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95 Honda Civic dying while driving

My Civic just started dying while driving. When I put it into park to try and restart the gear shift locks. After about 20 mins it starts right up like nothing. I don’t lose power, the battery is less than year old. The temperature gauge sits right at normal. I recently replaced the header, head gasket, exhaust, water pump, timing belt, thermostat, fuel pump, I think that’s it. Last oil change was a month ago. Just trying to be thorough in recent repairs/maintenance.
This just started this week. I’ve read some other topics and I have deduced it may be the main relay or ignition relay but B4 I just start purchasing unnecessary parts I would be really appreciative if someone could give me advice that’s specific to my issue. Other posts don’t exactly match my problems. I’m all for plug and play repairs because I really don’t want to take it back to the shop. All repairs were done in Nov

How many miles on the car? What engine? Any warning lights on the dash before it dies?

Get yourself a main relay… In you are feeling adventurous loosen the 10mm bolt that holds the relay in place and let it dangle… Get the vehicle to die again and start knocking on the relay and I bet it comes back to life.

The dash lights can also point you to the relay… a few do not light up when the relay is out to lunch and your fuel pump does not prime for 2 seconds when you turn the key to the on or run position.

If that relay has never had problems till now, you are ahead of the game, but the relay is the only item in that particular vehicle that will stop it dead and then let it come back to life the way you describe. Its one of the very few known trouble items in the Civic and Accord. I miss my Honda’s…

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The problem might be with a faulty ignition control module located in the distributor.,1995,civic,1.6l+l4,1168837,ignition,ignition+control+module+(icm),7172

Sometimes these are effected by heat and fail and the engine shuts off. Then if you let the engine cool down the module works again.

One way to check for a bad module is, carry an extra spark plug in the vehicle. The next time the engine shuts off, open the hood and remove one of the spark plug wires from a plug, and plug the extra spark plug into the end of the plug wire, and lay the plug on the valve cover.

Now have someone crank the engine over. There should be a bright blue spark at the tip of the plug. If the spark is a yellow color or there is no spark, it could be because of a faulty ignition module.


This is true… I cant deny this…

The difference will be whether the fuel pump primes… and the dash lights… when its the ignitor all looks normal and the fuel pump primes. When its the relay, you dont get fuel prime on ignition On / Run and a couple lights on dash do not illuminate…I forget which however.

Could be a faulty ignition switch too. Lots of possibilities on a 20+ year old car. Try driving w/just a single key in the ignition, see if that has any effect. Dangling keychain swinging around can turn a car off if there’s a faulty or worn switch.

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No engine lights on. 200k miles. I do keep up on maintenance but I’ve only had the car for 6 months but I did put a lot of work into by a certified mechanic…now I’m broke

The only lights that lose power r the shifting lights on the dashboard (P, R, N, D4 …) those have always come in and out but no other lights in or out of car lose power. But I will try the relay switch. Thank u so much for the advice

No problems with the relay up til now. I’ve only owned for 6 months or so but I’ve put a lot of work and baby it

I do hear it prime when it dies and most dash lights on the set that is not on has always come in and out

Just in case you do not know it you do not need to reply to each individual post reply. Your post will be seen by everyone . That way you can answer several questions in one post.

Thanks this is helpful I will try this. Super grateful :grin:

Thanks for explaining the difference! Ur the best

When was the last time a tune up was done?

sounds like you have a problem in the ignition system

November ish. When I got the header, water pump/timing belt replaced. I told the guy to do oil change and tune up. Looking at the receipt it just says he replaced a (1) spark plug wire. Tune up now is replacing all wires and plugs right?

Had the same issue with an older model Honda was doing the same thing it will shut off wild driving…turn out it was losing spark…turn out the distributor was bad…you can get on eBay for less than $100 with the coil included.

I would replace wires and spark plugs if they have not been replace…you can buy everything online to save some money and just pay someone for labor.