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Where did all that oil go?

I have a 2000 Honda Passport, 6 cyl engine, with only 69,000 miles, one owner, babied to death. This week the oil light came on, so I added approx 3/4 qt of oil - just till I could get it to the mechanic. I checked the dip stick and sometimes it was on Add, sometime Full when checked.

When they changed the oil, they said it only had 1.5 qts in it! No leaks in my driveway - nothing. Where does the oil go?

You tell us that the “oil light” was on, but did you tell your mechanic that the “oil light” was on? The reason that I ask is because I am about 99% sure that your oil light is an indicator or low oil pressure, not an indicator of a low oil level.

If anyone on this board is an Isuzu expert (your Honda Passport is actually a re-badged Isuzu Rodeo), perhaps they can clarify whether Isuzu uses a low oil level indicator light, in addition to the usual low oil pressure light.

My guess–subject to correction when more information is forthcoming–is that the engine has been run with low oil pressure, and that excessive engine wear/damage took place as a result. Excessive wear to your engine’s bearings can result in very rapid oil consumption. Rapid oil consumption=low oil level. (If it turns out that the Isuzu Rodeo/Honda Passport actually has a warning light to alert the driver to low oil level, then my thesis is flawed.)

So, don’t confuse cause and effect. I believe that running this engine with low oil pressure has damaged it, and that the effect is excessive oil burning.

Did you tell your mechanic about the “oil light”?
Did he do anything other than change the oil?

If you told your mechanic that this light was illuminated and he did not check the engine for both low oil pressure and for engine damage, then you need a new mechanic!

The moral of the story is to immediately shut down an engine when an oil pressure light starts glowing, to NOT restart the engine, and to have the vehicle towed to a competent mechanic.

Of course, an alternate interpretation is that the engine burned more oil over the course the time than the owner was aware of, the owner did not check the oil, it became dangerously low, and that this very low oil level led to excess engine wear and to low oil pressure. So, perhaps an additional moral to the story is to monitor your oil level frequently.

You say you have babied this vehicle, but when was the last time you checked the oil? How often do you check the oil?

If you do not see any drips the likely place is the exhaust pipe(eg buring it).

In your shoes I would check/top the oil level every other fuel fillup. Typically a repair for oil consumption will buy many many cases of engine oil.

First of all the obvious question has to be asked. How do you check your oil? A good time to check your oil is before the first start up of the day, and on a level surface. If you check the oil after you have just shut off the engine you will always be 2-3 quarts off.
Be very careful and suspicious about dealerships and chain shops. The service you get will only be as good as the person who does the service. And, that is where dealerships and chain shops cut their overhead: at the employee. They’ll find the cheapest person to work on the car and the integrity of that person isn’t any better then the employer. What I am getting at is, do you know for a fact that the right amount of oil was put back into the car in the first place, was the oil filter put on correctly, did the mechanic prime the oil filter before or after he put oil back in? this is why it is important that you know how to check your oil at the right time.
Horror story: years ago I worked at a dealership. The dealership had a bait-and-nab gimick typically used today. The $12 oil and filter change. All the mechanics had to participate in the special offer so that they could attempt to turn that bait-and-nab business into bigger business. Most of the mechanics didn’t like to reduce themselves to changing oil. So, the "Heavy line’ mechanic took the oil filter off of someones car, wipped off the filter, put it back on the car, and pumped oil back into the car from the oil drain hole (Oil supply was pneumaticly pumped). He replaced the plug and lowered the car and kept it in the service bay until after he had his lunch. The oil level was never checked before he returned the car to the owner.

Yep - I told them the light came on - now I have to say that the Check engine light has been on, but that is because the gas gauge is kaput and was told it would be $$$ to replace since it is in the tank - so I just keep track of mileage.
The oil was changed in December and has only been driven 950 miles since that oil change.
This SUV drives like a champ and I do know enough to pay attention to warning lights.
The mechanics suggestion was to take it back to Honda and let them run another set of diagnostics and see if what they think.
I truly do not believe that there was any low oil pressure…or I have been lulled into a false sense of security with that Check Engine light meaning only that the gas gauge is faulty…but that was only 8 months ago.

I am truly at a loss…I guess I will take it to Honda. But still, where is the oil going? It does not blow smoke - it purrs.

I check the oil about once a month - I work from home now and hardly ever drive it anymore.

You can burn that much oil without it clearly showing. If your oil pressure light came on, then your oil pressure went low and damage was done to the engine. The only question is how much. The check engine light would not come on for low oil level or low oil pressure. Please get the actual check engine code(s) that are present read. They won’t be related to this, and they probably won’t be related to the fuel gauge. You can’t say you babied the car when you were ignoring its cry for help.

Red oil pressure light or yellow low oil level light?

Red means trouble ahead and yellow not necessarily.

On this model all lights are red - the oil was changed within 1 hour of driving time.

The suggestion to ignore the Check Engine came from Honda…as they are the only ones who could actually "read’ the last code on the fuel gauge problem.

So what is a person to do when you follow Honda’s recommendations?

You have still not told us whether the warning light was for low oil pressure, or for low oil level. Trust me–there is a very important difference between those two types of warnings, sort of like the difference between a heart attack and “heart-burn”.

If you don’t know the answer, this is an excellent time to read the Owner’s Manual in order to learn exactly what this light indicates.

After you find out the information from the manual, please post back with that information, as none of our responses is truly valuable without this clarification.

You may want to check it more often now that there appears to be a problem.

VDCdriver is correct of course and if the light in question is a red oil pressure light then you have engine damage and changing the oil after the fact will cure nothing. One and a half quarts remaining in the crankcase is an engine killer even if seems to run well for the moment.

There are several oddities here.
Babies the vehicle and drives with the CEL illumnated.
Apparently there’s a problem with the way the oil is being checked.
A mysterious code for a “faulty fuel guage”. Wonder what that would be? :wink:
Why would a Honda dealer state that you should “ignore” the CEL? Unless that’s a service writer talking. In this case, advice like this (bad) should be ignored.

Sorry - reading too fast - low oil level light…

The diagnostic code that came up when the CEL FIRST came on, was for faulty fuel gauge - which is located in the tank - the suggestion was, that unless I wanted to spend $500+ on the fix, I needed to keep a close eye on the fuel and ignore the CEL light - that was about 6 months ago - and the low oil business started LAST Wednesday.
So…I am guilty of taking Honda’s advice.
Thank you all for your replies - I think I will let Honda sort it out.

I wanted all to know that the Honda folks indicated that I should NOT be using synthetic oil - just good old 10W30 - what they took out looked “thin” and it has only been 1 week since oil change.
In addition - the fuel pump was causing the Check Engine light to stay on - as opposed to the intermittent light for the fuel gauge problem.
So, $800 lighter - all is well and my 10 year old baby is ready for 10 more. And it was good to learn that there were no engine problems.
So…what do you folks think of this Syn versus Dino oil argument?

What grade of synthetic were you using? It’s available a 0W20, 0W30, 5W20, 5W30, and 10W30. There are higher viscosity grades, but you get the point. If you were using 10W30 synthetic, the viscosity would be the same as distilled petroleum oil.

It was getting Kendall 5W30 GT1 Syn Blend. Honda put in 20W50 Castroil. It will get 20W50 from now on.

Does the owner’s manual call for 20W50?