High Mileage Engine Oil Question


I am new to this forum. I found this forum when I googled a maintenance question for my MDX. I have 2001 MDX with 190K miles on it. Still running as champ. I noticed from past two motor oil changes that the oil level reduces. I use regular oil (not sure the weight but sure not synthetic) by my Individual mechanic in CA. I recently moved to Central NY. I am due to my oil change now and I checked the oil level this morning and it is less. Is it something to do with the weight of the oil I use now or the way I drive or the engine’s age? Do I have to change my motor oil from regular to higher mileage or to synthetic?

Please help!


I’d keep using regular oil. Those ‘high mile’ oils are for engines with leaks, they contain additives that swell seals to (maybe) reduce leaks. Does your engine leak? How many miles do you go between adding one quart?

I usually do change oil for every 3000 miles

So you add no oil between changes? How low is the oil when you do change it?

There is no leaks I noticed yet…

I do not top up between oil change. I just started noticing the level change before oil change. The level is between the two dots on the dipstick.

Be sure to check your oil level at least once a week. Familiarize yourself with the specific oil weight (viscosity) required by your car and then add oil as necessary.
As far as high mileage oil is concerned, there is a difference of opinion about this. My son’s mechanic thought he should use high mileage oil in his 2006 Uplander. It doesn’t use any oil, but his mechanic thought it would help it last longer. I’m not so sure. As long as it is the proper viscosity, it probably doesn’t hurt anything.

@Triedaq - Does the engine grow older (higher mileage motor), does the oil weight (viscosity) used need to be changed? I tried to learn about the weights of motor oil. It says one used in cold weather and other in hot. If thats the case do I have to change the oil (with diff weights) for every weather change?

Follow the owners manual’s recommendations. If more than one weight is recommended, it’s typically to allow for folk in Arizona vs. folk in, say, New York, not for any short term changes. Do not use a heavier weight oil because of engine age, 1/2 quart every 3000 miles is low oil use, nothing to worry about.

@texases - You mentioned about heavy weight oil. I am seeing 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, 10W-40… so on. From these, what represents the oil weight and what the other is for? Kinda confusing…

@1EIGHT1–texases gave you good advice. In the 1950s, we used different oil weights for different season, but that all changed in the 1960s. Whatever multi-viscosity (e.g. 5W-30) is specified for your vehicle, that is what you should use.

Your engine is burning on the rings. It has 190k miles. Perfectly normal sign of engine wear.

It can be confusing. “Weight” really refers to the oil’s viscosity. The first number (with the ‘W’) describes how easily the oil flows at low temperature, the send number at normal operating temperature. For both, the lower the number the lower the viscosity. The key is what is recommended in your owners manual.

What does it say?

@fatrap - Is that common for the motor with 190K miles on it? Do I have to do anything else to reduce it? Sorry if I being stupid but I want to keep this motor run for more miles. I did the other maintenance like spark plugs, timing belt, transmission (rebuild), fluids…

You do not have a problem, as we’ve all said. Use the recommended oil and check it periodically.

Yes, it’s common. You’re not burning so much oil that you can see it coming out the exhaust, but you’re burning oil. It’s a small amount and doesn’t mean your engine is bad. It’s normal. You just have to check the oil a little more often and be prepared to add a bit between oil changes. Nearly every car from every maker will do this at that mileage.

@1EIGHT1–you’ve taken good care of your car, so just keep doing what you are doing. In people years, I am about the vintage of your car. I do just fine on regular dark beer–I’m not switching to light beer because I am 71 and have some age on me. Your car is doing fine–don’t try something different.

@texases - The recommended oil by Honda - 5W-30 Preferred and 10W-30 if the temprature goes below 20 F.

@fatrap - Thanks for the comments!

@Triedaq - hahaha… good example. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

The 5W30 means…In a simple explanation… Acts like a 5 weight oil for the winter (thin) and acts like a 30 weight oil (thick) in the summer. Oil thins out when it gets hot, so add some nice chemicals to lessen that effect and you can make it act like a winter (thin) oil when its cold and act like a thick (summer) oil when its hot.

That said, as you engine racks up the miles, the rings and valve seals wear a bit and allow more oil to pass into the combustion chamber to be burned off. If you don’t need to add a quart between changes, 3000 miles, then your engine is in pretty good shape. Even if you add a quart halfway to your change, that is still OK. Keep doing exactly what you are doing, it got you this far!

@Mustangman - Thanks!