By July 14, 2008 Read More →

Oil Pump Failed, Now Engine Is Dead

2003 Honda Civic oil pump failure

I hope you can give me some guidance on how to deal with recent car trouble. I brought my Honda in for inspection on Monday and they told me that it needed a new battery, a new tire, and an oil change. Fine. I paid about $350 and got the car back the same day.
Previous to the inspection we weren’t having any trouble with the car.

Then on Wednesday — two days later — my husband is driving home from work and the engine seizes. He manages to get the car off to the side but the car is totally dead. He gets it towed back to the mechanic and this morning the mechanic tells us that the oil pump has failed and basically there was no oil getting to various engine parts, some parts are damaged, etc.

He said our options are: 1) buying a used engine for about $2300 2) buying a new engine for about $3500 or 3) getting a new car.

The Civic has 131,000 miles on it. We’re not opposed to getting a new car, but even if we chose that option would a 2003 Civic that doesn’t even start have ANY trade in value?? Would we have to have a used engine put in even if we want to trade it in?

This is all complicated by the fact that I’m due to have a baby on Monday. Today is Thursday. If you have any advice I would really appreciate it.


Philadelphia, PA


Hi there MB,

Sorry to hear about your Honda, but excited to hear about your new baby…congratulations.

Did you guys check to see if there was oil inside this engine? Could the mechanic not have installed the oil after the oil change, or was there a major oil leak somewhere…like the oil filter??

I would look under the vehicle and around the engine to see if there is oil spilled everywhere due to a leak. Also pull the dipstick and make sure there is oil inside the engine…although the mechanic could have already put oil back in it by now.

Oil pump failure is very rare, and even more rare on a Honda….I kinda suspect something else happened here.

This is going to be a costly repair, so I would HIGHLY recommend you get another opinion before you do anything. Have you used this mechanic in the past? Do you have a good relationship with this mechanic… you trust them?

Has the timing belt been replaced? Could the timing belt have broken? If the oil pump fails, or there is not enough oil inside the engine….the RED engine light would/should come on the dashboard. You did not mention that?

If the engine is seized up completely the engine will not turn over or try to start when you turn the key, it will just make a clicking noise. If the engine turns over and over but wont start….the timing belt could have broken.


Austin Davis

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Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."

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