2016-2018+ Honda Civic AC (Air Conditioning) System Issue

babypj

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Posting this here for others who will undoubtedly come across this problem or already facing this problem. I own a 2018 Civic Si Sedan. From the posts and comments I've read here, model pretty much doesn't matter because they all experience the A/C issues. As far as I've gathered, there are issues linked to the condenser. This fix is 100% covered by Honda if your issue happens to be a leak in the condenser. This is the most common issue I've seen posted but it could just be that there are other issues- I'll explain that in a bit. Next I've seen issues regarding the compressor, but I only saw one comment on it so I'm not sure if that's a common one. Finally, I've seen and experienced an issue with the evaporator. I've seen one video on YouTube of some guy in India replacing his evaporator but I couldn't understand it. I've seen a lot of people on this CivicX forum post about issues with their evaporator.

So here's my story and I hope that you guys can learn something about this issue and ultimately more people report the issue to Honda so that they'll issue an extended warranty/recall for the whole AC system. I bought my car back in January 2018. I drove about 100k miles since then and my AC was working perfectly fine up until this winter. I hardly use my AC in the winter so I don't know exactly when the issue started.

I looked around and there were people saying that if the issue is with the condenser, then it would be replaced by Honda free of charge. However, the thing is that if it's not the condenser and one of the other major components in the AC system, you'd have to pay out of pocket. If you're still under warranty, go get it checked out sooner rather than later. If not, then continue on. I understand that 100k is a lot of miles, but there's a reason that the condenser warranty is 10 year/unlimited miles. This issue is common regardless of the miles you put on your car. Likely the whole system contains many parts that serve as points of failure, but the one Honda has decided to cover for now is the condenser.

Anyway, on with my story. I noticed on about Feb 7 that my AC wasn't blowing cold air anymore. I called about 1 week ago (Feb 10, 2021) to schedule an appointment with Honda of Elk Grove, CA to get the issue looked at. Immediately on the phone, the lady told me it's gonna be "$445 if the issue isn't your condenser. Do you still want to make an appointment?" Immediately I think, "Wow they really don't want you to make an appointment and kind of just expect us to bite the bullet." I sat on it for a little but called back and decided to schedule my appointment.

My appointment date comes around (today, Feb 17, 2021) and I arrive at the dealership. My service advisor, Justin, tells me it's gonna be about 4 hours so I get a shuttle ride home. On they way home, I ask the shuttle driver if other people were having AC problems with the 10th gen Civics. He says that A LOT of people are coming in asking about it but leave when they find out it will be a $445 diagnostic fee if they find nothing wrong with the condenser. This is pretty appalling but what can those people do? Honda hasn't issued a widespread TSB (more TSBs for 10th gen Civics here) about the evaporator.

After about 5 hours waiting, I decide to text to get a status update on my vehicle. Justin immediate replies and tells me that it's an issue with the evaporator and that this isn't covered under warranty (convenient). He quotes the repairs as being $1551.33 (hell no). I tell him I decline repairs and will just take my car home. He schedules a shuttle to pick me up.

I'm obviously very annoyed at this point. It seems that the car was already done or I just have impeccable timing. I was waiting around because I need my car to get places. Anyhow, the shuttle driver picks me up and I start telling him that this issue with the AC in Civics is pretty crazy. He tells me he has an 18 Civic EX-T at 29k miles and describes his issue with the AC to me. It sounds exactly like my car. The weird whistling noise paired with no cold air blowing was exactly what I experienced. I tell him he should probably get his car checked out since he's still under warranty and it might not be the condenser that is causing his issue.

I get back to the dealer and Justin is sort of rude with me. I ask him specifically what was the issue and he says that they just detected a leak in the evaporator and none in the condenser so there's nothing they can do. I understand that since it's not covered by Honda unless it's a condenser-related issue. I tell him I will pay the $445 as I agreed to before dropping off my car but I voiced my concerns that this issue was not as uncommon as he seemed to be implying. Justin implied that the issue was because these things happen, especially at 100k miles. I asked him if it was common for people to pay $2000 every 3 years because their AC doesn't work. I get it, things can happen. However, I don't even drive with my AC on most of the time.

Even if I did, most cars I've been in could simply get a recharge for about 15 bucks and they could do it themselves very easily. It's kind of hard to find 1234yf and I wasn't sure if I dropped 100 to refill the refrigerant if it would just leak out. I will see now long it takes this refrigerant to leak and update this post. Since most people are getting this issue at 3 years and Honda has refused to acknowledge a problem with the evaporator, I refuse to pay for the replacement as there's no guarantee it won't just leak completely in 3 years.

I mainly wrote this up for other people to see the issue exists and to not bother paying the diagnostic fee unless you know for sure that the leak is coming from the condenser. If I could do this process over, I would definitely not return to this dealership because there is 0 valuable information you could get from them that you could not get from a second party auto shop. I would have a leak test/diagnostic performed elsewhere and eat the 100-300 something it would cost to do that if you really want to know. Otherwise, just charge it up yourself and recharge it as needed until they issue a TSB for the evaporator. Also, if the other shop finds that there's a leak in the condenser, that's completely covered by Honda for 10 years.

This is a note about the Honda dealership in Elk Grove and not about Honda: When I received my car back, my rear view mirror was out of position so I adjusted it. It was extremely wobbly and it wasn't like that before I dropped it off. I know this because I move my seat depending on how I want to drive at that time. Doing this, I need to adjust my seat. It was never so wobbly before. I drove back to the dealership (I was only 1 min away) and told them that my rearview mirror is suddenly extremely wobbly. Justin told me that it happens with heat and plastic and my only option was to replace it for $150(WOW really?). I told him that this is on them as I knew my mirror wasn't wobbly before I brought it back. He escalated it to manager and the manager told him it was possible to tighten. It took 10 seconds and my mirror was as sturdy as when I brought it in. This you can do yourself in case this happens to you but I didn't want to do it myself since they caused the issue.

Final thoughts: I will never buy a new Honda again. I like the old Hondas and will probably sell my 10th Gen to get an RSX. There's nothing special about this car except the new infotainment system and a few other new technologies. Had I been thinking rationally, I would have realized this 3 years ago. I was excited to get a brand new car and this is the price I pay. Anyhow, I will hopefully be able to replace the evaporator through warranty before I sell the car. I hope you all post your issues to the forum so that Honda can see that this is a widespread issue that needs to be addressed. Sorry this was sort of a rant but I wanted to make sure I put as much as I thought relevant to the issue.
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JCH

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Thanks for your insightful post. I am unfortunately in the same boat. 2018 Civic EX, purchased February 2018. A/C started to not cool around the end of 2019, and completely died around this time last year. Same behavior as many explained, first the driver side stops cooling, the whistle noise, etc.

Brought it to the dealer where I bought the car, was told about the diagnostic fee, etc. They put some dye in it and recharged it, then had me come back once the A/C stopped cooling again, which it did a month later. They determined that the condenser was broken and replaced that under warranty, $0 charge to me.

Fast forward to today, I JUST discovered as I was cleaning my car, that the driver side A/C is not as cold as the passenger side, again. The same exact symptoms. Now I’m unsure if it’s the condenser again, or if it’s another part of the A/C system.

My warranty has already expired, JUST 3 days ago, unfortunately, so i’m out of luck. I would like to take it back to the dealer for them to check it out, but the possibility of the diagnostic fee is stopping me. Yikes.
 
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babypj

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Thanks for your insightful post. I am unfortunately in the same boat. 2018 Civic EX, purchased February 2018. A/C started to not cool around the end of 2019, and completely died around this time last year. Same behavior as many explained, first the driver side stops cooling, the whistle noise, etc.

Brought it to the dealer where I bought the car, was told about the diagnostic fee, etc. They put some dye in it and recharged it, then had me come back once the A/C stopped cooling again, which it did a month later. They determined that the condenser was broken and replaced that under warranty, $0 charge to me.

Fast forward to today, I JUST discovered as I was cleaning my car, that the driver side A/C is not as cold as the passenger side, again. The same exact symptoms. Now I’m unsure if it’s the condenser again, or if it’s another part of the A/C system.

My warranty has already expired, JUST 3 days ago, unfortunately, so i’m out of luck. I would like to take it back to the dealer for them to check it out, but the possibility of the diagnostic fee is stopping me. Yikes.
That's really unfortunate. Fill out a car complaint and since it's not the condenser (as you already had it replaced) maybe it's the evaporator or something else. Sorry to hear that man.
 

dellyjoughnut

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I watched a YouTube video of a guy who does recharging on the 10th gen civic for the 1234yf. Said that if the condenser is bad, then the compressor may eventually go or it already gone because of lack of refrigerant in the system.
 

Gruber

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Next I've seen issues regarding the compressor, but I only saw one comment on it so I'm not sure if that's a common one.
Look, don't get me wrong, it's great you are posting your experience, which is similar to many other stories that can be found on the forum. The amount of the diagnostic fee is a bit outrageous, but so is California. I don't believe they actually found a leak in the evaporator, because it can't be done without taking the dasboard apart. If they did the right thing, they just checked the condenser and the compressor, did not find the leak, so they assumed it must be the evaporator and collected the money. But checking for small leaks can be difficult and often beyond the skills and ambition of average dealer mechanics.

But, there is plenty of AC failure threads on this forum you haven't read. Many cases of compressor replaced, and many cases of compressor diagnosed and not replaced. I had my compressor replaced on warranty (free to me) at barely 15,000 miles, and less than 3 years since manufactured date. I don't have any reason to believe my new compressor is any different to the old one.

So there is a lot of material on AC failures on the forum for you to read and learn.
 

FK7Build

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I watched a YouTube video of a guy who does recharging on the 10th gen civic for the 1234yf. Said that if the condenser is bad, then the compressor may eventually go or it already gone because of lack of refrigerant in the system.
DO you have a link to that YouTube video?
 
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