Honda Civic 2012-2015: problems and fixes, fuel economy, engine, photos, maintenance tips
2012 Honda Civic coupe
2014 Honda Civic coupe. Photo: Honda
Honda Civic is a front-wheel drive compact, available as a sedan or coupe. The 9-th generation Civic offers a reliable engine and a stylish interior with a two-tier instrument panel and a digital speedometer. Honda Civic is a popular choice for a commuter car, thanks to its reliability, great fuel economy and low maintenance costs.
When the 2012 Civic came out, many reviewers mentioned that the interior was plain and not very quiet. Honda reacted quickly by improving the interior design and materials for 2013; compare the interior photos below. The front and rear fascia of the 2013 Civic sedan were also updated.
For 2014, the Civic coupe got a major styling upgrade with more aggressive front fenders and many other changes. Starting from 2014, the Civic coupe and sedan received a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Read also: Pros and cons of the CVT transmission. The 2012 and 2013 Civic have a proven conventional 5-speed automatic transmission.
The sporty Civic Si is available as a coupe or sedan. It comes with the 2.4L engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The 2014 Civic Si can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
Honda Civic hybrid is rare, so in this review, we will focus on the gasoline version. Is a used Honda Civic a good choice? What are the reported problems? What to watch out for in a used Honda Civic? Read further.
Engines: The base 140-hp 1.8L R18 engine is a simple i-VTEC motor with a single camshaft (SOHC) and a conventional fuel injection. It's a well-designed naturally aspirated (non-turbo) reliable motor. With regular maintenance, it can last for well over 200K.
The Civic Si comes with the 2.4L 201-hp (205 hp from 2014) K24 DOHC i-VTEC engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. The K24 also has a good reputation and is known to last long. The key for either engine is to keep the engine oil clean and topped up and avoid overheating.
Timing belt or chain? Both the R18 and K24 engines have a timing chain, there is no timing belt. A timing chain doesn't need to be replaced in regular intervals. It only needs to be replaced if stretched.
2012 Honda Civic interior
2014 Honda Civic interior
Engine oil capacity: (including filter):
1.8L: 3.9 US qt (3.7 liters)
2.4L: 4.4 US qt (4.2 liters).
SAE 0W–20 is the recommended engine oil viscosity.
9th Gen Honda Civic problems: An old, weak battery can cause many electrical problems, including various warning lights and lack of steering assist. The battery must be tested whenever diagnosing any electrical issues. Replacing a battery is not too expensive: $110-$230 for parts and labor.
The Honda service bulletin 14-029 describes a problem with a buzz or static noise during a HandsFreeLink call. According to the bulletin, the solution is to replace a microphone. See these videos explaining the problem.
A bad wheel bearing can cause a humming noise at higher speeds. Replacing one wheel bearing will cost from $320 to $420.
Failed TPMS (tire pressure) sensors are not uncommon. A dealership may charge your for diagnostic to find which sensor has failed and another $120-$210 to replace one sensor.
A bad blower motor can make a squeaking noise. Replacing a blower motor is not very expensive ($120-$230).
Overall, the number of complaints is small compared to other cars. Even the next generation, the 2016 Civic got more reported complaints.
Owner reviews: We've read through hundreds of owner reviews online. Several Civic owners mentioned that the 1.8L engine is bit underpowered when driving with a full load or in hilly terrain. Other dislikes include a small battery that fails prematurely, paint that scratches easily and the fact that the car is low to the ground. The road noise was mentioned in the 2012 Civic, later models got better sound insulation.
Overall, the majority of owner reviews are positive. Many compliment the reliability, low maintenance costs, handling, great gas mileage and overall value for the money.
Fuel Economy: The Civic is one of the leaders in its class. The 2014 Civic with a CVT transmission is rated at 29/37 MPG, which gives it a range of 462 miles (744 km) on a long trip. See the EPA ratings of other trim levels in the table.
Overall: A used Honda Civic is a good choice for a fuel-efficient commuter car. It has a simple and reliable 1.8L engine that can last long with good care. We found this video on Youtube of the 2013 Civic with half a million miles. The 4-door Civic sedan scored better in crash tests than the coupe. The 2012 and 2013 models with a conventional automatic transmission offer better highway fuel economy are better suited for long highway commutes. The 2014-2015 Civic with a CVT transmission delivers better city gas mileage. The long-term reliability of the Honda CVT is not yet known and there was one related recall already. Consumer Reports rates the 9-generation Honda Civic above average for reliability, which is even better than the 2016+ Civic. Among competitors, we would recommend Mazda 3 which is a bit more sporty and Toyota Corolla, which is known for its softer ride.
Antilock brakes, vehicle stability control are standard. Rear brakes are drums or discs. The rear-view camera is available from 2013. Honda LaneWatch was added for 2014. The LaneWatch features a small camera installed under the passenger side mirror. It shows the passenger side rear area on the audio display when the right turn signal is activated. It can also be turned on by pressing the LaneWatch button. See the NHTSA crash test scores in the table.
What to look for when buying a used Honda Civic: Check the engine oil; if the level is low, it might be an indication that the engine consumes oil. Watch out for modifications. It's better to buy a well-maintained car in original shape. If you like modifications, you can modify it to your taste yourself. The same goes for aftermarket rims; they bend easily.
If the vehicle has a manual transmission, it's important to check if the clutch is not slipping. Another issue to watch out for is worn-out synchros that can cause grinding when shifting into gear. Often it's the 2-nd or 3-rd gear that grinds. Check our illustrated used car checklist for more info. It might be a good idea to have a used Honda Civic inspected at a Honda dealership and confirm that all recalls have been completed.
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Maintenance tips: At higher mileage the engine might consume some amount of oil. For this reason, it's important to check the oil level between oil changes. If it's low, top it up with the recommended oil grade. There is no warning light for low oil level; Honda recommends checking the oil level every time you refuel. Regular oil changes will help your engine last longer.
To keep your car safe, have it inspected in a repair shop at least once a year. At higher mileage, the engine valves might need to be adjusted if noisy. The valve noise comes from the top of the engine.
The Civic's small battery doesn't last very long. If the battery is older than 5 years, have it checked or replaced.