2001-2005 Honda Civic review

Common problems: Leaking front struts could cause knocking or clunking noise in the front ($350-$600 to replace both front struts). Bad front lower control arm bushings (aka compliance bushings) could also cause clunking noise from the front end when driving over bumps ($350-$450 for both sides). Automatic transmission problems are reported frequently; automatic transmission replacement with a used unit could cost over $1,000. A faulty electronic load detector (ELD) can cause the code P1298; the repair is not very expensive. Problems with an electrical part of the ignition switch could cause the engine to stall or not to start.
There were also quite a few recalls; you can check for recalls at Safety Recalls - NHTSA

What to look for when buying a used Honda Civic: When buying a used Honda Civic, check the used car VIN history records to find out about previous reported accidents or other issues. When inspecting a car, watch out for leaking front struts. During the test drive, watch for signs of problems with the automatic transmission; slipping, harsh sifting and other transmission issues should tell you to avoid the car. In Honda Civic with a manual transmission, watch out for noises from the transmission or the clutch. Check if the timing belt has been replaced; if not, you will have to have it done. Watch out for "racing" mods like a cold intake or lowered suspension; you don't want a car that could have been abused by previous owners. A blue smoke at start-up indicates engine problems; avoid the car. Read our used car buyer's checklist with photos for more tips. Before buying a car, have it properly inspected by a mechanic. If you happen to find a well-cared for car in good condition, it might worth to pay a higher price.
You might also be interested:

How to buy a used car How to buy a used car
step-by-step guide »
Checking transmission How to spot signs of
transmission problems »

Maintenance: Frequent oil changes are very important to keep your engine in good shape. Change transmission fluid in recommended intervals; use only original Honda transmission fluid. Overheating the engine may cause serious problems. It might be a good idea to replace a water pump when changing the timing belt. To know more about your Honda maintenance, visit Honda Ownerlink website.
More on maintenance:

10 tips how to keep your car running longer and
save money on car repairs How to extend the life
of your car »
Simple car maintenance tips Easy car maintenance
checklist with photos »

Honda owners: Maintenance Calculator - check maintenance schedule online.
Honda-tech.com - Honda enthusiasts forum.
7thgenhonda.com - another forum.

Honda Civic sedan specifications. (2003 US model)

Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:
Track front/rear:

174.6 in (4435 mm)
67.5 in (1715 mm)
56.7 in (1440 mm)
103.1 in (2619 mm)
57.9 / 57.9 in (1471 / 1471 mm)

Trunk cargo volume:

12.9 cu. ft (365 liters)

Base Curb Weight:
DX (manual / automatic)
LX (manual / automatic)
EX (manual / automatic)

2,449 / 2,500 lbs (1111 / 1134 kg)
2,513 / 2,557 lbs (1140 / 1160 kg)
2,601 / 2,652 lbs (1180 / 1203 kg)



1.7L SOHC 16-Valve Aluminum-Alloy In-Line 4
115 hp @ 6,100 rpm, 110 lb-ft. @ 4500 rpm

1.7L SOHC 16-Valve VTEC Aluminum-Alloy In-Line 4
127 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 114 lb-ft. @ 4800 rpm

Fuel Tank Capacity:

13.2 US gal. (50 liters)

Engine oil capacity:
Oil change, including filter:
DX, LX, Canadian SPORT

3.4 US qt. (3.2L)
3.7 US qt. (3.5L)