Before I overwhelm you with details, I want to be clear with my main question(s): Can you tell me if my car’s current problems may relate to repair work performed at local service center; namely do the problems result from a bad timing belt job? If so, do you have suggestions for how I should approach the service center about problems and getting them taken care of.
History of a 2005 Civic CE:
In March of 2010 my wife and I had our car serviced at the Honda dealership where we had purchased it new about 5 years prior. The service included replacing the water pump and timing belt. This was done prior to driving/moving from North Carolina to Oklahoma. My wife and I have never had a problem with this dealership and had been taking the care there since we had purchased it.
Roughly 18 months later the car reached the 100k mile mark and we took advantage of a 100k mi. check up offered by Honda at our local Honda dealership in Oklahoma. We are told that the water pump leaked and needed to be replaced. The one we had put in 18 months prior was 6 months out of warranty. After some back and forth with the decision we had the water pump replaced as well as the timing belt since it is much more cost effective to do both at the same time. Those repairs were made in April 2012.
Then the trouble began.
Within about one week, the car started overheating while stopped at stoplights. Once moving again the engine would cool. The motion seemed to cool the engine, as if the fan was not running. The problem was intermittent. So the first time I took the car back to the Honda Service Center for repairs, the mechanics could not duplicate the problem. However, they were able to find a problem the second time I brought it back; a faulty fan switch, which was possibly damaged during the water pump/timing belt repair, or possibly not. Though they did not unambiguously admit fault, the dealership did not charge me for the fix.
That worked for about two more weeks, then the same problem began again. As before, the problem could not be duplicated when I brought the car to the dealership. The second time I took it in, the mechanics told me that they let the car idle for a long time as well as drove it around 15 miles in the city and on the highway. Nothing caused it to overheat. No repairs were done but the problem has not repeated since that visit.
Then all hell broke loose.
After another two weeks passed, I was driving along a highway (speed limit 75 mph). I was accelerating from about 65 to 75 mph when something ‘gave’ in the car. It was very much like the power was choked out. Accelerating was rough and jolting. The check engine light came on and has stayed on since. I should point out that the Civic is an automatic transmission and the point that it ‘gave’ was when the engine revs just before speeding up in the ‘passing gear’.
Since then, I have only driven the car four times out of absolute necessity .The car now shuts off while driving, thankfully only at lower speeds so far. The check engine light stays on. It drives like it has almost no power. If I baby the accelerator it will still drive, just not too well or smoothly. If I give the car too much gas and it will shake and potentially shut off.
The last two things that may or may not be related or relevant. On one recent occasion, I turned on the AC and the vents began to blow white odorless smoke into the cabin. It was a hot and humid day, so this could have been water vapor. However, we have never known the car to do this before even under similar environmental/weather conditions. Also, sometimes the radio will just ‘stop’. This did not occur before the most recent timing belt replacement. As I drive, my local NPR station will abruptly turn to static without change in the digital station dial. If I push the preset button, Car Talk comes through clearly once again.
Thank you for reading this and I will greatly appreciate any insight.