Bad distributor

civic
honda

#1

I recieved a full tune-up and was driving on the freeway when my car died. I was going 60mph at the time. I called the shop which preformed the tune-up and they sent a mechanic to look at my car. The mechanic could not fix my car and towed my car back to the shop. They told me that my distributor was the problem. They said that my distributor probably was weak at the time of the tune-up and that it failded because it could not handle all the new componets. Is this possible or did they screw up the tune-up which caused the distributor to go bad? It seems fishy that my car died after getting a tune up when I had not had any pervious problems. Also that want to charge me $500 for the distributor after I just paid $350 for the tune up. What should or can I do?

Thanks,

John


#2

The odds of the new components or a mistake on their part having anything to do with this failure are astronomical. Anything is possible but it’s very far-fetched and really should not even be a consideration.

Distributor failures are not that rare on Hondas anyway and hopefully the diagnosis is correct. It is possible to have an electrical fault that could lead someone to believe the distributor is bad; fusible link, fuse, ignition switch, etc.

You did not state what year the Civic is but a number of Civics are under Recall for ignition switch problems and the symptom is stalling. A Recall (free parts/labor to you) would have to be performed by a Honda dealer if it has not been covered already.
Even Hondas that are not covered under the Recall can suffer the same problem as a covered vehicle.


#3

My honda civic is a 1997. This problem occured 15 minutes after I picked up my car.
Thanks,
John


#4

Just coincidence.
The distributor price is very high. It may be the price for a new distributor. A re-manufactured distributor costs $175, retail. A 50% shop markup takes that to $250. It take 30 minuets to change the distributor and set the timing. Shop around for an independent shop/mechanic.
If the ignition switch is causing the stalling, power will be lost, momentarily, to other things. The clock may begin flashing. The radio may go to “CODE”.


#5

A quick look shows the 97 Civic is under Recalls for floor mats, air bags, and several for lighting but that does not mean that it can’t suffer an ign. switch problem same as the cars under Recall.

Switch problems are fairly common this era of Honda because a sizeable number of electrical components are run directly through the switch; including high current draw things like the fuel pump.
All of this current means heat and eventually a plastic switch can take no more.

I only mention this because it’s unknown to me how the distributor diagnosis was done. An instant lack of spark causing the car to die suddenly could certainly be caused by a faulty distributor but it could also be caused by the switch or a fusible link going South.
Without car in hand, I have to defer to the shop and hope they’re correct in their diagnosis.