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Timing Chain problem?

I have a 2006 Honda CRV with 145,000 miles on it. It has been giving me warning lights for about 10 weeks. My mechanic discovered that it is burning oil, which he says all old cars do. But the lights continued. He put the computer on it and says that I need a new timing chain and it will cots $1,100.00. He also says he’s not 100% sure that this will stop the lights. I don’t want to sink that kind of money into the car if it won’t correct the problem. The lights that come on are the check engine light, the VSA light and the triangle light. They do not come on all of the time. Maybe 3 time a week but they go off if I stop the car and re start it.

I think that this is a vehicle with multiple problems, and here are my thoughts on each one:

You said that it is “burning oil”, but you didn’t say how much oil you need to add, or how often.
Many cars will consume a bit of oil by 145k miles, but if it is consuming large quantities of oil, that points toward lax maintenance, specifically going too long between oil changes and/or allowing the oil level to fall very low before adding more oil What can you tell us about these issues?

The engine may indeed need a new timing chain, but I am not aware of any computer codes that would indicate a worn-out timing chain, so that makes me wonder how he diagnosed that situation. Is it because of excessive rattling noises coming from the engine? Regardless of how it was diagnosed, however, the need for a new timing chain at 145k miles points toward not having had the oil changed often enough. What are your typical oil change intervals in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time?

The Check Engine Light can light up for any of…literally…hundreds of reasons, ranging from the need to tighten the gas cap, to the need to replace the spark plugs, to the need to replace the oxygen sensors, to…
In many cases, it is an indicator of lax maintenance. We need to know what specific diagnostic codes were found when your mechanic “put it on the computer”. If he didn’t specify these codes on your repair invoice, call him and ask him which codes he found. They will be in a format similar to “P0123”.

The VSA warning light on CR-Vs is a habitually troublesome issue, going back many years. When that light is lit up, it indicates that the Vehicle Stability Control has been disabled, but that can simply be the result of the CEL being lit up, or it can be an issue specific to Honda’s VSA system itself.

So…we need to know about your oil change regimen, as well as other details on the car’s maintenance. Please don’t state that “the car has been well-maintained”, as that phrase is essentially meaningless w/o actual details as to spark plug replacement and other maintenance details.

In the end, you may need a new mechanic as I am a bit skeptical at this point about your mechanic’s interest in properly diagnosing the car, but in the meantime if you will supply the missing details, we can probably be more helpful to you.

I completely agree with @VDCdriver on his assessment. The main thing here is to dump this so-called “mechanic” of yours. Find a good independent mechanic and get a second opinion.

Thanks for your responses Misselman & VDCdriver. As to the oil changes, they have been done regularly. He puts a sticker on my windshield and I’m usually on time for the change. Once I was late by 1000 miles. He uses synthetic oil if that helps. The car has always been problem free until this year. I’ve put on new tires, done the front and rear brakes and fixed calipers. All since March.
As for oil burning, after 1500 miles he put in another 2 quarts.
I really appreciate your insight.

Oh, I forgot. He did not give me the specific code number.

Have you ever thought about leasing (renting) a car? Then your operating costs are a known, fixed amount. For someone who does not know how to open the hood of her car, this may be the best option. You drive a new car forever and someone else worries about maintenance and repairs…

You definitely need a new mechanic. A worn timing chain has totally different symptoms and is not diagnosed with a Check Engine Light.

Caddyman, I cannot believe you’re recommending to someone that they lease a car. We’ve had numerous threads on this subject, and it’s one of the worst car decisions an individual can make. You can “drive a new car forever”, but you’ll also be making car payments forever… and never, ever have any equity whatsoever. When the lease ends the only choices you’ll have are to buy the car, lease another, or walk for the rest of your life.

Thank you for your input the same mountainbike. I am trying to get the codes from him. In the meantime, I’m cancelling my appointment next week to have him change the timing chain. I still need to decide if I should repair this car or get another.

get a real diagnosis. this guy can tell you anything as you are not car savvy.

2 quarts low is bad. you should check your oil regularly. the calipers may have gone bad because the brakes were ignored. brake pads are a regular maintenance item. they don t need to be changed often, but if you waited until 145k miles it was probably too long

Usually, I would agree with you M.B. but in this case…With today’s electronic marvels, repair costs can equal lease payments…By shopping VERY carefully for a lease, you can lock in a known and reasonably low transportation cost…Few people today have any equity in their cars…They are upside-down on the thing right out of the starting blocks…You and I can take care of our own maintenance. But Sue depends entirely on outside help for maintenance and repairs…For someone like that, leasing may work…

Fault code P0341: CMP Sensor A and CKP Sensor Incorrect Phase Detected can be caused by a loose/worn timing chain.

Ask your mechanic if he checked the camshaft timing and inspected for a loose or damaged timing chain.

Yes, Nevada _545. My mechanic just called and said that was the code. He hasn’t checked anything after he found the code. He just said that it was the timing chain and that he didn’t want me to yell at him if it didn’t solve the problem.
He emphatically stated that even after the $1,100.00 repair, my problem may not be solved. I certainly don’t want to keep throwing money at this vehicle. Though it’s been great until this year.

That’s crazy. Fault codes don’t tell us what’s wrong with a vehicle. Fault codes give us an indication that a sensor is reporting a value outside of normal operating parameters or that a system on a car is not performing as designed.

Your mechanic doesn’t want you to yell at him if the timing chain replacement doesn’t fix the problem? Then tell him to accurately and properly diagnose the problem. This should be a simple diagnosis for any shop with a multi-channel labscope, up to date factory (or equivalent) service information and a capable mechanic.

Just as a suggestion, look in the “Mechanic’s Files” section in the banner at the top of this page, put in your location, and see if there is another shop that can give you a second opinion. With that report you can start to make a decision on your next move.

Added: So I tried that myself and got no hits at all from my city of Oakland, California. Really? That can’t be right. Is that section of the website dead?

“As for oil burning, after 1500 miles he put in another 2 quarts.”

I’m trying to not be overly judgmental, I have to say that this reveals a lax attitude toward maintaining your car.

The level of oil on the dipstick should never be allowed to fall more than 1 qt below the full mark. Even though my car consumes very little oil between oil changes, I check the dipstick every 3 weeks or so, and if I see that the level has dropped by 1/2 qt, then I add 1/2 qt at that point.

In the case of your engine, once it was down by 2 qts, that means you were running the engine on only about 1/2 of its oil supply–and that is not good. This leads to early deterioration of the oil’s ability to lubricate the engine, and that can certainly lead to a worn-out timing chain. Also, running the engine with a low oil supply accelerates engine wear and thus accelerates oil burning. An engine that is properly maintained can usually go ~200k miles before it consumes large quantities of oil and can usually go ~300k miles before it is necessary to replace the timing chain.

Whether you repair this car or buy a new one, you really need to get into the habit of lifting the hood of your car every few weeks in order to check the oil and other fluids, and not relying on somebody else to do it at random intervals.

Asemaster post is what you should do. A good tech with a Pico scope or similiar lab scope will be able to properly diagnose this issue without spending $1100 on a guess. I think you have 2 separate issues, the check engine light and the oil burning. Find a good tech who can diagnose your car and not just read codes and make a decision from there.


Thank you SteveC76 and Asemaster. I will not shell out $1,100.00 without another opinion.

VDCdriver, sorry. Not going to become a mechanic in training. It’s not a habit I want to form. I count on my mechanic to let me know when maintenance is due so that I don’t have to. I put in gas and windshield wiper fluid. That’s the extent of my expertise. And I like it that way.

Caddyman, if ones repair costs equal lease payments, than one has done a terrible job of vehicle selection, even if all the work needs to be done at shops.

My car is nine year old, with 215,000 miles on it, and the repair costs are negligible. And it’s been paid up for four years now. If I’d leased a car, I’d still be making car payments. And, since I put on a lot of miles every year commuting, I’d have paid dearly in mileage overage charges.

I stand by my post. Leasing is a very bad idea for an individual.

“I count on my mechanic to let me know when maintenance is due so that I don’t have to. I put in gas and windshield wiper fluid. That’s the extent of my expertise. And I like it that way.”

Okay…but…checking the level of your oil is not something that you should rely upon somebody else to remember to do.
Do you expect your mechanic to phone you every few weeks, to say something like, “time to come in so that I can pull the dipstick and check your oil”?
The very fact that your oil level had dropped by about half is an indication that your “system” of having your mechanic do simple tasks like checking the oil is…not working.

If he is a typical mechanic, he likely has hundreds of customers.
What if he forgets to phone you?
What if he is on vacation when it is time to check your oil?
What if he dies?

However, it is your money and your car, so if you want to continue to trash the engine of your vehicle prematurely…Who am I to try to save you many thousands of dollars?

Please feel free to continue to ignore my well-intentioned and practical advice.

@Cardumbsue; you are looking at this backwards.
You can run out of washer fluid and no harm is done.
You run out of oil and it will be a $2500 bill for a USED engine and the labor to replace it.

Checking the oil should be priotity one on anyones auto.

We are not trying to make you nito a mechanic, but this is one thing you should learn to do.