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A little worried

I should probably change my user name but I just a bought a 2011 honda civic 4 cylinder 1.8l with I-vtec. I just recently took it on a trip and had to go up a couple mountains. My RPM’S were at about 4300 almost 5k !! Is this normal at all?

I would keep the name - because I think it is funny and ironic.

What it means is that you were trying to maintain speed up the mountain (knowing what kind of grade/elevation change you were doing would help), and in order for that little 1.8L power plant to keep the speed the transmission had to downshift and get some more torque going.

Your engine has a rev limiter that will protect it from over-revving. You obviously have a tachometer as well and the tachometer had a “red-line” on it. The “red-line” is danger. Below the red line, your engine was built to handle it.

So either keep the speed and don’t worry, or if you don’t like it let your speed drop as you climb the mountains (or get something with a bigger engine in it).

Assuming it’s an automatic, start with a compression test. If the engine has a serious compressions problem (even though it’s only 2 year old, it could have been run dry of oin and suffered cylinder damage), that’d explain the need for the engine go to a higher gear ratio to get up hills.

Another possibility is that you’ve kicked into “limp home” mode.

Are there any codes? Have you checked?

Cig may be right. But that RPM sounds high to me.

By the way, IS it an automatic?

@cigroller‌ I’m gonna guess its a 6% uphill grade because that’s what it said going down. It does have a red line at 6500 and I think it should be fine. You were very helpful and I should be a little more comfortable next trip up. It shifts down to In-between 3500-4k on not such steep hills. Then revs up on steeper hills. Glad I don’t have to worry just keep an eye on the temperature I guess.

Well, 6% isn’t all that intense. What kind of speed are we talking about? Mountainbike’s concerns about compression are worth a look. I’d be less inclined to go with any kind of limp mode as that should come with a warning light and normally would remain in that mode for the duration of a drive. But if you are trying to pound a hill at 75mph or something, you’ll probably end up in something like 2nd gear and that will send the RPMs very high.

My 2002 Sienna has over 200,000 miles. When I get in a hurry, such as merging into high speed traffic, it often hits 5500 rpm, for 12 years now. At 5500 rpm it is running out really well.

@cigroller‌ 75 is the speed I was going. I doesn’t struggle i mean it gets going after getting into a lower gear. So is that still safe going that fast? I’m not pushing my car too hard?

@irlandes‌ I’m talking my RPM’S being like that for quite some time. 5-8 minutes at a time.

I’d just slow down a little. It probably wouldn’t cause a problem, but it can’t hurt to slow down.

I suspect there’s nothing wrong, you’re just going too fast up a grade with such a tiny engine. I know it’s possible, because I’ve had a suburban hovering at 4500rpm before, pulling a heavy trailer up a steep hill. I was only going 35mph, of course the trailer probably weighed close to 6000lbs.

You are going fast enough that 4300 rpm sounds right. The only fix is to slow down.

5spd auto trans. 2200 rpm/60mph/5th gear? 2600 in 4th or non-od. 3400 in 3rd? 4k in 2nd gear? must have been steep hill or you have heavy passengers.

Assuming it’s running fine otherwise, I think it just downshifted to keep you at 75 going up hill. I wouldn’t be worried.

Thanks to you all!! I won’t worry next time as much.

Find a similar car on a dealers lot and ask to test drive it. Compare the results of the other car to yours.

@cigroller‌ back to this. When going up it smelled like something burning. Not burning rubber like if my belts were burning just something that was hot I guess. Temp was fine and everything no smoke. Maybe that’s normal because the engine was revved up past 4k and it’s just hot metal from engine I’m smelling? I have had a car break down on my before and that’s why I’m so worried about these kind of things. I’m trying to see what’s normal and what’s not

Anytime you think you might have smelled something burning is a good time to take it to a shop for an inspection. Perhaps it is time you just did that and asked a mechanic to take the car out for a drive on the highway.

It’s probably normal. A 1.8 engine going up a mountain at 75mph with passengers would be screaming. I once owned a S-10 with a small 4 cylinder engine (2.2) auto transmission and it hit 4900 rpm at 70mph and stayed there. I didn’t own the little truck for very long.

@missileman, I had a friend with one of those s-10 s. it was unbelievably weak. I drove it once, in town, when he dropped off another car at a local shop. he said it was scary when he had to merge into traffic. I believe it!

was it normal for the truck to be so weak?

I was taught that keeping the rev low while climbing a hill is what cooks an engine. Though it sounds loud, the engine needs to spin up the water pump going to circulate coolant through the radiator at a higher rate.

And I don’t think you have a choice in how fast the engine turns. Even if you take your foot completely off the gas, it is going to stay in the low gear until you reach the top.


The answer to your question is yes

We have a few of those 2.2 liter S10 trucks in our fleet

And they’re wimpy, even when everything is working perfectly