New 2002 Civic EX Owner - Honda Civic Forum

New 2002 Civic EX Owner

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Old 07-13-2018
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New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Hello all,
I'd like to introduce myself and my new daily, which I affectionately call "the cream puff." After finally buying my first new car over a year ago (2017 Chevrolet SS) I discovered I was racking up too many miles and spending up to $500/month on fuel. So, when I came across this one-owner daisy I figured I'd see what all the hype has been about. Being a big car guy I've built, owned and admired all kinds of cars. Never have I driven or owned the historically "bulletproof" and universally loved Civic. I can say so far, it's a really great little car. I'm eager to learn more and excited to bet getting 36mpg average (so far)!

The car has 86,000 miles and had a timing belt, new brakes, new sway bar links/bushing, new battery and front shocks done at 60,000 miles. The only thing I really want to do is bang out the hood a bit and replace the headlights for cosmetic reasons. Anyway, if there's anything I should keep an eye out for maintenance wise, I'd love your thoughts.

Cheers, JP
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Old 07-13-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Nice looking car.
The automatic transmission on years 2001-2003 are less than bullet-proof and is known to have issues. If, you don't have a record of the last ATF change then it's good to do a drain and fill (or 3x3 if you prefer) every 30k miles. Drain and fill only..do not machine flush.

All recommended maintenance types and intervals are listed in the service manual. You may want to check valves adjustment if no record available. May have been performed at the time of the timing belt replacement?
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Old 07-13-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Welcome! That thing is clean
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Old 07-14-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Welcome!
Check steel brake lines for rust......also check lines at the prop valve below the master

Make sure all your recalls have been completed, see below

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Old 07-14-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Thanks for the tips everyone! I'm lucky to have lift, so next weekend I'll throw it up there and perform the maintenance/inspection suggested. Mega, I've also heard it's not good to machine flush autos as it can push tiny particles of metal into places they shouldn't go in the valve body. I didn't know that until not long ago though, kinda a cool tip.
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Old 07-15-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

OK, I threw creampuff up on the lift sooner than later. After some inspection and digging into the records, it looks like the ATF was changed at 78k, so I have about 20k left before it will need another change. Brakes lines all looked good and no leaks to be seen anywhere. Also, during the timing belt change at 60k, the valves were adjusted. The only other thing that popped up in my research here on the forum was the concern around the stock head gasket. Seems like most people are split down the middle on whether or not to replace this item preemptively. From what I gather, replacing the coolant with OEM fluid is a good preventative measure. Have I summarized that properly?
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Old 07-15-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Changing coolant will have no effect on the head gasket.

The head gasket failure these engines encounter for the most part will start out very slowly and progressively get worse.

Check coolant level monthly and as soon as it drops your on top of it.
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Old 07-16-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Originally Posted by jpkinerk View Post
Seems like most people are split down the middle on whether or not to replace this item preemptively.

There's no way to specifically say when (mileage) the head-gasket will breach so there's really no need to change it until symptoms arise. With these engines the most common symptom is a loss of coolant in the radiator combined with coolant gain in the reservoir. The current headgasket could last you a long time.
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Old 07-16-2018
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Re: New 2002 Civic EX Owner

Thanks guys, that all makes sense. SlumpertCivic, I'm glad to hear that. My assumption was that perhaps coolant passages would get clogged and cause a hot spot on the head and waste the gasket somehow in that area. I'm glad that's not the case! 1,000 miles in so far and hasn't burned a drop of oil that I can tell. Really impressed with the handling for an economy four door. I guess that's what weight savings will do for ya.
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