Electrical problem

have a 1999 honda civic. About two months ago I was driving on the highway, about 70 mph. Suddenly my speedometer went from 70 to 0 and then back up. A few fays later I noticed my light was out where the clock was. Then a few days after that I was driving and stopped at a light, my car then turned off. Well, not off, but mostly just the radio was on. I tried to start it 3 times and finally it worked. I brought it to my mechanic and he thought he fixed it.

A few weeks later, I went to see my sister. It drove fine, but I was stopped at a light and it turned off again. The light behind the clock has been off since October when I first noticed it.

Since November, it was fine besides the light. However, I was driving on the highway again a few days ago and the speedometer again went from about 70 to 0, but this time it didn’t go back up. I had to try and restart the car fives times before it worked.

My question for you is first, what is wrong with my car? I assume it’s electrical. Another question is, how much would it cost to fix?

Please help me!

Lots of possibilities.  I would start by making sure the instrument panel has a good ground.

okay, what exactly does that mean? Or how can I check that?

The light for the clock is a minor issue and is most likely just a burned out light bulb. It has nothing to do with the speedometer and shut down issue.

There may be a speed sensor used for the speedometer and if so the power to it may have a problem. The trouble may be with the ignition switch possibly or in a connection. I would first find out if there is a speed sensor used and if so how the power runs to it as clues to find the source of the trouble.

It is hard to say how much the repair cost will be for this but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is at least a couple of hours of labor time needed to find the trouble and fix it. I would want someone who specializes in electrical problems to work on it. Someone who doesn’t have much experience could waste a lot of time trying to find the trouble. Since the trouble is intermittent it makes the problem more difficult to find unless the tech can figure out a way to make the trouble occur. For instance, sometimes tapping on suspected trouble areas helps show up problems.

would a mechanic advertise if they are experienced with electrical problems? So it also sounds like more time rather than a part. If there is something with the sensor, would I be looking at a small part or something expensive?

It may not cost anything if you are lucky. Strange things happen when the engine to body ground (body end usually) gets rusty. Disconnect and scrape/wire brush the end and reconnect. Don’t run the engine with it disconnected. This wire is usually all by itself, sometimes near the alternator. Clean and hope. My 82 Honda Accord had a thick one that looked like a battery cable and connected to the radiator mount frame. Yours is probably smaller.

There is always the possibility of something like a failing fuel pump, main relay, etc. ,etc. causing something like this but you should strongly consider the possibility of a failing ignition switch.

Your car us under a Recall for this very issue. This means that you can get this done free of charge (both parts and labor) at any Honda dealer if this Recall has not been done in the past. There are several other Recalls on these cars so get them all taken care of at once. It’s free, so take advantage of it.