Car overheating but blowing cold air


Asked by Jun 20, 2017 at 06:59 PM about the 2002 Honda Civic EX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My car starts to overheat (normally in traffic) while
idling and overheating the heat goes cold. Once the
car begins to move (at a decent pace) engine cools
back down to normal and the heat is one again hot.
The thermostat was replaced 6 months ago so not
quiete sure what else is could be. Anyone have

5 Answers


Do you always turn the heater on (if so why) when driving the car? #1 Suspect the water pump...but without an inspection all you get here is a guess at best.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The only reason I turn on the heat on now is to help cool the car down when overheating otherwise during the winter is the only time I use it

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Definitely sounds like the water pump is failing. Most likely the impeller (fan looking thing on the inside of the pump) has rusted away and the pump isn't pumping as well as it should. HTH. - Jim

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Is there a way to check the water pump before replacing it. I know it's in a tough spot to get to


These 2001 - 2005 civics are all the same....except the hybrids but when it comes to overheating, not having sufficient cabin heating unless the car is moving and other coolant related issues they are all similar and it usually happens at a certain mileage range. There's really no way if physically checking the functionality level of a water pump but changing these pumps in a Civic isn't as straightforward as you would expect. My 02' EX sedan has a suspected head gasket leaking between cylinders. I'm getting oil in the coolant but not the other way around. This causes so many other issues it is unbelievable. I've heard nightmare stories of people who pay a machanic/machine shop to replace the gasket and machine the head surface, change the water pump, thermostat and even the radiator and still have overheating issues. My theory is that the coolant ports that circulate coolant throughout the engine block are blocked or not functioning 100% and this might be related to a tired water pump as well. I also drive with the heat on when I see the temp gauge approaching above the midway point. The radiator fans work properly as well. I strongly believe that Honda knows about this "defect" and because the engines have more than 100k miles they won't replace or repair whatever is going on because they know people will most likely just purchase another vehicle. Good luck throwing parts into it though.

Your Answer


Looking for a Used Civic in your area?

CarGurus has 4,579 nationwide Civic listings starting at $1,588.

Postal Code:

Honda Civic Experts

  • #1
    Tom Demyan
  • #2
    Jonathan Ford
  • #2
    Takoda Fraser
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Honda Accord
65 Great Deals out of 1,274 listings starting at $1,000
Used Toyota Corolla
155 Great Deals out of 3,766 listings starting at $2,495
Used Honda Civic Coupe
33 Great Deals out of 964 listings starting at $1,600
Used Toyota Camry
38 Great Deals out of 1,965 listings starting at $1,950
Used Honda CR-V
43 Great Deals out of 2,887 listings starting at $2,500
Used Nissan Altima
70 Great Deals out of 1,223 listings starting at $1,900
Used Hyundai Elantra
154 Great Deals out of 3,909 listings starting at $2,395
Used Honda Accord Coupe
8 Great Deals out of 286 listings starting at $3,999
Used Ford Focus
52 Great Deals out of 2,409 listings starting at $1,495
Used BMW 3 Series
124 Great Deals out of 2,111 listings starting at $2,495
Used Nissan Sentra
123 Great Deals out of 1,891 listings starting at $2,200
Used Hyundai Sonata
33 Great Deals out of 1,349 listings starting at $1,688

Used Cars For Sale

2016 Honda Civic EX For Sale
3 Great Deals out of 43 listings starting at $17,488
2015 Honda Civic EX For Sale
17 Great Deals out of 135 listings starting at $10,888
2014 Honda Civic EX For Sale
12 Great Deals out of 130 listings starting at $11,390

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.