The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Honda Civic

Used Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is considered to be one of America’s most reliable vehicles on the market. They have been around since 1973 and have been continually improving as their model selections expand. Like every car, maintenance is a key part of keeping your Honda in proper working order. It helps ensure that your car will last as long as possible and won’t require any major repairs. Failing to properly care for your car or to follow the maintenance schedule recommended by Honda can mean parts going bad well before their time. To make sure the used Honda Civic you plan on buying doesn’t turn out to be a lemon, follow these steps before you sign on the dotted line.

Skip Ahead to Specific Honda Civic Years:

Car Maintenance Records from Previous Ownership

Before you buy a Honda Civic, make sure you find all of the previous maintenance records that go along with it. A good car owner will keep all of their major service records, but it isn’t uncommon to see a used car that does not have any service records. In that case, websites like CARFAX can pull official maintenance histories from car repair shop records. This could leave out any repairs the owner made themselves or had done by a personal friend, rather than taking their car to the shop. The first thing you should look for is to see that the last owner took it for regular oil changes and performed basic scheduled maintenance. Depending on how old the particular Honda Civic you’re looking at happens to be, you’ll want to look for some other repairs like transmission fluid replacement, air filter replacement, and tire rotation.

Take a Look Under the Hood

Under the Hood of a Civic

Does anything look exceptionally old, worn, rusty, or corroded? Whether or not it’s bad enough to warrant being replaced, if hoses, belts, plastics, or metals, under the hood don’t look like they’re in good condition odds are that the owner hasn’t kept up with other components of the car. This can be your first warning sign. Rust and corrosion along battery and/or spark plug contacts can cause problems starting your car. Worn out hoses and belts could break and cause serious issues, particularly if this were to happen while driving. This makes for a great test when buying a Honda Civic because it doesn’t require a lot of mechanical expertise. If the car is in bad shape, you’ll know it when you see it. There are some other, more important maintenance issues you’ll want to ask about before you commit to purchasing a used Civic.

Pay attention to the mileage on the odometer. For used cars with more than 75,000 miles on them, find out if the timing belt has been replaced. On Honda Civics, the Honda Maintenance Manual suggests that drive belts be inspected around 90,000 miles and the timing belt specifically be replaced by 105,000 miles. Practical experience (and customer report data) suggests that the timing belt tends to go sooner rather than later. Replacing your Honda’s timing belt between 75,000 and 90,000 is highly advised so that it doesn’t take you by surprise. Timing belt replacement can cost around $300 – $500, so when buying a Civic with high mileage you’ll want to make sure this has been taken care of.

Data shows that the water pump will likely need to be replaced between 75,000 and 100,000 miles as well. This is a less expensive repair, but a common one.  On vehicles over 150,000 miles, expect more expensive parts to need replacing. This includes shocks, pieces of the steering assembly including the rack and pinion and controller arms, engine, and transmission (specifically the clutch and flywheel). It’s a good idea to look for these sorts of repairs or replacements too. If you’re comparing two models of similar mileage and one costs more, but has had one of these major repairs done already, that car could potentially be a better value. It’s not uncommon for costs for high mileage repair and replacements to range from $300 to $4000 depending on the part and the amount of labor involved.

Research Honda Civic Reviews, Recalls, and Complaints

There’s no shortage of information online when it comes to figuring out what problems and recalls a particular make and model of car are known to have. This is especially true of cars that have been on the market for a few years.

When it comes to the Honda Civic, each model year has its own issues. Websites such as Edmunds.com or NHTSA.gov both record customer complaints and generate a report or, in Edmunds’ case, there’s a really convenient visual chart which displays and highlights various aspects of a vehicle’s reliability. For example, the 2001 Honda Civic is known to have very prominent issues with its transmission (and to a lesser extent the 2002 Civic), while the 2006 model is known for having serious engine problems. Older models of the Honda Civic prove to be more reliable, particularly for models ranging from 1994 to 1999. Be sure to check as many resources as you can to find the best used car reviews.

Drive It Before You Buy It

Driving a car may reveal many other problems that you just can’t tell by looking at it. It’s very important to incorporate your other senses like hearing, smell, and touch so you can gather enough information about the car to choose the best option possible. You could notice smells such as gasoline, oil, burning rubber, or mold (each indicative of its own problem) that might tip you off that this car may have other issues. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller if you can have your mechanic take a look at it before you decide to buy.

Is it OK to Negotiate a Price for a Used Car?

honda civic selling priceWhen buying a used car, the selling price is the final hurdle. agreeing to the seller’s price, look up the fair market value of the car. You can do this by going to NADA, Kelly Blue Book, or Edmunds websites. Edmunds actually has an app that will pull the price information for you, which can be really handy if you have a smartphone.

Be advised, you likely will not get the true market value price. It’s common to pay a couple hundred dollars more but you may be able to get it closer to the true market value by having the seller make any necessary repairs. If you know the cost of the potential repairs, you should be able to get that amount taken off the sale price of the vehicle in mind.

Which Used Honda Civic Year is the Best?

You’ve decided to buy a used Honda Civic but how do you decide on the year and model. In this section we’ll go over many of your available options as far back as 2001 and up until 2016 so you can purchase the ride that’s right for you.

2001 Honda Civic Coupe Specifications

2001-honda-civic-sedan
Price Range (@ 120k Miles): $1,545 – $3,138

Common Complaints:

This year is known for having the most problems with the biggest problems being found with the transmission. Many people complained of transmission failure and the transmission slipping. Others also complained that the transmission wouldn’t engage.There were also some instances where the exhaust manifold had cracked and minor issues like the headliner falling down.

Recalls:

To find a full list of 2001 Honda Civic recalls, visit carcomplaints.com. Here you’ll find that there were a fair amount of problems. There was a passenger side air bag recall, driver side inflator module air bag recall, and a fuel system recall just to name a few.

Available Models:

  • DX
  • DX SSRS
  • HX
  • HX SSRS
  • CVT HX
  • CVT HX SSRS
  • LX
  • LX SSRS
  • EX
  • EX SSRS

Transmission:

  • Manual 5-speed
  • Automatic 4-speed

Engine:

Horsepower range(depending on model):

115 hp -127 hp

Torque range(depending on model):

110 lbs.-ft. – 114lbs.-ft.

Valve Train (depending on model):
  • SOHC 16-Valve
  • SOHC 16-Valve: VTEC-E
  • SOHC 16-Valve: VTEC-E -E Lean Burn

Visit Honda’s 2001 Honda Civic Information Page for more information.

2005 Honda Civic Coupe Specifications

honda-civic-hybrid-2005
Price Range (@ 120k Miles): $2.521 – $4,573

Common Complaints:

This seems to be a decent year to buy with a fairly low amount of complaints in comparison with other years. Most complaints if any were with the transmission. Some found that they were experiencing a rattle in their transmission or their transmission would fail. Another problem was with the exterior paint chipping and peeling off.

Recalls:

To view the entire list of 2005 Honda Civic recalls, visit CarComplaints.com. Here you’ll find that there were some airbag and exterior lighting recalls.

Available Models:

  • DX
  • DX SSRS
  • VP
  • VP SSRS
  • HX
  • HX SSRS
  • CVT HX
  • CVT HX SSRS
  • LX
  • LX SSRS
  • EX
  • EX SSRS
  • EX SSRS SE

Transmission:

  • Manual 5-speed
  • Automatic 4-speed

Engine:

Horsepower range(depending on model):

115 hp – 127 hp

Torque range(depending on model):

110 lbs.-ft – 114 lbs.-ft

Valve Train (depending on model):
  • SOHC 16-Valve
  • SOHC 16-Valve: VTEC-E

Visit Honda’s 2005 Honda Civic Information Page for more information.

2006 Honda Civic Sedan Specifications

2006-honda-civic
Price Range (@ 120k Miles): $3,124 – $4,645

Common Complaints:

Transitioning from 2005 – 2006 we see a large spike in complaints with the main focus around engine problems. The main complaint here is the engine block cracking. This typically costs around $2,700 to repair. We also see minor interior accessory complaints and problems with the clear coat paint on the body peeling off.

Recalls:

To view the entire list of 2006 Honda Civic recalls, visit CarComplaints.com. Here we find that there are some airbag recalls, fuel system tank assembly recalls, antilock wheel speed sensor recalls, and exterior lighting recalls.

Available Models:

  • DX
  • LX
  • EX
  • EX w/Navigation
  • Hybrid
  • GX

Transmission:

  • Manual 5-speed
  • Automatic 4-speed

Engine:

Horsepower range(depending on model):

140 hp

Torque range(depending on model):

128 lbs.-ft

Valve Train (depending on model):

SOHC 16-Valve: i-VTEC
Visit Honda’s 2006 Honda Civic Information Page for more information.

2012 Honda Civic Sedan Specifications

2012-honda-civic
Price Range (@ 70k Miles): $5,895 – $13,408

Common Complaints:

2012 is a fairly good year to buy being that there aren’t many complaints with the majority of the existing problems are minor dealing with interior accessory problems. The biggest complaint was that the seats were extremely uncomfortable.

Recalls:

To view the entire list of 2012 Honda Civic recalls, visit CarComplaints.com. We have found there to be a steering column recall, a driveshaft recall, and a fuel system recall with some faulty hoses, lines and fittings.

Available Models:

  • DX
  • LX
  • HX
  • EX
  • EX w/ Leather
  • EX w/Navigation
  • EX w/ Leather and Navigation
  • SI
  • Hybrid
  • Natural Gas

Transmission:

  • Manual 5-speed
  • Automatic 4-speed

Engine:

Horsepower range(depending on model):

140 hp

Torque range(depending on model):

128 lbs.-ft

Valve Train (depending on model):

SOHC 16-Valve: i-VTEC
Visit Honda’s 2012 Honda Civic Information Page for more information.

2014 Honda Civic Sedan Specifications

2014-honda-civic-coupe-si
Price Range (@ 45k Miles): $10,188 – $17,214

Common Complaints:

2014 is also another great year with very little complaints. The main complaint that does surface is the uncomfortableness of the seating.

Recalls:

To view the entire list of 2014 Honda Civic recalls, visit CarComplaints.com. There are 2 known recalls with the automatic transmission control module and the tire beads risk of air loss.

Available Models:

  • LX
  • HF
  • CVT LX
  • CVT EX
  • CVT EX w/ Leather
  • CVT EX w/Leather and Navigation
  • Hybrid
  • Natural Gas
  • SI

Transmission:

  • Automatic 4-speed
  • Manual 5-speed

Engine:

Horsepower range(depending on model):

143 hp

Torque range(depending on model):

129 lbs.-ft

Valve Train (depending on model):

SOHC 16-Valve: i-VTEC

Visit Honda’s 2014 Honda Civic Information Page for more information.

2016 Honda Civic Sedan Specifications

2016-honda-civic
Price Range (@ 20k Miles): $13,000 – $23,100

Common Complaints:

While it’s still too early to find long term problems, we see that the most complained about problem is that the bluetooth connectivity isn’t working correctly. There has also been a very small amount of complaints with the transmission hesitating at high speeds.

Recalls:

To view the entire list of 2016 Honda Civic recalls, visit CarComplaints.com. We find that some models had parking brake recalls, exterior lighting recalls, and and engine recall with models made between 9/22/15 to 2/3/16. The engines on these vehicles were manufactured incorrectly.

Available Models:

  • LX
  • EX
  • EX-T
  • EX-L
  • Touring

Transmission:

  • Manual 5-speed
  • Automatic 4-speed

Engine:

Horsepower range(depending on model):

158 hp – 174 hp

Torque range(depending on model):

138 lbs.-ft – 162 lbs.-ft

Valve Train (depending on model):
  • DOHC 16-Valve
  • DOHC 16-Valve: i-VTEC-E

Visit Honda’s 2016 Honda Civic Information Page for more information.


Car Buying Guide

Looking to buy a used Honda Civic? Compare.com is here to help. Our Car Buying Guide will help you compare all aspects of the car buying process – price, performance, reliability and more.

Share This

You could save up to 32% by using Compare.com!

Based on a survey of 100 California Residents. Average savings determined via a comparison of their selected policy against their self-reported annual premium.