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Check Engine On: Need advice for my Civic 2003 EX

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Check Engine On: Need advice for my Civic 2003 EX

Old 12-29-2008, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Question Check Engine On: Need advice for my Civic 2003 EX

A little background:

I bought a Civic 2003 EX 4-door automatic sedan at an auction with 17,000 miles on it. During the next 4 years, I have driven the car here in the New York Metro area and my total is now is 38,000 miles driven. The car never had any of the "suggested" maintanance done on the car except for new tires, new rear-brakes and regular change of oil at an authorized Honda center.

3 Weeks ago, I had the "check engine" light go ON, but 2 days later it dissapeared. A week later I went to do my annual state expection and the car passed. The very next day, the "check engine" light went back ON. I waited for 5 days and then decided to take it to the Honda center for my regular oil change and have the car "check-up".

Maintenance Comments:

The report they gave me told me the following needs to be done:

Brake Flush ($100)
Front Motor Mount is broken (no estimate)
Passenger Side Motor Mount is broken (no estimate)
Transmission Flush ($100)
Coolant Flush ($100)
Air-filter also needs to be replaced (I can do this myself).

As far the Check Engine Light ON, they would need to do a $100 diagnostic test and even if everything is okay, I would still be charged. I asked them if we can just have the light turned off without the full test, but was told that there is no way to do it without running the $100 test. is this true?

Since I am not an expert, can someone please give their comments/opinions if I really need to do all these above "fixes". The car runs just fine even with the check engine light on. At the same time, I don't want to burn my engine if something is really wrong.

All input is much appreciated!
Old 12-29-2008, 09:00 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 11,417

You can flush the coolant yourself easily.
1. slide a/c temperature to full heat
2. drain radiator
3. fill radiator with water from garden hose
4. run engine for a minute or so
5. drain radiator
6. repeat steps 3-5 until the liquid you drain from the radiator is water only (no coolant).
7. now fill the radiator with 2.6 qts of pure antifreeze (not 50/50 mix)
8. fill the rest with water, until the level of fluid reaches the base of the radiator filler neck
9. remove your coolant reservoir and clean it out with water.
10. fill up the reservoir with 50/50 mix of antifreeze/water until it reaches the max line.
11. bleed the coolant system

no need for a transmission flush... do a drain and refill yourself

you definitely need to replace broken mounts, and the air filter
brake fluid flush is recommended... brake fluid breaks down over time, causing you to lose braking power. get this done at a regular shop, they will charge a lot less.

For the CEL, your auto parts store can check it, usually for free, and they'll tell you the code it throws.
Old 12-29-2008, 07:05 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 11

It takes them less the 5 minutes to connect and read the codes, $100 is a rip off. Buy your own code reader and use it to read and reset the codes.

A question on the motor mounts, did they show you where they are broken? I find it hard to believe a 03 with less then 40K has two broken mounts. As for replacing them it is only a few minutes work for each of them, so do that yourself. You can get the mounts at Napa for about half the price of the OEM Honda mounts.
Old 12-30-2008, 05:11 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3

Thanks for the replies.

No one ever showed me the brokenn mounts but of course I will ask them to do so before okaying any work. It also sounds a bit fishy since I have driven the car so little and these inspections have been done once every 4-5 months with my oil change (Honda is nice by giving a FREE coupon for this for every oil change I do with them).

As far as the engine code, I called Strauss and Pep Boys nearby to me, and one wants $85 for the same test and the other one wants $100. And both told me that it's a 60-70 minute test.

I don't want to burn my engine, while at the same time I am wondering where/how I can find out what is wrong with it without pay $100...

Again, appreciate everyone's feedback!
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