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

98 Honda Civic - Wondering Why I Paid Mechanic?

Hello knowledgeable people can someone please help me to understand a car problem?

I drive a 1998 Honda Civic EX - automatic, that recently has been threatening to stall while it idles at red lights. It has actually stalled in traffic twice - but has started back up again and driven fine the rest of the way. The check engine light was also on when this started to happen.

I took it to Autozone where a P1362 was read by their diagnostic machine.

I took it into a local mechanic who claimed it was a “faulty crank shaft censor.” $280.00 and 4 days of using a rental later, I just got back home from a situation at a red light where the car threatened once again to stall.

The rpm guage hung very closey to the “0” mark as the car shook as if it were going to quit, once the light turned green and I could go, it drove just fine.

The check engine light came back on the day after I left the mechanic. I have contacted the mechanic since - left a message after hours, but I am afriad I have basically donated them $280.00 since the problem has apparently not been fixed.

After blowing all of my money, I have recently heard that bad gasoline can cause these symptoms. Could that also trigger a check engine light? Have I been ripped off by the mechanic?

Thank you for your time!


No the mechanic did their best judgement based on code and fixed accordingly. Bad fuel is very rare and a red herring for many problems as it is a red herring. Given your problem still exists and likely you have burnt your “bad fuel” it is likely something else related to the code.

Frustrating when a problem not fixed the first time but no rip off IMHO.

you had a check engine light.

the mechanic replaced that part.

then he cleared that code.

now it is throwing another code to trigger the check engine light.

have this code read. if the same code is there, then you may have a beef.

but i will guess there is another problem, since your car still is bucking.

the codes change depending on whats wrong. don’t be so quick to blame the mechanic, until you get the next code.

next time when you get the code, post the code here BEFORE you go to a mechanic. maybe some here can help you interpret the code.

As both prior responses indicated, the code does not say faulty crank shaft sensor, rather it means that there is something signaling a problem around the crank sensor. It could be a crank sensor, but it could have been other items as well. Your mechanic made a judgment call and replaced the crank sensor. I don’t know if it was a good call or a bad call. I don’t even know what make model or year of car you have, nor it’s condition or miles etc. We don’t have enough information to second guess a mechanic who had a lot more information at had than we do.

Sometimes work just has to be done because it is the best guess.

As suggested get the code read again and post the results (along with make model year, miles repair history etc.) here before going back to the mechanic.

Oh the code was read at Autozone as having to do with:

A bad TDC Sensor
Poor Electrical Sensor
Open Ciruit or Connection

The engine light came back on, a mile or so after I left the shope. I called them, turned back around, had them look at it again - same day. They erased the code and swore up and down they had checked the engine and everything was fine. A day later, after that code had been erased by the mechanic and the rental returned, the light came back on again - I left them a message last night. I am not a wealthy person by any measure.

It is a 1998 Honda Civic EX with 110k - I had previously taken it to the dealer for an express oil change about a month ago and even the dealer said it was in good shape…so - I am not saying all mechanics are evil, but I have had experinces with some that were not completelt honest - which is why I am doubtful now.

Thanks for advice!! - I will be calling the shop back today.

big issue has the car had the timing belt replaced lately?

Since the code can be triggered by a fault in the circuit to the sensor also then that would appear to be the real trouble. This kind of trouble can be checked using the proper test equipment to see if the trouble is really with the sensor or the circuit. There are good shops around that can do the proper testing before just replacing parts. If I was working on this I would check the connections to the sensor using an oscilliscope. It will show if the sensor is working as it should be or not.

Hopefully the shop that did the work will get this fixed without a further charge to you since they seem to have misdiagnosed the trouble the first time.

This points to an Idle Air Control valve problem.
My question is this. You took the car to AutoZone for a scan and got the 1362 code. Did you then go to the mechanic with instructions, and possibly the part in hand, to install this part based on what AutoZone told you? If so, mechanic is off the hook IMHO.

Nope. I just gave them the print out. Someone who works on cars is going to have more insight than I would or a sales rep at Autozone would. A lot of pro mechanic bias, but I just wantmy car to work, that is all. money doesnt not come easy many of us.

Yes - tune up and timing belt before 90k thanks!!

P1362 “TDC sensor, no signal”. This description doesn’t say, “the sensor is bad”. This trouble code (P1362) just means that the signal isn’t getting to the engine computer; or, the computer isn’t detecting the signal. The CIRCUIT is troubleshot for the problem. It could be a broken wire. It could be the way the crankshaft position sensor is mounted. It could be etc. That’s why it’s called, "troubleshooting"!
I always wonder if someone is taking the easy way, by just changing parts…wrong; but, easy (and profitable).

Thank you!

Thanks Hellokit. I just hope they will fix it and my car will stop stalling. If they can do that much, it’s more than I could do on my own time and money wise so, I would feel like I didn;t spent the $340.00 in vain.

Having AZ scan the car and taking a printout to your mechanic is a real slippery slope to be walking around on.

As hellokit mentions, that code does not mean the crank sensor is bad; only that a problem exists in that circuit. It is up to the mechanic to inspect the system and verify where the problem lies. A crank sensor is easily tested anyway.

If the shop blindly assumed the problem was the crank sensor based on the printout then they not only made a mistake assuming that was the issue they also made a mistake by even considering the printout in the first place.
They should do their own scan.
(And I still think the problem is the IAC valve) Hope that helps.

The Honda Civic (and CR-V) don’t have Crankshaft Position Sensors. The TDC (Top Dead Center) sensor is in the distributor. The problem is with the TDC sensor & circuit, not the crankshaft position sensor (which it doesn’t have).
There is a Crankshaft Fluctuation Sensor, but, that’s not the problem. It doesn’t detect top dead center; but, it detects irregular crankshaft rotation (such as caused by misfire).
So, trouble P1362 is that no signal, if produced by the TDC Sensor, is continuously getting from the TDC Sensor (on the green wire) to the engine computer; or, the 5 volts on the red power wire is intermittent; or, the TDC sensor is intermittent.
If the shop doesn’t have the technical data, it is in the Haynes Repair Manual #42025, Chapter 6, page 6-12. The terminals to test (#3 to #7) should have an ohm value of 350 to 700 ohms (red wire and green wire).

Since the problem is intermittent, a “wriggle & shake” test should be done on the wiring (red and green wires, especially). The wiring should be inspected for damage. The electrical connectors (“plugs”) should be disconnected and reconnected to insure good connections.
If it’s suspected, after proper troubleshooting, that the CKP (CranKshaft Position) sensor, in the distributor, is at fault, the distributor will need to be replaced (unless the shop can just replace the CKP sensor).

Thanks for your comments and advice. Went to the dealer and they replaced the distributor: $416.00. It seemed to ride fine, but then the low/rough idle kept creeping back. Keep in mind, the dealer told me the new distributor would solve the low idle problem, as well as elimn. the check engine code and power loss symptom. They said this after running their own scan. It has not stalled since the distributor has been replaced. However, it will idle low/vibrate and threaten to stall at redlights, in parking lots. When I accelerate, the idle is normal. It (the engine?) also tends to jump a bit if I have been coasting downhill and have to come to an abrupt stop.

I eagle eye the tachometer all the time - it also jumps at times at low speeds when I am coasting and step back on the gas, but 90% of the time it has a smooth transition from idle, or low speed to a faster speed. So I went back and asked Honda to clean the throttle body and then clean the IAC valve. They cleaned the throttle body no charge, they did charged me for cleaning the IAC $143.00.

In the course of bringing it back to the dealer repeatedly over the low idle problem and routine maint. - which is still has, I had a gravel shield fall off while driving directly after transmission fluid flush, I discovered I had been charged for a CV joint that had not actually been replaced (by a Ken Towery) - now split with all the grease out (Ken Towery went ahead and replaced the axle no charge after arguining and then putting it on a lift and seeing it). My tires were out of balance right after transimmission service also (at Honda). Honda still has not corrected the low/rough idle. They did a second diagnosis, checked the fuel pressure, fuel pump, etc. and ruled those out - BUT, they did not give me any idea what else it could be - just dodged it by saying we can;t reproduce the low idle (which tends to happen sporadically, as I told them, and more often in warmer weather or after the car has been in the sun). They said nothing about a vacuum leak. This was all back in October.

I have gotten more straight answers from this site than from the salesmanager at the Honda dealer. All they do day in and out is work on Hondas. Strange. On the low/rough idle issue, they have made about: $530.00, without fixing the problem. Not too sure where to turn next, but I could really use an honest mechanic.

Can’t thank you all enough for your time and comments on this issue, it has really helped me to avoid being lead astray. I do need spark plugs (acc. to owner manual), I am going to an independent. Hope this guy is honest!