08 Accord 4 cyl oil consumption / caytalyst

My wife’s 08 Accord has been consuming oil at a rate of 1/2 qt every 1200-1500 mi. In has done this for the last 50k. Around 20k oil light came on with wife on the freeway and no oil on stick. I use Mobil 1 every 10k which I think should be fine. Took 50k for dealer to finally tear into motor yesterday. The said “head looks good, pvc system clean, passed compression test.” I asked if it failed wet test and there was a long pause. They replied they were most likely going to replace rings because they must be bad.I asked that if the cyl were scored what was the plan. They said Honda allows boring / rebuild. Don’t like that but ok. Now for my question. What effect did the constant burning of oil (terrible soot in tailpipe) on my catayltic convertor. They said it would be fine. I think that it would have been overheated and fail prematurely. How will ecm/pcm be affected by a slight change in displacement if bored? I know it sounds dumb but I’m a novice not a Guru. Thank’s and love the show guys. Anyone heard of other Accord oil issues? There are a bunch!! Oh by the way the dealer told wife the fix for the v6 oil consumption was to disable the cyl deactivation feature. Won’t that screw mpg? Is all this oil consumption pissing of the EPA?

You don’t have an oil consumption problem. You almost let your engine self destruct when you let it get dangerously low on oil. My honest opinion of the pcm/ecm excuse is that the mechanic/service mgr recognize that they are in a no win situation with you because of your unrealistic expectations and lack of familiarity with things automotive. If you insist on extending oil changes to 10,000 miles you should expect to add 3 to 4 quarts between changes.That is normal.

You didn’t mention if they performed a leak down test, or if they have inspected the valve guide clearance to see if it is out of spec, causing oil to be ingested past the valve guide seals.

You also didn’t say how long it had been since you last checked the oil level before she ran the oil too low. From what you are saying, this happened when the vehicle only had 20k miles on it. Which Mobil 1 oil were you using at that time, and had you checked the level before starting your trip.

If you started your trip, and the oil was 100% full, how many miles had you gone before it was empty? If you didn’t check the oil level before the trip started, that was kind of foolish on your part, and it might have been empty before hand, and this is kind of hard to work with.

If it was full before the trip was started, the engine had a major issue from early on in its life.

I take it that you bought the vehicle when it was brand new?
How long did you run the original oil for in the engine before you changed it?

Also, how many miles are actually ON the Accord?
You don’t actually say how much, and its confusing to me.


First of all, oil consumption at the rate of 1/2 qt every 1,200-1,500 miles falls well within the “normal” range for a new car. Please note that I did not say that this rate of consumption is desirable, but that it is certainly not abnormal. What does not fall within the normal range is an oil change schedule of 10,000 miles.

As I see it, the problem lies not with the car, but with the owner and operator of the car. If you and your wife drove this car to the point of the oil pressure light coming on (indicating insufficient oil pressure to protect the bearings, cylinder walls, rings, etc), and if there isn’t a massive oil leak, that indicates that you and your wife did not lift the hood in order to check the oil for a very long time, thus allowing the oil to fall to a dangerously low level. That is a perfect example of owner negligence.

Then, if we factor in the possibility (or, more likely, the probability) of engine sludging taking place as a result of oil change intervals that are w-a-a-a-y too long, you have the perfect storm for destroying an engine. (Strike two for owner negligence.)

If the dealer agrees to perform any repairs under warranty, I suggest that you accept them humbly and move on. If you protest too much, you may wind up with nothing once the dealer and mfr realize that this problem is the result of owner negligence.

You never had a problem to begin with. As others said a half quart every 1200-1500 is pretty normal, and well within operating tolerance. You’re looking to spend lot of money for little gain. You never should’ve had the engine tore down in the first place, becuase there wasn’t a problem.

Like it or not, the problem with the car is self-inflicted and on two levels.
One is changing the oil at 10k mile intervals and the other is not raising the hood to check the oil level. Waiting until the oil light comes on is akin to closing the barn doors after the horses have already escaped.

The problem with this engine is likely piston rings that are sludged/coked up and this should be obvious upon a teardown.

You need to change your maintenance habits and start raising the hood now and then. Failure to do this only means that you will be suffering the same problems over and over and depending on how the current repair is performed engine longevity might be an issue. A “new set of rings” can be a job that can go south very quickly if a number of things are not taken into consideration.

Did you tell the Honda dealer the event where the car was run out of oil at 20K miles? This is a critical detail.

Using Mobil 1 does not mean you can expect no oil usage over 10K miles. Adding a quart every 3K miles isn’t great, but it isn’t really excessive either. Bad rings should show up in blue smoke out the tailpipe.

The cat is affected more by bad combustion than oil consumption. The soot also is more evidence of a combustion problem it is excessive above the norm. Oil use in the range you give (1/2 quart every 1K miles) should not be a problem for the cat. A car blowing plumes of blue smoke out the tailpipe constantly, now that would harm the cat.

You don’t have a problem. 1/2 quart every 1200-1500 miles is well within normal, and actually excellent considering that the car has been routinely run low on oil and driven on the highway with the low pressure light glowing. The fact that it passed a compression test confirms your luck. If I treated my car like that it probably would have seized.

In short, despite your having severely neglected the car I see onthing in your post that suggests that the engine has a problem, although I feel confident that its lifespan has been shortened. I recommend against a rebuild. I recommend that you begin monitoring your fluid levels (ALL of them) and changing them as recommended by the manufacturer.

As to the soot, it will ultimately coat and cause failure of your oxygen sensor and perhaps your catalytic converter. When this happens a Check Engine Light will illuminate. Until this happens, I suggest you do nothing other than the already recommended change in habits.

The oil consumption is well within the normal range. The EPA should be happy. Besides, they’re focused on expanding their powers right now, not on your car.

The car was purchased as a CPO with 22k at which time we were instructed by the dealer to change the oil based on the maintainance minder light! “The car will let you know” Supposed to check the dielectric constant I guess. The oil light popped on on an on- ramp for a split second (wife driving). With light off she drove the remainder of her 5-6 miles the at worked checked the oil, it was “very low”. She had a co worker get her a few quarts and put them in and drove home later that day. I checked and was still 1/2 quart or so low. OIL IS MOBIL1 FULL SYNTHETIC which complies fully with Honda. I think this was at 27k. The amount of oil is not an exact science given temp., time you let it drain back etc. the 1/2-3/4 per 1k is a guess. Honda thought it was a big enough deal that they are tearing it down on thier dime. NOT MY SUGGESTION. I have been a BMW service writer and 15 k oil changes is fine why would that not be ok for my Honda. My other 04 Accord has 218k,owned since new-same maintainance with NO ISSUES original motor and auto trans. I have had 43 vehicles in 20 years and been under a few hoods. As far as what dealership has done. They had not admitted to cyl leakage, vacc testing ets. Valve guides seals were ok. Another issue is the car has a TSB for noise in oil pump due to clearance. Sounds like The Jetsons since day 1 dealer said normal. Could be a volume issue starving cyl? Changed oil checked full, drove 1200 miles lost almost quart. oil turns dark FAST seems to break down. My wife drives 2 hr plus daily on interstate or 40k per year so this happens FAST. By the way who else has thier A1-A8? I just wanted some outside opinions on the effect on my emissions/catalyst which cat temps running 1800, and O2 slow to switch typically rich. Mpg has gone from 30mpg to 25mpg average. Not huge but I like to make notes on cause and effect with autos. I am not twisting dealers arm on this repair we have operated on all the recommendations of dealer. As a writer I have been in thier shoes (my CSI score stayed above 92). Sounds like these replies are from techs, cool but I’m not that customer.

Oh boy.

What? I’m I nuts? :slight_smile: Wouldn’t you want your wife or daughter to be able to drive for 1 week without concern for oil level on a 2 year old car . It would be different if there was a leak,you suck it up. If I did a monthly check which I think is normal it would be off the stick. It’s not right and we all know it. Saying that a 1qt per 1k is ok is using OLD standards for a new problem. In my 67 Mustang OK. In my 77 Ford ok, my 93 with 250k miles (all original) ok. Not an 08. Dealer agrees cause they took it in . Thanks

Here you can find some picture of the inside of a BMW engine with 30k miles and one oil change at 15k:

Driving 5-6 miles after the oil light even blinks once is borderline negligent, IMHO.

How often was the oil level checked between changes?
My car doesn’t use any significant amount of oil between changes (~2000mi in 6 months), yet I check the level every 1000 miles.
At the rate your wife drives that would be every 9 days.

“Saying that a 1qt per 1k is ok is using OLD standards”

Yet that is what is in many Owners Manuals.
My Toyota manual says 1 quart per 600 miles is OK.

I agree BMW’s did look terrible and it made me sick to see the tar drained from the pan but that is what they recommended. Also The BMW oil was a Tier 2 or blend. I can’t remember. I just think if you sold a car to a woman and said change the oil when the reminder on the dash tells you to and there are no recommendations for checking it , it is a recipe for disaster. The dealer was asked at time of purchase if I could do maintainance and change every 10k w/ Syn Mobil 1 and they said it would be fine. See where I’m coming from. On another note for all of you that are techs and coming down on me - your wrong - this is a 25 plus hr job and you would love to have the flag! I know I would.
Also - I check and top regularly and have to compute consumption based on total added over time not run it dry and add.

Last issue was fresh change full to top mark, drove 1100 miles, checked and was 3/4 qt lost. 78k Currently, Bought with 22k, Never let it get low except the first time The light flickered at 27k roughly. Kept a check ever since. Has been a quart low at most in last 50k miles. I think you all have the wrong idea. I keep it filled best I can with synthetic changing every 10k. typically putting 3-4 quarts in process. oil is fresher with the additional added isn’t it. Let’s say that I’m changing the oil a little every week by burning it instead of draining it. Right. It’s really anoying. I do check it. I know that low level consumes faster. I keep level up. I calculate what has been added over time. Not let it go dry then add.

I would remind you that your post said 1/2 quart every 1200-1500, which would be a quart every 2400 to 3000 miles. This is well within the range considered acceptable.

The quart every 1000 miles is an amount that manufacturers commonly consider acceptable on a brand new engine, although most of us disagree. It is a modern standard, not an old standard.

There is no manufacturer that I’m aware of that would consider a quart every 2400 to 3000 miles unacceptable. Nor would I.

10k on full Synthetic was approved by dealer at time of purchase and in most cases has been before the oil change reminder has been below 20%. I’m well aware that the light coming on was bad, 3-4 psi bad. The oil pump has a TSB for noise / clearance issue. Couldn’t a lack of volume from pump not affect pressure but cause the starving and consumption issue? I bought with 22k and dealer serviced then and said come back when minder tells you. I changed at 3500 cause oil looked crappy and started the Mobile 1. The “reminder” was at 20% I think. Where did I drop the ball?

It’s generally considered common knowledge that one should check their oil level at least once every other week or so. It’s kinda like putting wet clothes from the washer into the dryer rather than leaving them to dry on their own accord (no pun intended) whilst residing the washer, it’s something that you shouldn’t have to be told to do.

You’re not nuts or even lukewarm crazy so sanity is not an issue.

You should be checking your oil level regularly and adding a quart when it gets to the “fill” line regardless of how many miles you go between changes. Not doing so is negligence. I’m certain that your owner’s manual recommends regular oil checks as well. I check mine at least once a week, immediately and then daily just after an oil change…just in case I forgot to tighten the plug all the way or the filter gasket is leaking or something.

Your amount of oil usage is normal and acceptable by anyone’s standards.

Some carbon deposition on the tailpipe is normal. If carbon does cause a problem with the catalyst, or the oxygen sensor, or the EGR valve, or the PCV system, the CEL light will illuminate. Until and unless it does you need not worry about carbon deposition.

Based on everything you’ve written, I would not bore anything, hone anything, replace anything, or do anything at all. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why they agreed to open the engine up at all. I wouldn’t.

That’s as clear as I can make it.