Oil went cold?

Mechanic said “I bet the oil went cold” when I dropped off my ancient CRV that’s suffered inconsistent misfires for a couple weeks.
Any idea what that means?

No such phrase in mechanics speak.


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it mean’s he hasn’t a clue how to fix it.


Hah, I was afraid of that…just waiting on the proposed repair and estimate now…

That type of clueless mechanic is likely to offer other bogus diagnoses, such as…
You got a batch of bad gas
You need to replace the ECU

If the engine has been misfiring, there should be stored DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes).
Find a shop that will–at the very least–determine what DTCs have been stored, and then begin to narrow-down the possible causes of those codes. The OP’s current mechanic seems to be clueless.


Get your hearing tested.

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I have an OBD reader and it’s showed misfires on 3 out of 4 cylinders at different times, at least once on 2 at the same time, but on two occasions the codes have disappeared on their own. Sometimes the misfires are obvious with a rough idle - with no codes being triggered - and sometimes it’s running fine. Hence my current clueless ‘just give it to the (presumably less clueless than me) mechanic’ predicament, instead of trying the easy stuff (swapping coils etc)

The oil control valve is sticking.

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OK , why did you not ask him what that meant ?

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Kind of muttered it under her (yup, go ahead) breath as she was tagging the key and I was on my way out. Even though I thought “huh?”, I figured nothing matters until she (her tech, really) looks at the car and calls with an actual diagnosis. If I hear “the oil went cold, will cost you $$”, then I start asking.

Maybe you’re both right on both accounts, and she said something about “oil valve” instead of oil “cold” like I heard.

Get the valve lash adjusted.

He may have actually said “oil is old” or something like that. If your engine sports variable valve timing, where the camshaft phase w/respect to the crankshaft changes depending on engine rpm and load, the parts that make that work are very sensitive to oil quality. The end result of too-old oil (sludge etc) can indeed be the parts stick and the valve timing becomes incorrect, and misfires.

Coulda been, George. Didn’t occur to me in the moment because the oil is fresh as a daisy after all the times it’s been drained and filled recently due to other problems, but she had no way to know that.

This is just my own personal opinion but I always verify that compression is good. There is no sense spending money and time on a horse if euthanization may be in the future.

Since this appears to have a bit of come and go with no codes being set checking the valve lash is a good idea on what you refer to as an “ancient” CR-V.

If lash is checked, pay special attention to whether any of the exhaust valves are tight at zero or near zero lash. As the engine warms up metal expands and what might be a zero lash closed valve when cold can turn into a slightly open valve when it’s hot. Meaning a burnt valve.

Just a thought but I wonder if the young lady might have said “coil”? That would actually make some sense in a misfire situation.