My wife and I just bought a used 2006 Honda Civic LX with about 90K miles. It’s going through about 1qt of oil every 500 miles. No puddles or oil leaks on the driveway and the engine is clean of leaking oil. What could be causing this? Could this be attributed to a crack in the engine block? Cracked blocks are known to be a problem with this model and year and the subject of a tech note by Honda and they have extended the warranty to 8 years because of it. Have others had this problem? The car was serviced by a local dealer, Boch Honda in MA, by the previous owner and has had the oil changed every 3K miles. I have all the documentation. Suggestions and comments are welcome.
What could be causing this is simple wear. If that 90K miles is all stop & go mileage, it could be the equivalent of 200,000 highway miles.
Abuse is another possibility. Honda Civics are loved by kids…who love to abuse them.
A plugged PCV valve could be a factor , but i this caes I doubt it.If the PCV valve were causing this much oil loss I’d expect seepage through the valvecover gasket and perhaps the front main seal.
It’s also possible that the oil rings are gummed up. But if the oil has really been changed every 3,000 miles that’s unlikely. That usually happens from neglect.
The first thing you need to do is have the condition of the engine’s internals assessed. A simple compression test is a good place to start. Post back with the readings.
Oh, and this is definitely not a cracked block problem. You need not be concerned about that.
Thanks mountainbike. The previous owner drove the car in rush hour highway (128) traffic here in the Boston area. Which means stop and go with some highway driving. It was not driven by a kid who would have abused the motor. I’m thinking of bringing it back to the dealer to have it evaluated since they’ve done all the work on the car.
I agree with mountainbikes’ comment about the PCV and checking the compression.
Generally speaking, a problem like this is due to piston rings. If the car has ever been overheated in the past that alone can affect the piston rings and lead to oil consumption.
If you have a compression test performed you might post the readings back here for discussion. I never cease to be amazed at how often these readings are misinterpreted, even by mechanics.
I’ve even got a number of printed service manuals that are just flat dead wrong in this regard.
What you should see on a healthy engine is about 190ish PSI on all cylinders.
If you have readings in the 160, 170 range then a follow-up wet compression test should be performed. If those numbers jump up during the wet test there’s a ring problem and that’s as serious as tuberculosis.
To muddy the water a bit more, it’s also possible to have good compression but still have a ring problem and oil consumption. A compression or leakdown test is all there is though.
Thanks ok4450. If it is a ring problem, what are the solutions and rough costs?
If it is a ring/wear problem, the solutions are:
- rebuild the existing engine
- replace the engine with a rebuilt
- replace the engine with a boneyard engine
- drive it as-is and make sure the oil stays above the “fill” line.
Option 4 may manifest itself as premature failure of the oxygen sensor and/or the cat converter, but it is an option nonetheless.
That’s what I thought. #4 isn’t attractive as it ruins the O2 sensor and cat converter, the latter is very expensive. About what can I expect a rebuild or rebuilt engine to run for this car?
First do the compression test.
A rebuilt motor will cost a few grand and up, but find out what’s wrong for certain before starting down that road.
Absolutely we’ll do the compression test first. I’ll have the Honda dealer do it first and I may have my local shop do one also. Just to get a “second opinion”.
Sounds like ABUSE to me… Wonder if the prev owner starts the car in the morning and IMMEDIATELY takes off under hard acceleration…This is very common among people who dont know anything about engines…and is absolutely devastating to the piston rings. It happens all the time.
The other culprit could simply be all city mileage…and OR someone driving the car with NO AIR FILTER…believe me…it happens…STUPID but happens.
Hondas are NOT KNOWN FOR THIS…someone caused this…and methinks…this will always remain a secret. Sad actually. Mtn bike hit upon all the ways to solve this…there is no fix in a bottle sadly…There IS a product that claims to solve this but I have never used it and have no faith in it…as this is most always caused by material loss of the piston rings. The product is called RESTORE…it comes in diff size cans for 4-6-8 cyl engines. I doubt it can work…but people say it does… Mite not hurt to try it as the only other solution is a major overhaul or engine replacement.
I wonder if oil of the wrong viscosity was put in the crankcase. You said that you just purchased the car. You might have the oil changed with the viscosity specified in the owner’s manual. I know this is a long shot, but it is something cheap to try.
Hondas use an alumasil block with no sleeves…The rings ride directly on the aluminum block…Most of the time this technology works. Sometimes it does not…rebuilding them is not really an option. Your Best option is to trade it off like the last owner did…
Results are back, it’s a ring problem as suspected. Question, does the warranty extension by Honda for cracked blocks cover this? The dealer wants me to replace the block and head to the tune of about $3k. The same dealer has done virtually all the oil changes at about 7,000 mile intervals. I would really hate to spend another $3k for a used car I just bought.
Suggestions, options are welcome.
Thanks for posting back. No, the warranty won’t cover this.
The cost being quoted is actually reasonable PROVIDED that the dealer is quoting youu the installation of a remanufactured engine. If he’s quoting a boneyard engine for that price, be wary.
So is it worth it? Should I just put oil and run?
“Results are back, it’s a ring problem as suspected…The same dealer has done virtually all the oil changes at about 7,000 mile intervals”
If nothing else, this helps to confirm that I should stick to my 4 month/4,000 mile oil change schedule!
Whether it’s worth it or not depends on the condition of the rest of the car.
Personally, i’d be inclined to resell the vehicle and move on, getting a thorough checkup on the next one before purchase.
You might clear up one thing here. In your original post you stated the oil changes were done at 3k miles intervals by the same dealer and in the ensuing post you state 7k miles intervals by the same dealer. Big difference. Why the glaringly large discrepancy?
If it’s the latter (and even possibly the former, all depending) then some or all of the piston rings (especially the oil control rings) could be seized in the ring lands and this is the cause of the oil consumption.
As to a fix, that’s going to depend on how enamored you are of the car and how much you want to sink into it.
If you drive the car as-is and continually add oil as needed you can expect problems in the future when the O2 sensors and catalytic converter are killed by coked oil and a drop in performance/fuel mileage when the converter starts to clog up with coked engine oil.
ok4450: My original post was in error when I said oil changes were every 3k miles. I reviewed the maintenance history more closely and the number is 7k.
mountainbike: What is a fair price to ask for this vehicle should I decide to sell?
If you suspect stuck Oil rings then you could put in a quart of Kerosene in the Crankcase in place of a qt of oil…maybe even 1.5 Qts…You only have a 4 or 5 Qt system so not too much. IF the rings were stuck…and not worn down and out…then the Kero may unstick them and make them seal up again…worth a shot as you are facing engine replacement as the other option…
THIS SUCKS…such a YOUNG Honda…they really are not known for this type of major engine failure. What a shame.