Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Civic Engine

I have a 2006 Honda Civic with just over 60K miles on it. I just had the scheduled maintenance. Last week the car started smelling of maple syrup. Yesterday is started making a terrible noise and smoking. The dealer is saying that coolant leaked into the engine and the engine needs to be replaced. It was also stated that this is a known problem with some Hondas. Is this accurate?

A Civic that need new engines at 60K miles is a rare creature. This is not a “known problem” for these cars.

Without knowing what was done during the recent service it’s pretty hard to make a guess as to what went wrong, but this is NOT normal for Honda Civics.

What was done for this scheduled maint.? Was it done at the dealer? I’m curious - I have an 09 civic.

If the dealer said “this is a known problem” then why did it show up AFTER the sched. maintenance? Sounds fishy.

I am really amazed that Honda and Subaru owners consider their cars to be at the pinnacle of automotive quality and reliability…This board is full of horror stories like the one the OP posted…


What kind of car needs a new engine at 60k miles? -foreign OR domestic??

It looks like cracked engine blocks might be a somewhat common occurrence with the 2006 Civic:

Always take those sites with a serious grain of salt, but there are numerous people saying their mechanics are seeing these as a common problem.

I also see around 30 complaints (didn’t double check for redundancy) of cracked engine blocks at NHTSA, which is a reasonably significant number, if just a small % of overall production - most people do not make formal complaints to NHTSA, so the number experiencing the problem is often orders of magnitude higher.

Quite honestly, the 2006 Civic looks like a lemon of a model year, with problems like this and the numerous recalls against it.

No good car should need a new one then. My 1987 Camry needed one at 40k miles… (and another at 80k)

The 2006 Civics don’t look that great when you start digging.

Interesting website. Thanks for the link.

Color me stunned; a Honda with a problem. Talk about a meteor from deep space.

The maintenance was done at the dealer. I don’t remember everything that was done, but it was typical checks - breaks, fluids, tires, etc.

Again, please don’t take that website as a bible of any sorts - it is far, far, far from scientific. I’d trust NHTSA’s reports first, but you do see some common problems showing up at carcomplaints… for example, you see Hondas late 90s/early 00s transmissions problems coming through loud and clear, along with early 00s Explorer AWD failures, things like that that are truly common problems.

57 complaints of cracked engine blocks there I consider less damning than 30 at NHTSA (better filtering there). But it does bring up that there may have been a problem.

On the other hand, most complaints at that site are so generic (ie, “transmission failure” to describe some older Taurus model years when the vast majority of failures were in the transmission range sensor, a cheap and easy fix), so having such a specific complaint makes me believe that there may well have been a problem that affected at least some batches of engine castings, at the least…

I would never take it as the gospel, but it’s interesting reading. Also a good place to vent if you have a problem, but, as you said, not scientific.

I’m not one who believes all Hondas and Toyotas run forever, but in general they are pretty reliable, and I’ve had excellent luck with the ones I’ve owned. Not sure I’d buy a Honda with an automatic, though.

Caddyman, why must your generalize and attempt to categorize people to fit your world view?

As a Honda owner, I don’t consider my Hondas to be at the pinnacle of automotive quality or reliability. When you consider things like road and wind noise, they fail the “quality” standard. When you consider their automatic transmission failures, they fail the “reliability” standard. However, I do expect Honda to be at the pinnacle of longevity, which is easily measured and for which they have earned their good reputation.

Now, regarding the OP’s question, that sweet smell was the engine coolant, not maple syrup. When you smelled that, you should have checked your engine coolant. It may have saved your engine.

Coolant leaks can be caused by quality issues, but they can also be caused by things like road debris and other objects. Before we know whether or not this is a common issue, we need to know the cause.

They’re more fun with a manual anyway. :slight_smile:

Just curious…If you know, what did Honda do to correct the engine block crack issue???

I should refine my question… Is this a 2006 civic only issue? What, if you know, was done by Honda to correct this in subsequent model years?

I own an 09 civic. Do you know of any problems with those? -other than the trans.?


From what I can tell, the transmission problems on the Civic really seemed to tail off after 2003. I can’t say they’re bulletproof, but it looks like Honda did something to fix the problem.

As for the engine block, I see a few reports for 07s and 08s, but nothing I would deem overly concerning at this point. Maybe they fixed something? Maybe it was just a batch of bad castings?

That’s why, unlike many people, I actually LIKE to see an automaker make a recall. If Honda had recalled a bunch of 06 Civics for this problem, I’d be more confident that they had tracked down the problem, isolated it, and fixed it. Even a TSB or an extended warranty for those affected would let me know not to worry about other model years.

That’s why I advised a family member NOT to buy a Civic with an automatic transmission a few years ago - there was no evidence saying that the problems had tailed off nor had I seen any evidence that Honda had isolated and fixed the problem, though in retrospect, it looks like they may have for that model year.

On the other hand, I had a lot more confidence getting a Taurus with an AX4N transmission after seeing that the chronic failures of the old AXOD-E had been identified and addressed with the newer transmission… Ford didn’t step up and cover the repairs as well as they should have, but I could tell that they had fixed them for the future…

A 2006 Civic, for one…

About the only thing I can see that might be related is the engine overheating/coolant loss tsb