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6 Codes on my 2005 Accord Sedan...197K miles

I have a 2005 Honda Accord that my dad took ownership of 8 years ago (2012) at 97K miles. He passed the car onto me in 2016 with 160K miles as I was about to enter college. Around that time I noticed the engine would get hot and so we suspected that there was a coolant leak. Added those $30 coolant leak repair thing you pour into the radiator and I would just drive it and it worked fine for a year, and only occasionally have to add coolant after that. Forward a year and a half we’re almost at 180K and my parents come and visit me at college and my dad notices the oil light was on. i noticed it was on but it wasn’t very apparent to me (I knew nothing about cars) and suspect it had been on for a month or two. Turns out I had to add about 3.5 quarts just for the dipstick to register as full. In all my time of ownership I doubt I had changed the oil more than 1 or 2 times. We noticed a check engine light and my dad changed all the spark plugs and engine coils at around 185K. The car drove well for the next 8 months until I noticed that the car had a check engine light and upon coming to a stop, the engine would rev from 700-1300 rpm 2 or 3 times and then just suddenly die. I’d have to restart the engine and continue forward. When the engine is cold it doesn’t do this, and it only happens upon stopping. Freeway driving is flawless. Furthermore, the engine burns coolant like crazy now, I have to add about a gallon a week. Timing chain has never been replaced under my Dad and I’s ownership of the vehicle. The engine oil has now been regularly changed and I got a 2014 Civic (which I take immaculate care of) as my daily driver. However, I want to fix this car and make it a project car as I have really gotten into cars over the last year especially detailing, however the car is not street legal since it can’t pass emissions. Car is now at 197K miles.

I hooked up my OBD2 scanner tonight and got 6 engine codes:

P2195: 02 Sensor Signal Biased/Stuck Lean Bank 1 Sensor 1
P0171: System Too Lean Bank 1
P0301: Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected
P0302: Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected
P0300: Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected (I’m suspecting getting rid of 301 and 302 will get rid of this)
P0171: System Too Lean Bank 1 (again, for some reason)

What should my plan of action be? Thanks to all who help.

The first thing you do is figure out why you need to top off a gallon of coolant each week

Put the car on jackstands and get under there on a creeper

You might find a very obvious leak, such as a radiator, hose, water pump, and so forth

If not, you might want to take the car to an independent shop and pay them do diagnose it

To be brutally honest, they may say it’s not worth it to fix it

I mentioned that, because it seems the car hasn’t been taken care of very well the past few years

If the engine has repeatedly overheated . . . and it sounds like that’s been the case, based on your story . . . the engine might have sustained significant and expensive damage by now

One of the tests the shop should perform is a compression test. Low compression could certainly lead to misfires. Low compression is sometimes due to tight valve lash. I mention this, because I believe your engine might have adjustable valves. Correcting it could restore the numbers to where they should be

Hooking up a vacuum gauge at idle would also give you a good baseline

P0171 could be due to many things, depending on if the code sets at idle, during acceleration, on the freeway, and so forth

Back when the engine first started getting hot we took it to a Honda/Acura independent shop and they said it’s not worth it. And most of the time, if the engine just got hot, I just had the car on full blast heat (yes, even in the summer) so most of the time the engine just ran at normal temp.

I’m thinking head gasket is blown. I think I should probably replace that and the timing chain and give it some synthetic oil and fresh coolant. The problem is…I have no idea how to work on an engine. I’ve watched videos, and that’s about it. Thanks for your kind response.

If you have no mechanical skills, I really think that replacing the head gasket and timing chain are beyond you, and that you need to have a professional mechanic perform a proper diagnosis plus whatever repairs are needed. However, then you inevitably come to that “how much should I spend on this car?” conundrum, and only you can make the decision as to how much to “invest” in this car.

I know nothing about cars. Find mechanic
I never change oil. Set reminders on iPhone.
Don’t see red oil light on dash? Uh, no help there.

Yeah I was an idiot. Got what was essentially a “beater” car (it has a salvage title) so obviously I didn’t know anything and yeah. Got a 2014 Civic at 32K that I baby. Oil changes and rotations every 4K miles. Drive and brake super easy. Detail twice a week. Obviously learned my lesson.

Drive and brake super easy - really good way to annoy your fellow drivers .
Detail twice a week - You have way too much time on your hands .
And put this 2005 Accord out to pasture because being a Salvage and your lack of mechanical ability you will be spending money foolishly.

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Coasting does wonders for gas mileage. Making time for it is just easy. Only takes 45 minutes, and having a car that always looks brand new has had a lot of people ask and want to hire me to do theirs. Go figure.

You’re checking the oil regularly now, I assume?

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Sounds like this engine has been over heated and under oiled.
IMO time for a low mileage replacement engine.

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It’s probably worse than that

Because you continued using the engine in this condition, the cylinder head . . . and possbily the block itself . . . are almost certainly warped by now

what I’m getting at is just replacing the head gasket by itself, with no additional work, will most likely not solve the problem(s)

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Yeah about every 2 weeks i pull the dipstick and give it a quick check.

It sounds like the head gasket is leaking coolant into one or more cylinders, and that is causing misfires/stalling and coolant consumption. This is what happened on my Caravan when the head gasket wore out, and I solved the problem by replacing the cylinder head myself with one that I purchased from a “you pull it” yard and had a machine shop refurbish.

Even at DIY prices, I spent over $800 to do this repair, and a shop would have probably charged well over $2000. One major difference between the Dodge Caravan 4-cylinder engines and your 2005 Accord 4-cylinder engine is that the Caravan uses a closed-deck cast iron block, so overheating the engine is unlikely to hurt anything other than perhaps causing the cylinder head to crack or warp. As long as there is no coolant in the oil, the engine should be repairable.

Your engine is all aluminum, and the engine block itself can crack or warp from overheating. For this reason, the only real option would be a junkyard engine. Even if you could DIY this job, you’d still be spending over $1500 by the time you factor in the cost of the engine plus incidentals, such as a new timing belt/water pump kit, new motor mounts, new accessory belts, new coolant hoses, and of course a new radiator. As little as $1800 could buy a different car with less miles and a regular title which runs fine–so putting money and effort into this Accord would be foolish.

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Agreed. Definitely would have to just get a whole new head if not a new engine like others are suggesting

Thanks a ton for your input. I agree with you. The issue is i’ve never seen a car for $1800 that is much cheaper with lower miles. Even these 2005 Accords on Autotempes i see with 150K and they are still like $4 or 5K, which is what tempts me to want to fix it cause if i sell it now i’d be lucky to get $1500 for it, and if i can have a car that goes 100K relatively trouble free (let’s assume the trans stays good).

Since you have two cars, don’t put any money in the Accord. BTW, is it a 4 or 6 cylinder engine?

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It’s mostly so I can drive it around and do uber eats with it LOL. But it’s the 2.4 VTEC I4