27th May 2006, 13:12

Sounds like bad luck. I had a 91 and it racked up 300,000 miles and then everything went almost at once. I had the car as a teenager, beat it well and it almost never saw a mechanic other than routine stuff.

21st Oct 2006, 23:26

My '91 Honda Civic has been the most reliable car I've had. I've had it for 8 years. It has over 297,000 miles on it. And just 2 months ago, I went 120 mph on it. I wanted to see its top speed. It surprised me. While my brother took his '03 Cavalier to the shop on Thursday, my Civics still going strong. Not bad, not bad at all.

22nd Jan 2007, 12:41

I have a 91 Honda Civic, and when I accelerate it takes a little while to get going. When it goes to shift into second, it jerks enough to skip my CD player. I was wondering if new spark plugs, an air filter and fuel filter would help it accelerate better? Also when I back up, I hear a squeaking/ rubbing noise, I wonder if that's the brakes? Other than that, my car runs like brand new, it is an extremely reliable car!

24th Apr 2007, 07:37

Hello, I Have a 1991 CIVIC LX with 229,348 miles on it and it runs great...

15th Oct 2007, 17:10

There is no way, whatsoever, that all of those repairs should've cost $4K.

The battery has nothing to do with Honda. Honda doesn't make batteries. So two batteries failing is not something wrong with the car - it's someone not diagnosing a bad alternator in the first place (you replaced the alternator, so there's your culprit). If the car won't start due to a dead battery, go to AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts, or someone who does free charging system testing, and watch them do it.

Distributors go around 100,000 miles. On every car known to man. It's a fair amount of current they're switching, and it's a mechanical part, and if it fails, the car won't run. Just replace them. Everyone who buys a used car should be given a "Just Freaking Replace This" list of items. If you had bought the part yourself and taken it to the dealer and asked them to install it, it would've cost you maybe $3-400 total.

Radiators fail if you don't maintain the coolant in them - the coolant degrades over time. Even still, a new radiator is $100, and installation is easy.

And yeah, the poor starting problem is the main relay failing. It's simple to fix yourself, or it's what, $50 or so to replace. Congratulations - that's the one main flaw in early 90s Hondas (along with wheel well design - ah, rust).

Summary: all cars suck if you don't know how to maintain them or know of a competent mechanic, and no, not all car repair places charge the same amount and yes, some screw you over. Call around, find out if a price is fair.

13th Nov 2007, 06:53

 I own a civic hatchback 1991, and  I have no complaints. It has over 300,000 miles on it and is still running. Lack of maintenance will keep your car from great performance and durability.  Try to follow directions from your repair manual book and you should be just fine.  Change your gaskets and other parts every 24 months, all your fluids and it will last you for a long time. The way you take care of your car, is the way the car will take care of you!

17th Nov 2008, 09:57

These cars are great. Reliability, performance, style and even a modern day classic. Issues mentioned will happen with any vehicle. It doesn't matter who makes it, maintenance is part of motoring! Look at all the smiles in the column... Now look at Ford's reviews. Honda makes a great car.

6th Apr 2009, 21:03

Any one ever take out an alternator?? Mine has 310000 miles, wish I had 1 dollar for each!!! HONDA RULES???

31st Dec 2009, 19:33

I own one with 254,000 miles and runs very well. Extremely reliable, well made. Other than normal routine maintenance, never had a problem. I passed it on to my daughter and still reliable as ever. The highest mileage vehicle I have ever owned. I only wish my Porsche 928 is this reliable.

11th Jan 2010, 00:31

I just bought my "first" car a week ago, can you guess, a 91 Civic LX. I knew she was tired, but for $250 I couldn't go wrong.

2 days ago the head gasket blew, and I'm hoping that's the worst of the problems.

This may sound like I'm knocking the car, no way in hell, she has 207k with original gasket set! It's just time for the usual...

11th Jan 2010, 19:49

To above commentor:

WOW you are lucky! A '91 Honda with only 207,000? I've been searching for a late 90's Honda and so far I haven't found a single one with less than 260,000 miles. The head gasket replacement is nothing. That they need replacement simply says that whoever owned it before drove it hard, or that they didn't drive it often enough (which can allow the oil to lose it's viscosity and lubrication abilities, which can put extra strain on all the internal engine parts.) Replace those gaskets, have your oil changed every 3,000 miles and you'll be all set. Don't forget to replace your water pump and timing belt while you're replacing the head gasket though! Doing those things now will prevent problems later.

20th Feb 2010, 11:58


Things I've done:

Replaced the hatch struts.

Replaced A/C compressor.

Replaced dash and instrument lights.

Replaced original clutch at 290,000.

And that's it!

Cost of ownership is counted in pennies.

I'm 35, and I really feel the ef body Honda's are my generation's VW Beetle. Throughout the years, the family has gone through countless cars. Usually a two year relationship with a car, and we get bored. I needed a fuel efficient commuter, so I rolled the dice on 1991 DX hatch with AC & a 5 speed. Bought it with 230,000 miles just over 3 years ago. It now sits at 377,000!!

I drive a lot, I mean A LOT! never, ever had a major problem and most of those miles were at 80-90mph.

I still consistently get 33-38mpg, depending on how late I am to work, with the A/C on. And it's unstoppable in the snow with a set of chains.

I'm guessing the previous owner had a rebuild done, not sure.

The only problem ever.. is the sensor in the passenger seat (seatbelt reminder) sometimes chimes when there is no passenger. Also, every 16 year old kid with a driving permit wants to race. I don't know why? Mine's all stock.

When all my other cars have had breakdowns or maintenance, my little Civic is always there.

By far the most reliable car I've ever owned.

I'm going to try and hit half a million miles in it.

To Infiniti and beyond. Long live my EF hatch!!

27th Feb 2010, 01:03

The items you have replaced weren't necessary to be honest... speakers?..

It's not Honda's fault. I have a 91 Honda Civic and it's at 327kms, and it's still going! Any car you buy requires money, and cars are hardly ever a win win situation. You seem to have made a poor decision, and also, how you drive the car has lots to do with it. And when you are taking a car to a mechanic, of course you are going to fix things which aren't necessary, that's where your knowledge of vehicles, your own car specifically, comes into play.

13th Jan 2011, 11:09

I agree, it all has to do with how you take care of the vehicle. I have a 2002 Civic EX sedan with 308000 miles on it. Still going strong.

It is not quite as good on gas as it used to be, but close. In warm weather I can get 450 miles per tank while in dead of winter I can get 375-400 miles per tank.

Only mild repairs, struts, belts, brakes, battery etc and of course tires. I am on highway a ton 140-180 miles per day.

13th Jan 2011, 20:03

A Civic was the biggest nightmare I ever had to deal with. ZERO build quality and constant repairs.