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'94 Honda Civic


I need to know if I should cut my losses with my '94 civic or keep putting money into it. I enjoy the car, but it is beginning to make me nervous.

This last week I had it in the shop 3 times. First it was to replace the timing belt kit, radiator, and thermostat (Monday-Tuesday). Wednesday morning I receive a call saying that my brake master cylinder was also bad and needed to be replaced. I picked the car up but on the way home heard a sound similar to the sound that recked the timing belt and radiator, so I took it back. Thursday morning the mechanic called and told me he could not hear it and would I take a drive with him. Went to the shop, drove around town and did not hear the noise, dropped the mechanic at the shop and head home. About 3 miles from the shop I merged onto a major road with a posted speed of 55 (but everyone does 65/70) and my car only went 20. I got the car towed back to the shop and that evening they told me it was the catalytic converter, but Friday told me the car was ready to be picked up because it was dirty spark plugs.

This made me nervous so I took it to another shop where they told me the timing was off and I need a new air filter.

The car is 18 years old with 126,000 miles on it. Both mechanics have assured me the car is safe and I should keep it because it will run forever. I know Hondas can last 20 years, but mine has been in the shop 3 times in the last year to replace the above items, battery, alternator, spark plugs, and something else (can’t remember).

I would love to hear what others think of this issue.

“The sound that wrecked the timing belt and radiator”

I wonder what that may have been. I am guessing that you have been driving with a rattling catylitic convertor but the shop didn’t hear the rattle and replaced your radiator and timing belt because thier time was up (leaking, age).

A plugged catylitic convertor can cause the spark plugs to become fouled, was the convertor replaced?

I am very suspicious of mech #1. It sounds to me from what you describe, they messed up the timing belt install and are not reading up. With that said, much of what you describe is normal ware and tear on a car of this age.

It’s worth keeping, IF you find a competent mechanic. Honda’s are not that much different than other cars but they do have a few quirks that mechanics need to know about, but most mechanics do know about them. This was one of the best Civics Honda ever made, they seem to have been going downhill ever since.

Thanks for the comments.

Nevada_545, the convertor was not replaced. They quoted me $380 to fix it which is why I was surprised when they said it was spark plugs. I was worried they had spot welded it, which is illegal in Virginia and it would fail emissions if it was found.

I am glad to hear all is normal. This is what I was thinking but I have been replacing things more frequently so I was worried.

An 18 year old car with 100k+ miles is expected to have some problems, some serious. If this is your only car, I don’t think it is going to be reliable enough for you going forward. In that case it is probably best to sell it. Ifit is your second car and you don’t mind having to take it to the shop once in a while, it might be ok as long as you give it the recommended servicing at the intervals Honda recommends. If so, ask neighbors, co-workers etc for a recommdation for an independent mechanic who specializes in Hondas.