Parks McCants's picture

Honda Civic Owners report strange goings on in the night

Here's a clue: With wireless technology comes a bit of a learning curb for 10th Generation Honda Civic owners. Is your car’s electronic system glitchy? Or is it simply a case of user awareness, or a lack of it.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

I appreciate the convenience and instant gratification afforded by today’s modern automotive electronic key fob. This mainstay accessory has morphed from a rather simple remote signal door unlocking device to a handheld microcomputer, capable of preheating, starting, or stopping most premium cars from the comfort of one’s home or office. My key fob helps me find my car, lost in a mega-sized parking lot. I’m working on parking space consistency, in case I lose the darn thing -- my key fob that is.

Is your latest Honda Civic equipped with a keyless ignition?

It’s all very cool stuff until it glitches, or you do. Honda is a forerunner in what’s referred to in the auto industry as “up-trimming.” In layman's terms, this is where an automaker integrates features into entry level, or sub-premium class cars and light trucks, that in the not too distant past, were reserved for premium, or luxury cars and SUVs.

Such is the case with the 10th Generation Honda Civic

Back to those reports of strange goings on in the night: Last year, while reviewing Honda’s exceptional Civic Hatchback Touring, I noted a strange occurrence or two. One morning, on approaching Civic Hatchback Touring, I noted a partially opened sunroof and both 2nd-row side windows. I’m anal when it comes to locking a press car, I was sure of it. Weeks earlier I’d left a sunroof partially opened on a Summer evening -- surprisingly, it rained that night. Lesson learned I was darned that I’d do it again. Yet there it was, a partially opened Honda Hatchback. Was I losing it?

That morning I was scheduled for a photo shoot, featuring 2017 Honda Civic Touring Well, no harm was done that balmy Summer evening. So, I depressed the e-brake, toggled Civics CVT into reverse, and headed off to Autzen Stadium. My Honda Hatchback drove on without a hitch that day. Yet I still pondered the mysterious window roll-down. How, why and where crossed my mind. What was I missing?

Shuffling through my minds trivia hard drive, I was reminded of a key-fob related glitch of sorts when experiencing the reinvented Honda Odyssey -- I’d experienced an unintended engine shut-off in a keyless-ignition equipped Odyssey in Kona. Honda engineering had no explanation for the engine shutdown at that time. Could it all be key-fob related?

I turn to Consumer Affairs for a possible answer

Honda, the 5th largest automaker in the United States has very few Honda Civic related consumer complaints listed here. However, there it was, a complaint, or more accurately a warning from a well-meaning Canadian 2017 Honda Hatchback Touring owner.

Else of Dartmouth NS tells us: “We purchased a brand new, 2017 Honda Civic Turbo Sport, electric push start, in July. It was a great car - completed all the surveys from Honda favorably. September 1st we had our first problem. We went out first thing in the morning and the sunroom was 1/2 open and all 4 windows were 1/2 down. We didn't leave the windows down. We thought someone had broken into it. I notified the sales rep.”

Else writes on: “A week later on Sept. 7th, my husband walked the dog around the car; all windows were up, key fob in the HOUSE. The next morning was pouring rain, and yep, all 4 windows were down and the sunroof wide open, car soaked. The real nightmare was trying to get the dealership to help, with drying out the car and to find out what was wrong with the car. Unbeknownst to us, this is a common problem that Honda has known about since 2008, according to the service manager.”

And then? “We were given the line that if you put the key fob in your pocket, "something" could press the Unlock button, and cause the windows to go down and sunroof to open. We bought an extended warranty, and neither the regular warranty nor the extended one would help us. We were blatantly told it was our fault, and this was an insurance claim, and with the $500 cost to dry out the car, $50 for diagnostics charge, and however much for a rental car (oh, we couldn't get an appt. until Monday as it was the first day of school and a lot of people had booked time off!), we're looking at over $1,000.”

The final solution: “We ended up calling another dealership, and we got the car in on Friday - the next day. They were helpful, sympathetic, and hooked the car up to diagnostics - for free. They also put the car in their detail shop and did some work on drying out the car (there was an inch of standing water in the cup holders, so you can imagine how much rain got in there). In the end, they couldn't find a problem with either the key fob or the car, but the change in attitude more than made up for what we went through with our original dealer.”

Elsie’s kind warning: “So, a word of warning - if you have a Honda Civic, DO NOT put the key fob in your pocket or purse. If you believe Honda, something could hit this button and make your windows go down on their own. Goodness only knows where you're supposed to carry your "keys" if the fob is that sensitive.” Thank you, Elsie.

Caution: Your modern Honda Civic is high-tech-sophisticated

With all new equipment comes an operating procedure learning curve. Your modern car or light truck is a computerized driving marvel. While I do agree that Honda Dealers should spend a few moments acquainting customers with the intricacies of their new cars, inevitably, familiarity with the product is the responsibility of the end-user. Heck, I’ve locked my key fob in the car with the engine running. That was an expensive lesson. For more details on your Honda Civic, check this out.

Reference: consumeraffairs.com

Photo attributions: American Honda 2017

Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.


I saw in the 2015 Honda Odessa my husband has his key fob in pocket with keys and cards clipped to it with other stuff in pocket, doors open, roofs even at night when he takes pants off and once doors were open when he took fob out of pants. There is a setting that can lock your car and keep doors or roof from opening unless you hit two keys on remote or something like that. Forgot exactly what but doesn’t effect him going to car and use it without fob. I have no trouble because my fobs are in cases and in pocketbook in pockets. Any house key is just one and not interfering. Actually when loses, I couldn’t get my door to open because metal key interfered being close to car. I have 2018 accord touring. No problem now. With regular old fashion key and remote you would press it in your hands ar a certain distances. I like fact car licks itself. Except when driving car that doesn’t and you go back to lock it. Anyhow men have bad habit of having fob floppng in pocket. They were to sensitive. But there are settings on all cars especially suv and vans.
Don't be fooled into thinking that this was your fault. It is most unlikely that the coins in your purse or pocket hit the right combination of buttons on your FOB to inadvertently drop the windows by themselves. Someone, somehow was using their own remote FOB to unlock their car and sent the signal to your Honda to cool down by lowering all windows. The sad part is that this can happen at any time, any where, in any weather: snow, wind or rain. This has not been proven as of yet. No one really knows why and how, but so far, Honda puts the blame solely on the owner and his careless handling of his own FOB. This is not one isolated occurrence. Others share your bad experiences with the downed windows.
This problem seems to be destroying cars of virtually all makes and models and is probably costing consumers millions. If you do a generic search for something like: car windows went down on their own, you'll find all makes suffer from this honda, bmw, lexus, ford... you name it, owner's have been complaining about this issue since 2009. It has been 10 years of property damage cause by a flawed design feature. People have to put their keys/fob somewhere when they exit their cars and pockets and pursues are reasonable and the historic holders for those items. When Honda told me, well, don't put the fob in your pocket, I couldn't believe they actually said that. What am I supposed to do with it, hang it from my nose? Where are the product liability lawyer, people are suffering real financial damage...