2010 Honda Accord V-6, 3.5 VCM Oil Usage

In February 2013, my wife and I purchased a 2010 Honda Accord (V-6, 3.5L Variable Cylinder Management) from a Honda dealer in Tysons Corner, VA. At purchase, the car had 28,546 miles and the factory warranty was, and still is, in effect. After several months, I noticed that I was having to add a quart of oil about every 1,000 miles. I did not see any oil on my driveway pavement.

In June, the emissions light illuminated and began flashing. As instructed by the car manual, we took it to the closest Honda dealer (Fairfax, VA). The dealer found that the plug in cylinder #2 was fouled by oil, and replaced the plug. I was concerned about the oil usage and suggested that there could be issues with the rings. I also pointed out that the tailpipes had a lot of black, nongreasy residue. The service representative informed me that it is normal to add a quart of oil every 1,000 miles and that the Honda website states this as well. I told him that he was full of “it”, and that I add a quart of oil to my 2002 Chevrolet Impala every 3,000 miles. He told me that I would have to call American Honda to open a case. I called American Honda, and they told me that I need to have Fairfax Honda open the case.

Six days after the plug in cylinder #2 is replaced, my wife is driving on I-64 near the West Point, VA exit when the emissions light illuminates and flashes. The car is towed to the nearest Honda dealer (Williamsburg, VA). The service manager (Pete) finds that the plugs in cylinders 1, 3 and 4 are fouled, and replaces the plugs. He states that Fairfax Honda should have checked all the plugs when they replaced the #2 cylinder plug. He informs me that the diagnostic test DOES NOT state which plug is fouled. Meanwhile, I have incurred over $400 in towing, hotel and rental car expenses. Pete says that Fairfax Honda and/or Honda America should reimburse for some or all of these expenses.

When I return to Fairfax, the service manager tells me that the diagnostic report DOES show which plug is fouled, and that he can only check the plugs shown on the diagnostic report because American Honda will not reimburse the dealer for any work if the problem does appear on the diagnostic report. He also informs me that I should bring the car back to him when my next oil change is due (I should never need an oil change because of the amount of oil I keep adding), and he will start “monitoring” the oil usage every 1,000 miles (I’m not sure how this fixes my car). Also, I give him the receipts for my expenses incurred in Williamsburg. He will check with the district manager to see if the expenses can be reimbursed.

Yesterday, the Fairfax service manager informs me that American Honda will not reimburse me for any of my expenses. I am taking my car for an oil change next Saturday, and the “monitoring” process will begin. I feel as if Honda sold me a “lemon.”

Except for the service manager in Williamsburg, all Honda representatives appear to be incompetent and/or impotent. My car is under warranty, but no one wants to diagnose the problem and then fix it. How do I get Honda to fix my car?

We have owned four Honda’s, and this is the first time I have ever encountered an issue with Honda. Apparently, Dr. Deming’s continuous improvement through TQM is no longer practiced at Honda. Honda itself seems to be a Type II error.

Many car makers claim that a quart of oil per 1000 miles, or even less, is considered normal. That’s a theory that I do not subscribe to at all. It’s buck passing, stonewalling, or keeping the customers out of the company pockets; anyway one chooses to look at it.

Your car was damaged goods when you bought it and more than likely due to not changing the oil often enough.

Warranty is for the repair of factory defects in workmanship or materials; not damage due to lack of oil changes if that’s the case here. However, if they’re going to sell a car with the full factory warranty stated on paper then they’re on the hook for it.

You are correct. Oil fouled plugs usually points to a ring problem and instead of simply replacing the plug they should have run a compression test and verified it.
Or maybe they did and the stonewalling is because they know there’s an expensive solution in the future.

Since they’re both balking and if this consumption test leads to more of the same, then the only advice I can give is to maybe have an attorney send them a strongly worded letter; with copy sent to the EPA and state DEQ if emissions testing is done in your state. Best of luck.

Here is VA’s lemon law:

Since you say your car is still under Honda warranty, it’s definitely Honda’s obligation to make it right. Using one quart of oil per thousand miles is NOT normal. Start documenting everything. Follow the dealer’s instructions to take it back to them next oil change so they can see for themselves how much oil it’s using. They do need that kind of evidence, so give them a chance to measure the oil usage. Then they should be able to make a legitimate case with American Honda.

If after that they still drag their heels, contact Honda’s regional manager and elevate it yourself.

By the way, the car’s engine could have been damaged by the previous owner if they let the engine run low on oil, which could have damaged the rings. So it’s not necessarily a Honda quality issue, as you suggested.

I’ll just point out that you still need to change the oil regularly even if you’re adding 3 or 4 quarts between changes. The oil still gets dirty. The new clean quart immediately mixes with the dirty oil. Plus, you still need to change the oil filter.


I believe the Fairfax Honda dealer will try to blow you off (adding oil, talking smack, etc.) until your new car warranty has expired.

I suggest you INSIST that they open a case as soon as you show up at the dealership.

The other dealer sounds more competent . . . or at least they have a better attitude. Is it inconvenient to deal with them instead.

I suspect you’ll have to fight Fairfax Honda tooth and nail to do right by you.

Adding oil is normal, up to a point.

Oil fouled plugs that cause misfires is NOT normal, at least not on a 28K mile car

Here’s what I would fight for, if I was in your shoes:

Get the dealer that sold you the car to take it back, at full sales price


Get a Honda dealer to replace the engine with a factory new/rebuilt at their cost

I would not accept any offer to swap your car with a similar used Honda. After all, you don’t know what you’re getting. It may also have problems.

One quart oil consumption per 1000 miles is a little high, but isn’t at a point you’d get a car manufacturer to agree to do anything about it under warranty. Many now say 500 miles per quart is still ok, and nothing needs to be done. Oil consumption rates beyond what used to be normal for cars 20 years ago and older is not that unusual on recent vintage cars. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the desire to reduce the engine’s weight and/or the use of low viscosity oils to improve mpg has this as a compromise. So there may not even be a problem, it’s just the way the car is designed. Each one will be slightly worse or better, and you just happened to get one on the slightly worse end of the spectrum.

As examples of older cars, my 20 year old Corolla uses one quart per 5000 mile, my 70’s Ford truck uses one quart per 3500 miles, both using 10-30 W.

I agree it is sort of odd the first shop didn’t recommend replacing all the plugs rather than just the one. I’d have thought they’d recommend to replace them all, but w/the warranty restrictions, you’d have to pay for the others yourself. It seems to me they should have at least given you this option. ( I expect the code in a car this new does indicate which cylinder the problem is. But a DTC for one cylinder only, that wouldn’t mean the others aren’t far behind.)

hmmm … what to do? … well, I guess the first thing is to monitor the spark plugs frequently going forward. If all you need to do is replace the spark plugs once a year to prevent this symptom, that’s a pretty easy and inexpensive solution. You might be able to switch to a lower cost plug when you replace them more frequently. The 30K NGK plug I use for my Corolla costs $2 each. And ask your mechanic if there is a better oil viscosity to use than the one you are currently using, to prevent excessive oil consumption. You may have to suffer slightly worse mpg, but who needs the aggravation of fouled plugs?

If you can get the manufacturer to help, so much the better. But with the consumption at one quart per 1000 miles, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Doesn’t the fact the oil-fouled plugs caused misfiring pretty much prove that a problem exists?

I understand that the plugs are probably rated to go x number of miles . . .

But if they don’t last that long because they’re oil-fouled, you’ve got a problem

Which the manufacturer/dealer must address because the car still has new-car warranty

That’s my take on the matter

And as I said before, I believe the Fairfax dealer will try to weasel their way out of their obligations

You make a good point @db4690. The plugs shouldn’t foul, even w/one quart per thousand miles. On my 70’s VW Rabbit, it was burning one quart per 500 miles due to valve stem leakage (which VW repaired under warranty), but the plugs didn’t foul even before the repair.

But fixing the problem now may involves some risk to the OP. After the fix, for example, it might not use oil as much, but it might not run right either. Or it might use the same amount of oil, but the OP has lost the use of the car while it was being fixed. i.e. the fix may not solve anything, or it might cause the OP to have problems he/she doesn’t currently have.

Fixing a serious problem while the car is under warranty is definitely the way to go, no doubt about that, but this is a slightly different situation. The car was purchased used. The OP doesn’t know how it was treated by the prior owner. Everything that happened to this car is unknown prior to when it was purchased by the OP. I think the best thing at this point is to make sure all the routine maintenance is brought and kept up to date, and monitor the plugs and oil usage carefully. If the problem persists in 6 months/6,000 miles down the road, and fouling plugs continues to be a problem, then there may be merit to fixing whatever isn’t working. In the meantime, the OP should keep records, and make observations, and these may provide the clues to what is actually causing the problem (is it valve stem seals, piston rings, oil pressure?, etc) and make the repair more likely to succeed.

Oil consumption that excessive is also going to kill the O2 sensors and clog the converters.

A quick look shows that parts of Virginia require emissions testing. It could be that the OP may have a means of going after the selling dealer on this issue all depending upon the details behind used car sales.

As it is, I certainly don’t see this car passing an inspection as it is and the best thing is to be rid of the car.
The OP at this point should not blame Honda for manufacturing a defective car. The prior owner is more than likely the one responsible for the problem.

IMO it’s pointless to blame the previous owner

OP’s car still has new car warranty

That should be all that really matters

With all due respect to the other opinions, of course

In recent years all manufacturer’s claim that 1 qt per 1000 miles is normal, obviously the OP’s problem is much deeper with fouled plugs and emissions system getting error messages.

What baffles me, is all the cars I have had in the last 20 years, have not burnt any oil. The only oil I have had to add has been from seepage from valve cover and gaskets, usually to the tune of 0.5 qt per 3000 miles when the car has had more than 120K miles. Only one car got to severe oil burning stage and that was due to some kiddo abusing it while he was supposed to only ship the car from point A to B. In that case there was obvious engine damage.

So I don’t see, how a properly manufactured engine that is maintained well, could use 1 qt in 1000 miles and still be considered “normal”.

It may be a bit pointless to blame the previous owner but more than likely Honda Motor Company does not deserve the blame either.

Warranty is for the repair of defective workmanship or materials and what happens if it’s determined this car only saw one or two oil changes, or even none, in the 28k miles before the OP bought it and warranty is denied based on neglect even though the current owner had nothing to do with the abuse?

I do think the OP is very mistaken in thinking that Honda will pay incidental expenses such as hotel costs and so on. No car maker is under any legal obligation to provide anything other than the repair of the problem.