2003 Honda Civic : A Review From the Pre-Owned Market

2001 - 2003 Honda Civic

The Civic has been the number one selling car in Canada since 1998 and had gone through a major model change in '01 for the 2001 - 2003 production years. The Civic is obviously a well recieved vehicle throughout North America and with good reason. The Civic was rated IntelliChoice Best Overall Value for vehicles selling for less than $24,000 USD. IntelliChoice is a research firm in the United States that tracks the five-year amount you’ll pay to own and operate various vehicles.

The 2001 - 2003 Civic saw a substantial increase in cabin and trunk capacity and still the fuel economy has remained remarkably unchanged. The interior had been upgraded substantially from the previous generation. The upgrade added a better fit and finish with more luxurious heavy guage plastics and more plush fabrics.

Every '01 to '03 Civc model replaced their previous generations 1.6 liter motors with 1.7 liter which now produced either 115 hp or 127 hp in the Si/EX models. The suspension had been changed in 2001 from a sophisticated and agile handling double wishbone front configuration to a less costly front macpherson strut design. This has been ultimately one of the biggest downfalls for the 2001 - 2003 Honda Civic, as it not only hurt the image of the Civic with enthusiasts but also had an early failure rate, due to leaking.

On the plus side the 2001 - 2003 Honda Civic gives a very nimble ride with strong road grip and agility and has maintained top notch safety and reliability ratings despite the strut redesign. All 2001- 2003 Civics had earned five star frontal crash ratings or the more in depth "Good" rating from the IIHS and the NHTSA. All models are also equipped with dual stage and dual threshhold second generation airbags. The Civic has good acceleration off of the line and from highway speeds for passing. Overall safety and performance are strong attributes of the 2001 - 2003 Honda Civic.

The Civic's cost of ownership is rated as better then average with parts being readily available and competitively priced. Maintenance can also be done through Honda dealers or local repair shops with their easy workability to save some extra cash. Many aftermarket parts are also available for the 2001 - 2003 Honda Civic to both dress it up as a tuner or just for better driveability.

Common Complaints

  • The brake rotors can warp and/or vibrate. Having them machined or replaced will correct this.
  • Faulty engine mounts can cause a roughness felt through the steering wheel, and rattles in the dash area. Replacement will repair issue.
  • Rear main oil seal can leak. Replacing seal will repair issue. Transmission has to be removed to do so.
  • Some models have a faulty power window switch which may cause the power windows to work intermittently.
  • Plugged moon roof drains can cause a water leak which will usually occur over the head of the driver or passengers head when turning a corner. Cleaning the drains will fix this problem.
  • The drivers seat bushings wear out and cause the seat to rock. Replacing the bushings are needed to repair this issue.

  • Door fabric adhesive loses contact and allows the fabric to fall away from desired position below window. Regluing will repair issue
  • The front struts leak (oil) causing an instability in the front end. Replacing the struts (recall) will take care of the problem

  • 2003 Honda Civic Recalls

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