2001 Civic Engine Trouble


I have a 2001 Civic EX with about 50,000 miles on it. About 4 weeks ago the following started happening when I don’t drive the car for a couple days:

Car starts fine. Idles normally for a minute or so. Then it starts to almost stall. RPMs down to 200 or so. If I push the gas petal it does nothing for several seconds and then it kicks in and revs the engine. If I let off the gas it’ll do it again a couple times, but after a minute or two, the car will behave normally until left for a couple days without being driven/started. If I try to drive, it does exactly the same thing, except it’s in gear so it jerks the car all around.

I took the car to the dealership and they said that they can’t recreate it (duh, they only had it for a few hours) and so there’s nothing they can do about it. My extended warranty is up in mid-July so I really want to get it fixed before then…

I appreciate any thoughts.



Could you leave the car for a couple days to sit at the shop so they might get a chance to re-create the problem? Maybe set it up with the Service Manager, instead of talking to a service advisor.
It is hard to diagnose a problem that isn’t occurring, when the car is in the Technicians work stall.
Know as a “blue moon” problem around our shop.
It only happens on the third thursday of the third week of the month, but only if it is a blue moon.

hehe, yeah… I may be able to arrange that. Trouble is, the dealership’s about 30 minutes away and arranging someone to do the whole drop-off and pick-up thing is logistically difficult. I was hoping for a quick fix. :wink:

If the dealership is a decent one, they may give you a loaner car for the few days they’d have your Civic. But certainly make sure your complaint is in writing at the dealership, and keep a copy of the work order/complaint sheet, since the problem must be resolved for free because it cropped up during the warranty period. Even if it’s not resolved until after the warranty expires (which may be what the dealership is hoping), Honda is still required to treat it as a warranty repair.

Ooh, that’s good advice. I’ll make sure they have it. I have my receipt from the service when they told me they couldn’t find anything wrong with it… I’ll check on it and see if it has a description of the problem.

Did you ever find out what the problem was?? My 2001 Civic is having the exact same problems and has been for over a year now. Please let me know! Thanks!

I’m also curious to hear if anyone’s figured out why this happens. My 2001 Civic EX is ALSO having this problem, and I’ve already spent 500+ dollars at the dealership to get no results. Arrgh!
Anyone have any results?

Two possibilities.
One is a vacuum leak or Idle Air Control valve problem. (The IAC is basically a vacuum leak though it is a computer controlled one.) Sometimes there are codes set and sometimes there are none. Low miles on an older car could mean that an induction system cleaning may solve this.

The other is loss of residual fuel pressure while the car is sitting. This may be erratic in nature. The car will run rough at first, straighten out after a minute or so, and run fine afterwards until it is shut off and sits again.
This is generally caused by a leaking fuel pump check valve inside the pump. This is not something that will leave you stranded; it’s just an aggravation. Replacement of the pump is the only cure.
This can be easily tested by connecting a fuel pressure gauge and allowing the car to sit while checking the gauge on occasion.

thanks so much! I’ll test your suggestion and report back!