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Old 25th September 2009, 03:16   #1
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Default Honda Civic 1.8V MT display/electronics problem

We own a Honda Civic 1.8V MT purchased in October 2007 (2 + 2 year warranty).

I used to be the primary driver of the car until the end of June when I left India to do my Masters. The following is being reported as was told to me over the phone: last month, as the car was being driven, the display reset and the speedo continued to read zero (+ the warning lights of the ABS, etc came on) even though the vehicle continued to move and operate as though nothing was wrong. This happened intermittently.

Peninsular Honda (in Cochin) took the car in for scanning, charged Rs.1k and returned it the next day saying they couldn't find anything wrong with it.

About two weeks later, the same problem manifested. This time Honda took it in told us they were keeping the car under observation. Around 2 days later, they called up to say the service center is unable to figure out what is wrong and they have notified people at the Honda factory.

We were later told that Honda people from Delhi had come to examine the car and they are replacing the "memory cards" and the displays under warranty. They then said they don't have the parts required in stock "in India" (??) and they would return the car by the end of the week or the beginning of the next (~29 Sept,09).

We are satisfied that Honda is fixing the problem without causing too much inconvenience. Do you know anyone else who has faced a similar problem with their Civic? Any idea what could have caused the problem? (Honda appears to only know what is wrong not how it became that way).
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Old 25th September 2009, 14:38   #2
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Originally Posted by koshyjohnuk View Post
charged Rs.1k and returned it the next day saying they couldn't find anything wrong with it.
Quote:
This time Honda took it in told us they were keeping the car under observation.
Quote:
We were later told that Honda people from Delhi had come to examine the car and they are replacing the "memory cards" and the displays under warranty.
Quote:
We are satisfied that Honda is fixing the problem without causing too much inconvenience.
Though I'm glad that Honda, as a company, stepped in and traced the root cause of the problem, how dare the dealer charge 1K? For what? He had better refund this money back to you. Its obvious that whatever they did was a quick fix (reset something). On a related note, I'm increasingly seeing Honda come forward to solve issues. Helps customer confidence. A welcome move.

I do hope they run a service bulletin and change the relevant parts on all potentially affected Honda Civics.
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Old 25th September 2009, 14:42   #3
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Good show Honda, try speaking to the dealer for a refund as GTO mentioned. By any chance the battery/alternator of the car faced any problem any time? New age cars are filled with sensitive gizmo's which can pack up, if you have power/voltage issues.
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Old 25th September 2009, 15:20   #4
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Who was driving the car in your absence ? A driver ? Is it possible that he tried to tamper with the odo, I mean to disconnect or wind it or something. To me it feels like a one-off case rather than a defective part needing replacement on a batch of Civics.
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Old 25th September 2009, 15:37   #5
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I'm not clear about the issue that had happened.
Was it the speedometer became zero while running or the odo/trip meter had changed to zero?
I'm surprised for being charged without solving the problem and knowing the car is still under 2+2 year warranty.
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Old 26th September 2009, 11:04   #6
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Though I'm glad that Honda, as a company, stepped in and traced the root cause of the problem, how dare the dealer charge 1K? For what? He had better refund this money back to you. Its obvious that whatever they did was a quick fix (reset something). On a related note, I'm increasingly seeing Honda come forward to solve issues. Helps customer confidence. A welcome move.

I do hope they run a service bulletin and change the relevant parts on all potentially affected Honda Civics.
Well Rs.150 was for coming to our place and taking the car to the service center. Since it was slightly unnerving, and it wasn't clear whether any further problems would manifest (like breaking down in the middle of the road), we told them to come and take it. The rest must be for hooking the car to their computers for diagnostics. They should be returning the 1k to us but I don't think anyone back home will be pursuing that as long as the car comes back fine.

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Good show Honda, try speaking to the dealer for a refund as GTO mentioned. By any chance the battery/alternator of the car faced any problem any time? New age cars are filled with sensitive gizmo's which can pack up, if you have power/voltage issues.
We've never had any electronics problems with the car. The battery is still the same one the car came with 2 years back and there are no problems that either.

Any minor problems we had like a faint rattling noise was investigated and fixed for free. Even minor paint touch-ups were free but we all know how they fleece us for regular repairs.

The only way this car is different electronically from a stock civic 1.8V is ambient lighting, parking sensors (both by the Honda dealer) and a set of Eagle eyes with 6000K Autogauge xenons for the low beam projectors (fit about a year back by the same people who've done it for almost all civics in Cochin, even found out about who was doing it from the Honda service center; I imagine any problems with it would have turned up a long time back).

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Who was driving the car in your absence ? A driver ? Is it possible that he tried to tamper with the odo, I mean to disconnect or wind it or something. To me it feels like a one-off case rather than a defective part needing replacement on a batch of Civics.
I never let anyone else drive the car but in the interest of maintaining the vehicle, I relented to having this really trusted driver take my mother around in it. The car is never taken out without someone from the family being in it.

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I'm not clear about the issue that had happened.
Was it the speedometer became zero while running or the odo/trip meter had changed to zero?
I'm surprised for being charged without solving the problem and knowing the car is still under 2+2 year warranty.
Speedometer became 0 and stayed stuck at 0 even with the car in motion. I can't figure exactly what happens but it sounded like the system crashes, "reboots" (like when you turn it on and the warning lights come on), and then remains in this suspended state with possibly some of the odo/ac/music/speed/fuel screens remaining the in off state (and some warning lights particularly the ABS remaining on). The car continues functioning as though nothing is wrong apparently. It used to go away if it was turned off for a minute or two and then turned on again.
Nothing wrong with the odo reading (whenever the display worked, I guess).

Well, as of now, the parts still haven't arrived from abroad (possibly from Japan). I expected Honda to have localized the electronics used and stuff but it appears to not be the case.
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Old 1st October 2009, 11:39   #7
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Feels like something has gone wrong with the CAN bus which interconnects all the electronics inside the cabin with the ECU. They do not manufacture or source any of the electronics related to the ECU because it is all propreitory and local manufacturing would involve technology transfer which they probably don't want to do.

You should probably fight Peninsular to get refund of the 1K since they mis-diagnosed something which ended up being true later.

Last edited by ImmortalZ : 1st October 2009 at 11:40.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 10:42   #8
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Feels like something has gone wrong with the CAN bus which interconnects all the electronics inside the cabin with the ECU. They do not manufacture or source any of the electronics related to the ECU because it is all propreitory and local manufacturing would involve technology transfer which they probably don't want to do.

You should probably fight Peninsular to get refund of the 1K since they mis-diagnosed something which ended up being true later.
Anyway, the car has been fixed (apparently). We told them to service and polish it - it turns two years old in 3 days time. They will probably reduce the 1k from the service amount - we asked them about it and they said they will check with their higher ups.

If they decide not to refund, there's nothing we can do. Nothing worth 1k anyway - if it was a higher amount then probably. I know this from experience - I've sued HP for around 1 lakh in India and won but it was a real drag in hindsight. (HP Customer Care Horror - Koshy John)
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Old 3rd October 2009, 12:30   #9
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Peninsular are generally crap. It is better once you have befriended a service advisor though.
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Old 4th October 2009, 06:43   #10
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This problem, is singular to Honda Civic it seems. And, this is no one-off case. Few months ago, We 're looking to buy Civic. But, it was on the insistence of my brother that we droped the idea. Because, my brother told me that some of the civic owners he knew had various electrical problems. 2 of his friends , who are civic owners, have the same problems -- as our friend here as described-- coupled with un-even windshield wiper starts, headlight off, etc without switching them off/on. Both have ABS light on , even though there is nothing wrong With ABS system. A friend of his , had these problems specifically, when it rained!.
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Old 4th October 2009, 12:12   #11
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Post Stock car Vs Modified

Electrical problems could occur due to non-honda modifications.

From my previous problems with OHC 1.5, I vowed to myself that I will never touch the original-factory-fitted-stock car. Of course I had to sacrifice upgraded ICE, headlamps, horns, etc. I even refused for sun-film since the door pads had to be taken off.

At 50K I am very satisfied with my car (Civic-AT) so far, and I plan to hold her for ten years (I might finish 2 lakh kms by then). My faith in Honda's reliability is very high!

Last edited by manim : 4th October 2009 at 12:16.
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Old 4th October 2009, 12:42   #12
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Peninsular are generally crap. It is better once you have befriended a service advisor though.
I've always had great service from Peninsular in Cochin. The service advisors always remember me and the car's history - they remember off topic things I've told them at previous services. It makes you feel special.

These service advisors are so good, some of them have moved on to the Merc and Audi dealerships down the road from Honda - and they still remember you when you pop in to see new models there. Peninsular Honda hires the best!

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This problem, is singular to Honda Civic it seems. And, this is no one-off case. Few months ago, We 're looking to buy Civic. But, it was on the insistence of my brother that we droped the idea. Because, my brother told me that some of the civic owners he knew had various electrical problems. 2 of his friends , who are civic owners, have the same problems -- as our friend here as described-- coupled with un-even windshield wiper starts, headlight off, etc without switching them off/on. Both have ABS light on , even though there is nothing wrong With ABS system. A friend of his , had these problems specifically, when it rained!.
I'm sorry to hear about these experiences - I'm sure Honda would have fixed the problems for free if they were within warranty. Despite these problems, I would still recommend friends to go for a Civic - if you like driving, the car plasters a smile on your face like nothing else; and when I see another Civic on the road, I still drool (figuratively) even though I am sitting in one. And well, most importantly, Honda stands by their products.

We got the car back fixed, serviced and polished. Didn't get the 1k back. The cars turns 2 years old tomorrow.

Thanks for all the replies!
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Old 4th October 2009, 13:01   #13
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Electrical problems could occur due to non-honda modifications.

From my previous problems with OHC 1.5, I vowed to myself that I will never touch the original-factory-fitted-stock car. Of course I had to sacrifice upgraded ICE, headlamps, horns, etc. I even refused for sun-film since the door pads had to be taken off.

At 50K I am very satisfied with my car (Civic-AT) so far, and I plan to hold her for ten years (I might finish 2 lakh kms by then). My faith in Honda's reliability is very high!
I agree with you. But can you really see much on the road with those stock headlamps? The Honda service advisors themselves recommended shifting over to xenons (they said something about the low beam lamps being comparable to those on common bikes).
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Old 5th October 2009, 10:30   #14
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The low beams are pathetic, but the high beams are very good. Especially once you use the light height adjustment to set it to the highest.

Peninsular here have been strictly average. But I know a couple service advisers, so it's good for me of late. They did tell me that they don't get to do any work on the cars except accident repairs and regular service because nothing really goes wrong. They have a OHC that they proudly cite often that has done 3.5L KMs and is still running perfectly fine after a rebuild from them.

Honda sends out regular service advisories to dealerships which instruct them to fix known issues as they are discovered. Once they receive one of these things, they fix all affected cars as they come in for service. If your brother's friends tampered with the electrics when they took the car to fit Xenons for example, they're bound to have issues. I personally have experience with how clueless most accessories shop people are when dealing with new age car electrics. Or it is perfectly possible they were stuck with a clueless dealership (entirely possible with Honda).
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Old 5th October 2009, 16:02   #15
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They have a OHC that they proudly cite often that has done 3.5L KMs and is still running perfectly fine after a rebuild from them.
At the rate we are going, it'll take nearly 30 years to hit 3.5L km. Obviously it'd have been sold off by then.

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If your brother's friends tampered with the electrics when they took the car to fit Xenons for example, they're bound to have issues. I personally have experience with how clueless most accessories shop people are when dealing with new age car electrics. Or it is perfectly possible they were stuck with a clueless dealership (entirely possible with Honda).
You've confused me with ritedhawan (wrt "brother & his friends" reference).

Like you I found the low beams useless (not that much of a problem in TVM I guess with the dividers and proper street lighting; Cochin is so-so in many places). I always felt guilty about using high beams to counter people coming from the opposite side using them. It's not about the people who use the high beam I care about, it's the ones who are not and will be affected if I reciprocate. So I came to what I felt was a logical conclusion - fit HIDs for the low beams.

I would have fit the xenons in the regular headlamp units but I remembered people cursing others who do that (as opposed to using a projector). And well, I was floored when I saw another Civic go by with the angel eyes. The next time I was at the dealership I found out where I could get it done. After about 4-5 months of begging, I finally got the lamps - this was a little over a year back. I watched them fit the eagle eye kit and the xenons, and even took photographs for future reference. As far as I could see it was very professionally done, with good relays to the ballasts; properly concealed, insulated and firmly connected.

Peninsular Honda themselves inspected the installation when they later offered to install HIDs for the high beam also (declined; waste of money when the stocks served their purpose well). Even if you take a very sceptical stance, I think any problems should have surfaced within a few months of installation at least (99% probability). And if any portion of the blame for the display failures could be attributed to the head-lamps, I am sure the Honda engineers who came from Delhi would have diagnosed it.

But I agree that the fear of problems arising with electronics is considerable in new age cars. Someone we know purchased an E-class a while back and he wanted to fit ICE display screens in the car. Mercedes (Rajashree Motors) cautioned him telling they would not take responsibilty for any electrical problems with the car if he did that. And so he dropped the idea. And what if he really really wants displays? Simple. Buy an S-class. (Or, now, the 2010 E-class??)
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