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2018 Honda Civic NEED ADVICE

I have a new 2018 Honda Civic touring with dealer installed extras light console and floor illumination. I’ve had a handful of problems that the dealership says is normal or they can’t replicate. I’ll list the issues below, plus minor things that aren’t a big deal but might help point to the bigger issue, but I’m curious if this truly is normal…

  • car battery died and needed a jump after accessory mode was on for 45 minutes charging an iPhone, all other equipment was off (radio, fan, etc). Dealer advised to not leave accessory mode on for more than 5 minutes because of all the computers. (I wonder how I’m supposed to go to a drive-in movie.)
  • “BRAKE” light gives so many false positives, some with and some without the ‘beep beep’, that i no longer pay attention to it
  • that same beep sound is randomly is heard without the brake light appearing, ACC has been on, sometimes a car is sensed ahead of me and sometimes there’s no one around.
  • ACC has had two sharp decelerations, neither seemed appropriate for the traffic conditions. Harsh enough that one knocked a bag of food over, another had a car blasting their horn behind me.
  • Auto sensing wipers occasionally have a mind of their own, sometimes going full blast during a light drizzle, sometimes going slow during a down pour. Since auto mode and intermittent mode share the same spot, i have to manually turn on and off wipers to make intermittent mode work when the car is doing this.
  • engine sounds like it’s struggling, similar to how an older car is trying to go uphill. A friend suggested Honda may have added that ‘muscle car noise’.
  • head unit is rather slow to respond, attaching and using a phone (both iPhone and Samsung) are even more sluggish
  • The maybe natural sound electronics make when ACC details doing its job of accelerating versus braking seems quite loud.
  • service guy test drove it with me and said these things are normal, within range, etc., said he tested them in shop and all is fine. I still think much isn’t normal though and not sure how to fight it to have it fixed.

I’m hoping to take it in and get them to do something more, even if I’m without my new car for a day or three, but I’d really like to know what to fight for or what to accept as modem technology. I’ve had it since March and have about 8,000 miles on it, much of this has been a complaint to them since mile 100. Thanks!

Any time a car owner believes that the folks at his dealership are unresponsive or incompetent, then there is a need to “kick things up” to the corporate level. Contact info for Honda of America can be found in your Owner’s Manual.


True, and good point and something i can do, but i also want to make sure I’m not making a mountain out of a molehill, that these issues aren’t the new norm as they’ve hinted.

Yeah, don’t do that. Normal. All the computers stay “awake” in accessory and they draw quite a bit of current from the battery as the dealer told you. And just where can you still go to a drive-in movie?

Stop tailgating and that will stop. Read up on the system in your owners manual to understand how to use it first. If you are leaving 2 seconds between you and the car in front of you, then the car has a problem. Demonstrate it to the dealer.

Again, stop tailgating and that won’t happen.

If you don’t like it, turn it off. I have this feature on one of my cars and it can be turned off. Look in your owners manual for how.

The rest makes me think you didn’t take much of a test drive before buying this car. If you don’t like what you bought, sell it and buy another type of car. Life is too short to live with a car you don’t like.

Thanks mustangman, i think a few points were missed - not sure how it’s relevant but there is a drive-in within a half hour of me that i occasionally take my kids to. As for tailgating, when i mentioned these things happen inappropriately or false positives, I’m referring to no cars being around, hence no tailgating. Turning off the auto wiper mode isn’t possible without a wiring hack, best i could find at least. Demonstrating to the dealer led to nowhere - issues are sporadic and he doesn’t have all day to drive around with me, or was said it’s normal based off a description. And yes, i did take test drives, just not this specific car because it was specially ordered.

It sounds like this is all an electrical issue. My guess is that there is a bad ground or other connection somewhere. There are also several computers throughout the car running everything from the wipers, radio, climate control, and safety features of modern cars. My guess is that they aren’t getting the proper power from a power supply module and this is causing them to freak out.

I work on computers for a living. No, not car computers but the kind you type on and browse the web with… Often a failing power supply will still power the computer up but not without difficulties. I have seen laptops with a failing power supply still run but not charge the battery and run at the slowest possible speed for the processor. The same is true for desktops with the processor speed. You also get random instability and crashes. Some critical component isn’t getting the proper power and causes an unrecoverable error. This can be completely random so one time it will work just fine and another time it will crash. It will also manifest in different ways. I have a power supply tester to test all legs/rails of the power supply as well as the voltages. It doesn’t draw much current so doesn’t always identify a bad unit but if I find one that tests bad, out to the recycling pile it goes… Sometimes I will plug a known good power supply in even if the included supply tests good and that will fix the problem. The tester sometimes misses bad ones. On the other hand any it has shown as bad were definitely bad.

My GF used to own a Suzuki Reno (hatchback model of Forenza) and it had electrical gremlins as well as many other problems. That car was TERRIBLE so good riddance when it had to go bye bye due to a head gasket or similar. It would get random check engine lights. I would clear the code and it would never be the same when the check engine light came on again. It did have a few actual sensors fail as well. I knew there was an actual problem and not just a random code when the same code returned 3 times or more in a row after I cleared it.

Modern cars have so many sensitive electronics these days. What might seem like a minor electrical problem can really ruin your day.

Thanks cwatkin. Oddly, i work on computers too, the guts and the software, but not to the point of cars themselves with sensors and such. But i feel this gives me some insight to agree with what you’re saying, and hopefully enough to feel confident that something isn’t right - but that’s where i defer to those here that might have more car computer insight than me. I think there are some universal truths about computers in general though.

That said, anyone with a similar car that had the battery die from using accessory mode for a short while? Anyone willing to test it?

I don’t mean any disrespect to the service folks that have knowledge about these cars, including my dealership. I do, however, wish to push them to do more to solve the bigger problems and not dismiss or minimize it, as it feels like they have. And after a couple friends with brand new non-Honda cars that don’t have issues like the battery. (Yes, we tested it. I don’t know anyone with new Honda though.) I also understand they can’t spend 8 hours on my car alone and why I’m trying so hard to find consistent patterns.

“This is the new normal” is the modern-day version of the traditional BS statement–“they all do that”.
You can call their bluff by asking to test-drive the same model that you bought, in order to verify whether “they all do that”, or if yours is unique.

The issues are unpredictable and random, but i bet if they let me test drive the same model for a couple days, or they drive mine for a couple days, that would alleviate my concern or solidify my car’s “malfunctions”.

When I test drove the same model weeks ago for noises I’ve been hearing, the ‘muscle car’ engine and the clicking ACC, those sounds happened there too, although somewhat quieter. So I’m disappointed in Honda for not muffling those sounds better, but i can live with knowing it’s not just my car. (In a quiet ride, that clicking sound can be like chalk on a chalkboard after a while. I don’t regret my purchase for this alone, though, and for not noticing it during initial test drive.)

…or go to another dealership.

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Are you sure that you are not leaving the ignition in the “run” or “on” position? Normally the fan doesn’t operate in the accessory position so there is no need to switch it off.

I often leave the ignition in the accessory position while working on customers cars so the steering is unlocked and a discharged battery is rare.

People sometimes complain about the drone type sound from the engine in cars with a CVT transmission, the engines are no louder than those with conventional automatics but with the engine speed being steady during acceleration the noise is more apparent.

You can adjust the auto wiper sensitivity.

I would not even consider trying to recharge a phone or even my GPS from the car battery , Now while driving yes . It seems that would be a good way to have someone steal your phone unless you sat there with it the whole time.

I wonder if these guys tied into the wrong wiring when they installed the extra electrical widgets?

In the old days you could get around this stuff easily. Not so much anymore.


I believe I read somewhere in my owner’s manual that you should not charge your phone from the car battery with the engine off as it will quickly drain the battery. Probably should just carry a spare battery pack.

The engine droning is common to any car with a CVT and a small engine, the price you pay for getting 42 mpg. I find it’s not too bad in the new Civic but then again I generally don’t leadfoot it too much. Try a more gentle touch on the accelerator or turn up the radio.

The Power Points on my domestic vehicles are always live, no need for key. When we lost power for eight days thanks to hurricanes I would plug my phone in at night. No problem whatsoever with vehicle battery.

If your phone charges from a USB port, that is 5 volts at 2 amps max. Assuming 80% efficiency, from 12 volts that is about 1 amp. A typical car battery has 70 amp-hour capacity. So to 50% discharge the car battery would take 35 hours.

Although under some circumstances you can get 5 amp out of a USB2 port, so that would translate to 2.5 amps and 14 hours.


Whitey- I’m not sure how after-sales work, but will another dealership care if they didn’t sell me the car?

Nevada- yep, ignition was off. I didn’t try turning the fan on or off, I just observed that all the equipment was off and left it that way. Drone noise, or I think a buddy called it perforation noise? Anyway, I don’t care for it, but at least I now understand that it’s normal or intentional, and it’s consistent. That wiper dial, I’m used to it be a delay setting on non-auto cars, and just read & as you mentioned, it’s the sensitivity setting. I’ll fiddle around with that now. Thanks!

Volvo- I’m so used to charging my phone while the car is driving, on rare occasions like this while the car is not driving. My last car charged while the car was off; granted it was a 2004 without all the bells & whistles. But I would still think a car should be able to handle accessory mode for a while - a drive-in is a good example of why.

ok4450- that’s a reason I mentioned the extra installs, in case someone has insight in that area, as I thought maybe something is faulty with them or possibly the install.

Viffer (and all)- when I get a chance, i’ll test battery draining with accessory mode and with and without charging a phone. If I can replicate it, great. It’s all these things that are bothersome when they’re not consistent. If they are consistently flawed, I could deal with that cuz then I’d know what to expect.

Purebred- I miss those always live outlets!

BillRussell- that sounds factual enough that I could take it to the dealership and ask them to find the malfunction?

Is there something concrete that, from their perspective, a layman can show them “this is definitely something not right according to honda or math or science, please find and fix it”

Thanks all for the input!

check the charging current spec for your iphone. Typical spec is 2.1 amps, which equates to the 35 hour number, assuming the battery is in good shape.

Except that it wasn’t. There’s a lot of equipment that runs behind the scenes in a modern car. You don’t see any indication that it’s working and drawing power, but it is. A car is not an external battery pack for your phone and shouldn’t be used as such. If you need to charge regularly and don’t want to run your car, check out Anker external batteries. They’re reasonably priced, very well built, and can charge your phone 4+ times before needing a recharge.

The brake issues as you describe them are not normal. Cars should never suddenly slam on the brakes for no reason. The car is not safe to drive. Demand that it be fixed. Go to the attorney general if you need to. As an aside, find where the radar emitter is and see if some idiot forgot to remove a protective covering that might be confusing it.

I’m not aware of Honda doing the stupid engine sound enhancement garbage in the Civic… Yet, anyway.

Without quantifying what “slow” means regarding your head unit, it’s hard to comment.

I have read this sentence 5 times and still have no idea what you’re trying to say. Rephrase?

Bear in mind the phone will be fully charged in less than 2 hours at 2.1 amps. The quiescent draw once charged is minimal.

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