By on April 12, 2021

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIn my search for super-high-mile vehicles in the car graveyards of the land, all the cars I’ve found showing better than a half-million miles on the odometer have been MercedesBenzes (other than a 1982 Rabbit Cabriolet showing an implausible 930k miles on what I think was a defective gauge). The most-traveled Honda I’ve documented was a 1983 Accord sedan with 411,794 miles, and today’s Junkyard Find now takes second-place in the Highest Mileage Honda In the Junkyard contest.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, speedometer - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsYes, 351,119 miles, or just over 12,500 miles for each year of this car’s existence. I’m sure I’ve seen plenty of Hondas with more miles during my junkyard journeying, but American-market Hondas only got six-digit odometers starting in 1981 at the earliest (Volvo and Mercedes-Benz ditched the old five-digit ones decades earlier) and the cars made during our current century have electronic odometers that require vehicle power to boot up.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, LH rear view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAs is so often the case with extreme-high-mile vehicles, this one looks very solid and well-maintained for its age. Sure, I’ll find the occasional beat-to-hell hooptie with big miles, but it takes conscientious owners to keep a car— even a very well-built one— alive for such a long haul.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, interior - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe seats have aftermarket covers and some of the trim pieces came from a different vehicle with a gray interior, but otherwise, the cabin of this Civic doesn’t show the wear and tear you’d expect to see in a car that traveled twice as far as most others its age.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, power window switches - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsPower windows in a fifth-generation Civic? They were available, but I’ve nosed around in hundreds of these cars while searching for bits for my own ’92 hatchback and I’d say maybe 2 percent have these switches.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, power mirror controls - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe same goes for the power remote mirrors and cruise control.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, D15B7 engine - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFour different engines were available in 1993 Civics: the El Cheapo Edition CX got an 8-valve 1.5-liter four rated at 70 horsepower, the Sips Fuel Through a Cocktail Straw Edition VX had a 16-valve 1.5-liter with 92 hp, the Not Quite So Cheap Edition DX and LX had a 102-horse version of the VX engine, and the Hot Rod From Hell Edition EX and Si got a VTEC-equipped 1.5 making 125 horsepower. This LX has the 102hp D15B7.

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, manual gearshift - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsUp here in the thin air at 5,280 feet, that engine probably sent 80 horses to the wheels at best. The five-speed manual made that amount of power (barely) tolerable.

Why is it here? There’s some rust, but nothing too serious. My guess is that the timing belt or head gasket failed and the repair cost ended up being far higher than the real-world value for a high-mile non-truck with a transmission most used-car shoppers can’t operate; the second guess is that the owner traded it in on a new car and the dealership didn’t even bother trying to auction it off.


The Number One Girl approved of the JDM version.


Most 1993 Civics sold here were hatchbacks, but Honda USA still advertised the sedan.

For links to more than 2,100 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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43 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Honda Civic LX Sedan with 351,119 Miles...”


  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Bravo :-)

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    This baby is too good to die…needs a rescue.
    I’m guessing if it was a coupe it would still be on the streets.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I wonder if this actually has power mirrors. Since that trim was replaced, maybe they just took whatever was available. Alternately, maybe they got the gray one because that was the only one they could find with the power mirror buttons.

    I dated a girl whose family had a blue one of these. They kept it in good shape and it seemed like a perfectly adequate commuter car. That quarter rust is nothing compared to what I see on these, as that is very much a trademark of that gen Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The LX did indeed have factory power mirrors.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Correct, along with the cruise control, and power windows and locks, along with a basic stereo with cassette. It was the DX that was four wheels and a heater in the Sedans, no radio.

        In 1994, and maybe 1995, the last year of this generation, there was an option on the LX to add the three-channel ABS that debuted for 1992 in the Si HB and EX Coupe and Sedan. The aforementioned top-line offerings had standard A/C throughout this generation, IIRC.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    351,000 miles in Colorado. I have to say the “Honda Rot” by the rear bumper/fenders doesn’t look that bad. I’ve seen some Hondas of that era with rear bumpers barely hanging on because of “the rot.”

    This was still peak Honda where the interiors were screwed together so well, and they were damn near indestructible. In my family, we had a year older Acura Integra that made it to almost 300,000 miles before we gave up on it, and not vice versa. It did have severe Honda Rot though.

    And I think the LX model came with most of the power stuff standard. I believe it was the rarer EX models that came with a sunroof, better stereo, and other frills.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      This was the benchmark Civic in my book as well. The 1994 EX Sedan which was my first new car wasn’t quite the CR-X with a Sedan body that the previous-generation Civic was, especially after the 1990 mid-cycle refresh, but the huge leap in refinement made up for it! The floormats and carpet were Wilton-quality compared to the felt lining the floor of all but the most expensive cars today, and everything worked with a “snick-snick” quality!

      Alas, the fender rot was starting when I traded that Civic in for my first Accord. Honda finally got their act together around the mid-Aughts on that front.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I had 1990 Civic and I like this model. I though this was the best, that is until I’ve met Protege. 1998 Protege 1.8 wasn’t any worse than this Civic in reliability and longevity. And my current 2010 and 11 Mazda3 models are even better.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        Slavuta, with all due respect sir, I don’t see Mazda’s showing up in any inventories with nearly as many miles. I regularly see Honda/Toyota at auction with 350-500,000 miles. Rarely if ever do I see a Mazda come in with this mileage. Lately I’ve seen 1-2 Ford powered Mazda’s with 300,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Nice car.

      Agree with the comments that Peak Honda was in this general timeframe, especially the interior switches and controls.

      Newly-developed (just now) theory on Honda:
      • Deep in its corporate psyche, Honda still prefers building motorcycles. Because of this, 4-wheel Honda vehicles are good until you cross a certain weight threshold (exact number TBD), and then they kind of suck. [For a long time the Civic was below this number, most modern Honda automobiles are over this limit. There may be possible exceptions (Pilot? Ridgeline?) – theory is not fully validated.]

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        Toolguy, We own one of Honda’s worst cars, 2003 Accord V6. It should be passing 300,000 miles soon, though I will admit the A/C was replaced and the transmission was replaced at 261,000 miles. The engine though is very smooth just like it was when new.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          How is a 2003 Accord possibly one of Honda’s “worst” cars? Seventh generation, right? Not too far beyond Peak Honda, and not too weighty. And of course you could still get a V6 (you can’t now).

          By ‘modern’ I meant really modern. Compare the 1993 Civic curb weight with the current model.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          johnds,

          I can only speak of personal experience. And I only talk about Civic/Protege1.8. Not touching Mazda6 which was horrible during some model-years… I don’t know why there is no inventory for high mileage Mazda. May be because Honda produced millions more cars, or because Mazda Protege owners tend to hang to it. Or because people who drove mazda drive like crazy and killed their car before time, or because it rusted out…

          In my personal experience I had 98 Protege 1.8L. And I had 1990 Civic. Same was that both needed some oil every 500 miles after about 120K
          But then, Honda needed a muffler+pipes, alternator, CV Boots, make sure the timing belt changed
          Mazda needed 2 pieces of exhaust pipes, AC clutch, alternator. It went 195K on original clutch, Cv Boots, timing belt, everything. Then I sold it.

          I averaged 11,400 miles per year. I feel, if I had driven that car more, it would go 300K. Since I had both cars at the same time for a period, I can tell that I liked Protege better. It had a better ride, and its controls (clutch/gearbox) felt better. Now, my 2010 Mazda3 has about 155K, it had 2 small issues that cost me $120 and it burns no oil at all. The Engine is very smooth. But in one area, I feel Protege was better – better built. Protege was 17yo and still felt like tightly screwed. No rattles, etc. It was still smooth, but very noisy at high speed. The seats were in super shape still. 2010 feels like aging car. Seat material looks old. Seat lost its thigh support firmness. The new one is better on under-body rust but old one had better rustproofing on hardware.

          The bottom line, I don’t see Civic as superior in this category. Possibly in high salt areas – yes due to rust.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    I was proud when I got 225k miles out of my Ford Escape.
    However, my hat is off to this Honda at 351k miles. Have a feeling the stick shift contributed to the longevity. Not sure one could get the same level of service from a current Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I would say, highway driving is biggest contributor to longevity

      • 0 avatar
        3SpeedAutomatic

        Let’s not forget maintenance.
        That was the reason why I got so many miles in the salt, slush, and snow of up state New York. The tin worm was making its face know around the wheel wells, but the rest of the car was solid.

        Only gave it up when the A/C locked up when I returned home to the Deep South.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    IIRC the LX sedans all had power windows and mirrors standard. The were *almost* optioned as well as an EX, but with the lesser engine. Accords were the same way back then.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Yup.

      DX: Four wheels and a heater.
      LX: Power windows, locks, mirrors, maybe a stereo.
      EX: Biggest engine, tighter suspension, maybe larger alloy wheels, moonroof, maybe A/C, ABS.

      LX Accords had A/C from the 4th-Gen (1990) on, if memory serves.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I had A/C in 1990 DX

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        A/C was a dealer-installed accessory for models below LXi/EX for quite a few years. My ’88 Accord LX had dealer-installed A/C. Not sure whether that ended before 1993.

        • 0 avatar
          C5 is Alive

          sgeffe is correct; standard, factory-equipped A/C debuted on LX models with the fourth-generation 1990 Accord. I don’t think it was standard on DX cars until at least 1994.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I’ll bet you’re probably right, that all USDM Accords had factory A/C beginning in 1994, including the DXs. I’m too lazy to look at okdcarbrochures.com to verify it! (Base Accords in Canada of the current generation had automatic climate-control — without A/C — STANDARD! At least until the 2021 model-year!)

            The first few years of R-134 weren’t kind to Honda, which debuted in the 1994 model year! Either my Dad’s 1994 Accord or my 1994 Civic had the A/C replaced under an extended warranty, I forget which, and in general, failures were common.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        Alloy wheels on the civic on this generation were dealer accessories. They started getting alloy wheels standard with the 99-00 SI.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    I’d be happy to get half of that from my 17 civic EXT, manual. But if my terrible experience with FIT is any indication I doubt it. The direct injecition created a real mess in the valves. I probably didn’t help that I babied it so much. With that experience in mind I make it a point to take the civic over 4000 rpm on every drive once the engine is fully warmed up. Fingers crossed.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      There is a long tradition of Honda engines reacting well to the Italian tuneup.

      My 201k-mile ’95 Legend starts idling a bit rough if it’s been driven gently for a few weeks. Find a freeway onramp and take it through second gear (6300 rpm = ~70 mph) and smoothness is restored. Not sure what’s getting clogged up but some revs clear it out nicely, and the engine doesn’t mind them one bit.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    That was a highway commuter, still in good shape.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Maybe with new-fangled digital odometers, the junk yards could attempt to ascertain the mileage upon arrival (either from the owner, or if they can power up the odometer) and then write it on the windshield. It would be helpful to know if the alternator you’re pulling has 100k or 300k on it.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    My parents had one of these and I drove it from the mid-Atlantic to Chicago and back. LX trims had power windows, locks, mirrors. It’s not that unusual. I think the gray dash trim fascia is stock, and common whether you had the beige interior or basic black. IIRC, the big difference between LX and EX was the engine, and the EX got larger wheels. I think they both had the flush plastic wheels covers with exposed lugnuts. I always thought the fixed side-mounted head restraints on these was a cool feature.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      That dash area was gray across the line.

      The LX was the biggest-selling Sedan. Always was. Did everything well — comfortable, efficient, easy for everyone from a college-age kid to a senior citizen to own.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I’ve owned two Hondas, two Nissans, and a Subaru, all in the early ’80s to mid-’90s vinatge, and have needed two starters, two alternators, an AC compressor, and a distributor assembly. All were rebuilt for not much more more than the cost at a pick and pull in So. Cal. (which doesn’t have many).

    The alternators were pretty cheap, and the starters both came with “lifetime” warranties, though I wondered whose lifetime – mine or the car’s. The cost and availability of the alternators has led me to believe there are no 300k alternators in junkyards.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I’ve owned two Hondas, two Nissans, and a Subaru, all in the early ’80s to mid-’90s vinatge, and have needed two starters, two alternators, an AC compressor, and a distributor assembly. All were rebuilt for not much more more than the cost at a pick and pull in So. Cal. (which doesn’t have many).

    The alternators were pretty cheap, and the starters both came with “lifetime” warranties, though I wondered whose lifetime – mine or the car’s. The cost and availability of the rebuilt alternators has led me to believe there are no 300k alternators in junkyards.

  • avatar
    JMII

    My wife had a 93 EX with a sunroof and 5 speed, power windows, cruise – it was loaded, spoiler, red metallic paint with two tone grey interior. Over the years we owned it there was NEVER a problem. In fact I sometimes forget we owned because it was so invisible in terms of repairs. Oil, tires and batteries – that was it. Based on my experience with it (and previous Hondas) this car would do 200K easy. The side mount head rest allowed you to look over your shoulder very easily. Still the quietest car we’ve owned with triple door seals, amazing considering its reasonable price tag. I put 16″ wheels with wider 60 series rubber since the chassis was clearly limited by the OEM tires. My only complaint with the car was in typical Honda fashion the engine was weak on torque. Of course the advantage was it got great mileage.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    When it was introduced, I thought the coupe version of this car was the most beautiful subcompact car that had ever been built. Even though I didn’t fit perfectly in them (torso too tall) I kind of wanted an EX coupe.

    I still think there was something deeply satisfying about these. Such good design and quality in a package anyone could afford.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    A fine example of Honda’s glory years.

    ‘Tis no Prelude though…

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    As mentioned above, all Civics of this gen had the metallic gray dash bezel, no matter the interior color. All 4 door LX’s had power windows/mirrors. The EX bought you the more powerful engine, a power sunroof, 14 inch wheels and rear disc brakes. No leather, but I think the cloth was nicer in the EX as well. These were pretty good cars, basically a rebody of the 88-91 Civic platform. Headgaskets were the weak point. If you even got them slightly hot (early plastic tanked radiators that cracked were usually the cause) the headgasket usually didn’t survive. Easy job to do though and not too expensive usually.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      You’re right about the EX cloth being a touch nicer, come to think of it!

      Now it all feels like neoprene. It may wear decently, but it sure doesn’t feel or look like it would!

      I’d love to know which manufacturer was the first with the thin cloth seats and felt for carpeting, because they’ve all followed suit, even the “luxury” brands like saber-toothed BMW!

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Sold a 2009 CRV w/295,000 miles to our mechanic. Still chugging along, alas the mechanic has a short commute so it’ll be a long,long time til that car hits 400k.

    Only flaw….somehow it ate two alternators in 290k miles.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    We all know the only reason it made it to 351K was the wind-cheating effects of the dealer-added rear spoiler.

  • avatar
    C5 is Alive

    “…I’ve nosed around in hundreds of these cars while searching for bits for my own ’92 hatchback and I’d say maybe 2 percent have these switches.”

    Selection bias. Power windows were indeed rare in U.S.-spec Civic hatchbacks of this generation, even Si models.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Really? I thought power windows and locks were included on all the Sis. Perhaps it was like the standard A/C in that model plus EXs, which was added for the last two years of the 4th-Gen in 1994. Unlike some of the Honda mid-cycle refreshes in that period, there were no horsepower gains or any major changes, just some trim shuffling and the addition of passenger airbags across the range (which was first part of a special package on the 1993 EX Coupes — if memory serves, that package also came with the top-line stereo as standard that year only).

  • avatar

    Something Murilee mentioned is always a good reminder for me. I drove an 84 Shelby Charger to 406+k miles. The car only had the 5 digit odo so other than my own ‘bookkeeping’ I have no way to prove it. I wanted to drive the car to 500k but while I took care of the mechanical end of things I did a poor job on the cosmetic side. The only reason I got rid of the car when I did is due to the fact that the corrosion had made it very unsafe in case of a collision. The engine (2.2l non-turbo) was getting 35 mpg and only using a quart every 2k which is when I changed oil any way. I’m taking much better care of the cosmetic end of things now with my current car so I hope to avoid a repeat of what my laziness precipitated with the Shelby.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Something else just caught my eye on this one: the side mirrors were either replaced or painted at some point! Only the EX Coupes and Si hatches had body-colored mirrors in the 5th-Gens (I’ve had that generation wrong in all the posts on this thread — my Honda fanboi card is sitting at the front desk in the lobby awaiting disposal!) until 1994, and the Sedans may have been all black for those first couple years, with the EX going body-color in ‘94 and ’95.

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