Honda Civic 2006 - good? bad?
October 17, 2010 9:20 AM   Subscribe

2006 Honda Civic - how common are its reported problems?

I just put a deposit down on a certified 2006 Honda Civic LX at a Honda dealership yesterday. Haven't brought it home yet. I went with it after reading about how Civics are generally reliable cars from others on mefi and that the certified pre-owned program is also pretty good. A Google search found a few good reviews and no bad reviews about the dealership I went to. The mileage was also low and the test drive felt great.

I've now been reading about how a good number of people of have experienced cracked engine blocks and uneven wear on the rear tires. How worried should I be about this? Is there anything I can do to address this with the dealer now that I've put a deposit down? This is the first car I've bought, so I also didn't realize that an independent inspection is usually a good idea. At the very least a 7 day exchange is available, though I don't know if that's a good option, since I probably won't be able to negotiate the price as I did with this one.
posted by waterandrock to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
FWIW, I drive a 2005 Honda Civic (LX maybe), manual transmission. I've put 40,000 miles on it and most of the time it's been kept outdoors. I just change the oil regularly and get other routine stuff done. I'm the original owner. I'll sell it in a year or two. I have never had one problem with it.
posted by vincele at 9:25 AM on October 17, 2010

Consumer Reports gives the 20067 Civic an overall rating of better than average. I wouldn't worry too much about a few gripes online - those reports are extremely self-selecting. No one goes onto Honda forums to say, "my car has been trouble-free, how about yours?" What you want is more objective data.

It's always a good idea to have a particular car independently inspected. Since a 7 day exchange is available, tell the dealership that before you close on this car, you want to have it inspected by an independent garage, just to protect yourself.
posted by Dasein at 9:26 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

That was the 2006 Civic - don't know why I included a 7 there (though it was the same).
posted by Dasein at 9:27 AM on October 17, 2010

The long and short of it is this: It's a five-year-old car. If it had any inherent problems, they likely would have presented themselves by now. You might want to go ahead and get it inspected, though.

If it has a loose floor mat on the driver's side, just chuck it out. When Toyota was doing its first big recall re: doormats slipping under pedals, I was eagerly awaiting the same from Honda, since my 2006 Civic had that very problem. No dice.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on October 17, 2010

Response by poster: I had that thought about the age of the car too, but it seems like the reviews of the 2006 started to deteriorate around 2009 after people hit a certain number on the odometer, which is significantly more than what it is currently. Honda's apparently issued an extended 8-year warranty to address it. Not sure if it applies to my car, since the dealer hasn't mentioned anything.

How does getting an independent inspection work? Do I give them something to secure it with and then drive it over to the mechanic of my choice before giving them the balance?
posted by waterandrock at 9:50 AM on October 17, 2010

It sounds like the cracked engine block is a fairly widespread manufacturing defect with 2006-2008 civics. I don't know what the terms are for getting your deposit back but I would talk to the dealer about this issue: it seems that Honda extended the warranty on the engine. Mention TSB 08-044. Try to get something written down about what warranty coverage might be if there is a problem. If they pretend it isn't an issue then maybe you should try to back out of the deal. The dealer is going to be much more interested in selling you a car than hanging on to your deposit so maybe you can negotiate either a lower price or a different vehicle.
posted by at 9:55 AM on October 17, 2010

How does getting an independent inspection work? Do I give them something to secure it with and then drive it over to the mechanic of my choice before giving them the balance?

Also, since this appears to be a defect in the casting of the engine block, an independent inspection isn't going to tell you anything.
posted by at 9:57 AM on October 17, 2010

Best answer: Hey there! My husband and I just went through this exact same thing with our used 2008 Honda Civic! As we were in the process of buying it, I discovered the complaints about the cracked engine blocks, which involve the 1.8 liter engine in 2006-2008 Civics. The crack occurs at random--it's not attached to a particular mileage or time period, which sucks. This is what I figured out while trying to decide whether to go through with the purchase:

1. The way you described independent inspection is basically correct. You should always do it when you're considering buying a used car.
2. We were curious as to whether our car's engine block had already cracked and been replaced, so we called a local Honda dealership (unaffiliated with the place we were buying from), and gave them the VIN number so they could check to see if any work had been done on the car under warranty. Apparently things like Carfax only list out-of-warranty stuff (and then, only if the work or accident has been reported to the Carfax agency). If the engine block had been replaced, it would've been under warranty. Our car had not had its engine replaced, so we knew that there was a chance that we'd have to deal with a crack in the future.
3. Honda has extended the manufacturer's warranty on the car for eight years from the original date of purchase, regardless of mileage. This warranty applies to the car no matter who owns it. However, "original date of purchase" means the date in 06 or 07 or whenever it was first bought. Still, this covers you until at least 2014 should the engine block crack. For us, the warranty covers us till 2016, and we decided that it was good enough, considering what we paid for the car.

There is paperwork online for the warranty, but I can't find it right this second. I'll keep looking and post again. Basically, you just have to decide whether the risk is worth it for you or not. I doubt you'll be able to negotiate a lower price from the dealer because the defect is covered by a warranty. Good luck!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 10:22 AM on October 17, 2010

Sys Rq writes "The long and short of it is this: It's a five-year-old car. If it had any inherent problems, they likely would have presented themselves by now. You might want to go ahead and get it inspected, though."

Lots of inherent problems only come up after mileage has been put on the vehicle. Chrysler L4 head gaskets and mid 80s Porsche crank failures are like this or even the transmission failures most brands of minivan experience.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on October 17, 2010

Okay, here's a news article describing the warranty extention. At the end of the article is a number to call for more information. Apparently the bulletin that states the warranty extension is #10-048. For some reason I can't find the actual text of it online, even though I know I've seen it before.

Our mechanic estimated the cost of fixing a cracked engine block (basically replacing the engine) at ~$4,000.00. However, you also have to consider this: in rebuilding your entire engine, what are the odds that your mechanic will screw up something else that you will later have to pay to get repaired? The garage I go to has proven themselves to be honest and straightforward about making and fixing mistakes, so that didn't worry me, but it's definitely something you need to keep in mind.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 11:13 AM on October 17, 2010

I drive an '07 Civic, purchased in '08. It has been completely problem-free. I had an Accord for 14 years with no significant problems.

Thanks, Fui Non Sum, for the information on the head block problem. While Honda covered this by a warranty extension, as FNS points out it would be a major big deal to get it fixed. Waterandrock, it may give you some peace of mind to have the car checked by an another garage for any sign of coolant leak, and to check the rear tires, along with all the normal used car issues. Sometimes I've done this when buying a used car, and other times I haven't. My luck has been good enough that I no longer consider inspection an important part of the process. You're buying one Certified by Honda, which costs you a little extra but should really help ease your concerns.

This discussion at reports a couple things about the rear tire wear issue: a service bulletin (TSB 008-01) that allowed for replacement of the control arms, and the idea that the tire wear may only occur when the car is driven long periods with a heavily loaded trunk. My Civic tires aren't showing this problem. Your dealer will be able to tell you if the car has had the control arms replaced.

It wouldn't hurt to tell the dealer you have these two concerns and see what they can tell you about the issues. You'll also learn how they're covered under Honda's Certified used car program. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another 06-08 Civic, although I'm now thinking it would be wise to replace it before the block warranty extension runs out, 8 years from original purchase.
posted by Snerd at 3:02 PM on October 17, 2010

Not directly related, but here is great advice when buying a used car from a dealer or lot: when looking at the car inspect the glove compartment box and see if you can find any name or phone number for the previous owner. Then when you get a chance call them. At this point they have no incentive to be dishonest and can tell you if there are any issues with the car. I did that with my last used car purchase (a RAV4) and it was reassuring knowing I could talk to the previous owner and be fairly confident I was getting the truth.
posted by Tallguy at 6:03 PM on October 17, 2010

The long and short of it is this: It's a five-year-old car. If it had any inherent problems, they likely would have presented themselves by now

Useless anecdote: I had a Volvo die after 8 years of nearly-flawless performance because of a cracked engine block. My parents' 14-year-old Saab also developed a cracked engine block; being a rather old and worthless car, they decided not to repair it, and ended up driving the car for two more years until it died of other unrelated causes.
posted by schmod at 8:04 PM on October 17, 2010

This is likely irrelevant and purely anecdotal, but since you're a newbie at cars, I'll throw my two cents in.

My Honda is a 2003 and I've had issues with uneven tire wear as well. However, the wear is on the front tires. Have replaced the front drivers side tire twice and the front passenger tire once. I put snows on it in the winter, which have no problems.

I bought the car new and the only significant problem I had was a dead battery at about 110k miles.

Just replaced the timing belt/water pump at 135k miles. The manual says to do this at 100k - 110k. I waited for financial reasons, and finally replaced not because of problems, but because I was afraid it WOULD go at some point.

Car currently has 145k miles and is a standard 5-speed. I am very bad about scheduled maintenance (oil changes usually every 5k miles, but sometimes go as far as 7k-8k miles between changes).

My previous car was a 1992 Honda CRX, which went for 175k miles before a weird electrical problem made the whole engine ignite, resulting in a visit from the fire department and insurance declaring total loss.

All that aside, I always buy Hondas. They are good, solid cars and go a long way. I tend to put high miles on mine, which is why I buy Hondas. I've had a VW Fox (another great car) and a Saab 9000 (fun, but a money pit).
posted by sundrop at 9:13 AM on October 18, 2010

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