to fork out $200.

How to spot: If your HVAC system stops working or is blowing at full speed, the thermal fuse has likely given in.

Less Common Problems And Problem-Free Areas

A handful of owners have reported weak engine mounts in their 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic models. Excluding the cost of labor, a new engine mount will cost $83. The hood release cable may also break at the handle, resulting in the hood not being able to open, but this is a fairly easy fix with a new cable priced at $18. Some Civic models also struggle with windshield wiper motor failure which is a costly repair as each motor costs $378. Higher mileage models also develop cracks in the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter problems. In this case, both parts will have to be replaced. The manifold will cost $604 while a new catalytic converter is priced at $2,154.

  • The electrical system of the 2001 to 2005 Honda Civic is fairly sound, so alternator energizing/voltage, radio reception, body electrical, computer, cruise control, dash/instrument cluster, fuel and gas gauge, speedometer, driver door lock, trunk release rear power windows, power surge, or headlight problems are rarely reported.
  • Problems relating to the Honda Civic's manifold, baffle, catalytic converter, coolant reservoir, cooling, brake, camshaft, crankshaft position sensor, and speed sensor are not likely to be commonplace either.
  • Car key, ignition key/switch, immobilizer, and lock problems are almost non-existent for the Honda Civic.
  • The Honda Civic's automatic transmission may not be trustworthy, but the manual transmission's clutch and solenoid are problem-free. The CVT found in the HX and Hybrid is also known to be free of problems.
  • The Honda Civic sedan and coupe do not struggle with fuel injection, EGR valve, fuel filter, or fuel pump relay problems.
  • No issues with the Honda Civic's timing belt, oil leaks, idle/idling, rusted brake lines, a loss of power, nor problems with the starting/starter switch, and general mechanical parts are noted in abundance.
  • The 2003 to 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid sedan is not known to struggle with battery, no-charging, power-steering, and shudder issues or problems.
  • The Honda Civic's brake linkage, power brake booster, power steering rack, and suspension do not translate into noteworthy problems in terms of the steering, braking, and suspension systems.
  • Radiator fan and water-pump problems on the Honda Civic are not common.

Which One To Avoid

2001 to 2002 Honda Civic models fitted with the automatic transmission are the ones that should be avoided as they were subject to the most recalls and have the most complaints regarding cabin quality, not to mention the failing torque-converter transmission. The DX in particular is a model that you might want to avoid as it does not feature a rear stability bar, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power door locks, cruise control, or even a tachometer.

Which One To Buy

The 2004 to 2005 Honda Civic EX or SE are the ideal options to consider as they benefit from all the improvements provided by the update. They also feature the more powerful D17A2 powertrain. Here you'll find luxuries such as remote keyless entry, air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with a CD player, intermittent windshield wipers, and more. Those looking for something a bit more unique may want to consider the HX coupe, as this features a lean-burning D17A powertrain with the added benefit of a more robust CVT and 14-inch lightweight alloy wheels.

7th Gen Honda Civic Sedan (ES/EN) & Coupe (EM2) Verdict

The seventh-generation Honda Civic covers the bare necessities of a daily commuter, particularly so in the lower trims. Still, these lack convenience and comfort features that we've become more accustomed to in modern budget cars. Despite this, you may be surprised by just how engaging the chassis can be through a set of corners. The seventh-generation Civic benefits from a powertrain that is reasonably reliable so long as it is well-looked after and routinely maintained. You may struggle with cabin quality and automatic transmission problems but beyond this, there shouldn't be any glaring issues that will need attention.

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