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Oil consumption/bad smelling dipstick

I checked the oil level in my 1999 Accord (just got the car!) on Tuesday and noticed the level was between the upper and lower marks. O.K. I thought, nothing to be concerned about. I’ll just keep an eye on it.

Checked again this evening and it was hovering near the lower mark and the oil dipstick smelled like it was charred. Uh oh.

Is this a real serious problem ? What causes this ? The oil was just changed recently and the previous owner had it changed regularly (w/ paper work to prove it). What’s going on???

“What’s going on?”

Good question! Please give us more information about your car. Be as specific as possible. V6, I4, automatic or manual, how many miles? What does the paperwork tell you regarding previous maintenance?

Also, are there any signs of oil leakage?

Charred smell is not good, but we need more info.

Oh yeah:
There is no obvious oil leak. i.e. No oil on the ground under the car after being parked overnight, no oil leaking onto the exhaust manifold and creating that distinct burning smell, no blue smoke coming from the tail pipe or under the hood, no otherwise unusual smells.

I added 1 qt. of 5W-30 tonight and now the crankcase is full. Will check again in a few days. Thanks.

It’s I4 VTEC, Auto, 119,xxx. Paperwork shows when the oil was changed by the previous owner and it was done at roughly 3,000 mile increments. The P.O. had the car dealer maintained and they were able to run a query and print out a list of all the work she had done. Also my indy mechanic inspected before I bought and found no problems.

Jeff, Are You Checking The Oil After The Car Has Been Parked Several Hours, Each Time?

You could get false readings in some cars, checking while the engine is warm/hot.

On tuesday I checked it with the engine stone cold and this evening the engine had been sitting for a few hours.

OK. Keep doing that. Please document how many quarts of oil are disappearing vs. mileage driven, not days or weeks. This is very important.

Oil consumption (if there is any) needs to be measured in miles per quart, same as fuel mileage (miles per gallon).

3,000 mile oil changes are WAY more frequent than called for by the factory schedule (as I’m hoping you can verify for yourself. Do you have the owner’s manual?), so that’s not a problem. Actually, that’s good.

Just out of curiosity, do the maintenance records show that the timing belt has been replaced? This has nothing to do with the oil consumption issue, but it is VERY important nonetheless. Please check on this.

You should ALWAYS check your oil on a warmed up car on level ground with the engine off. Keep and eye on the level for the next couple of weeks.

The consumption does concern me but the oil smell concerns me also, If it was my car I would remove the valve cover,if the engine was overheated extremely you will see the results on the valve train,and then you can start to add things up.

Thanks, the timing belt was actually replaced as part of the deal when I bought the car. They replaced the oil then also. It has been approx 900 miles between then and tonight, adding the extra quart.

This is very strange. There is nothing pointing to excessive oil consumption. All I can suggest is you monitor the situation, keep records, and see what happens.

You haven’t had this car long enough to establish a record. That’s what you need to do now. Establish a record of oil consumption (if there is any), leakage, etc. Monitor everything and keep records.

Post them back here.

Good luck.