Piston Slap: The Annoying, Lazy Civic Pt. II

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC commentator SpeedJebus writes:

I’m writing this as I sit in the service department of my Honda Dealership. My car (LINK: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/piston-slap-the-annoying-lazy-civic/) was due for a service, and I had enough: I was going to get results from the dealership regarding my lazy drive by wire system in my 2007 Civic. Long and short, they test drove my car against a new 2009 Civic, and (finally) found that there is definitely something wrong with my car.


So they tried to see what they can swap (from the 2009 model) to rectify the problem, but the biggest step of all is that they have admitted there is a problem. This was a major victory for me.

They contacted the Honda techs, and found out what (if any) hardware changes occurred between the 2007 and 2009 model. They started swapping sensors, driving the car, and so on. Bottom line, they replaced the O2 sensor, which was throwing readings all over the place. They also reset the engine computer. It’s been 5 days now, and I have not yet experienced any of the issues that I had been complaining about.

Sajeev replies:

So let me get this straight: you had to waste time with several dealership visits while a faulty O2 sensor threw codes all this time? Codes that AutoZone employees find blindfolded with their fingers duct taped together?

And instead of checking for codes (or testing the engine computer if it didn’t generate anything) they swapped sensors all willy-nilly like? Talk about a needle in a haystack method of diagnosis. But I’m a firm believer in the mantra of “there’s always more to this story.”

Perhaps the O2 sensors only threw codes the last time you visited the shop. Still, this diagnostic tree sounds like a cactus: full of costly pricks. So much for the Civic being annoying and lazy, that statement fits Honda’s factory-backed service department. Like, wow.

(Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com)

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Steven02 Steven02 on Dec 14, 2009

    While the O2 sensor maybe only throwing codes at a particular moment, the engine computer should be logging these. Most of the time, a faulty 02 sensor will throw a code and a CEL light will show on the dash. I just don't think that the codes would go away unless they were cleared. Restarting the car doesn't clear codes. I would find a different service department and fast.

    • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Dec 15, 2009

      Correct: OBD-II systems log stuff (like O2 faults) and keep it for anyone with an advanced scan tool (not the free one at AutoZone) to see. Question is, did they understand it?

  • Shaker Shaker on Dec 15, 2009

    A co-worker of mine has been complaining about the poor fuel mileage (19-21mpg) that he's been getting from his 4-month-old 4-cyl/5 auto Accord Coupe - it's not throwing any CEL's, and runs fine. He does not drive the car hard at all. When I was considering the same car last year, my research on the 'net gave me pause; several complaints about poor gas mileage from Honda fours (even the Fit's 1.5l) - but I figured that people were just beating the crap out of them; now I'm wondering about Honda's veracity regarding their ECM and sensors.

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