Civic Overheating



I have a 2003 Civic LX Coupe, and last August it starting overheating. I brought it to the dealer and was told there was a hole in the radiator and it needed replacing (~$800). A few days later after a 8 hour drive, it started overheating again. I brought it to another Honda dealer and I was told the overflow pipe hadn’t been installed correctly when the radiator had been replaced. Things were fine up until about a month ago when the car overheated again on the highway. I pulled over, checked the coolant level, which was completely dry, and filled up the coolant tank and the reserve. This solved the overheating problem and I have been checking and topping up the coolant for the last month with no overheating. I brought the car back to the original dealer (that installed the radiator) a couple of days ago to report the losing coolant/overheating problem and they tell me I have a leaking water pump, and my cylinder head has been warped. The cost is going to be ~$1800. My question is this: is this a random un-forseeable problem, or is this a result of (inferior?) work done when my radiator was replaced after my initial overheating episode? ie. is this the dealers fault? Any help/advice would be enormously appreciated!!! Thanks very much… Geoff


How many miles on your Civic? I’m surprised this isn’t covered under a Honda warranty, the car being only 4 years old. You might want to explore this option, and if the car is covered, get your money back.

If it’s not covered, then avoid the dealer, go to a decent independant mechanic, who will charge much less than the dealer, not to mention will likely fix the problem right the first time.


I hate to say it, but this is the result of failure to check the coolant level on a regular basis. A leak can start at any time. It’s always a good idea to open the hood and check the oil, coolant, and other fluid levels on a periodic basis. If you had seen the coolant level going down you would have been able to salvage the cylinder head by repairing the leaking water pump before the radiator went completely empty.

Learn from this.


Neither the radiator or the water pump should have gone bad this early. How many miles do you have on this car and did you let anyone “flush” the cooling system before it started over heating?


Better call the Honda regional rep on this one. I’d say it would’ve been covered by original warranty (depends on miles too) until the attempted “fix” of the radiator. Who did that fix? How many miles? A leaking radiator, stuck thermostat, or low/missing coolant could indeed cause a warped head, but as was stated by another poster . . . shouldn’t you have checked the coolant level when the car began to overheat? Good luck! Rocketman


Check your fluids at least once a week… Preferably twice a week…


Yes, check them very often. Hondas seem to have this type of problem a lot.