CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2007 Honda Civic - dealer vs. independent mechanic

I have an older Honda civic and noticed just today quite a bit of shaking while on the highway so I’m going to take my car to get looked at this weekend, not sure where yet though. I could check scheduling at the Honda dealer near or go to my bf’s preferred car shop, probably needs new engine mounts. Does going to the dealer for that part matter?

No, most repairs can be done by a good independent shop. Your Honda is 13 years old, no need for a dealer to work on it. An independent shop’s labor rates will probably be cheaper too. But I seriously doubt your shaking problem is due to engine mounts. The 2007 Civic has an issue caused by incorrect rear upper control arms. https://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Civic/2007/suspension/suspension-rear-2.shtml If yours hasn’t been corrected that could be the problem.

1 Like

Thanks Dave, I actually wrote an email to a shop and they said it could just be the ignition coil, is Autozone a fine place to go to if I plan on just buying coils to do it myself?

They said it could be - not that they are certain that is the problem . What if you put new coils on and that does not solve the problem ? Just throwing parts at a problem can get expensive . Auto Zone can read your codes and at least give you a better idea of what might be wrong.

1 Like

If it were a bad coil your check engine light would be on and there would be a misfire code. Since you didn’t mention the check engine light–and still haven’t–that suggests it hasn’t come on. If it has, I stand corrected. I still suspect something suspension-related like a bad tire or worn out struts.

As for AutoZone, they’re fine as a parts source but they do stock cheaper parts that aren’t necessarily a perfect fit. A few years ago I bought a lug nut there to replace one on the Jeep my wife was driving. It fit the lug but it was a different size than the factory nuts. Same with Advance Auto Parts. I found the correct nut at NAPA. It cost more but it was the right part.

Shaking could be bad mounts. All depending on the exact symptoms shaking could also be caused by an ignition miss, low compression due to a tight valve, etc, etc.

Keep in mind that if the problem is a bad coil (ignition miss) then that coil could be bad due to long term use of a faulty spark plug or by water intrusion into the plug boot.

1 Like

My money is on something as simple as the wheels needing to be balanced.

OP, the others are right: with all due respect, if you’re on here asking about needing to go to the dealer for this, you should not be trying to fix it yourself by purchasing an ignition coil from an auto parts store based on the tentative recommendations of a shop you’ve never personally worked with.

Find a trustworthy independent mechanic - maybe it’s the one you mentioned, though I’m a little wary of anyone who would offer up a diagnosis over email like that - and have the look at the problem.

I have had good service at a reasonable cost at both dealers’ and independent shops. By the same token, I have had bad service from both dealers and independents. I once owned a Corvair and the only mechanic in town that would look at the Corvair was at the Chevrolet dealer. Independent shops didn’t want to work on Corvairs. The mechanic at the Chevrolet dealer loved Corvairs. A mechanic at an independent shop told me that when he saw a Corvair coming into the shop, he hid in an empty 55 gallon oil drum.
What I have found is that dealers tend to work on newer cars while independent shops are comfortable working on older models. Hondas are popular cars, so most shops are familiar with them.

That’s not always how car repair works

I’ve replaced plenty of bad coils which didn’t result in a check engine light OR a misfire code

I’ve also replaced plenty of bad sensors which didn’t result in a check engine light or a code of any kind

Db’s comments reminds me of the guy who about 15 or so years ago wrote a letter to the editor in the Sunday Oklahoman newspaper.

According to that guy, “Any idiot can be a mechanic nowadays. All they have to do is hook up the computer and it tells them what part to replace. Then they rob you blind for doing nothing”.

1 Like

Fair enough but I doubt your first impulse in the absence of a check engine light would be a bad coil given the symptoms.

You’re the one who brought up the coil and the fact that you believe if it’s faulty, a guy can presumably rely on a code being generated, along with a check engine light

In theory, what you stated is true

But that’s not how things always work out . . . somebody like me and many other professionals on this website would be in a position to know this

Honestly, I would have to have my hands on the car and actually drive it. Sometimes when a mechanic actually has his hands on the car and drives it, he can feel and sense things going on, and his experience and gut feelings kick in. Oftentimes bad coils will rear their ugly head(s) after getting good and hot, which is sometimes on the freeway at high speed, or going up a particularly steep hill.

As for feeling, sometimes a guy can actually feel that there is a misfire, due to a secondary ignition problem, and that’s often with no check engine light and no codes, for that matter. I’m not bragging; I’m just stating things that have happened

More than likely, you’re correct. But as I was saying above, without any of us actually being able to have our hands on the car and drive it ourselves, we won’t know . . . until op has it fixed and gets back to us, as to what the culprit was. I’ve run into a few bad rims that felt fine at city speeds, but at freeway speeds there was a lot of shaking

Okay then, let me rephrase it: It’s unlikely a coil could be bad enough to cause misfiring sufficient to shake the whole car without triggering the check engine light. Is that better?

1 Like

Let me add that I"m surprised a mechanic who hasn’t seen or driven the car, like the one from the email exchange, would automatically jump to a bad coil without a lot more information than we have.