Car dies while driving

My manual 98 Honda civic hatchback has 435,000 miles. But for the past 5 months, it has had a reoccurring problem: it loses power at unpredictable times while I’m driving. The gas stops responding and the check engine and battery lights come on. Have to pull over, turn the car off and usually have to wait on the side of the road 5 minutes before it will start again. Lately, it can take as long as 15 minutes. Sometimes, it will restart immediately or after only two minutes. So far, trying to get at this problem, the car has gotten: new battery, new alternator, new spark plugs, new coil, new distributer, new ignition switch, diagnostic testing (that indicated the coil [replaced] and the catalytic converter). There does not seem to be any consistent environment that goes along with the car turning off while driving. It happens regardless of how full the gas tank is and regardless of the weather.
It’s pretty bad to be going 70 on the highway and suddenly have to throw on the flashers and pull over… especially when there is no shoulder because of winter weather. Does anyone know what this is? Or is the car just old and tired?

I’m going to throw a wild guess out there. Your gas tank has crud in it which clogs a sock-like filter inside the tank. When the car shuts off the suction allows the crud to fall back down to the bottom of the tank. Car starts, fuel pump creates suction, enough crud clogs that filter, and it shuts off again. Drop the gas tank, it needs to be cleaned or replaced, lose that internal filter and put an inline one in. Thats a possibility I would research

Your generation of Honda is under a Recall for faililng ignition switches which can cause a problem like this. Based on the description of the problem it does sound like a switch issue.

Call your local Honda dealer and provide the service department with the VIN from the car. They can tell you in a few minutes if yours is one the cars under the Recall.
If so, you can have this switch replaced free of charge as long as the Recall has never been done in the past. The number of prior owners or vehicle mileage is unimportant as there are no limits on Recalls.
Ask that any other outstanding Recalls be done at the same time. It’s free; take advantage of it.

If that’s the original switch then it’s had a good long life.

The problem might be caused by faulty crankshaft position sensor.

The crank sensor informs the computer whether or not the engine is rotating. As long as the computer detects that the engine is rotating the computer will operate the fuel pump, the fuel injectors, and the ignition system.

If the crank sensor fails and computer loses the signal from the sensor, the computer see’s no reason to operate the fuel pump, injectors, and ignition system. So the engine shuts off.


Thank you

Next time this happens, squirt a little starter fluid in the throttle body. If it starts, then it’s the fuel pump.

But it alny seems to do it when the gears are trying to change!

This era of Civic also had issues with the main relay for the fuel injection system going bad, especially when it was warmer outside. My friend had the exact same car and it would take him anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to get his started because of the relay. I seem to recall him having issues with it randomly shutting off as well.