2006 Honda Civic Engine Problems

Hi. I am looking for some advice on whether to do engine repairs or purchase a new car. I purchased a 2006 Civic brand new along with the extended warranty that would cover the car for 100,000 miles. The car currently has 68,000 miles on it. I did all services with a Honda dealer and changed the oil according to the schedule (though not at a dealer). I am in the military and moved to Germany last year. The 60,000 mile service was completed prior to my departure from the U.S. A month ago, I was driving home from work at about 60 miles per hour when the engine overheated. The car started slowing down, steering wheel locked up, etc… I pulled over and popped the hood and saw that ALL of the coolant was gone. I never saw a leak and my last oil change/fluid top off had occurred 1,000 miles ago. I live in a fairly rural area so I took the car to the closest mechanic (not a Honda dealer). I called Honda Care when I got home and was told that since I am not in the U.S., the extended warranty is not valid. However, they did say they would prorate the warranty based on mileage (approx $341 of the $1,000 I paid).
When the car overheated, it got so hot that the oil dipstick actually melted.
The mechanic thought maybe the thermostat went out. When he pulled the engine, he said he head gasket would need to be replaced and asked if he should try to find a U.S spec gasket. He figured that since the car was fairly new, the car shouldn’t have additional problems after repair. He believed he would be able to do all repairs rather than taking it to a dealer. Later, he pulled the head and took it to another shop and was told that it was not warped.
I started doing some research online about overheated engines and found that the 2006-2008 Civics had issues with engine blocks cracking. Honda had issued a Technical Bulletin and then in 2010, extended the engine warranty to 8 yrs, unlimited mileage. The postings that I read online sounded like the exact problem that I had. I contacted Honda and it took a few days for them to contact me back. When they finally did, I was told that I would have to take the car to a Honda dealer to diagnose the problem. They gave me the number to the closest one, however, that dealer did not want to work on an American Spec vehicle. I found one about 45 minutes away. The mechanic who currently has the car is supposed to tow it there no later than today.
When the current mechanic spoke to the Honda mechanic (in German), he was told that it might not be covered because there is some sort of rubber piece inside the engine that was blocking one of the pistons. It sounds strange to me, but I will have to wait until the dealer actually checks out the car.
If Honda doesn’t cover the repair, this is going to be quite expensive, particularly since I will be paying in Euros and not Dollars.
Is engine repair or replacement a good idea at all or will there probably be more problems creeping up? I have a very irregular schedule and taking a car in for repairs will be problematic. I am currently renting a car to get around and the bill is wracking up. I can afford a new car so I have been thinking that it might be better to cut my losses. I’m researching new cars just in case.

Are you sure about the detail regarding the dipstick having melted?
If that detail is correct, then I believe that the engine is damaged goods to such an extent that no amount of repair could possibly restore it to good condition. If the engine became that hot, in addition to the heads being warped, the bearings would all be damaged, the cylinders would be scored, and the engine would be essentially a useless piece of scrap metal.

I did note that you stated that the head was supposedly not warped, but I find this very hard to believe. In many cases of overheating, a warped head will result, so I find it very difficult to believe that your engine became hot enough to melt the dipstick, but did not warp the head. Some detail is either mis-reported by a mechanic, or has been misconstrued.

And, I absolutely do not understand the detail regarding “a piece of rubber blocking one of the pistons”. I think that there must be communication problems with those German mechanics.

Without totally accurate information, nobody can really advise you properly, but based on what information is available, I think that this engine is likely to be beyond repair.

Sorry for your bad fortune!

It sounds like that engine will definitely need to be replaced.
I would try to fix the issue with Honda. What possible difference does it make where on this planet it failed? The car is under warranty, it failed, they fix it - simple.

Should they blow you off, maybe we should all hound Honda of America for you, telling them what we think of them, with them abandoning a US serviceman abroad. I’m sure they’ll sit up and take notice.

Sincere, sincere thanks for your service to our country. Believe me when I say it will always be appreciated.

Have you checked with your people on base regardingmanufacturers selling in the U.S. supporting the warranty for GIs stationed in foreign duty stations? Have you norified Honda that you’re in this category? Have you checked with your lender (if it’s military) regarding this issue?

Regarding the vehicle itself, the only way I can envision a dipstick reaching a high enough temperature to melt is if you were suffering from a cylinder wall crack in just the right spot and combustion gasses were being blown directly onto the stick. In any event, I’d agree that the engine is probaby toast.

Sincere best. The car would be worth replacing the motor on, and I hope somehow you can get some assistance through your base personnel.

The dipstick has a rubber gasket at the top.
Is that what melted?

That’s what I’m thinking too. It couldn’t have gotten that hot.
If it got that hot I’d imagine that, when you open the hood, you’d be looking at this big blob of red hot molten steel where the engine should be.
That head would not just be warped - it would be bent into a pretzel. (or “Bretzel” as they call it in Germany).

If that happened, I’d like to see a picture of it because that’s one for the record books.

Have you determined what caused the cooling failure to begin with?? Your dashboard should have been screaming at you long before the dipstick melted…

Unfortunately dashboards do not scream at you for things like this. They do if you leave your keys in the ignition, leave the lights on or fail to fasten your seatbelt, all worthy reasons, but not for low oil pressure or high coolant temperature. Why can’t manufacturers connect the annoying chime to these sensors as well?

It is not a forgone conclusion that overheating the engine will lead to a warped cylinder head. The head will only warp if it has stresses in the metal from the casting process. Some manufacturers heat treat the heads to remove these stresses and those heads are far less likely to warp. I don’t know if Honda heat treats their heads or not, but even if they do not, there is a chance that a few heads will somehow not develop any stresses, it would be pure luck to get one of those though.

Thanks for your service and good luck with dealing with Honda. Once this engine problem is resolved, you can expect a long service life from this vehicle. Honda’s do have a pretty good reliability record, at least out to 200k miles or so.

With that kind of overheating involved I don’t think that a head gasket would solve anything because the piston rings are likely cooked.

In my opinion if either the dipstick handle melted or just the rubber seal where the dipstick goes through the valve cover melted the engine is done. Sure you can disassemble and inspect, but a thorough inspection would involve removing the oil pan and pistons as well. Every seal, piston ring, gasket and hose is likely to fail soon if it hasn’t already.

I think the best course of action would be to install a salvage engine, replace the radiator and all hoses, and look forward to more trouble-free driving.

The dipstick itself was definitely melted. When I pulled it out, the part that measures the oil was mostly gone. I about had a heart attack. According to the first mechanic, the head is not warped. I am waiting to hear from the Honda mechanics.
As far as the extended warranty for the engine, if a Honda says the problem was caused by a cracked engine block, Honda should cover a good portion of the repairs. If he says it was caused by something else, then I’m out of luck.
Unfortunately, the extended warranty I purchased states that it only valid in the U.S. People that purchase Hondas here in Germany can purchase coverage from a different company that will cover hem here and in the U.S. There is not much I can do when the contract itself states “U.S”. If it said I’d be covered worldwide and they failed to cover me, I could fight them.
The good news is that the car has been paid off for awhile.
If anyone has friends or family that own Civics from 06’-08’, let them know about the potential for cracked engine blocks. Most people purchasing a used Civic probably wouldn’t be aware of it. They can google “cracked engine blocks” and find a lot of info on forums.

not for low oil pressure or high coolant temperature. Why can’t manufacturers connect the annoying chime to these sensors as well?

Some do. My old Trailblazer integrated everything through the BCM so it could detect and sound warning chimes for things like; low fuel, turn signal left on and overheat for some examples. Really appreciated that last one when I was running with a plow and the fan clutch failed.

I’m wondering if you’re dealing with someone at Honda who is a bit off track on this issue. The fact that you bought the car new, bought a Honda extended warranty, and had all services performed at a Honda dealer should merit you some consideration on this issue.

The service bulletin states that if a block is cracked it will be replaced for a period of 8 years/unlimited mileage and this means an extension of the original factory warranty. This would have nothing at all to do with an extended warranty so seeing as how they denied you based on the extended warranty not being valid overseas this is why I make the point about someone being misguided.

There would be legal reasons why an ext. warranty would not cover something outside of the U.S. as the insurance carrier would likely only be licensed to do business here.

Hi. I just wanted to send an update about my situation with the 2006 Civic. Honda of America ended up paying Honda of Germany to replace the engine. The car was ready for pickup on 21 DEC.
Honda of America and Honda of Germany went back and forth for awhile about how to handle the situation. My car originally died in August 2012. I had it towed to a regular German mechanic immediately, but it went to Honda in Sep. I was notified at the end of DEC that the engine would be replaced. The car was ready for pickup around the 19th of Dec.
So, in the end, Honda came through. My biggest complaint is in the timeliness of their decision making process. I ended up purchasing another vehicle at the beginning of October because I didn’t think Honda would decide in my favor.
I ended up losing money on the various towing fees and the initial diagnosis by the non-Honda mechanic. Honda did agree to prorate my extended warranty based on mileage.
One strange thing is that when I picked up the car, I never received any paperwork about the engine replacement. The German mechanics just sent me on my way. I called Honda of America and they said I won’t receive anything. I assume this is to save face because there was no actual recall on the engines. I asked about what would happen if I decided to sell the vehicle and Honda told me that they would speak to a potential purchaser. Kind of weird, in my opinion.
I actually do plan on selling the vehicle this summer because I really don’t need 2 cars. One of my coworkers is moving back to the States in a week so I loaned him the Civic a couple of wks ago. He loves it and has had no issues so I’m pretty confident in putting it up for sale. I would never knowingly sell a lemon.
Thanks for all of the input!

I am glad to hear the Honda took care of the problem and replaced the engine. I too agree that a melting dipstick is unlikely. You mention that part of it, the part that extends into the oil pan itself and measures the oil level, was missing. I bet the engine had some kind of internal failure like a broken rod that happened to hit and shear off this portion of the dipstick. No engine could get that hot and not have other major signs.